Just the consonant before Ы is must be hard and the consonant before И – soft. You pronounce and automatically see the difference between и and ы. For example in the word Rus', you pronounce s' softly, and in other words with И the consonants before it will be soft.

бЫл-  the consonant Б hard
бИл – the consonant Б Soft

So, I hope it is helpful :)

I understand well how ди, ти, ни, ли & ды, ты, ны, лы should be pronounced, but I hell don't understand how сь and съ should sound. Especially consonants в, с, р, м, ц followed by ь, if there are such combinations, of course.


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