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Example sentence:

Я встал с дивана. I got up from the couch.

Does the "с" change the pronunciation of the following "д" to "т"? Or, does it go the other way, with the "с" changing to sound like "з"?

Я встал [з] дивана.
Я встал с [т]ивана.

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    The "с" changes sound like "з". Я встал [з] дивана. Я встал [с] табуретки. – Elena Jul 12 '18 at 16:26
  • @Elena, as simple as it is, this is a sufficient and correct answer. You could post it as such. I would just add that this is a very general rule and applies not only to prepositions, e.g. сделал [зд'елал]. – Zeus Jul 13 '18 at 0:42
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In general, following consonants affect preceding ones. So “с дивана” is [з], “сделал” is also [з], “отдохну́л” is [адахнул] etc. This is unlike other Slavic languages like Czech where it can be the other way round, or Ukrainian where the spelling is closer to pronunciation.

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  • Not sure about Czech. You're probably thinking of [h] devoicing to [x] in nashledanou, but that's an exception. Shoda is pronounced [zhoda], sbalit is [zbalit], etc. – Nikolay Ershov Jul 13 '18 at 8:55
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    @NikolayErshov tři? (Edited anyway to be less categorical.) – Roman Odaisky Jul 13 '18 at 14:10
  • My bad. /ř/ slipped my mind completely. – Nikolay Ershov Jul 15 '18 at 23:25
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In the Russian language there are non-paired consonants (л, м, н, р). Consonants are called paired if there exists a non-voiced counterpart: б/п, в/ф, г/к, д/т, ж/ш and з/c.

If с occurs before б (like in сбой), г (like in сгодиться), д (like in сдать) or ж (like in сжиматься) - then it's pronounced like with voice, that is, as з. The same holds true for the following non-voiced consonants: п, ф, к, т, ш.

Take notice that в is not in that list, so, for instance, in свора the voicing (озвончение) does not occur.

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  • So then свора is pronounced as сфора? – OmarL Jul 13 '18 at 10:20
  • @Wilson nope, в is voiced, c is non-voiced (also, preceding consonant never affects next one) – shabunc Jul 13 '18 at 10:31

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