University of Richmond
Home | Academics | Arts & Sciences | Modern Languages and Literatures


Learn to read Russian in 15 minutes!

Russian is an Indo-european language, which means it is related to English and other languages you may have already studied. Many words in Russian will be recognizable to you as soon as you learn the alphabet, which is easy.

About your browser: Windows users need IE or Netscape 6 or higher; Mac users need Netscape 6 or higher or Safari.

Try the following:

Letters you already know:

а о е к м т and с as in sail or circle (never like "k")

 Click here to see which words you know!

Letters from Greek that you know from math class and student organizations:

б as in phi beta kappa г as in gamma
д as in delta л as in lambda
п as in pi ф as in phi
х as in ch
(like challah bread,
a clearing-your-throat "kh")
  Ready for another reading test? Click here!

Check out these "false friends,"
which look like English letters
but designate a different sound in Russian:

в is a v as in Soviet (Совет)
н is an n as in Lenin (ленин)
р is an r (and you already know to use Greek п for p)
у is the vowel u pronounced long as in shoot


There are a few more unfamiliar letters such as:

и for the vowel i, pronounced ee as in marine
й for the y sound in boy
я for ya as in YA-hoo

 Ready to see how much Russian you already know? Click here.

What language do people speak from the borders of Eastern Europe
to Afghanistan to the borders of China?


Try it! It's easier and a lot more fun than you think! You can already read!


Register for Russian 101 this fall in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.