Russian Phrases For Dummies book cover

Russian Phrases For Dummies

By: Alan Kaufman and Serafima Gettys Published: 09-04-2007

Traveling in a foreign country such as Russia suddenly becomes a lot more exciting when you can engage in elegant small talk with the locals. Russian Phrases For Dummies is your handy guide to everyday words and phrases you can start using immediately to make your visit more rewarding and a whole lot easier.

This user-friendly phrasebook will jump-start your comprehension and have you speaking basic Russian in no time. Its quick-and-easy approach gives you language fundamentals up front, the Words to Know section helps you find the right word fast, and the easy-to-use pronunciation key helps other people understand what you're trying to say. You'll learn how to:

  • Get directions, shop, and eat out
  • Talk numbers, dates, and time
  • Chat about family and work
  • Discuss sports and the weather
  • Deal with problems and emergencies
  • Pronounce familiar English words and phrases in Russian and English
  • Beware of words that sound to English but don't mean the same thing
  • Read signs that use the Russian alphabet
  • Follow the conventions of Russian pronunciation
  • Use basic Russian grammar correctly
  • Keep ten commonly used Russian phrases on the tip of your tongue
  • Use basic telephone vocabulary and send letters, emails, and faxes

Don't have time to study the language before you get to Russia? No worries. Just flip through Russian Phrases For Dummies, find the section that fits your needs, and start talking!

Articles From Russian Phrases For Dummies

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14 results
Calendar Terms in Russian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

When making plans, appointments, and travel arrangements in Russian-speaking countries, you need to be able to state dates and other calendar terms in Russian. Understanding the days of the week and the months of the year in Russian can help you to avoid confusion. Days of the week To ask what day of the week it is, says Kakoj syegodnya dyen'? (kuh-KOHY see-VOHD-n'uh d'ehn'?) (What day is it today?) To answer this question, say Syegodnya plus the day of the week. For example: Syegodnya ponyedyel'nik (see-VOHD-N'UH puh-nee-D'EHL'-neek) (It's Monday today). It's that simple! The following are the days of the week in Russian: ponyedyel'nik (puh-nee-D'EHL'-neek) (Monday) vtornik (FTOHR-neek) (Tuesday) sryeda (sree-DAH) (Wednesday) chyetvyerg (cheet-V'EHRK) (Thursday) pyatnitsa (P'AHT-nee-tsuh) (Friday) subbota (soo-BOH-tuh) (Saturday) voskryesyen'ye (vuhs-kree-S'EHN'-ye) (Sunday) To say that something happens, happened, or will happen on a certain day, you need to add the preposition v, and put the day of the week. For example, v ponyedyel'nik (f puh-nee-D'EHL'-neek) (on Monday). The only exception is vo vtornik (vah FTOHR-neek) (on Tuesday). The v changes to vo, because the noun for Tuesday is masculine. If you want to express that something will happen in a week, a month, or a year, use the word nyedyelya (nee-D'EH-l'uh) (week), myesyats (M'EH-seets) (month), or god (goht) (year) in the accusative case along with the word chyeryez. For example, chyeryez myesyats (CHEH-reez M'EH-s'uhts) (in a month). To say that something already happened last week, month, or year, you say na proshloj nyedyele (nuh PROHSH-luhy nee-D'EH-l'eh) (last week) v proshlom myesyatsye (v PROHSH-luhm M'EH-see-tseh) (last month) v proshlom godu (v PROHSH-luhm gah-DOO) (last year) Other phrases used to indicate day in more general terms include dyen' (d'ehn') (day) syegodnya (see-VOHD-n'uh) (today) nyedyelya (nee-D'EH-l'uh) (week) vchyera (fchee-RAH) (yesterday) pozavchyera (puh-zuhf-ch'eh-RAH) (the day before yesterday) zavtra (ZAHF-truh) (tomorrow) poslyezavtra (POH-sl'eh-ZAHF-truh) (the day after tomorrow) Months of the year The months of the year aren't typically capitalized in Russian. Here's a list of the myesyatsy (M'EH-see-tsih) (months): yanvar' (yeen-VAHR') (January) fyevral' (feev-RAHL') (February) mart (mahrt) (March) apryel' (uhp-R'EHL') (April) maj (mahy) (May) iyun' (ee-YUN') (June) iyul' (ee-YUL') (July) avgust (AHV-GOOST) (August) syentyabr' (seen-T'AHBR') (September) oktyabr' (ahk-T'AHBR') (October) noyabr' (nah-YAHBR') (November) dyekabr' (dee-KAHBR') (December) To say a chislo (chees-loh) (date) in Russian, you need to put the ordinal number indicating the day in the form of neuter gender and the name of the month in the genitive case, as in: Syegodnya pyatoye oktyabrya (see-VOHD-n'uh P'AH-tuh-eh uhk-teeb-R'AH) (Today is October 5). Zavtra dyesyatoye iyulya (ZAHF-truh dee-S'AH-tuh-eh ee-YU-l'uh) (Tomorrow is June 10). Poslyezavtra dvadtstat' chyetvyortoye marta (POHS-lee-ZAHF-truh DVAHT-tsuht' cheet-V'OHR-tuh-eh MAHR-tuh) (The day after tomorrow is March 24). Saying the year To say a year, such as 2007, begin with the century, as in dvye tysyachi (dv'eh TIH-see-chee) (20 [literally: 2,000]) for the 21st century. Then, to state the number indicating the year, use the corresponding ordinal number, as in dvye tysyachi syed'moj god (dv'eh TIH-see-chee seed'-MOHY goht) (2007 [literally: 2,007th year]). Note that although in English, we leave off the word year/s at the end of a date, Russians always include the word year god (goht) (year). The plural years would be gody (goh-dih) (years) or goda (gah-dah) (years). To indicate when a certain event took, takes, or will take place, use preposition v (f ) (on) + the year in the prepositional case + godu (gah-DOO) (year), as in v tysyacha dyevyatsot pyat'dyesyat vos'mom godu (v TIH-see-chuh dee-veet-SOHT pee-dee-S'AHT vahs'-MOHM gah-DOO) (in 1958 [literally: in the 1,958th year]).

