Девочка pronanciation

I used Forvo to listen how native Russian speakers pronaunce девочка. I don’t hear that о in девочка is pronaunced. Should it be inaudible?

December 6, 2018


"O" in "девочка" pronounces like "a", but the sound is unstressed, so it's nearly inaudible, but not completely.

December 6, 2018

the о and а in девочка are both unstressed and thus pronounced like /ə/ (like a in comma or about)

people usually say that "unstressed о is pronounced like а" but that's not exactly true as the unstressed о is still different from the stressed a

December 6, 2018

I have seen somewhere that a stessed о soulnds like itself, an o in the syllable before the stressed syllable is pronounced as an a, and in other syllables has the schwa (ə) sound. To my ear хорошо is consistent with this.

December 6, 2018

That is also the rule I learned years ago. However, some speakers (it seems to me) make the unstressed o's not directly before the stress have a bit more of an а sound than a schwa sound. Perhaps it is a slight regional difference (if it indeed occurs).

December 7, 2018
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If you do that (turn an unstressed "о" into an "а"-like sound instead of a schwa), you'll sound provincial or like someone from Moscow. In fact, that is one feature that makes the Moscow dialect sound a bit provincial to people from St. Petersburg like me. (That's not just my personal opinion, I could provide links to that extent, but they are in Russian.)

On a personal (and not entirely unbiased) note: if you can hear the difference, you are better off erring on the St. Petersburg side. Think of it as the difference between the UK and US pronunciations (except much, MUCH more subtle): having a British accent in the US is typically a plus, the opposite - not so much.

December 13, 2018

So о is never pronaunced like stressed а? In some situations like with молоко it sounds that but actually а is produced with л sound. Is there any examples where о is not sounding like stressed а but it is still pronaunced untressed?

December 6, 2018

yes, unstressed о (and а) is pronounced either as /ə/ or as /ɐ/

it is /ɐ/ when it's in the beginning of the word or when it is right before the stressed syllable (e.g. молоко́, облака́)
and /ə/ elsewhere (молоко́, ле́то)

so молоко is pronounced /məɫɐˈko/

while stressed а is usually pronounced like /a/

but I'm pretty sure that most native speakers aren't even aware of these differences, like people just say "unstressed о is pronounced like а" for simplicity (for example I'm a native speaker and I was also surprised when I found out that there is actually a difference)

December 7, 2018

Do you have a source where I can listen difference between /ɐ/ and /a/? I found this but it’s not working correctly in my mobile browser.

December 7, 2018 (a) (ɐ)

or maybe try finding 2 syllable words on forvo which are like _a_а́ or _о_а́ (such as волна́ or гора́) and listen how the vowels are pronounced (first vowel is /ɐ/ and second one is /a/)

tbh I also have a hard time hearing a difference between these 2 sounds as they are very similar, so don't worry too much if you don't get it

December 7, 2018

Thank you!

December 8, 2018

"O" is only clearly pronounced when it is stressed:
дéвочка > [дéвачка]
молокó > [малакó]
парохóд > [парахóт]

December 6, 2018

An e-mail about "4-day pronunciation training" sessions of some sort, which may be of interest, showed up in my e-mail just now. Acc. to the note::

- A syllable and a stress and how they affect Russian pronunciation (Day 1)
- When O is pronounced as A. Hint: O can sound as A, as a short A and as an English schwa in different positions. That´s 3 different sounds! (Day 2)
- The rule of first И aka when И is pronounced as Ы (Day 3)
- Consonant combinations (TC, ДС, ТСЯ, ТЬСЯ, and so on) with the Ц sound and how to read them (Day 4)

I have no idea if it is good or not (but I suspect it is), nor do I know if there may be any strings attached somehow. But it looks like it addresses on day 2 what you asked about. . . . And it agrees w/ my other comment. :)

December 7, 2018
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