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When to make the "v" / "в" or to make the "g" / "г" in place of "г"?

Like the word "его" is said "evo", but phonetically it's said "ego".

Cпасибо.

  • 1
    Your question isn't completely clear. Are you asking about the spelling rules (when to write 'г' in place of 'в') or about the pronunciation (when 'г' is pronounced as 'в')? – Aleks G Oct 9 '13 at 18:01
  • @AleksG - You're right, it's not completely clear. I assumed it was about reading rules, not spelling ones, when I answered the question. I made this assumption, because explaining how to spell this or that Russian sound would take a thick book, and no way an answer on a forum. – Yellow Sky Oct 9 '13 at 20:37
  • phonetically it is evo. – Anixx Oct 10 '13 at 0:24
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It's very simple. If the pronoun, or an adjective, or an ordinal numeral is in the Genitive case, then their ending -его is pronounced like -ih-vuh or -ih-VOH, and the ending -ого like -uh-vuh or -uh-VOH, depending on the accent stress in the word. The bold letters show the stressed vowels in Russian words, the capital letters show the stressed syllables in the English words:

его - pronounced "yih-VOH"

синего - "SIH-nih-vuh"

одного - ud-nuh-VOH

красного - KRUS-nuh-vuh

In all the rest of the cases Г is pronounced like G in "great" (but sometimes like K). To tell the truth, if you always pronounce Г like G in "great", you will be well understood. But if you'd like to always pronounce everything correctly, you'll have to spend much time and effort to achieve that. I wish you good luck!

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  • @Artemix - Hmm... It did work with me. What did you use as an alternative of the asterixed bolds? – Yellow Sky Oct 9 '13 at 20:40
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    Yes, sorry I didn't make that clear. Im was looking for the right to say it, not spell it. – Andigo Oct 9 '13 at 21:34
  • Well, minus putters, come out, tell me what's wrong with my answer. Is it my narrowmindedness, or my arrogance, or my illiteracy? – Yellow Sky Oct 10 '13 at 0:52
  • @YellowSky See my post on meta. The bold works in the preview, but not after the answer is posted. The recommended solution is to use HTML <b>...</b> tags. – Artemix Oct 10 '13 at 6:25
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в is pronounced instead of г in его and connected words: full form adjectives, ordinal numerals and possessive pronouns.

  • Красивого
  • Второго
  • Моего

Etymologically, the full form's endings (красив / красивый, красива / красивая) are pronouns extinct by now in Russian but surviving in oblique cases of the words он, она.

The reason for such pronunciation is the fall of г during its transition from a fricative to a stop and introduction of epenthetic в:

[krɐsʲivəvə] < [krɐsʲivə:] < [krɐsʲivəɤə]

Epenthetic в is common for East Slavic languages: Лявон < Leon (Belorussian), павук < *паѫкъ (Ukrainian); какава < cacao (Russian dialectal)

Words ending in -го not etymologically connected to его pronounce г: индиго [ɪnʲdʲigə], фанданго [fɐndangə]

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