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9. Consonant Й and the vowels Е, Ё, Ю, Я

The letters Е, Ё, Ю, and Я are the so called jotated vowels. It means that in some positions (at the beginning of a word, or when they follow a vowel, a hard sign or a soft sign) they indicate two sounds - an initial j-sound ([j] in the International Phonetic Alphabet, denoted by the letter Й of the Russian alphabet when stands by itself), plus a vowel, such as ye in yes, yo in York, u in use, ya in yard – for Е, Ё, Ю and Я respectively.

Е = Й + Э [je]

Ё = Й + О [jo] - Also remember that Ё is always stressed!

Ю = Й + У [ju]

Я = Й + А [ja]

Watch the video and repeat outloud.

The Short I – Й

Й is usually found at the end of the word. Й is always soft and often sounds like a very short И.

Listen to the audio, read the words and repeat out loud.

чай, мой, пей, дай, трамва́й, геро́й, како́й, твой, свой, музе́й, попуга́й

Please note that the Short I - Й - denotes the sound [j] which is a consonant unlike the sound [i] that is denoted by the letter И and is a vowel. In the Russian language consonants don’t make up a syllable, as opposed to vowels which do. If we compare the letters И and Й, Й always has a diacritical mark on top. The letter И may sometimes have the stress mark (и́) when the sound [i] is stressed in a word or may not have it when it isn’t stressed. Make sure you don’t confuse these two letters, the difference can often help you tell whether a word is in the singular or plural form.

Listen to the audio, compare and repeat.

мои́ – мой
твои́ – твой
попуга́и – попуга́й
трамва́и – трамва́й
музе́и – музе́й

Й can also be found in the middle of words.

Listen to the audio, read the words and repeat out loud.

тро́йка, дво́йка, европе́йский, диза́йн, война́, сейф, райо́н, рейс

Exercise 1

Listen to the audio and pick or tap the word that you heard.


мои - мой - чай - твои - твой - попугай - трамваи - музей - герой

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