3

When they say it sounds like the "G" in English, do they mean the hard G sound like Gary, the soft G like Genuine, or both?

2
  • 4
    It can also sound like в, like in нового
    – Trey
    Feb 11 '18 at 0:10
  • Just to remind that in final position it's unvoiced (it's a rule, like in German). Флаг (pron. флак), флага ("г" as in Gary).
    – alexsms
    Feb 12 '18 at 8:06
11

It is hard, like in Gary. Hear for example the pronounce of га (https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/га#Произношение). It is the voiced counterpart of к.

In Russian there is no sound similar to G in Geniune. Such G is transliterated as ДЖ.

Sometimes, г is pronounced as the voiced counterpart of х. This is most common in Ukraine, and among people from Ukraine. You should not pronounce г like this, but you should recognize such г.

In word endings -ого, -его, and in the pronoun его, г is pronounced like в. (But not in the words ого and ого-го.)

4
  • Г pronounced as the voiced counterpart of Х is used in Standard Russian too, in some words, that's the norm, everybody is supposed to pronounce those words with such a fricative Г. First of all, it's Бог. In this word, when Г is final, it's devoiced into Х, but when inside the word (Богу, с Богом, боги) it's exactly like the voiced counterpart of Х. Some other words in which Г is pronounced the same way: благо; ага; ого; ого-го.
    – Yellow Sky
    Feb 13 '18 at 10:23
  • Also note, that the Ukrainian Г is not "the voiced counterpart of Х" which is [ɣ] in IPA. In fact, the Ukrainian Г is a pharyngeal voiced fricative, IPA for it is [ɦ]. In Southern Russia and in Belarus they do pronounce Г as [ɣ], but not in Ukraine.
    – Yellow Sky
    Feb 13 '18 at 10:32
  • While for Бог and ага there are two pronuncations, благо is pronounced with hard Г: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/… .
    – user31264
    Feb 14 '18 at 0:34
  • I did not write anything about Ukrainian language. I wrote about Ukrainian dialect of Russian. But if you want to talk about Ukrainian, Г in Ukrainian is pronounced as both [ɣ] and [ɦ] according to duolingo.com (duolingo.com/comment/10344499/…)
    – user31264
    Feb 14 '18 at 0:41
3

Unfortunately, without context it's impossible to figure out what they, whoever they are, mean.

The English so-called hard G (or in phonologic terms voiced velar plosive) is in principle equivalent to Russian Г. However, its hardness in English isn't absolute since in certain positions it softens, retaining nevertheless its velar plosive character as in the words beGin, nagGing, rugGed.
Similarly, Russian Г can get soft like in the words друГие, ноГи, забеГе

The English so-called soft G can be transliterated into Russian as ДЖЬ, but Russian doesn't have such a sound, it's uncharacteristic of its phonetic system.
Instead, Russian has a sound denoted by the letter Ж used, in particular, at places where Г must become soft and so transform into Ж.

враГ - враЖеский
дороГой - дороЖе
слаГать - слоЖение
запряГать - запряЖён
моГу - моЖем

That said, the phoneme Ж itself is always hard in Russian.

3
  • I thought that only ж ц ш were always hard
    – Trey
    Feb 11 '18 at 15:27
  • @ваян купи-ка isn't гид soft? IIRC и always makes the preceding consonant soft.
    – Trey
    Feb 11 '18 at 15:36
  • 2
    @Trey yes, you're correct, that was my mistake Feb 11 '18 at 16:44

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