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Common Conversational Words and Phrases in Russian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

By mastering the basics of polite conversation in Russian, you put yourself and the person you're talking to at ease. Everyone should learn essential Russian conversational words and phrases before traveling to a Russian -speaking country. These words and expressions are sure to come up in most everyday conversations. Basic courtesies Being polite is just as important in Russian-speaking countries as they are in the United States. The following words and phrases cover most of the pleasantries required for polite conversation. After all, learning to say the expressions of common courtesy in Russian before traveling is just good manners. da! (dah) (yes) nyet! (n’eht) (no) Da, pozhalujsta (dah, pah-ZHAH-luh-stuh) (Yes, please.) pozhalujsta (pah-ZHAH-luh-stuh) (please) Spasibo (spuh-SEE-buh) (thank you) Bol’shoye spasibo. (bahl’-SHOH-eh spuh-SEE-buh) (Thank you very much.) Personal pronouns Once you've mastered the common pleasantries, the next important thing to learn is how to refer to people using personal pronouns. In Russian, you'll use slightly different variations of the pronoun you depending on the number of people you are referring to and how well you know them. ya (ya) (I) on (ohn) (he) ona (ah-nah) (she) my (mih) (we) oni (ah-nee) (they) ty (tih) (you [informal singular]) vy (vih) (you [formal singular and plural]) Nouns and gender So what about it? In English, inanimate objects are usually referred to with the pronoun it, but in Russian, an inanimate object is always referred to with the pronoun corresponding to its grammatical gender. on (ohn), if the noun it refers to is masculine ona (ah-NAH), if the noun it refers to is feminine ono (ah-NOH), if the noun it refers to is neuter oni (ah-NEE), if the noun it refers to is plural Phrases for travelers There are some phrases that are particularly helpful to international travelers. Below are several phrases that might be particularly helpful during your stay in a Russian-speaking country. Izvinitye, ya nye ponyal. (eez-vee-NEE-t’eh ya nee POHH-n’uhl) (Sorry, I didn’t understand. [m]) Izvinitye, ya nye ponyala. (eez-vee-NEE-t’eh ya nee puh-nee-LAH))Sorry, I didn’t understand. [f]) Izvinitye, ya plokho ponimayu po-russki. (eez-vee-NEE-t’eh ya PLOH-khuh puh-nee-MAH-yu pah-ROOS-kee) (Sorry, I don’t understand Russian very well.) Govoritye, pozhalujsta, myedlyennyeye! (guh-vah-REE-t’eh pah-ZHAHL-stuh M’EHD-lee-nee-eh!) (Speak more slowly, please!) Kak vy skazali? (kahk vih skuh-ZAH-lee?) (What did you say?) Povtoritye, pozhalujsta. (puhf-tah-ree-t’eh pah-ZHAH-luh-stuh) (Could you please repeat that?) Vy govoritye po-anglijski? (vih guh-vah-REE-t’eh puh uhn-GLEEY-skee?) (Do you speak English?)

