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In Второзаконие 32:13-14 I read the word агнец, which appears in genitive plural.

Он вознес его на высоту земли и кормил произведениями полей, и питал его медом из камня и елеем из твердой скалы, маслом коровьим и молоком овечьим, и туком агнцев и овнов Васанских и козлов, и тучною пшеницею, и ты пил вино, кровь виноградных ягод.

How to pronounce this word (агнцев)?

There are three consonants in a row (гнц). Isn't there any vowel sound in between these, especially in between the г and the н?

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You can hear my pronunciation here (I'm a native speaker):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9c5ff-vyZgcTi00c2VMUC00VWc/view

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  • clear and articulate – embert Dec 17 '15 at 13:43
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You pronounce a schwa between г and н: ['agənt͡sɨf].

However, if the poetic rhythm calls for a two-syllable word, like here:

С тобой люблю я, в мыслях сладких,
Собрать, устроить, просветить
Народы; тигров, к крови падких,
В смиренных агнцев превратить.

, the г itself becomes lenient (vowel-like) and articulates as a nasalized uvular stop: ['aɢ̃nt͡sɨf]

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  • I fail to make it two syllables. It's always somewhat like ['a-gən-t͡sɨf] when I try to pronounce it. – embert Dec 16 '15 at 11:30
  • @embert: you have to use an uvular, not velar, stop for г: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiced_uvular_stop , but if you fail to articulate it, a good approximation would be just making the leading а nasalized and omitting the г altogether. What is your mother tongue if I may ask? – Quassnoi Dec 16 '15 at 12:36
  • Why would it get turned into uvular? – jwalker Dec 16 '15 at 15:39
  • @jwalker: because your tongue can only move so fast. Both г and ц are stops, with quite a sonorant nasal in between, so the only way to avoid гнц sound as a syllable is lenite the г by nasalizing it. This can be only done by shifting the place of articulation lower: you can't pronounce a nasalized velar stop but you can an uvular or deeper one. – Quassnoi Dec 16 '15 at 21:09
  • @Quassnoi Sorry, still not sure what you mean. Are you saying that making it uvular helps with articulation? I don't think you can hear an uvular stop in accentless Russian. So could you please elaborate? – jwalker Dec 16 '15 at 21:29
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The system wants 30 characters lets try again:

Try this one: https://translate.yandex.ru/?text=%D0%B0%D0%B3%D0%BD%D0%B5%D1%86&lang=ru-en

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Slavic languages are notorious for use of consonant clusters. Russian is not that bad when compared to, say, Polish, but still one may have a hard time mastering those.

Like @Quassnoi said, sometimes it may sound as if schwa were in between consonants, but basically you should really try not to pronounce any vowels at all.

Now try to pronounce a funny made-up word контрвзбзднуть.

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    What a word!...Polish is worse? For me polish sounds like having lots of shsh and it appears to be the slavic version of french – embert Dec 16 '15 at 11:32
  • @embert: youtube.com/watch?v=3aVCgV6tIjE – Quassnoi Dec 16 '15 at 12:34
  • Actually ангнец is a borrowing from Church Slavonic. Russian native word is ягнёнок. Church Slavonic is characterized by неполнограсие (omitting vowels where they would be in Russian). – Anixx Dec 17 '15 at 9:43
  • @Anixx Does it affect its pronunciation in any way? – jwalker Dec 17 '15 at 10:40
  • Of course. Compare other words: глава-голова, власть-волость, глас-голос, враг-ворог etc. – Anixx Dec 17 '15 at 10:45

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