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Is the 'G' sound ALWAYS phonetic? Okay so I was looking through some Russian-English cognates, and I noticed a lot of words that started with 'г', but in English they were pronounced like a 'J'. For example, Geology is геология in Russian, when I read this I say it with a G sound, cause that's how it's written, but I was wondering, is it supposed to be pronounced as a J? I know 'г' is pronounced like 'в' sometimes.
Aug 20, 2014 4:24 PM
Answers · 8
Yes, it's never pronounced as J. In literary Russian norm Г is 1. /g/ 2. palatalized ('softened') /g'/ before е-ё-и-ю-я - as in geology - the process analogous to its changing into J before e-i-y in English and Romance languages. 3. /v/ in the ending -ого -его (красного, его, чего) 4. /k/ in the word-final position. All Russian consonants become voiceless in this position. 5. /х/ in the word-final position in some exceptions, the most famous being Бог -God. /Бох/. Don't sure if there're other 'exceptions', BTW...:) I have an impression that a couple of other similar words with _facultative_ /-x/ pronunciation exist, but in Бог it's close to obligatory: pronouncing /бок/ one will be misunderstood as saying 'бок' 5.1 There exist facultative pronunciation /Боɣ/ (voiced counterpart of /х/). It's acceptable even though the phoneme 'doesn't exist' in Russian:) It may arise in some other words: /ɣ/осподь, бо/ɣ/тый. 6. /к/ before other voiceless consonant: ногти (-kt-). all Russian consonants become voiceless in this position. 7. /x/ in лёгкий, мягкий, легче, мягче (_native_ Russian words before к/ч.) and may be in some similar words (but I can't remember other examples, so maybe they don't exist). This list may be non-comprehensive. I wrote it by memory. 8,9: in some _dialects_ of Russian (south and south-west) they say [ɣ] or [ɦ] etc. instead of /g/. Most of Russian speakers confuse these sounds and call them 'Ukrainian G' (pronounced 'украинское ɣэ', as Russians have NO problems with pronouncing /ɣ/ and) or /ɣэканье/ 'ɣeking' (there're no proper way to write it:) no letter for ɣ-sound) - and it doesn't matter if the sound is [ɣ] or [ɦ] and does ut comes from Ukraine or Belarus or the Russia proper:)
August 20, 2014
Georgia — Грузия
August 20, 2014
Compare them!  Геогра́фия — Geography Гене́тика — Genetics Генера́ция — Generation Генера́л — General Гала́ктика — Galaxy Грамма́тика — Grammar Гра́фика — Graphics Газ — Gas Галере́я — Gallery Гара́нтия — Guarantee Гита́ра — Guitar Гло́бус — Globe Гра́ция — Grace Грамм — Gram Гусь — Goose Гость — Guest
August 20, 2014
No, Г is never supposed to be pronounced as in 'geology'. The thing is, as Zoya has already implied, in English G is read like J only before E and I (gin, general, geography). The same goes with C, which is usually pronounced like [k] but like [s] before I and E. This rule of I and E doesn't work with any Russian sound, because, well, this rule is about English only :)
August 21, 2014
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