Russian dictionary with IPA

Sorridom

New Member
U.S.A. - English
Greetings,

Is there any Russian dictionary--bilingual or not--with phonetic transcription in IPA (for Russian headwords)?
 
  • Lemminkäinen

    Senior Member
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    From my Concise Oxford Russian Dictionary:

    For the convenience of users whose native language is not English all headwords in the English-Russian section are transcribed into the International Phonetic Alphabet. Such transcription has not been supplied in the Russian-English section since Russian pronunciation is generally phonetic.
    I would imagine that being the case for most dictionaries; if you know where the stress is, you will generally know how to pronounce a word.
     

    Etcetera

    Senior Member
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    Hi Sorridom,
    I remember seeing a Russian-English/English-Russian dictionary where Russian words were transcribed, but I'm not sure if the transcription was in IPA. Anyway, if you know how to read Cyrillic, you should have no difficulties in pronouncing the words if you know the stresses (which are usually marked in dictionaries).
     

    jester.

    Senior Member
    Germany -> German
    Hi Sorridom,
    I remember seeing a Russian-English/English-Russian dictionary where Russian words were transcribed, but I'm not sure if the transcription was in IPA. Anyway, if you know how to read Cyrillic, you should have no difficulties in pronouncing the words if you know the stresses (which are usually marked in dictionaries).
    How will you then for example know that in здравствуйте the first в is not pronounced, even if you know where the stress lies?
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    How will you then for example know that in здравствуйте the first в is not pronounced, even if you know where the stress lies?
    In addition to the regular dictionary you just need one more - Dictionary of difficulties of the pronunciation and stress, for example:
    Словарь трудностей произношения и ударения в современном русском языке.
    Автор К. С. Горбачевич. СПб.: "Норинт", 2000.
    Electronic version is integrated into Lingvo ABBYY and is available at their site for free http://www.lingvoda.ru/dictionaries/index.asp.
     

    Sorridom

    New Member
    U.S.A. - English
    From what I've seen, the matter of Russian vowel reduction and allophony is reasonably complex. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_phonology)

    Or is all of that considered not-entirely-standard and/or something that applies more to casual speech?
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    From what I've seen, the matter of Russian vowel reduction and allophony is reasonably complex. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_phonology)

    Or is all of that considered not-entirely-standard and/or something that applies more to casual speech?
    Al these rules refer to the standard speech.
    However in the tables you linked it looks much more complicated than it is in fact.
    So don't worry and go ahead.
     

    Q-cumber

    Senior Member
    I think that the в in-вств- clusters is never pronounced in Russian.
    I don't think so. For example, the word "королевство" (a kingdom) is pronounced clearly.


    Произнесение сочетания -вств- << ПРАВИЛА ПРОИЗНОШЕНИЯ РУССКИХ СОГЛАСНЫХ << ОРФОЭПИЯ

    В определенных сочетаниях при стечении между гласными нескольких согласных один из них может не произноситься.

    В сочетании вств в слове чувство и в словах, производных от него, не произносится звук [в]. В других словах согласные в этом сочетании ассимилируются по глухости/звонкости и выпадения согласных не происходит. Послушайте, как звучат эти слова. Повторяйте за диктором.

    чувство [ч'`уства], почувствовать [пач'`уствъвът']но:

    баловство [бълафств`о]

    вдовство [вдафств`о]

    колдовство [кълдафств`о]

    © Подготовили Г.Е. Кедрова, Е.Б. Омельянова, А.М. Егоров

    http://www.philol.msu.ru/rus/galya-1/orfoepija/tabl/vstv.htm

    Непроизносимые согласные

    В русском языке есть слова, имеющие сочетания трёх или четырёх согласных, один из которых не произносится. Это, например, сочетания стн, здн, стл, вств, нтск, ндск в словах доблестный, поздно, счастливый, здравствуйте, дилетантский, голландский. Для проверки непроизносимого согласного необходимо изменить форму слова или подобрать однокоренное слово так, чтобы этот согласный слышался отчётливо: ------>>
     

    vox05

    Senior Member
    Russia, Russian
    Для проверки непроизносимого согласного необходимо изменить форму слова или подобрать однокоренное слово так, чтобы этот согласный слышался отчётливо:
    This proves that most of these rules ( 'there are... ...to check it - change form and try to pronounce' )serve only one purpose - to allow native speaker spell word correctly, and gives no idea how to pronounce it knowing how to spell.
     

    Alan Evangelista

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Other languages such as Spanish and German have a much simpler and more predictable pronunciation and still dictionaries of those languages provide IPA transcription. The reasons seem obvious to me: (1) it is possible to confuse/forget some pronunciation rule at some moment and (2) there are always exceptions. Certainly the same does applies to Russian. Therefore, I assume that the real reason why IPA pronunciation has not been added to Russian dictionaries is low demand (there are less students of Russian than, for instance, Spanish). This remains the same in 2019?

