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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
6 votes

Which letters will possibly have stress marks above them?

In Russian, stresses are used only in books for foreign learners, dictionaries and academic papers, when necessary. If we're talking about Russian - and not Cyrillic in general - this kind of ...
shabunc's user avatar
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6 votes
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Are there any common words with the syllable "кы"?

After a couple of days of thinking over it all I have finally decided to put down the whole story of кы, гы, хы the way I understand it. My story will begin with what the answer by Quassnoi begins, ...
Yellow Sky'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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5 votes

Are there any common words with the syllable "кы"?

The difference between и and ы after consonants in Russian is not phonematic, and neither is the difference between palatalized and non-palatalized к, г, х. You can probably find some degenerate ...
Quassnoi'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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3 votes
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Pronunciation and IPA transcription of "Нева"

Most Russian consonants form pairs “hard” versus “soft”, in phonetic terminology it's plain/non-palatalized vs. palatalized, for example т vs. ть, н vs. нь, etc. These pairs in IPA look like this: /t/ ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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3 votes

Are there any common words with the syllable "кы"?

You will also hardly find гы, хы syllables. The common quality of these phonemes is that к, г, х are заднеязычные согласные and they followed the same patterns of phonological changes as they (the ...
tum_'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

How exactly do we pronounce soft vowels (е, ё, ю, я)

The general rule is: seeing "soft vowel" Е, Ё, И, Ю, Я, one should: If the previous letter is a consonant, choose its "soft" (palatalized) variant. Otherwise, add [j] (as in ...
Netch's user avatar
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2 votes

How exactly do we pronounce soft vowels (е, ё, ю, я)

The missing piece of puzzle is that when it's pronounced like "a", "o", "e" or "u" correspondingly, the preceding consonant is palatalised (softened). Таня is ...
shabunc's user avatar
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2 votes

Examples of mid-open and mid-closed vowels in Russian

In Standard Russian, there is no distinction between /o/ and /ɔ/. In some dialects, though, there are minimal pairs like /kot/ 'cat' and /kɔd/ 'code.' [e] and [ɛ] are not really contrasted in some ...
Aer's user avatar
  • 321
1 vote

Examples of mid-open and mid-closed vowels in Russian

The pair это/эти could be an example of the /e/ phoneme expressed as two allophones of different 'openness'.
Sergey Slepov's user avatar

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