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Problematic Alphabet Explanation

This is really a small issue, but I didn't know any other way to report it. In the alphabet explanation page here: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/ru/Alphabet-1

It says: (to be more precise, "о" is the sound in "law")

I am "native" in both Russian and (American/Canadian) English and can assure you that these sound nothing alike. You are probably thinking of British English where it sounds somewhat similar, but it doesn't work at all for American English.

There are much better examples. Wikipedia has "mOre" as an example, which works fairly well with all varieties of English.

Note: Just noticed this: Ёё⁰ (yaw), it can be misleading as well, even though note 0 clarifies it. I would use yo-yo as an example, it's simple and familiar, and can be written with just ёs (even if it isn't) :)

November 3, 2015



OK, we may change it (though Ё does not sound like yo in "yo-yo").

Can you provide the recording of how you pronounce "law" and "yaw" where you live? I didn't think the vowels sound much different from Ё in any variety of English.


Thanks for pointing this out Ynhockey. I was definitely confused when I read that in the tips and notes too.

Shady_arc, I can see what you're saying for UK English though because the top UK English result for "law" on Forvo sounds similar to the ё: http://forvo.com/word/law/ by "TopQuark (Male from United Kingdom)"

But for how people in the US pronounce "law" the top recording on Forvo gets it right: http://forvo.com/word/law/ by "snowcrocus (Female from United States)"

The best explanation I've seen (at least for American English) is that ё sounds like "yo" in "your".


Not sure if you're following this topic or not so I'll reply directly to your comment.

While we're on the topic, I took another look (this time more thorough as at first I just wanted to begin the tree!) and saw "Уу (book)" in the tips and notes section. My understanding was that the "у" sound was more like the "oo" in "soon" than the "oo" in "book". The "oo" in "book" is more of an "uh" sound.

For your reference, on forvo it seems JessicaMS has the most natural sounding pronunciation: http://forvo.com/word/book/ and for "soon" both of the top US speakers sound right: http://forvo.com/word/soon/#en


As you indicate, it depends on which English accent you have. I have a U.S. American accent (originally New Jersey), and the "aw" in "law" is not far off from the Russian sound of "о." My wife has an Iowa accent and her "law" would be more like the Russian letter "а" or the "o" in "hot," which I bet is what you mean. No examples for this sound will help everyone. What they are trying to avoid is, probably, having people say the diphthong that American and other English often uses for "long o," which sounds rather like "o-oo" or "o-u."


I keep mistaking o for a so I think it is good comparison! But you are right those sorts of explanations do need to specify which English dialect they work for. My impression is that the sound or is what was meant, law and lore are the same in my British accent. But I might have it wrong which would explain my mistakes.


I now think o sounds more like the a in as. Or cat. Not law, or or.

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