Russian Lessons Online:
In Russian language unstressed vowels are shorter than stressed ones. Besides that, such vowels as А, О, Э and the vowels denoted as and ‘Е’, ‘Я’ change their pronunciation. In this lesson we will examine pronunciation of unstressed ‘э’.
Vowel Reduction: Unstressed Э
In fast speech unstressed ‘э’ is not very different from ‘ы’ (articulation of the sound [ы] is explained here):
сэконо́мить – sы-kʌ-nó-mit’
к эффе́кту – kы-f’έk-too
The same is true for the ‘е’ in unstressed syllables ‘ЖЕ’, ‘ШЕ’, ‘ЦЕ’:
жела́ть – zhы-lát’
шесто́й – shыs-tóy
цена́ – tsы-ná
Please, watch the video to get more information about this phenomenon and listen to the correct pronunciation of Russian words with unstressed ‘э’.