What's the right way to pronounce объясняет? My guess would be something like 'обшсняет' (I'm having a hard time with the hard sign). This is word is somewhat similar to "Eichhörnchen" by the way, it's actually real subtle. I'd appreciate an English word with an equivalent sound as an example.

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    did you mean "обйсняет" (I hardly can imagine you've intentionally used "ш" - it correspond to "sch" in German.
    – shabunc
    Dec 8, 2017 at 23:29
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    Trey, can you share an audio of your progress? But please don't feel obliged. Dec 9, 2017 at 9:03
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    [аб'й'ис'н'ай'ит]. Learn Russian transcription system (phonological analysis). The stress on the second a.
    – Anixx
    Dec 9, 2017 at 20:23
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    To me hard signs are easy: "ъ" indicates that the next vowel is pronounced as if it is the first letter in the word (and the preceding consonat is pronounced as if it is at the end of the word). That said, in everyday speach "я" after "объ" sounds more like "е", at least in Moscow region.
    – AlexVB
    Dec 11, 2017 at 8:57
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    and the preceding consonat is pronounced as if it is at the end of the word - this might not be accurate, since finals are devoiced in Russian, and if it were true об- would have to be incorrectly pronounced оп- Dec 11, 2017 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


I'd suggest to divide it into two separate parts, the prefix об- pronounced as аб- and -яснЯет pronounced as йисьнЯит. Try to pronounce them separately, then combine the two parts back together - aбйисьнЯит.

I believe ш you hear because of the sound j subtly present in the phoneme й, but it's by far not as voiced as in the German -ig

I unfortunately can't think of any similar sounding word in English. Well, may be object, and only because in Russian it is also spelled with the "hard sign" following the combination об - объЕкт (pronounced абйЕкт), only that in this word it's not a prefix (at least not of Russian origin).

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    Can you show where the stress is?
    – Yellow Sky
    Dec 8, 2017 at 22:26

ub-yis-NIA-it (with NIA stressed)

  • ub as in pub
  • yis as in yeast
  • NIA has one vowel sound (not a diphthong): a soft N followed by A
  • it as in it :)

You can think of the Ъ as the y sound in yes or yeast. Same goes for Ь in front of a vowel: бульон, пасьянс.

You might like this website: http://russiangram.com It transcribes Russian words using English spelling rules. It doesn't do vowel reduction yet.


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