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Forum Russian Step By Step » Russian Language » Pronunciation » Pronouncing Э
Pronouncing Э
harpsichordDate: Sunday, 2015-05-03, 6:11 AM | Message # 1
Group: StudentF1
Messages: 30
Status: Offline
Hello, Olga!

It's been a few years since I've posted a question here; I hope you and Natasha have been well. My son and I quit our Russian studies early on the first time around because we didn't have much opportunity to use the language in everyday life. Now, however, we live in a different city that's full of Russian speakers, and we're wishing we'd stuck with it! Oh, well--we didn't know. smile So now we're starting over, and this time my whole family will be learning.

I have a pronunciation question. In the fourth edition of the Reading Russian workbook, you say that "Э" sounds like "e" as in "set." In the newer edition, however, it says that "Э" sounds like "a" as in "rat." The "e" in "set" and the "a" in "rat" sound very different from each other in English. In listening carefully to the audio, I'm wondering if the NAME of the letter "Э" is pronounced like "a" but the SOUND it makes within words is pronounced "e." Could you please clarify the pronunciation for me?

Thanks a lot!

OlgaDate: Sunday, 2015-05-03, 7:00 AM | Message # 2
Group: Moderators
Messages: 85
Status: Offline
Dear Mandy,
Welcome back!
You are right: in English those two sounds are pronounced differently, but in Russian both of them correspond to the letter Э.

You can pronounce letter Э either way: more openly like a in rat or like in e in set (when you don't open your mouth that much)/
That is why for the Russians it's difficult to distinguish between these 2 sounds and they often mix them.
Forum Russian Step By Step » Russian Language » Pronunciation » Pronouncing Э
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