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Pronunciation of у

Hi all,

I noticed in the notes section of the first lesson that it's mentioned that у is spelt like the [oo] in book. I'm fairly sure most English speakers pronounce this as an "uh" sound, like the [u] in "tuck" or the [oo] in "took" or "look".

As far as I've learned, у is pronounced more like the [oo] in "food", which is "longer" than the previously mentioned sound. Unless my understanding is wrong. :S

I'm hoping someone could either elaborate, or that I can contribute to a correction of the notes. :D


November 4, 2015



It's rather short than long, none of the Russian letters are too long. :) Look here: http://forvo.com/word/%D1%83/#ru


+1 to forvo. Like CallHimDuddle said; Утро is a good word for listing to this sound. The утро here is exaggerated a bit, but shows how the У should sound. http://forvo.com/word/утро/#ru you will need to copy and paste the link for some reason as only part of it is clickable.


I think of it in terms of the word «Утро», as I think that demonstrates the letter pronunciation very well. Google Translate's spoken button says that word fairly well, so I'd suggest using that as an indication on how the letter is said. :-)


I am a native Russian speaker, and I can't tell the difference between "oo" in "took", "look" and "food"... well... maybe "food" is a little longer, but to my Russian ear this is really an insignificant subtlety. And does not "tuck" sound with an "ah" sound? Like in "fun"?

I'd suggest listening to native speakers to learn proper pronunciation. Forvo.com is a great resource when you want to hear a specific word. I can't think of an English sound that is exactly the same as Russian У. Books and looks are fine to give you a start.


Hey :) You're right - I might be being a bit pedantic. The difference just sounds like a big one to me, but a foreign speaker will probably still be understood.

To me, "took" and "tuck" sound exactly the same, but apparently there is a very small difference according to some dictionaries. Maybe it's my particular accent. Maybe phonology is weird. >_< It's obviously a lot more complicated. I like that I'm learning things about my own language (as well as just Russian) as time goes on.


Many americans will say took and look a lot softer on the vowels. Look can almost sound like "luck". However, "food" never really sounds like "fud".


It may depend on wether the syllable is stressed or not. Stressed vowels sound a bit longer.


This is one of those occasions where not being an english native pays off. In most of Europe the russian У corresponds to a U - except for France of course :-) (There are surely more exceptions, but i think it's a good rule)


According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_phonology у is pronounced (assuming Standard American accent or Received Pronunciation):

  • oo in food if stressed

  • oo in book if not stressed

Either way, Russian vowels are always short.

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