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26 Difficult Russian Words



Pronunciation is important. If you speak clearly, people understand what you’re saying, which is the aim of communication. Difficult words exist in every language. Of course, when you’re first learning a foreign language, all words seem to fit this description. To help you overcome your fear of difficult Russian words, we’ve prepared a list of words that Russian students and native speakers alike find challenging. To learn how to pronounce words like these, learn Russian with our tutors who will help you achieve perfect pronunciation.


3 Russian Words with Complicated Consonants

Do you still have trouble pronouncing the word “здравствуйте” (zdravstvuite), one of the Russian ways of saying hello? Don’t blame yourself: this difficult word contains eight consonants, some of which follow each other. Here are more words that may be difficult for you to pronounce:

  • соответственно (sootvetstvenno) – accordingly

  • свидетельствовать (svidetel’stvovat’) – to testify

  • среднестатистический (srednestatisticheskii) – average

To make pronunciation easier, try to spell out the words.


4 Russian Words that Contain “ы”

Non-native Russian speakers struggle to pronounce words that contain “ы,” as it has no analogue in English. Try these four words:

  • пыль (pyl’) – dust

  • сыр (syr) – cheese

  • мышь (mysh’) – mouse

  • бык (byk) – bull

These words are short and don’t have many consonants, but people still struggle with them. If you’re among those who confuse “ы” with “и,” now’s the time to learn the correct pronunciation.


5 Russian Words with “ш” and “щ”

The letter “ш” sounds like a snake’s hiss, while “щ” is a combination of “ш” and “ч.” These letters usually cause a lot of trouble, and what’s worse, sometimes they’re used together.

  • шифровальщик (shifroval’shchik) – cipher officer

  • соответствующий (sootvetstvuiushchii) – relevant

  • защищать (zashchishchat’) – to defend

  • подшипник (podshipnik) – ball bearing

  • штукатурка (stukaturka) – plaster


4 Difficult Russian Place Names

If you ever travel to Russia and get lost, be ready to pronounce strange place names:

  • Улица Кржижановского – ulitsa Krzhizhanovskogo – Krzhizhanovskogo Street

  • Площадь 1905 года – Ploshad’ tysyacha devyat’sot pyatogo goda – 1905 Square

  • Станция Краснопресненская – stantsiya Krasnopresnenskaya – Krasnopresnenskaya Station

  • Улица Фрунзенская – ulitsa Frunzenskaya – Frunzenskaya Street


Streets in Russia often bear the names of famous people. For example, Gleb Krzhizhanovskii was a Soviet scientist, and Michail Frunze was a Red Army commander in the Russian Civil War. Both 1905 Square and Krasnopresnenskaya Station are named in honor of the Russian Revolution of 1905.


8 More Difficult Russian Words

For additional practice, learn how to pronounce these eight words:

  • достопримечательность (dostoprimechatel’nost’) – tourist attraction

  • квалификационный (kvalifikatsionnyi) – qualifying

  • неодушевленность (neodushevlyonnost’) – inanimation

  • ввод (vvod) – enter

  • флуоресцентный (fluorestsentnyi) – fluorescent

  • жаворонок (zhàvoronok) – early riser

  • спровоцировать (sprovotsirovat’) – provoke

  • используемый (ispol’zuemyi) – used


Learn How to Pronounce Difficult Russian Words

This list is by no means exhaustive, but they’re a good start if you want to improve your pronunciation. If you’re eager to overcome the challenges of Russian, master your Russian pronunciation by working with a tutor.

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