can somebody explain the purpose of the letter ь? does it make any difference in pronunciation?
There is more information in the Tips & notes for this lesson, but the short version is that the ь at the end means the previous letter is a "soft"/palatalized consonant.
I thought ш was already always soft. What purpose does the ь in this word serve?
Ш is always hard. When it appears as "шь", it is only because the orthography or the grammar mandates it
Tips¬es: "If there is nothing after a consonant, the soft sign Ь is used to show the softness." So maybe in this case it's just convention?
I thought ш was hard though, and щ is soft. Anyone?
Because it might be hard to understand that the "ь" makes the letter before "softer", I would say that the "ь" is like a little "y" sound. For example: "ньо" would be more of a "nyo" sound. Another: the word "есть" is pronounced "yesty". The "ty" at the end is not a "ti" sound, but "t" then "y" like in "tyo" without the "o" ending. It is hard to explain, but you can definitely hear a difference in pronunciation.
letter ь makes the previous letter softer and letter ъ makes the previous letter harder sounding but dont quote me on that lol
the letter ь signifies the soft emphasis on the end of a letter/word, where as the ы signifies a hard emphasis on the end of a letter/word. It's much easier to hear the difference in person. I would advise watching videos on this to better understand it.
In case it is useful for other people as it was for me:
drink, take (medicine)
я пью (I drink)
ты пьёшь (You drink)
он / она / оно пьёт (He/She/It drinks)
мы пьём (We drink)
вы пьёте (You drink [plural])
они пьют (They drink)
How do you different the simple present and present progressive tense in Russian? I mean, how do I know if they are saying: What do you drink? or What are you drinking?
If you see somebody drinking, you can ask "Что ты пьёшь?" meaning "what are you drinking (right now)?"
If you talk with friend and nobody is drinking right now, then "Что ты пьёшь" will mean "What do you drink (usually)?".
Well, Russian language has only 3 tenses (past, present and future), so the context is very important. But, you know, it's pretty hard to Russians to study English tenses too =) Because you can guess what tense you should use only by context, and that's very strange to have a LOT of tenses %) So just relax, the identify-context-skill will become better with some practice =)
Could you use this sentence if you were offering to buy a drink for somebody, like the English "what are you drinking?"?
Well, usually we use constructions like "Что (вы) будете/будешь пить?" (What will you drink?) or "Какой напиток (вы) предпочитаете?" (What kind of drink do you prefer?).
what are the norms for using ты and вы? Is it more of the degree you know a person, the person's age, or the respect of position?
"Вы" is used for politeness, respect or in formal situations, besides being used when speaking to more than one person. "Ты" is used between friends and family, when speaking to children and informal situations.
I gave you a lingot because in my time learning on rosetta stone I never got that. Thank you for this!
В русском языке нельзя говорить на ТЫ с незнакомым человеком, со взрослыми так же говорим на Вы. "ТЫ" УПОТРЕБЛЯЕТСЯ ПРИ РАЗГОВОРЕ С БЛИЗКИМИ ЛЮДЬМИ, ДРУЗЬЯМИ, РОДСТВЕННИКАМИ, а с остальными на Вы.
Is there any reason why "What are you drinking?" is an incorrect translation of "Что ты пьёшь?"?
No. I know this because I copied what I wrote and pasted it into my comment.
"What're you drinking?" is marked as incorrect, but is just as correct as "what are you drinking?"
In my opinion "what're" is too informal to be considered a direct translation. This would only be used for a quoted dialogue
I would contend that contractions do not connote informality in English, rather a lack of emphasis.
Some contractions don't, but this one does sound pretty informal to me. But I would argue that the Russian sentence is also fairly informal, so it's a decent translation and I'd report it.
That is not an incorrect assumption. For Duolingo's sake, however - and your own sanity :) - it is probably best to avoid contractions.
I agree with the lack of emphasis, but in college they told me not to use contractions in formal writing.
Wait so is пьёшь a 'you' version of 'пьёт' which is... something else i don't remember. Someone explain please?
The verb is "пить", and yes, "ты пьёшь" means "you drink", and "он/она/они пьёт" means "he/she/it drinks".