    I have found this useful online Russian-IPA converter: https://easypronunciation.com/en/russian-phonetic-transcription-converter
     
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    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Other languages such as Spanish and German have a much simpler and more predictable pronunciation and still dictionaries of those languages provide IPA transcription. The reasons seem obvious to me: (1) it is possible to confuse/forget some pronunciation rule at some moment and (2) there are always exceptions. Certainly the same does applies to Russian. Therefore, I assume that the real reason why IPA pronunciation has not been added to Russian dictionaries is low demand (there are less students of Russian than, for instance, Spanish). This remains the same in 2019?
    I can hardly imagine who and why would ever need Spanish or German transcription, because they are quite regular and exceptions are rare. Exactly the same is in Russian - rules may seem rather complicated, but they are quite regular and exceptions are also rare and are usually marked in the dictionaries, e.g. те́зис [тэ]; со́лнце [он]; здра́вствуйте [аст] etc. Dictionaries always provide the stress which is usually sufficient for correct pronunciation on the basis of the main pronunciation rules. Difficult cases are explained in the special dictionaries like abovementioned Словарь трудностей..., but this mostly refers to the declension and conjugation forms.
    As for IPA, for many words one can find it at Wiktionary.
     

    Alan Evangelista

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    I can hardly imagine who and why would ever need Spanish or German transcription, because they are quite regular and exceptions are rare.
    I thought that would be clear from my previous post. I am an example of person who has searched several IPA transcriptions of German words. I have learned German mostly by myself, although I have also taken conversation classes with a native German speaker to improve pronunciation and fluency.

    First, when you are a beginner-intermediate student, it is normal to forget/confuse some pronunciation rules. It is much more convenient to look at an IPA transcription of a word to clarify a specific pronunciation question than reading once again a set of pronunciation rules. I have also seen that Russian has more pronunciation rules than German, so the possibility of forgetting/confusing is even larger in this language.

    Second, there are the exceptions. How a self-taught student will know that a new word is a pronunciation exception if he/she has no IPA transcription of it? Surely an audio of the pronunciation can help, but not all dictionaries have audios for the pronunciation of all words and searching *each* new word in both a dictionary and in a pronunciation tool such as Forvo can be tiring. Also, sometimes ours ears can be deceitful when listening a new foreign word and an IPA transcription is always clearer.

    In short, I can assure you that having IPA transcriptions in every word of a dictionary is useful for a language learner. Dictionaries are tools and thus the more convenient and easy to use they are, the better.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    rules may seem rather complicated, but they are quite regular and exceptions are also rare and are usually marked in the dictionaries, e.g. те́зис [тэ]; со́лнце [он]; здра́вствуйте [аст] etc.
    In fact, palatalizing or non-palatalizing "e" in loanwords is completely unpredictable (one of the main faults of Russian orthography, in my opinion). And in many dictionaries it's not even marked in any manner. Moreover, actual pronunciation tends to slowly shift to the palatalizing variants, even though it depends on many factors.

    As for the need for transcription, it would be really convenient for foreign learners.
    I can recommend Wiktionary, which does have some form of IPA transcription a good deal of the time, but it's not always accurate (for example, it tends to represent unstressed vowel combinations like "ая" or "ие" in a rather phonemic manner, which doesn't reflect actual pronunciation at all, even in slow speech; I don't even mention that it describes hard /r/ as [r] in all positions and other minor things like that). Avanesov's orthoepic dictionary is good, but it uses a conventional Cyrillic transcription and only in those cases where the pronunciation is not obvious, so its usefulness for foreign learners is limited.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    for IPA, for many words one can find it at Wiktionary.
    ...And yes, it nearly never points out the nuances like velarization or the exact place of articulation for most coronal consonants. Which means you cannot quite accurately pronounce most Russian words using its transcriptions only, without studying Russian phonetics yourself.
     

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    In short, I can assure you that having IPA transcriptions in every word of a dictionary is useful for a language learner. Dictionaries are tools and thus the more convenient and easy to use they are, the better.
    I'm also an intermediate Russian learner and I whole-heartedly agree with your point of view. Especially for beginners having full IPA transcriptions is extremely useful, and for a bilingual dictionary to omit them is IMO inexcusable. Some dictionaries don't even put stress marks on all words (sometimes not even on headwords), which is almost criminal. I suspect that this is because many of these dictionaries target Russian speakers who study English, and for them pronunciation of Russian words is useless. Personally I primarily use the electronic version an Italian-Russian dictionary (Kovalev by Zanichelli) which 1. has stress marks on all words 2. has conjugation/declination tables for all words (also with stress marks) and 3. gives transcriptions for Russian words, although it doesn't use IPA and, more importantly, it is very broad, i.e. it doesn't distinguish any of the many positional allophones of Russian vowels. For example, частота (=frequency) is transcribed as čistatá and чистый (=clean) as čístyj, ie it uses the <a> symbol for all Russian a-like allophones ([a], [æ], [ə], [ɐ]), and similarly for other vowels. It's not terrible but IMO they erred too much on the side of semplicity over precision. However, it also have recordings by a native of all words, which somewhat obviates its loose transcriptions.
    I've found one online, free dictionary which uses quasi-IPA transcriptions for all Russian words, it is the RUW − Das Russisch-Deutsche Universalwörterbuch, which also marks some of the allophones. I said 'quasi-IPA' because it doesn't indicate word stress in the correct IPA way; it also makes some quirky choices for some symbols. Then there is the Easypronunciation website you mentioned and wikislovar', which are both very useful resources. And then there is forvo, which I find especially useful for proper names. If it were not for these electronic and online resources (and youtube etc.) there would not have been a chance in hell for me of learning Russian pronunciation reasonably well.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It's not terrible but IMO they erred too much on the side of semplicity over precision.
    In my experience, precise transcription of Russian vowels (in particular unstressed ones) would be a hard task even for qualified Russian phonetists. :) A lot is subject to personal and regiolectal variation, and since unstressed vowels in most positions bear little to no phonological importance, native speakers themselves often appear entirely deaf to subtle nuances.
     

