We’ve already learnt the Russian alphabet, so now let’s remember how we pronounce vowel sounds.
а – [a] bar
я – [ya] yard
о – [o] not
ё – [yo]
у – [u] spoon
ю – [yu] youth
э – [e] end
e – [ye] yes
и – [i] – see
ы – [i] – sit
You may have noticed that vowels are listed by pairs. Every two sounds are very similar. We just add [y] to [a], [o], [e] and [u]. But и and ы differ from all these pairs.
You are familiar with the sound и [i], cause you have it in English. It’s a soft sound, like in the words see, be, tea. This sound is also [ee]
It’s hard to find a sound similar to ы in British English. But definetely there is something of this kind in American English. For example, the word list. In British English [i] is more soft, it really sounds like [и]. But in American English [i] sound is harder. You can feel the difference if you’ll listen to both variations. The American [i] in this word is closer to Russian ы.
Another good example is the word similar. The second “i” in this word sounds like the Russian ы.