Even though the letter щ is many times transliterated as shch or shtch (depending on the transliteration language), is it actually pronounced as [шч], or rather, as an extended [ш], or as a double [шш]?
Is letter х equivalent of English h, of French r (like in réponse), or something in-between?
Is ы a fusion of the almost deaf "e" in French (crêpe, jolie) and a short [й] sound?
Does letter ъ extend the preceding consonant?
Does letter ь shorten the preceding consonant?
- "Щ" is neither [шч], nor extended [ш] nor double [ш]. It's a soft "ш", similar to "ch" in "Chicago" and to "x" in Portuguese "xicara".
- "х" is similar to English "h" in "house", "home", "hay" etc.
- "ы" is a hard case :) Say "ee" (as in "beef") and then try to move your tongue backwards. That sound would be quite close to "ы". Another method: start saying "oo" (as in "book") and the move your lips like you wants to say "ee".
- no, unlike some languages there's no long and short consonants and vowels in Russian.
[шч]is a relic. It lingers in transliteration and some textbooks, but that pronunciation went pretty much extinct towards the end of the 20th century. Modern щ is an extended, palatalised (soft, "sharp")
[ш’:]. Meaning it's closer to the English
[ш]— in fact, it "overshoots" the English sound and ends up even further in the back, and even sharper-sounding.
jas in Juana. German
chas in machen (not as in Milch). Scottish loch if pronounced authentically. More intense than English
h, and completely unvoiced. Nothing like the French uvular
Ы: a single vowel. Transliteration conventions tend to obscure the fact that it's fairly close to the English
[i], especially American English and especially after non-plosives, as in sift or lid. Still, it's pronounced noticeably further in the back of the mouth. Turkish undotted
ı(balık) is more or less the same sound.
Ъ, Ь: I have to disagree with Abakan, Russian doubled consonants are technically "long", but that's not what these letters do. Word-finally, ь palatalises/"softens" the preceding consonant (hence the name "soft sign"); mid-word, both are basically pronounced
[j]. The difference is supposed to be that the consonant before ъ isn't supposed to palatalise (hence the name "hard sign"), but a lot of the time, most speakers including myself palatalise it anyway.
The closest English sound to Щ would be, indeed, [ch] in Chicago. The difference is that [ch] is pronounced by unblocking passage of air that was blocked by tongue and [щ] is a continous sound, similar to [sh] . \
Pronouncion of many words containing Щ can be found online, see, for example Щука on Forvo.com