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 ‘я’.
Vowel Reduction: Unstressed Я
At the beginning and in the middle of words pronunciation of unstressed ‘я’ is not different from pronunciation of unstressed ‘е’.
So, at the beginning of the word and after the letters ‘ъ’ and ‘ь’, it specifies the diphthong [йи]:
Яросла́в – yee-rəs-láf / yi-rəs-láf
изъяви́л – eez-yee-véel / iz-yi-víl
Третьяко́в – tree-tyee-kóf / tri-tyi-kóf
After vowels and consonants unstressed ‘я’ is not different from ‘и’:
маяки́ – mə-ee-kée / mə-i-kí
тяну́ – t’ee-nóo / t’i-nú
But when unstressed ‘я’ appears at the end of the word, its pronunciation depends on some factors, which are examined in the video. Enjoy watching!