These two Russian letters differ from the rest
letters of the Russian alphabet. Ь (soft sign)
and Ъ (hard sign) are neither consonants
nor vowels. They both denote no sound and are never pronounced in
Ь (soft sign) makes the
preceding consonant soft. It is used in the root or at the end of
a word: e.g.
пить (to drink)
Soft sign is used quite often in the Russian language
and being at the end of the word, it may distinguish the meaning
of words: e.g.
вес[с](weight) - весь[с'](whole)
брат[т](brother) - брать[т'](to
был[л](was) - быль[л'](true
говорит[т](speaks) - говорить[т'](to
Ъ (hard sign) is a separation
sign and denotes a very short pause or the absence of a sound. It's
used in modern Russian spelling only between the prefix and the
root of words and before vowels ё, е, я: e.g.
There are few words in the Russian language that
have hard sign in their body.