Today I would like to tell you about two very special letters in the Russian alphabet. We call them:
- твёрдый знак – the hard mark (sign)
- мягкий знак – the soft mark (sign)
These two letters are silent. They don’t make any sound. So probably you want to ask me – why do we need them ?
To be completely honest we really need the soft sign (ь) only. It’s much more frequent than the ъ. We use the soft sign in two cases:
1) to make softer a consonant followed by ь . Look at the example:
угол /`oo-gal / – corner, angle
уголь /`oo-gal’/– coal ( the “л” became really soft like in the french word “elle“).
Future tense is used to describe actions in the future. There are two future tenses in Russian. But for the elementary level it is enough to learn the only one. It is made with the verb “быть” in the future tense and the infinitive of the main verb. Main verb is a verb describing an action.
- Я буду работать завтра – I will work tomorrow.
- Ты будешь делать это – You will do this.
- Мы будем пить кофе – We will drink coffee.
What makes the Russian future tense different from English is that if the second verb (after “will”) is the verb “to be”, we don’t have it.
- Я буду там – I will be there. (Not! Я буду
- Он будет дома – He will be at home
The past tense is used to talk about actions in the past. There are 4 variants of endings in the past tense:
- -л (for masculine gender) Он работал вчера – He worked yesterday.
- -ла (for feminine gender) Она работала вчера – She worked yesterday.
- -ло (for neuter gender) Это хорошо работало – It worked well.
- -ли (for plural) Мы работали вместе – We worked together.
It is important to remember that for pronouns “я” (I) and “ты” (you singular informal) the ending depends on the gender. For example,
- Я думал – I thought (if I am a man)
- Я думала – I thought (if I am a woman)
- Ты думал – You thought (I am talking to a male person)
- Ты думала – You thought (if I am talking to a female)
If you already know how to read printed letters that means you already can write. But if you write all letters in the same way as they are printed probably it is taking too much of time to write such letters like: я, ж, ы, б, щ, ц, ч
If you learn Russian hand-writing you will be able to write faster and to understand other people’s handwritten letters.
Look how it looks
Pay attention that handwritten д, и, п, т, ш can be really confusing.
If you want to practice writing the Cyrillic letters, you can download the page from here, print it out and improve your writing.
Let’s do a little test on your undesrtanding the Russian handwritten letters. Try to read these sentences. What do they mean?
Did you do it right? Write in comments below the phrases you could figure out. You homework is to write phrases about yourself.