Russian Alphabet - typed vs handwritten

So I have long wanted to learn Russian, and have just started the long-awaited course on it, which is very exciting.

But I want to learn to write Russian by hand as well as type it, and as far as I understand it, printed and handwritten letters are quite different?

I'm looking for someone to clarify the concept: why is this, why do some of them seem to vary quite considerably etc.? But don't feel obliged to provide a list of letters in both forms, there are lots of those on the internet. Thanks

December 12, 2015


The reason is the same as with English handwriting: ease of writing. The shape transformation between printed and cursive letters in both languages looks alike to my eye, so I'm not sure what do you mean by considerable difference.

December 12, 2015

Cyrillic in italics resembles a printed form of the cursive style.

If you install the Chrome extention 'Edit this website' (, you can italicise selected text on the Duolingo course (and anywhere else) by pressing Ctr-I.
Unfortunately I can't find an addon that will automatically italicise everything (which would be useful practice reading the cursive-style script).

Here's how it looks:

December 12, 2015

It is actually the other way round: some italic characters resemble handwritten letters.

Duolingo does not have a Cyrillic font, so it uses whatever you feed it as a Sans-Serif font. So you may set your browser's default Sans-Serif font to a handwritten font and get Duolingo to look anything you like.

Resphekt is also a font quite similar to what you can see in writing.

December 13, 2015

I wouldn't say that they are very different. In fact if you look at those which look the same as English letters then their handwritten versions are also almost the same as the English ones: A, B, C, D, E, H, K, O, P, Y, U, X.

December 12, 2015

Do you have examples of handwritten letters to copy?

There was a good post about this a week or two back. I'll add the link if it can be found.

Here are the letters that look most different between Cyrillic printed and handwritten (or italic) letters: б, в, г, д, з, и, й, т. Only about half of them are wildly different. So just pay special attention to them. Practice copying words out by hand that use them. It won't take long before they start to look familiar when you are reading.

When you write the letters, don't neglect to write the little hook that starts many letters, and realize that "o" connects to the next letter going up from the bottom of the letter, rather than over from the top (although this may not be so important--I'm not sure).

Russian is really neat. Hope you really like it and are hugely successful.

December 13, 2015

The handwritten "T" looks totally different, it's more like an "m"

July 31, 2018

Thank you all for your replies: I must admit, having looked closer, I stand somewhat corrected, many of the letters do look quite similar. The one I was thinking of when I made this post was Дд, which goes to something like Dg. In reply to slogger, at the moment I'm using this website

which provides examples of handwritten Russian, although I can't speak for the quality of the examples I suppose: what do you think of them?

Thanks again to you all.

December 13, 2015

If you want to learn how to write by hand in Russian then try to google images on the word пропись it will give you lots of practice sheets.

December 13, 2015

Huh, and there was me expecting the suspicious unreadable word in foreign characters to give me dirty porn pictures. I stand corrected. Thanks.

December 13, 2015

As long as you avoid the words beginning with Х you should be fine :)

December 13, 2015

The audio examples sound great to me (speaking not as a native speaker of Russian, however). And the handwriting examples are good too. Dmitry294537's suggestion of looking up прописи is very good. And even without them you could every day take a short passage of Russian and transcribe it by hand. If you work on this every day you will not need much time at all to master it.

December 16, 2015

I have set the page text to be displayed in Segoe Print font, and it shows the Russian text like this image

December 15, 2015

In the exercises you mean? It didn't look like that to me much, but I will check again when I come back to it. Thanks

December 15, 2015

Everywhere :). Duolingo only has the Latin font (Museo Sans), so it uses your browser's defaults for everything else. If you use a handwritten font as your browser's default Sans Serif font, Duolingo will happily use that.

December 15, 2015

Ahhh, I see what you mean. Okay, thank you, I might change that when I move onto Russian properly. Thanks!

December 15, 2015

it also displays some accented letters (ś, ń, č) in that font

December 15, 2015
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