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The rule is "е" sounds like "ye" after a vowel, does the е[ye] have to be right in front of the vowel to sound like [ye] or can it be anywhere behind "e" throughout the word?

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    You mean, "right behind the vowel"? Nov 21 '18 at 14:38
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You are right. If e is preceded by a vowel, it is read as je:

моет, стирает, убирает, etc.

We will also read e as je if a words starts with the letter:

енот, ещё, если, etc.

If e is preceded by ъ or ь, we shall read it as je as well:

подъезд, съезд, въезд, варенье, etc.

However, in words like моeт e is often reduced to и (моит), and words like ещё (see the second rule above) may be read as йищё (если will always be jesl'i since e is stressed). The reason is it's just simpler to pronounce the words like that. Technically, if you read e as je in those words, you'll be right, and no one will ever correct you. Many people will not even catch the difference. Anyway, it's important to note the reduction.

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  • unfortunately this isn't accurate, a stressed e preceded by a vowel is read as je, the unstressed one is read as i - моИт, убираИт, стираИт, reduction into i occurs at the beginning as well unless there's a cluster of 2 consonants - йИнот, йИщё, but indeed йЭсли Nov 21 '18 at 14:25
  • i should correct myself, in если Е is not reduced due to being stressed, not because of the following consonants, initial е- is always pronounced as йи- unless stressed Nov 21 '18 at 18:11
  • @БаянКупи-ка Right. Thanks!
    – Enguroo
    Nov 21 '18 at 23:14
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Better put it this way:

  1. If е immediately follows a consonant, no [j] is added: привет, тебе, же.

  2. Otherwise it gets a [j] sound in front of it: ел, поел, съел, колье.

Some words have both type 1 and type 2 е: еле, веер, белеет, змееед.

Same rule applies to я, ё, ю.

Minimal pairs to practise the distinction: сел/съел (sat/ate), полёт/польёт (flight/will pour), полю/полью (I weed/I will water), чего/чьего (what/whose), перо/Пьеро (feather/Pierrot).

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  • I dont understand your statement you say “ if e immediately follows a consonant no [j] is added, but in привет the e here is follow by a consonant and sounds like ye
    – Almonds812
    Nov 22 '18 at 23:04
  • @Almonds812, I don't know what it sounds like when you say it but I do know a foreigner when they greet me with привйет! There is no й / y / [j] in привет which is what point 1 above says. To a Russian, привет and привйет sound distinctly different, while конвеер and конвейер sound exactly the same. Nov 23 '18 at 11:40
  • I have been to wikipedia, masterrussian.com, many youtube videos today, i have no i idea where you got that rule for no [j] immediately follows a consonant, in the word привет on wikipedia there is 100% clearly a [j], i also checked many russian blogs on russianpod101.com where they start the blog by saying привет, there is definitely a [j]
    – Almonds812
    Nov 23 '18 at 13:32
  • I am not just listening to it on wikipedia i am looking at its МФА also
    – Almonds812
    Nov 23 '18 at 13:32
  • I found the rule you are talking about but it turns out [j] is slightly lessoned but there is definitely still a [j] there
    – Almonds812
    Nov 23 '18 at 13:37

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