    Alan Evangelista

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    I suspect that this is because many of these dictionaries target Russian speakers who study English, and for them pronunciation of Russian words is useless.
    I agree.

    I have been using easypronunciation IPA converter a lot recently and it has provided me correct IPA pronunciations for most words so far. Of course, it is cumbersome to have to look for each word in both Word Reference (bilingual dict I am using) and in the IPA converter, but that's the best I found online so far.

    In my experience, precise transcription of Russian vowels (in particular unstressed ones) would be a hard task even for qualified Russian phonetists.
    Personally, I don't require complete precision on unstressed vowels pronunciation. I just need to know the relevant differences, eg whether unstressed A/O is pronounced [ɐ] or [ə]. It is not a big deal for me being unsure if an unstressed vowel sounds [ə] or [ɨ̞].
     
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    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Personally, I don't require complete precision on unstressed vowels pronunciation. I just need to know the relevant differences, eg whether unstressed A/O is pronounced [ɐ] or [ə].
    I'm afraid a vast majority of learners has no idea about these slightly differing sounds and hardly would be able to represent them, unless (maybe) this difference is sense-distinctive in their native languages. So even the most exact IPA transcription would not help them at all. And this is why, I suppose, IPA is not used in Russian dictionaries, which instead provide what would be really useful and clear to the learners - remarks about reading unusual combinations of letters (like солнце [нц] or чувство [ство]).
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I just need to know the relevant differences, eg whether unstressed A/O is pronounced [ɐ] or [ə].
    As a rule of thumb, /a/ after hard consonants is [ɐ] 1) in the closest pre-tonic syllable (балага́н) and 2) in word-initial unstressed positions (архео́лог; note that we are speaking about a phonetic word, which also incorporates most prepositions), otherwise it's [ə] (certain inflections may be a partial exception, but that varies and is largely uncertain).
    /o/ merges with /a/ in all unstressed positions, aside of vocalic clusters of foreign origin (ра́дио, ви́део, сте́рео, гоаци́н...), where it usually just gets somewhat reduced instead (but, most importantly, remains rounded).
    Of course, calculating all that must be a hard task for a beginner.
    I'm afraid a vast majority of learners has no idea about these slightly differing sounds
    The loss is theirs. Failure to place those correctly produces an accent (not necessarily a foreign one, but noticeable). Moreover, while [ə] is frequently dropped in quick speech, [ɐ] in its default positions cannot, and dropping it (as Ukrainian speakers who try to imitate casual Moscow pronunciation often do) is atrocious.
     

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I'm afraid a vast majority of learners has no idea about these slightly differing sounds and hardly would be able to represent them, unless (maybe) this difference is sense-distinctive in their native languages. So even the most exact IPA transcription would not help them at all.
    Well, yes and no. The same observation could be made, e.g., about IPA transcriptions in English dictionaries: I'm pretty sure that the majority of, say, Italian users of English dictionaries have no idea of the difference between the sounds generally transcribed in dictionaries as /æ/, /ɑː/, /ə/ and /ʌ/, the same majority probably just disregards phonetic transcriptions altogether and the same majority probably has a bad foreign accent. So should English dictionaries drop IPA transcriptions to appeal to the undiscerning masses? I don't think so :)
    Of course, the parallel with English transcriptions is not quite appropriate for Russian, as in the latter case we are dealing with allophonic variations which should not matter for mutual oral comprehension and therefore can be considered of secondary importance. That's why I think that a broad, phonematic transcription of the type used by my Kovalev dictionary is acceptable, although I would have appreciated some more precision.
    BTW, the IPA system used by the Russisch-Deutsche Universalwörterbuch counts 13 vowels (the number of allophones for a, e, и, ы, о у is, respectively, 3 a, 2 e, 3 и, 3 ы, 1 о, 1 у); the transcriptions at easypronunciation use 15 vowels (4 a, 2 e, 2 и, 2 ы, 2 о, 3 у); transcriptions on wikislovar' use 17 vowels (4 a, 3 e, 2 и, 2 ы, 2 о, 4 у); transcription from the 1969 Jones-Ward 'The phonetics of Russian' book use 20 vowels (5 a, 3 e, 3 и, 3 ы, 2 о, 4 у).
    Personally I like the easypronunciation system the best, and it is "is as precise as I like". The Jones-Ward system on a dictionary would definitely be overkill.
     
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