Ze (Cyrillic) - Phonetic Value

Phonetic Value

The letter Ze may represent:

  • /z/, the voiced alveolar sibilant (Macedonian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian);
  • /zʲ/, if followed by ⟨ь⟩ (by ⟨ј⟩ in Serbian) or any of the palatalizing vowels, as in Russian зеркало (“mirror”);
  • /s/, the voiceless alveolar sibilant (in final position or before voiceless consonants);
  • /sʲ/, if followed by ⟨ь⟩ in final position or before voiceless consonants;
  • clusters ⟨зж⟩ and ⟨зш⟩ are pronounced in Russian as if they were ⟨жж⟩ and ⟨шш⟩, respecively (even if ⟨з⟩ is the last letter of a preposition, like in Russian без жены “without wife” or из школы “from school”);
  • cluster ⟨зч⟩ (sometimes also ⟨здч⟩) is pronounced in Russian as if it was ⟨щ⟩ (рассказчик “narrator”, звёздчатый “stellar, star-shaped”, без чая “without tea”);
  • cluster ⟨дз⟩ can be pronounced (mostly in Ukrainian and Belarusian) as the voiced alveolar affricate /dz/ (Ukrainian дзеркало “mirror”) or its palatalized form /dzʲ/ (Belarusian гадзіннік “clock”), but if ⟨д⟩ and ⟨з⟩ belong to different morphemes, then they are pronounced separately.

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