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Voiced and Voiceless Consonants in Russian language

a chart with russian consonants


Consonants in Russian language can be voiced or voiceless. In order to understand the concept of voiced and voiceless consonants, we must place our fingers on our vocal cords and say the sounds (not the names of the letters) in the chart above. After doing so, we will notice that the voiced consonants vibrate our cords. Instead, the voiceless consonants do not.

Two pronunciation rules affect these consonants:

1) Word final devoicing. Voiced consonants at the end of words are pronounced voiceless.

We write: We say:

Чехов Чехо[ф]

джаз джа[с]

гараж гара[ш]

2) Voiced-voiceless assimilation. When voiced and voiceless consonants are adjacent to each other, the nature of the second consonant dictates the nature of the first.

voiced ------> voiceless voiceless ------> voiceless

в Киеве [ф К]иеве

субтитры су[пт]итры

voiceless ------> voiced voiced ------> voiced

баскетбол баске[дб]ол

Питсбург Пи[дзб]ург

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