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Common Russian Expressions

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Every culture has a way of taking familiar words and turning them into something else. Russia is no exception. These uniquely Russian expressions don't translate literally to English and aren't essential to everyday conversation, but recognizing these expressions in speech and using them with ease can make you sound like a real Russian! Tol'ko Poslye Vas! (tohl'-kuh pohs-lee vahs; Only after you!) Russians still believe in opening doors for each other and letting others go first. Whenever you do this, you should use this phrase. In fact, you'll often see two people standing outside a door, both saying Tol'ko Poslye Vas! and trying to get the other person to go first. Vy Syegodnya Pryekrasno Vyglyaditye! (vih see-vohd-n'uh pree-krahs-nuh vihg-lee-dee-t'eh; You look great today!) Russians are less worried about being politically correct than people in the United States tend to be. So, if you start a conversation with a Russian woman by saying Vy syegodnya pryekrasno vyglyaditye!, she may actually treat you nicer instead of reporting you to the authorities. If someone says Vy syegodnya pryekrasno vyglyaditye! to you, you should say Nu, chto vy! (noo shtoh vih; Ah, what are you talking about!) You have to show your modesty and disagree. Zakhoditye Na Chaj! (zuh-khah-dee-t'eh nuh chahy; Stop by for some tea!) When you make a new friend in Russia, you can say this phrase to let them know you'd like to get together sometime. Don't worry; the person won't think you're a freak or a serial killer; however, unlike "Let's do lunch," Russians take Zakhoditye na chaj seriously and usually accept your offer. Because Russians do take the offer of Zakhoditye na chaj seriously, you should actually have some tea and cookies at home for when your friends stop by. Ugosh'ajtyes'! (oo-gah-sh'ahy-t'ehs'; Help yourself! [literally: Treat yourself!]) Use this phrase when you're going to serve treats. Besides being friendly and polite, this word is just long enough to scare off foreigners. Which is, of course, a good enough reason to learn it and stand out in the crowd. Priyatnogo Appetita! (pree-yat-nuh-vuh uh-pee-tee-tuh; Bon appétit!) Say this phrase to friends and strangers alike anytime someone is getting ready to eat. Syadyem Na Dorozhku! (sya-deem nuh dah-rohsh-koo; Let's sit down before hitting the road!) Before departing on a trip, surprise everybody by looking around thoughtfully and saying Syadyem na dorozhku! Essentially a superstition, this tradition is actually useful; sitting down and staying silent for a minute before you head out the door gives you an opportunity to remember what's important. Sadis', V Nogakh Pravdy Nyet (sah-dees', v nah-gahkh prahv-dih n'eht; take the weight off your feet/it is as cheap sitting as standing) Russians would never leave someone standing, even if the person is only going to be there for a minute. So, if you're sitting with somebody else is standing, or when somebody stops by and hangs out in the doorway, claiming to be leaving in a minute, you can say Sadis', v nogakh pravdy nyet. Ni Pukha, Ni Pyera! (nee poo-khuh nee pee-rah; Good luck! [literally: Have neither fluff nor plume!]) This expression is kind of the English "Break a leg" that's used in theatre. Russians, on the other hand, never let anyone depart on a mission — whether a lady leaves to interview for a job or guy goes to ask a girl out — without saying Ni pukha, ni pyera! If someone says Ni pukha, ni pyera! to you, the appropriate response isn't spasibo (spuh-see-buh; thank you) as you might think. Instead, you should say K chyortu! (k chohr-too; To the devil!) Tseluyu (tsih-loo-yu; kisses [literally: (I am) kissing (you)]) Russians use this as an affectionate way to sign letters, e-mails, and cell phone text messages. You can even say Tseluyu at the end of a phone conversation. S Lyogkim Parom! (s lyokh-keem pah-ruhm; literally: Congratulations on a light steam!) Russians say this when they see someone who just came out of a shower or a sauna, but you can also use it as a joke when you see someone who got caught in the rain or who spilled a drink.

