I often encounter claims that these letters formerly were pronounced differently. Can anybody please point me to a sound record that shows the difference?
Well, in short here are main fact about "ять":
PIE contrasted long and short vowels.
The Novgorod gramotas started to mix
Even now, different flavors or Serbo-Croatian pronounce words with historical
Thus said, it is not clear how exactly
It was surely a long vowel, close to
It is worth noting that in modern Russian pronounciation there are three different e-ish sounds: one is soft е as in "сеть", second is hard э as in "эхо", and third appears in (very widely used) loanwords from English, like both е-s in "менеджер". It's harder than the first and softer than the second.
Now, some people pronounce this sound as hard э or soft е, but it is kind of awkward and doesn't sound right; so this third sound is used.
I have no idea whether ѣ ever mapped to this sound, tho.
|show 3 more comments|