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16 votes
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Why do some people pronounce "о" as "a" and some just pronounce "o" as "o"?

This is a phenomenon called vowel reduction. A good starting point would be the Wikipedia article on Russian phonology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_phonology#Vowel_mergers In a nutshell, ...
Quassnoi's user avatar
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15 votes
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The cases where "о" is pronounced as "a"

You could probably work something out from etymology, but generally speaking no, except this can only happen for unstressed vowels. Russian spelling is mostly morphological, so a good rule of thumb ...
Alex Shpilkin's user avatar
11 votes

Pronunciation of "a"

Yes, the rule exists and dictates that any vowel except for [у] that follows a soft consonant in an unstressed position is reduced to something between [э] and [и]: часы́ [чисы] яйцо́ [йийцо] ле́чо [...
Sergey Slepov's user avatar
8 votes
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Vowel reduction in unstressed я in январь

In standard Russian, the vowel я in the word январь must be reduced to /ɪ/. So, январь sounds [ɪnˈvarʲ] It does not sound like that. Word-initial and post-vocalic я, е, ю, ё, are subject to iotation ...
Quassnoi's user avatar
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6 votes
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Vowel reduction and unstressed "е" at the beginning

The word Европа in this radio station's jingles is uttered using chanting pronunciation (скандирующее произношение) where every syllable is pronounced in isolation and is stressed. Think people ...
Quassnoi's user avatar
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5 votes
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Where does the sound "йи" / iotated и / [ji] occur in Russian?

A big question. 1.In word-initial stressed syllables, un-iotated /ˈi/ occurs. Iotated /ˈji/ doesn't occur at the start of any (?) word in standard Russian. I think so. Some people still pronounce ...
V.V.'s user avatar
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5 votes

The cases where "о" is pronounced as "a"

I presume you really care about how Russian “о” is pronounced, not how it’s spelled in English transliteration (which isn’t fixed, but varies depending on who’s doing the transliteration; it looks ...
PLL's user avatar
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5 votes

The cases where "о" is pronounced as "a"

General rule is that unstressed о is pronounced as а. In my perception though it's not exactly а but something in between.
Alissa's user avatar
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4 votes

Vowel reduction of pretonic [о]

1. The prestressed o is also reduced at least in quite a few foreign words or their grammatical derivatives, e.g. баобаб [bɐɐˈbap], теология [tʲɪɐˈɫoɡʲɪɪ̯ə], биотопливо [ˌbʲiɐˈtoplʲɪvə], реостат [...
Баян Купи-ка's user avatar
4 votes

Pronunciation of "объясняет"

ub-yis-NIA-it (with NIA stressed) ub as in pub yis as in yeast NIA has one vowel sound (not a diphthong): a soft N followed by A it as in it :) You can think of the Ъ as the y sound in yes or ...
Sergey Slepov's user avatar
4 votes
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Pronunciation of "объясняет"

I'd suggest to divide it into two separate parts, the prefix об- pronounced as аб- and -яснЯет pronounced as йисьнЯит. Try to pronounce them separately, then combine the two parts back together - ...
Баян Купи-ка's user avatar
4 votes

Should the "о" in Russian be pronounced as a short "a"?

To be more precise, after a non-palatalized consonant, the pronunciation of unstressed "o" is reduced. This is called аканье (akanye) in Russian. It's quite an old phenomenon which can be ...
shabunc's user avatar
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4 votes

Should the "о" in Russian be pronounced as a short "a"?

Yes, if unstressed. And if by "short /a/" you mean both [ʌ] and [ə]. This is a mainstream dialect which became a norm over the course of many years. Still, there may be some local dialectal ...
Matt's user avatar
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4 votes

Vowel reduction and unstressed "е" at the beginning

In the mind of most literate native speakers, these words "should" be pronounced with Ye, the way they are written. Vowel reduction is a nearly subconscious process which occurs in fluent speech. When ...
Sergey Slepov's user avatar
3 votes

Vowel reduction and unstressed "е" at the beginning

This type of vowel reduction isn't strictly necessary for correct speech, unlike о>а, for example. It happens naturally in fast speech when the speaker doesn't enunciate. In lazy speech it can reduce ...
Curiosity's user avatar
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2 votes

Pronunciation of "a"

Let's start with a small exercise. Say slowly, for instance, Чапаев, then Чипаев, Чепаев, then Чупаев, at last, say, Чопаев. Now say all these words again but quickly, like, very quickly - but ...
shabunc's user avatar
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2 votes

The cases where "о" is pronounced as "a"

If here spelling means what it usually means, i.e. orthography, mostly we spell o and pronounce a in unstressed positions. It is spelled молоко and said [малако], it's simple. As for the rules of ...
Elena's user avatar
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2 votes
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How to pronounce the unstressed е in прише́дшие?

Your expectation is justified, in speech прише́дшие is indeed pronounced like [priʃjedʃii], the final [е] gets reduced, пришеччыи The transcription [priʃjedʃije] is also wrong about pronunсiation of [...
Баян Купи-ка's user avatar
1 vote

How to pronounce the unstressed е in прише́дшие?

Good question. Being a native speaker, I just pronounced this word a few times to see how I actually pronounce it. My pronunciation is as follows: пришéдши-и. The part after ''ш'' is as follows: I ...
Sandra's user avatar
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