Are there homographs in Russian that sound different besides the stress?

E.g. like "read" in English:

I will read (ee) that book


I have just read (e) that book

P.S. I hope the answer to this question won't be just "NO" :-)

  • 1
    Seems to be duplicate of russian.stackexchange.com/questions/13767/…
    – Lara
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 11:50
  • But that question was closed for unclear reason. In the comments there was one more couple of words, besides of already mentioned here: пОлого (genitive of полый (hollow)) - полОго (adverb meaning "not steeply").
    – Lara
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 11:59

7 Answers 7


One example that I know is "считать". When it means "count" or "consider", it's pronounced with single "щ" in the beginning; but when it is perfective aspect of the verb "считывать" (to read off?), it's pronounced with separate sounds "s" and "ʧ".

  • I pronounce the second one with double "щ", yet still you've got the point! +1
    – Geo
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 21:15
  • Yet some people may pronounce the separate sounds in the first meaning too, for example an aunt of my mother always pronounced ч as ч and I think it is a variant of norm.
    – Anixx
    Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 0:47

Конечно is normally pronounced with [ш] for ч to mean 'of course' and with [ч] to mean 'finite': множество конечно, 'the set is finite'.


First of all, you will hardly find homographs that differ only by stress. Stress position may affect pronunciation of all vowels in a word. So I will answer a question whether there are homographs with the stress on the same syllable.

There are a lot of loaned words where letter е stands for non-iotated sound /ɛ/ and this case isn’t reflected in spelling in any way. And I can recall at least one word which can be misunderstood by this reason. Те́ста may be read /'tɛstə/ (gen. of тест — test) or /'tʲestə/ (gen. of тесто — dough, pastry). The same applies to instr. те́стом, dat. те́сту and prep. / loc. в те́сте.

  • Yet one can pronousce the word for test with soft t so the words become indistinguishable.
    – Anixx
    Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 0:39
  • "you will hardly find homographs that differ only by stress" - there's hundreds if not thousands of them: зАмок/замОк, пОлосы/полосЫ, вЫносим/вынОсим/выносИм. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 9:44
  • 1
    @SergeySlepov, is’s strange to hear this from a native Russian speaker. За́мок in (Moscow) Russian is /'zamək/, while замо́к is /zɐ'mok/, по́лосы is /'poləsɨ/, полосы́ — /pəlɐ'sɨ/. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 10:19
  • You are using non-phonemic transcription in your comment. In Russian transcription system they are written the same.
    – Anixx
    Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 17:31

Some words can become omographs if we omit dots above ё letter. This happens oftenly in modern internet communications.

Examples: мёл / мел; сёл / сел; осёл / осел; берёт / берет; etc.

Other than that I don't know any omographs besides the stress.

  • 2
    Non only in modern communications - letter ё is used mostly in educational literature, dictionaries etc.
    – Artemix
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 5:41

Метр can be read as [mʲetr] 'metre' or [mɛtr] to mean 'master', maître.

Around the 1990s, they changed the spelling for 'master' to мэтр to avoid the ambiguity, while метрдотель is still spelled with a soft e.


Another example I can come with is the word бог "god". In the sense of Christian God it can be pronounced with either plosive or fricative g, but in the sense of a polytheistic religion, like Ancient Greek one, it is always pronounced with plosive g.


If you accept proper nouns, then there is того (genitive of тот, with г pronounced [v]) and Того (Togo, the country).

  • 1
    They have different stress.
    – Anixx
    Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 17:33
  • По́лого [-в-] — поло́го [-г-]. They do have different stress but the difference in not stress related. Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 1:28

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