According to the spelling of the word, I would think it would be pronounced
Seguhdnya - Сегодня

However, i've seen several lessons in Russian where it would be pronounced
SeVuhdnya - (but spelled Сегодня)

Is there a reason why it's pronounced like this? Would a Russian speaker consider this incorrect pronunciation?

  • Все русские говорят или sivOdnya или syOdnya (СивОдня, Сёдня.) – user1639 Apr 26 '13 at 17:41
up vote 9 down vote accepted

The adverb cегодня is derived, like many other Russian adverbs, from a noun phrase, cего дня ("[on] this day"). Both words in this noun phrase are in the Genetive case, the first one having a typical pronominal declension endinhg -его, in which г is written, but в is pronounced:

сего - pronounced as [си'во],

его - pronounced as [йи'во]

синего - pronounced as ['синива]

(the same rule applies to the variant of this ending, -ого - большого - pronounced as [баль'шовa])

The pronunciation of the letter e as [и] in these words is due to the rule of the reduction of unstressed vowels. According to this rule, the letter e in the syllable that precedes the stressed syllable is pronounced as [и].

So, the IPA for cегодня is [sʲɪˈvodʲnʲə], practical Russian transcription is [сиˈводьня]. Also, you can listen to the recording of this word pronounced by a native speaker of Russian.

Pronunciation with [г]/[g] is incorrect.

  • What transcription system do you use? It seems it is not what usually accepted for Russian. It does not indicate which consonants are soft. And the stress is indicated as in English. -1. – Anixx Apr 6 '13 at 13:12
  • @Anixx - At least it shows the stressed vowel, which isn't the case with your transcription. Also, the palatalisation of д is missing in your transcription. – Yellow Sky Apr 6 '13 at 17:41
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    I can of course easy distinguish which sound is soft and which is not, unlike you. Ushakov dictionary is very old (first half of XX century). This is what writes Litnevskaya texbook gramota.ru/book/litnevskaya.php?part1.htm : "В речи некоторых носителей (в современном языке это скорее исключение, чем правило) возможно позиционное смягчение и в некоторых других сочетаниях, например: дверь [д’в’эр’], съем [с’й’эм]." So at best it is a hard dialectism. Even more, if one can imagine "дверь" with soft д, although unnatural, it is impossible to imagine soft д in сегодня or дневной – Anixx Apr 6 '13 at 22:55
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    @Anixx - I have cut off the -ня at the end of that record so that you could clearly hear that it's the soft д there: soundcloud.com/olexa108/ru – Yellow Sky Apr 7 '13 at 3:18
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    @Anixx - Г. А. Тихомирова. Фонетика русского языка. Теория и практика. 2009. rsu.edu.ru/files/e-learning/Tihomirova_Phonetic/70.html – Yellow Sky Apr 7 '13 at 11:06

I don't think that Russian native speakers should be too hard on English speaking people trying to learn Russian :) If one is not a linguist giving IPA [sʲɪˈvodʲnʲə] would not help a bit. Here is an alternative pronunciation for English native speakers for "сегодня": "S'ehvohdn'a", where apostrophe indicates palatalization.

It is NOT pronounced "seVuhdnya" - there are NO "u" and "y" sounds in this word.

The pronounciation is [с'эводн'а] or [с'иводн'а] - these pronunciations are correct and allophonic. Pronunciation via [г] is incorrect.

  • I guess "uh" is an attempt to apply spelled pronunciation – default locale Apr 8 '13 at 8:55
  • It's not incorrect: I can imagine [с'егодн'я] when talked slow and official like Левитан did. – alamar May 21 '13 at 8:57
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    @alamar Levitan had possibly an outdated pronunciation. – Anixx May 21 '13 at 10:21
  • I'm just saying that in Russian no pronunciation is wrong when it matches the spelling. Even if nobody is talking that way right now, reversal is quite possible: See дождь that used to be pronounced [дощ] and now it's universally [дожд'] or [дошт'] – alamar May 22 '13 at 18:58

It's pronouncing like this: "Sevodnya" or (in Cyrillic) "Сиводня".

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    Welcome to Russian Language and Usage. Your answer is very short and repeats other answers. Please change it so that your contribution is more obvious. If you agree with somebody's else answer, just upvote it, there is no need to repeat it unless you wish to give a more detailed explanation than the answers of other community members. – Olga Apr 16 '13 at 6:27

The reason that this is pronounced "сиводня" is because дня, meaning day is part of the genitive case of on this (сиво) and the rule is:

The Letter Г in the masculine and neuter genitive singular ending is pronounced like the English V

This is the authoritative answer I was looking for :)

The pronunciation is [s'ivodn'i] with stressed o and apostrophee for palatalisation. There is [v] because it comes from сего дня, where -его is ending of pronoun which is always pronounced with [v] instead of [g].

I would say that Moscow version of today will sound likе "Sevodnya". Where "o" is somewhere between "o" and "а" in its sound. And "ya" means short soft "n" together with "ya" sound like in nyan cat. "Sego" sounding like Sega with "o" on the end is not used in actual spoken language for close to 100 years. Even in written language you will not see "sego" separately in last hundred of years.

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