RUSSIAN ALPHABET, PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY

Russian Lessons Online:
Pronunciation of Initial И

As a rule, the letter ‘и’ has the sound [i] (being pronounced like ‘ee’ in ‘feel’). But in some situations this letter changes its pronunciations and specifies the sound [ы]. It usually occurs at the beginning of words, when the preceding word ends in a hard consonant. For example:
игла́ – eeg-láh / ig-lá
but
с игло́й – sыg-lóy (after the hard sound [s] the 'и' became [ы])

But this mutation doesn’t occur after vowels and soft consonants:
на иглу́ – nə-eeg-lóo / nə;-ig-lú (after the vowel 'а' [ə] pronunciation of 'и' is not changed)
часть иглы́ – chah-s’-t’eeg-lы́ / chas’-t’ig-lы́ (after the soft sound [t'] pronunciation of 'и' is not changed)

See more examples and listen to the correct pronunciation in the video. Enjoy watching!

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