Russian Phrases For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

Develop a Russian shopping vocabulary to gain a new cultural experience when traveling. Whether you're shopping for clothes, food, or souvenirs, you can use the following phrases in any Russian speaking country to help you find just the right thing.

The following words can be used in a variety of shopping situations.

Kassiry (kuh-SEE-rih) (cashiers)
kryeditnyye kartochki (kree-DEET-nih-eh KAHR-tuhch-kee) (credit cards)
dorozhye (dah-ROH-zheh) (more expensive)
dyeshyevlye (dee-SHEHV-l'eh) (cheaper)
bol'shoj (bahl'-SHOHY) (big)
malyenkij (MAH-leen'-keey) (small)

The first step to a successful shopping expedition is to know where to shop. For starters, you can buy anything (other than food) in either a univyermagi (oo-nee-veer-MAH-gee) (department stores) or magaziny (muh-guh-ZEE-nih) (stores), but if you're looking for something specific, you'll want to check out some of the following stores:

antikvarnyj magazin (uhn-tee-KVAHR-nihy muh-guh-ZEEN) (antique store)
fototovary (FOH-tuh-tah-VAH-rih) (photography store)
gazyetnyj kiosk (guh-Z'EHT-nihy kee-OHSK) (newsstand)
kantsyelyarskiye tovary (kuhn-tsih-L'AHR-skee-eh tah-VAH-rih) (stationery)
odyezhda (ah-D'EHZH-duh) (clothing)
suvyeniry (soo-vee-NEE-rih) (souvenir store)
tsvyety (tsvee-TIH) (florist)

Regardless of the type of shopping you do, the following phrases can come in handy.

  • Eto ochyen' dorogo. (EH-tuh OH-cheen' DOH-ruh-guh) (It's very expensive.)

  • Eto dyoshyevo! (EH-tuh DYO-shih-vuh) (It's cheap!)

  • Ya voz'mu eto. (ya vahz'-MOO EH-tuh) (I'll take it.)

  • Ya eto kuplyu. (ya EH-tuh koo-PL'OO) (I'll buy it.)

  • Skol'ko stoit . . . ? (SKOHL'-kuh STOH-eet . . . ?) (How much does . . . cost?).

Grocery shopping

You can get your groceries at either the produktovyyj magazin (pruh-dook-TOH-vihy muh-guh-ZEEN) (grocery store) or a rynok (RIH-nuhk) (market). Most Russians buy their produce at a farmers' market because the produce is generally fresher there. The following is a list of some of the more popular produce items:

Russian Pronunciation Translation
Gorokh guh-ROHKH Peas
Kapusta kuh-POOS-tuh Cabbages
Klubnika kloob-NEE-kuh Strawberries
Luk look Onions
morkov' mahr-KOHF' Carrots
Ogurtsy uh-goor-TSIH Cucumbers
Pomidory puh-mee-DOH-rih Tomatoes
Svyokla SVYOK-luh Beets
Bubliki BOOB-lee-kee Bagels
Govyadina gah-VYA-dee-nuh Beef
Jogurt YO-goort Yogurt
Khlyeb khl'ehp Bread
Kofye KOH-f'eh Coffee
Kolbasa kuhl-buh-SAH Sausage
Kuritsa KOO-ree-tsuh Chicken
Ris rees Rice
Ryba RIH-buh Fish
Sakhar SAH-khuhr Sugar
Svinina svee-NEE-nuh Pork
Syr sihr Cheese
Yajtsa YAHY-tsuh Eggs

Shopping for clothes

Russians generally believe that first impressions are based on the how the person is dressed. Consequently, you're likely to see Russians well-dressed in public, even in informal situations. To improve your first impression, you might want to go shopping for clothes. The following words can help when you're shopping for clothes.

Russian Pronunciation Translation
pal'to puhl'-TOH coat
Krossovki krah-SOHF-kee sneakers
Sapogi suh-pah-GEE boots
kupal'nik koo-PAHL'-neek bathing suit
Noski nahs-KEE socks
nosovoj platok nuh-sah-VOHY pluh-TOHK handkerchief
Pyerchatki peer-CHAHT-kee gloves
Zontik ZOHN-teek umbrella
Bryuki BRYU-kee pants
Kostyum kahs-TYUM suit
Maika MAHY-kuh T-shirt
Plavki PLAHF-kee swimming trunks
Rubashka roo-BAHSH-kuh shirt
Shorty SHOHR-tih shorts
Svitehr SVEE-tehr sweater
Bluzka BLOOS-kuh blouse
plat'ye PLAH-t'yeh dress
Yubka YUP-kuh skirt
Sharf shahrf scarf
Shlyapa SHL'AH-puh hat

The following phrases can be helpful when you're shopping for clothes.

  • A potyemnyeye/posvyetlyye yest'? (uh puh-teem-N'EH-eh/puhs-veet-L'EH-eh yest'?) (Do you have it in a darker/lighter shade?).

  • Ya noshu razmyer . . . (ya nah-SHOO ruhz-M'EHR) (I wear size . . .)

  • Eto moj razmyer. (EH-tuh mohy ruhz-M'EHR) (This is my size.)

  • Kakoj vash/u vas razmyer? (kuh-KOHY vahsh/oo vahs ruhz-M'EHR?) (What's your size?)

  • Eto khorosho sidit (EH-tuh khuh-rah-SHOH see-DEET) (It fits).

  • Eto plohkho sidit (EH-tuh PLOH-khuh see-DEET) (It doesn't fit).

  • Mnye nravitsya eta kurtka (mn'eh NRAH-veet-s'uh EH-tuh KOORT-kuh) (I like this coat).

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Andrew Kaufman, PhD, is currently a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia. He holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Stanford University, and he has recognized success as both a published scholar and an innovative, award-winning teacher of Russian language, literature, and culture at some of the country’s top universities. To learn more about Dr. Kaufman, please visit his website at

Serafima Gettys, PhD, earned her doctorate degree in Foreign Language Education from Gertzen State Pedagogical University, Leningrad, USSR. She is currently a Coordinator of the Foreign Language Program at Lewis University, where she also teaches Russian. Prior to coming to Lewis University, she taught Russian at Stanford University. Gettys is also a member of a number of professional language associations.

Nina Wieda is a doctoral student in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Northwestern University in Chicago. A trained linguist with an MA in Social Sciences, Nina also has a book of poetry published in Russian, and a number of scholarly articles on Chekhov and contemporary drama published in English.

This article can be found in the category: