most difficult Russian names

Most Difficult, Complicated, Hardest Russian Names

Hard Russian names to pronounce

There are such names in Russian which don’t exist in English. When you translate Russian names into English you use the technique called transliteration. You should take into account specific features of translation of letters of the Cyrillic alphabet into Latin.

Mstislav is an ancient Russian name. It consists of two word stems which are “mstit’” (“revenge”) and “slava” (“glory”). This name means a “glorious defender”. It’s hard to pronounce this name even for Russians since there are three consonants in a row at the beginning of the name.

Pyotr is on Top hard Russian names to pronounce too. The name Pyotr originated from an ancient Greek name. It means a “rock”. The combination of the letters “yo” means a variant of a sound which slightly reminds of a similar sound in English. There is no exactly the same sound in English. And when you pronounce a similar Russian sound, you should use your organs of speech in a different way. Also some people pronounce “yo” with a mistake.

The Slavic name Vsevolod consists of two word stems which mean “all” and “possess”. It’s hard to pronounce it since the letter “e” in it means a mild variant of the English sound “e” like in the word “get” or “men”. Also you shouldn’t read the letter “o” in this word like in the word “got” if you are an Englishman. You should read it in an American manner.

According to one of the most popular versions of the origin of the name Igor it originated from a Scandinavian one and means “belligerent”. It’s hard to pronounce this name since there is no a soft sound in English. And there is no a graphical symbol for soft consonants in English. It’s hard for foreigners to catch this sound. Your tongue should be tense and raised to the roof of your mouth a little.

The name Ekaterina came into Russian from Greek. It means “pure”. The main difficulty is that there is no exactly the same vowel sound in English. There is a similar sound like in the word “get” and “yet”. You cannot soften sounds in English. You should always pronounce them hard. In Russian it’s a soft sound.

If you translate the name Andrey from ancient Greek, you will find out that it means “courageous”. It’s hard for foreigners to pronounce this name because of the sound “r”. If you want to get an English sound “r”, you should raise the tip of the tongue to the back of alveoli a little. You tongue should be still and doesn’t vibrate. The sound reminds of roar. When you pronounce the Russian sound “r”, your tip of the tongue should touch the alveoli and vibrate.

The Slavic name Vladimir which means someone who possesses the world is hard to pronounce for native English speakers since according to the rules of transliteration the letter “i” after the letter “d” in it should be read in a low and deep voice like in the word “live”. But you should read both “i”’s in this word like “i” in the word “leave”. So it can be confusing because you don’t need to drag it out. It’s a soft sound.

You can mistakenly pronounce the name Maya without doubling a necessary consonant. The combination of letters “ya” here is like the similar one in the word “yard”. You should read “ma” in this name like in the word “mama”. But the transliteration doesn’t show that there are two sound “ya” in this word. So when you read this name, you can literally say the words “my” and “ya” (which is a short version of “you”) in English. That will be correct.


Tatyana is hard to pronounce since a soft sound after the second letter “t” which you should take into account is usually marked as the apostrophe “ ‘ ” but not in names. So you say say the second “t” softly. And then you read “ya” like in the English word “young”.

You should pronounce the combination of letters “kh” in the name Mikhail like in the word “happy” . The letter “h” symbolizes the sound “kh”. But in Russian we pronounce this sound roughly. You can meet the English sound “h” only before vowels. When you pronounce this sound, it’s like doing a small exhale. “Kh” is a voiceless sound.

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