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Question for Russian speakers - Её vs Ee

Hello Duolingo users! I was having a discussion with another user about the usage of "ё" in written Russian. I have been taught that the diaereses (the dots above the "e") are optional - in some situations they will be written in, and in other situations they will be printed as "e" and it is left to the reader to understand that "ee" is pronounced as "её" and so forth. Is this correct? Are there any rules about when they should be used and when they should be omitted (formal vs casual writing, beginning learners vs fluent readers)?

Thank you in advance!

November 16, 2015



The ё is pretty much never used in print, except for situations like все/всё where it helps to have the differentiation. But even then I find that it's left off quite frequently.

Children's books are the exception. There the ё is the norm.


I second this. On the other hand, the accent over "й" is obligatory.


Spanish is full of orthographic accents, ones added not to indicate how a word is pronounced, but to distinguish it from the same word without the accent. https://www.thoughtco.com/stress-and-accent-marks-3079562


Actually there is only one rule: the useage of "Ё" is obligatory in those cases when without it the reader does not have enough information. For example:

  • There two different words that differ one fron another ONLY by Ё/Е (все (everybody) - всё (everything), узнаёт (The present tense) - узнает (The future tense), осёл (donkey) - осел (past tense of "осесть" - "to sink" as in "the foundations have sunk");
  • In all proper names!!! As there are no other hints for the proper names pronunciation;
  • In the texts addressed to children or foreigners;


Not quite so.

Dictionaries and references are supposed to have Ё on all occasions.

"In all proper names" is definitely not. Despite reading about "Многочлены Чебышева" for several years in textbooks while being a student, I only found out that he is ЧебышЁв by pure chance. And my fellow student Дёмин specifically asked professors not to use Ё, 'cause that was not the correct way to write it down (go figure).


"Despite reading about "Многочлены Чебышева" for several years in textbooks while being a student, I only found out that he is ЧебышЁв by pure chance."

But this is exactly that reason why they should write his name with Ё.


They should, but they don't. So, it's not exactly the rule. Rules are enforced and are widely used.

But, if you're talking about what rules the original poster should follow, you're right. But in reality Ё in proper names is not always used. I would even say it is seldom used.


In my experience (14 years learning Russian), there are no real "rules" regarding such accenting. Essentially, it is up to the individual publisher to make such a decision.

An interesting note, there are times when publications that otherwise never use accents (or ударение) may use them to clarify certain words. Apparently, these words would mean something else if pronounced differently, so the publication makes an exception in these instances.


Ё is such a mysterious letter so Wikipedia even has a huge article (in Russian) about it. Ё is so much rarely used that it is located at the far end of the keyboard.
There is the Ё monument in Ulyanovsk:

And I forgot about the Ё-day (29 November, when Ё was introduced to the language in 1783) and Ё-mobil (a concept car)


How did I not know there was a monument to it in Ulyanovsk? Now I'm sad I never got to see it! (Unless it was erected after I was there. But still. I kinda love that and wish I'd seen it.)


Vielen Dank!

My Russian isn't up to such heavy articles, so I tried three other languages. The English and Chinese entries were, ahem, brief, but the third hit the spot. • The orthographic reforms of 1918 ignored the issue. • Ë didn't earn its stripes until 1942.


in addition to what is said above, on most keyboards Ё is placed reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally far from the rest, on `/~ button, where you can reach it only by left hand's little finger. This definitely does not add to its abundance - it's simply inconvenient to use :)


Duolingo has a penchant for eë, but the two dictionaries that I consulted didn't have it.

• The drills sound like yeyo to me.

• Somewhere in my Wikipedia rambles, I found a note that ë always took the word stress.

• The discussion concluded that such vowels in such sequences are pronounced separately. (i.e., there's no need for Türkçe's problematic ğ splicer. In fact, if the two vowels are identical--frequently the case because of vowel harmony--the three letters are pronounced as that vowel with twice the length.)

Does this mean that Russian doesn't have diphthongs? I don't know. But I can be flexible because I already speak two (1.5) with vowel sequences, but no diphthongs.


"yeyo" is what it should sound like. Correctly spelled as её, usually spelled as ее.

ё doesn't always take stress. Compound words with "трёх-" part is a good example - "трёхочкОвый" has the stress on last O sound. There are some other (mainly derived from acquired roots) words like кёрлингИст. But apart from that it's a safe bet - ё will take the stress.

Diphthongs - depends on what you mean by that. There are letters that may produce 2 sounds (я, е, ё, ю). And ъ\ь modify previous or next letter sound, but they don't, strictly speaking, make diphthongs. So the general opinion is that Russian doesn't have diphthongs. Two vowels in a row are pronounced exactly like two distinct vowels. Vowel+{я, е, ё, ю} -> vowel+j+{а, э, о, у}.

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