Word Stress in Russian

Information about word stress in Russian at russianstress.info




Stress in Russian nouns

There are 10 stress schemes, named a, b, c, d, e, f, f', d', d''. Scheme a is the fixed stress scheme, and it is the most common one. The d' and d'' are less common schemes, as well as the most irregular, but important words have this schemes.

The list uses some obvious abbreviations for case and number:

AbbreviationMeaning
NNominative
AAccusative
GGenitive
PPrepositional
DDative
IInstrumental
sgsingular
plplural

The list is by no means complete and most probably it isn't completely accurate. If you have any suggestions, remarks or corrections, please send a mail to admin@russianstress.info.

Right now the list is only available with Spanish definitions. You are free to take the list and translate it to your own language.

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I make no claim of the suitability of this list for any purpose, etc.

This list has been compiled using all kind of dictionaries, online and offline. For a list of online dictionaries which show stress, go to the links section in the main page.

The stress schemes

The a scheme: stress fixed on the root

Although scheme a words are not irregularly stressed, some of them are identical to words of other schemes. Some words have been added simply to make note of their irregular declension (such as брат, Npl братья)

A typical scheme a word: машина (machine, car)

SingularPlural
Nominativeмашинамашины
Accusativeмашинумашины
Genitiveмашинымашин
Prepositionalмашинемашинах
Dativeмашинемашинам
Instrumentalмашиноймашинами

The b scheme: stress fixed on the end

Despite being pretty common, end-stressed words have been included. Most of them are masculine, which implies that it is not possible to suspect that they are end-stressed by just knowing the nominative singular. (The plural of жених, is it женихи or женихи?) Many end-stressed words end in к and/or have a fleeting vowel, for example: знаток (expert) whose plural is знатоки, without vowel loss, and значок (mark, badge), whose plural is значки.

As far as I know, all words ending in -ак/-як are end-stressed, except поля'к.

A typical scheme b word: игрок' (player)

SingularPlural
Nominativeигрокигроки
Accusativeигрокаигроков
Genitiveигрокаигроков
Prepositionalигрокеигроках
Dativeигрокуигрокам
Instrumentalигрокомигроками

The c scheme: root-stressed in the singular, end-stressed in the plural

Scheme c words keep the stressed fixed on the root in the singular, but are end stressed in the plural. Most words of this scheme are masculine. Exceptions are few but important: дело, дерево (Npl деревья), зеркало, масло, место, море, небо (Npl небеса), облако, озеро (Npl озёра), поле, право, сердце, слово, стадо, судно (Npl суда), тело, чудо (Npl чудеса). Some of these words (дерево, озеро) aren't exactly end-stressed in the plural, but do move their stress to the end of the world when compared with the singular.

Some scheme c words take the ending -а in the nominative plural. For example: адрес (Npl адреса), голос (Npl голоса).

Example of a scheme c word: учитель (teacher)

SingularPlural
Nominativeучительучителя
Accusativeучителяучителей
Genitiveучителяучителей
Prepositionalучителеучителях
Dativeучителюучителям
Instrumentalучителемучителями

The d scheme: end-stressed in the singular, root-stressed in the plural

Scheme d words are end-stressed in the singular and root-stressed in the plural. All words in this scheme vowel-ended (thus, they are femenine or neuter). Exceptions to this rule are "degenerate".

Because they are vowel-ended, the genitive singular is formed by omitting the final vowel. In this case, the stress goes to the last vowel of the resulting word, whichever it is.

Some d scheme words have a letter е in their root. In the plural, stress falls on this е, which in most cases turns out to be a ё. For example, ребро in the nominative plural is рёбра. The same happens with бедро, бревно, ведро, весло, весна, гнездо, десна, звезда, зерно, колесо, метла, пчела, ремесло, седло, село, and стекло. Some words where е doesn't turn out to be a ё: беда, змея, клеймо.

A easily identifiable familiy of scheme d words are those which name the degree of some quality. For example: величина, высота, глубина, длина, долгота, красота, толщина, широта.

Example of scheme d word: весна

SingularPlural
Nominativeвеснавёсны
Accusativeвеснувёсны
Genitiveвеснывёсен
Prepositionalвесневёснах
Dativeвесневёснам
Instrumentalвеснойвёснами

The e scheme: root-stressed in the singular and nominative plural, end-stressed in the other cases of the plural

This seemingly odd, not very simmetrical scheme is actually very common and important. It looks like scheme c, save that the nominative plural is root-stressed. Many of the words which belong to this group end in a ь, which means that their gender can't be easily predicted in principle. However, most scheme e words ending in ь are femenine.

Some important words in this group: бог, волос, гость, дверь, деревня, дочь зуб, камень, корень, кровь, лошадь, мать, мышь, новость, ночь, область, овощ, очередь, парень, площадь, речь, тень, церковь, чёрт.

An example of scheme e word: бог (god, pronounced бох and not бок, believe it or not)

SingularPlural
Nominativeбогбоги
Accusativeбогабогов
Genitiveбогабогов
Prepositionalбогебогах
Dativeбогубогам
Instrumentalбогомбогами

Notice that бог is declined like an animate noun.

The f scheme: end-stressed, except nominative plural

Most are femenine nouns. Some important words in this group are: волна, губа, плечо, свеча, слеза. Let's see the declension of слеза (tear):

SingularPlural
Nominativeслезаслёзы
Accusativeслезуслёзы
Genitiveслезыслёз
Prepositionalслезеслезах
Dativeслезеслезам
Instrumentalслезойслезами

Notice the е, which actually is an ё.

The f' scheme: end-stressed, except nominative plural and accusative singular

Most are femenine nouns. Some important words in this group are: голова, гора, нога, пора, рука. I would say they are all important (except one or two). Let's see the declension of голова (head):

SingularPlural
Nominativeголоваголовы
Accusativeголовуголовы
Genitiveголовыголов
Prepositionalголовеголовах
Dativeголовеголовам
Instrumentalголовойголовами

The d' scheme: like d, but accusative singular is root-stressed

Again, a lot of important femenine nouns in this small group. Let's see the declension of река (river):

SingularPlural
Nominativeрекареки
Accusativeрекуреки
Genitiveрекирек
Prepositionalрекереках
Dativeрекерекам
Instrumentalрекойреками

Actually, река is a complicated word. Different people stress different syllables. The stress placement in the chart above is the one most dictionaries agree with, but I can't say much about how real people stress this word.

The d'' scheme: like d, but genitive plural is end-stressed

Do we need a scheme called d''? It seems a little too much. d'' words are vowel-ended words. Their genitive plural is formed by omitting the last vowel. However, this would have left an ugly consonant cluster at the end of the word. In this cases, Russians insert a vowel in order to make pronunciation easier. The only strange thing here is that the inserted vowel is - unexpectedly - stressed. Let's see the example: сестра (sister):

SingularPlural
Nominativeсестрасёстры
Accusativeсеструсестёр
Genitiveсестрысестёр
Prepositionalсестресёстрах
Dativeсестресёстрам
Instrumentalсестройсёстрами

Notice that the inserted vowel is ё - obviously stressed.

Other stress features

If a noun in the list can take the prepositional stressed -у ending, this is indicated in the list as "Psg2". However, not all nouns that take this ending have been included in the list. The same holds for nouns that take the stressed -у ending in the genitive.