Exceptions: Ч and Щ (Always Soft)

There are two consonants in Russian that are always soft, regardless of whether a soft or hard vowel follows them. These soft consonants (Ч and Щ) tend to change the pronunciation of vowels that follow them, making them soft as well. For example, if a "ч" is followed by an "а," the "a" will actually sound like a "я."

Correct Pronunciation Incorrect Pronunciation
сейчас (сейчяс) сейчас (сейчъас)
крещение крешение