Everbrite's Russia, Belarus and Ukraine Pages

Belarus Info

Russia General Info

Russian Consulate Information

Obtaining a Russian Visa

Money and Other Tips

Tidbits for Tourists:
A to I
K to Z

Rulers of Russia:
From the Beginning to the Time of Troubles
From the Romanovs to Revolution
From Soviet Times to the present

Russia Regional Information:
Irkutsk/Lake Baikal

Moscow Metro Tour

Central Moscow Tour- in four parts with map:
Part 1 Stops 1 through 13. Marriott Royal/Hotel Budapest to Manezh Ploshchad
Part 2 Stops 14 though 22. Around Manezh Ploshchad
Part 3 Stops 23 though 44. Along Tverskaya Street to the area around Puskin Square
Part 4 Stops 45 though 48. From Puskinskaya Ploshchad to Upper St. Peter's Monastery and back

Travel in Russia planes, trains and automobiles

Trans-Siberian Trains information to get you started on your journey

Russian Language
The Alphabet
Books, Tapes and other Resources
Basic Words

Moscow Metro Tour

Ukraine Info


Russian Language

The Alphabet

Page Contents
Russian Language
Russification of your computer
Cyrillic Keyboard Layouts
Reading the Alphabet
Learning Pronunciation

Russian Language 

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Russification of Your Computer 

In order to see Cyrillic properly on one's computer, Cyrillic fonts must be installed. PCs and Macintosh computers do not do this the same way.

Mac users should consult this site for complete instructions. Russification of Macintosh. This site explains how to install fonts, localize your script to Cyrillic. It describes the different keyboard layouts and all the information one needs to use Cyrillic for reading on the web, for email and for word processing.

Another resource install Cyrillic Fonts and Keyboard Drivers is from the website of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages. This site has instructions and links for both Mac and PC users: Slavic Fonts and Keyboard drivers.

PC users also can check this site for instructions on how to Russify their computers: The Online Russian Language Center

And Windows XP and Windows 2000 users will find step by step instructions on how to install the multilingual components for non-Western Languages on this Middlebury University Center for Educational Technology page: A Step by Step Guide

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Cyrillic Keyboard Layouts 

There are two styles of keyboards for Russian. There is the traditional Russian layout and there are homophonetic layouts in which Cyrillic letters are found generally in the same place as their equivalent sounding English letter. There are several homophonetic layouts that differ in where they place the letters and vowels that are not found in the Latin alphabet. If you are just beginning, the use the QWERTY layout as it will be easier.

The Standard Russian Keyboard Layout

Standard Russian Layout

One Homophonetic Russian Keyboard Layout

Lower Register

Upper Register

Another Homophonetic Russian Keyboard Layout

Lower Register

Upper Register

Personally, I prefer this second layout as it places the Russian SH in the same position as the Latin W, which it resembles and the Russian CH in the same position as the Latin H. Plus, it only uses the number line for numbers and the hard sign, thus preserving the placement of those symbols.

This page teaches PC users the layout of the traditional Russian keyboard: I like 2

Advanced or curious Mac users may find this page useful for more information about Unicode and Multilingual File Conversion, Font and Keyboard Utilities for Macintosh OS X Computers. Allan Wood's Unicode Resources.

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Reading the Cyrillic Alphabet 

Reading the Russian Alphabet - This page from Bucknell University introduces the Cyrillic alphabet by teaching some simple words that sound similar, but look different. By the time you learn all 114 words, you will have mastered the appearance of the Cyrillic alphabet.

Alphabet Order Game - This site teaches the order of the letters in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Cyrillic exists in block letters or in cursive. In is unusual to see books written in script but script fonts are often used in signs. While there are some Cyrillic script fonts available for PC computers, but I haven't found any for Macintosh computers.

Cyrillic Script

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Learning Pronunciation 

There are all sorts of nuances to Russian pronunciation, but for the traveler just learning how each letter is usually sounded will enable one to read signs and recognize some words without a dictionary.

The Alphabet - This site teaches the letters and their pronuncition and includes links that explain the phonetic system with samples by native speakers. It starts by showing that certain letters look and sound the same in Russian as in English and then moves on to those that are "false friends", i.e., look the same but sound different and those that are "secret agent", i.e. those that look different but might sound the same as an English sound and finally those "rare birds" that are something different.

Pronouncing Cyrillic - This page teaches how the letters are pronounced and gives some simple pronunciation rules with samples.

Master - This is another site showing Cyrillic script and also the pronunciation of the alphabet using a male voice.

Alphabet Sounds - This is another site showing Cyrillic script and also the pronunciation of the alphabet using a female voice.

And finally, there are the online articles of Wikipedia including pages on Russian Alphabet, Russian language, Cyrillic and Russian cursive.

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last revised 18 September 2011 © 2003-2011 Ruth E. Imershein
The information contained on these pages is intended to assist in making travel plans but things change, mistakes can be made.
Please do not depend entirely on this information when making your decisions.

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