How do you pronounce "лошадь" (horse)? My (beginner) attempt is "lo-sha-dy", with "dy" that tricky soft y sound. On Duolingo, the pronunciation seems to be "oh-vo-shet".

Am I mishearing or is there some coincidence of sounds which I don't really understand?

  • 1
    Downvoted for "lo-sha-dy" and "oh-vo-shet". This notation (latin syllables via hypen) has no meaning for Russian words. Also you can hear the pronuncation at en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%BB%D0%BE%D1%88%D0%B0%D0%B4%D1%8C , and similarly you can hear the pronuncation of any other Russian word.
    – user31264
    Jan 15, 2017 at 23:37
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    I wonder what is овошет? Овощь???
    – Dmitriy
    Jan 16, 2017 at 0:02
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    I have no idea how to pronounce this "oh-vo-shet".
    – user31264
    Jan 16, 2017 at 0:22
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    a good, standard pronunciation with clear, crisp consonants is in this video, youtube.com/watch?v=OVXTe26CpgE "На что смотреть при покупке лошади" which is supplied with the human transcription There's not an exact transcription, but reviewed and corrected. I think there you can count near 100 times the word "лошадь". I would recommend at first to listen closely to what an narrator purposely error-free trying to say forvo.com/search/%D0%BB%D0%BE%D1%88%D0%B0%D0%B4%D1%8C and then to listen to a free flow of speech for better understanding transition to the reduced versions.
    – Avtokod
    Jan 16, 2017 at 1:12
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    @cduston Not sure if it deserves to be downvoted, but this is it, there must be an IPA or Cyrillic spelling, because the Penguin's method "latin + hyphen" is valid only for Penguin's audience, not for the native Russian speakers. Thus they simply do not know where you mispronounced it and how they can help you. In Russian, letters lead you to the correct pronunciation. Even in "здравствуйте" we sometimes do pronounce exactly as it spells, if we wish to make a sarcastic accent on it, especially to children.
    – Avtokod
    Jan 16, 2017 at 3:00

3 Answers 3


"Лошадь" is pronounsed as [ˈɫoʂətʲ], there's definitely the ty-type sound at the end.

"Oh-vo-shet" is obviously wrong.


"Oh-vo-shet" is certainly curious, but I think I can see how it happened, and, in fact, you've stumbled upon a curious little feature of Russian pronunciation that even most native speakers aren't conscious of.

The "v" is explained easily, it's what the hard [ɫ] sounded like to you, being as it is quite different from the [l] in English.

But what to make of the "oh"? Without hearing the recording, I suddenly had a flashback to my childhood, when I heard a then-unfamiliar word, рафинад, and from the way it was pronounced by the speaker, wasn't quite sure whether it was that or "арафинад".

After a bit of self-testing for what sounds natural, here's what I have. When a word begins with a consonant that is voiced, non-plosive, and non-nasal (that's [в], [ж], [з], [j], [л], and [р]), and when that word begins an utterance or comes after a pause, sometimes there's a tiny prosthetic vowel in front of it; it doesn't come across as wrong or "uncultured" (in fact, like I said, it barely registers at all), so there's a chance that the Duolingo recording you heard had this ghost of a schwa, [ᵊ]лошадь, in front of it.

When we learn the phonetics of a new language, it's hard to tell the regular from the accidental, and it sometimes happens that native speakers don't seem to have an idea what you're talking about. Don't be discouraged. In fact, it's an interesting thing you've spotted there, albeit at this point it's probably not going to be very relevant to you as a learner.

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    As far as I know, that thing is called приступ. Look at it like this: you're silent, you mouth a bit open, your tongue lying flat on the lower jaw, and now you start to pronounce a word beginning with a conconant. At this moment the tongue begins to rise to the palate or alveols and the air is already being pushed out of the mouth. Since at this moment the tongue is not touching anything and the and no obstruction to the airflow has yet been made, you get that [ᵊ], an ultra-short breath of the vowel-like nature. There can even be a CV syllable [ˤᵊ] there.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jan 17, 2017 at 4:26
  • So the other answer is more "how is it pronounced" and so gets my checkmark, but this is really a great explanation. The Duolingo translation sounds exactly like you describe, with almost an extra vowel in front. It's helpful in the sense that I can watch out for that kind of thing in the future. Thanks!
    – cduston
    Jan 17, 2017 at 4:29
  • @cduston, The accepted answer is more how it should be pronounced whereas this answer is how it really is pronounced and why you heard it wrong. I would award the check mark to this answer. May 23, 2020 at 17:02

Using Russian transcription, лошадь is pronounced [лошад']

  • Тогда уже [лóшад'] ))
    – Yellow Sky
    Jan 17, 2017 at 1:27

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