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?


4 Answers 4


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


  • clear and articulate
    – embert
    Dec 17, 2015 at 13:43

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]

  • I fail to make it two syllables. It's always somewhat like ['a-gən-t͡sɨf] when I try to pronounce it.
    – embert
    Dec 16, 2015 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, 2015 at 12:36
  • Why would it get turned into uvular?
    – jwalker
    Dec 16, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 at 21:29

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


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.

  • 1
    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, 2015 at 11:32
  • @embert: youtube.com/watch?v=3aVCgV6tIjE
    – Quassnoi
    Dec 16, 2015 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, 2015 at 9:43
  • @Anixx Does it affect its pronunciation in any way?
    – jwalker
    Dec 17, 2015 at 10:40
  • Of course. Compare other words: глава-голова, власть-волость, глас-голос, враг-ворог etc.
    – Anixx
    Dec 17, 2015 at 10:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.