П, п: Though formally referred to as “pokoy", this letter is pronounced precisely like the Latin P. It originated from arguably the best known of the Greek letters, pi (Π, π). This is not to be confused with the previously discussed Cyrillic letter Л, which has a curved line in front as opposed to a straight one.
Р, р: This is another confusing letters for users of the Latin alphabet. Though it looks precisely like our P, it is pronounced like our letter R, “ehr", albeit with a subtle, airy trill. This letter was developed from the Greek letter rho (Ρ, ρ).
С, с: As oddly as the last letter, though this exactly resembles our C, it is pronounced more like our S, “es". The Latin and the Cyrillic letters are derived from the Greek gamma (Γ, γ) and sigma (Σ, σ), confusingly and respectively.
Т, т: This letter is a direct correspondence to the Latin T, pronounced “teh". It developed from the Greek letter tau (Τ, τ).
У, у: More confusion yet: this letter, while appearing precisely like the Latin Y, is actually pronounced with an “ooh" sound, generally corresponding to the Latin U. Derived from the Greek letter upsilon (Υ, υ).
Ф, ф: It may look exotic, but this letter really just corresponds to our letter F, so pronounced “ef". It is originally derived from the Greek letter phi (Φφ). However, this letter—and indeed, this sound—is found almost exclusively in words of foreign origin.
Х, х: While this letter appears rather like our Latin X, it makes a somewhat strange sound. The equivalent in English has largely died out, existing only in local pronunciations of words like “loch". The best way to attempt this pronunciation is “kha" sound, with the “k" blending into the “a" as much as possible with the sound coming from the throat. It originated from the Greek letter chi (Χ, χ).
Ц, ц: Another letter with peculiar pronunciation: think of the pronunciation as being like the “ts" in “cats" and “sits", a “tse" sound. This letter is thought to have derived from the Hebrew letter tsadi, צ.
Ч, ч: This letter makes the“che" or “cha" sound, as in the English “change", except for a few very particular exceptions.
Ш, ш: This letter is roughly equivalent to the English “sha" sound, with no Latin alphabet equivalent—indeed, it is speculated that a separate Cyrillic alphabet was created precisely because it had no letter with which to make this sound.
Щ, щ: This letter closely resembles the previous in both appearance in pronunciation, sounding something like a cross between the English “sh" and “ch" sounds, or between the Russian Ш and Ч—think something like a “shta" or “shcha". This letter is formed from combining the T and Ш letters, which makes sense given the sound it makes.
Ъ, ъ: This letter, “yer", known as the твёрдый знак, or “hard sound", because what it does is not make a sound in its own right, but “de-palatalizes" the preceding consonant, keeping it hard.
Ы, ы: “yery" or “yeru" as this letter is called, is virtually the same as the “i" sound of the previously discussed letter И, except that this one is instead placed after hard consonants, which results in a slightly shorter pronunciation.
Ь, ь: Known as the “soft sign", this letter is the counterpart of the previously discussed Ъ, the “hard sign". Just as with Ъ, this letter makes no sound in its own right, instead modifying the surrounding consonants by palatalizing them. This letter is also occasionally is used to indicate separate, distinct pronunciations of surrounding vowels.
Э э: Called Э оборотное, literally “backwards E", this letter really is precisely the equivalent to the Latin E—indeed, Э originally developed as a variant on E. Think of the pronunciation of the E in “met". Be careful not to confuse it with the similar З, or with the number 3.
Ю, ю: This letter is best equivalent to the Latin U sound. It is thought to have originated as a merger between the Greek letters omicron and iota (οι).
Я, я: This sound makes the palatalized version of the Latin A, to be compared with where we began: the—Cyrillic—letter А.