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Greetings and Introductions in Russian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Properly greeting people and making introductions in Russian can help you get off to the right start. After all, first impressions are important — they can start a friendship or set the tone for your interaction with someone. The Russian language is more formal than American English. Likewise, introductions in Russian follow more of a pattern than they sometimes do in the United States. There is a right way to greet people and a wrong way. In fact, if you botch your greeting, you may get a funny look or even offend the person you're addressing. Start with a greeting To greet a person you know well, say zdravstvuj (ZDRAH-stvooy) (hello) or privyet! (pree-V'EHT) (Hi!). To greet people you don't know well (or a group of people), say zdravstvujtye (ZDRAH-stvooy-t'eh) (hello). Note that the first letter v in zdravstvujtye is silent. Otherwise, it would be hard even for Russians to pronounce! Here are some other ways to greet people, depending on what time of day it is: Dobroye utro! (DOHB-ruh-eh OO-truh!) (Good morning!) Dobryj dyen'! (DOHB-rihy d'ehn'!) (Good afternoon!) Dobryj vyechyer! (DOHB–rihy V'EH-ch'ehr!) (Good evening!) Making introductions Making a good first impression is important for the beginning of any relationship. In English, introducing yourself is the best way to start a conversation with somebody you don't know. Not so in Russian. Russians like to begin with first suggesting to get acquainted. They have two ways to say this: Davajtye poznakomimsya! (duh-vahy-t'eh puhz-nuh- koh-meem-suh!) (Let's get acquainted! [formal/plural]) Davaj poznakomimsya! (duh-vahy puhz-nuh koh-meem-suh!) (Let's get acquainted! [informal]) If somebody says one of these phrases to you, you should politely accept the suggestion by saying: Davajtye! (duh-vahy-t'eh!) (Okay! [literally: Let's!] [formal/plural]) Davaj! (duh-vahy!) (Okay! [literally: Let's!] [informal]) Once you've agreed to become acquainted, it's time to exchange names. The following phrases will help keep the introductions rolling. Myenya zovut . . . (Mee-N'AH zah-VOOT . . .) (My name is . . .). Kak vas zovut? (kahk vahz zah-VOOT?) (“What is your name?”) (literally: What do they call you? [formal]) Kak tyebya zovut? (kahk tee-B'AH zah-VOOT?) (“What is your name?”) (literally: What do they call you? [informal]). Eto moj znakomyj (EH-tuh mohy znuh-KOH-mihy) (This is my acquaintance [m]) Eto moya znakomaya (EH-tuh mah-YA znuh-KOH-muh-yuh) (This is my acquaintance [f]) After you're introduced to someone, you may want to say, “Nice to meet you” which is ochyen' priyatno (OH-cheen' pree-YAT-nuh) (literally: very pleasant) in Russian. The person you've been introduced to may then reply mnye tozhye (mnye TOH-zheh) (same here). How are you? Greetings and introductions are usually accompanied by a "How are you?" The most common ways to ask how someone is doing are: Kak dyela? (kahk dee-LAH?) (How are you? [informal]) Kak vy pozhivayetye? (kahk vih puh-zhih-VAH-eh-t'eh?) (How are you? [formal]) As you'd expect, when someone asks you how you're doing, there are many possible responses. Khorosho (khuh-rah-shoh) (good) Normal'no (nahr-mahl'-nuh) (normal or okay) Nichyego (nee-chee-voh) (so-so [literally: nothing]) Nyeplokho (nee-ploh-khuh) (not bad) The common response for this is to ask the person how he or she's doing. Simply say A u vas? (ah oo vahs?) (And you? [formal]) or A u tyebya? (ah oo tee-B'AH?) (And you?)

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How to Ask for and Understand Directions in Russian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Exploring Russian-speaking countries can be quite an adventure, but if you want to be sure to see everything on your list, you need to know how to ask for directions and how to understand the directions you are given. After all, if you don't understand what you're told, you might miss the very things you hoped to see. Use the verb popast' (pah-PAHST') (to get to) to ask someone how to get somewhere. For example, Kak ya otsyuda mogu popast' v muzyej? (kahk ya aht-SYU-duh mah-GOO pah-PAHST' v moo-ZYEY?) (How do I get to the museum from here?) Curiously enough, Russians don't like to indicate directions with the words vostok (vahs-TOHK) (east), zapad (ZAH-puht) (west), syever (SYE-veer) (north), and yug (yuk) (south). They seem to avoid them when explaining how you can reach your place of destination. The following words can be used when asking for or receiving directions in Russian-speaking countries. Povyernitye napravo! (puh-veer-NEE-tee nuh-PRAH-vuh) (Turn right) Povyernitye nalyevo! (puh-veer-NEE-tee nuh-LYE-vuh) (Turn left) When you're talking to somebody with whom you're on vy (vih) (you [formal]) terms with, add –tye to the end of the words as shown in the previous list. If you're talking to friends or family, you can remove the –tye. For example, to say “Turn left” to a friend, you say Povyerni nalyevo. (puh-veer-NEE nuh-LYE-vuh) (Turn left.) sprava ot (SPRAH-vuh uht) (to the right of) + a noun in the genitive case napravo (nuh-PRAH-vuh) (to the right) slyeva ot (SLYE-vuh uht) (to the left of) + a noun in the genitive case nalyevo (nuh-LYE-vuh) (to the left) na lyevoj storonye (nuh LYE-vuhy stuh-rah-NYE) (on the left side) na pravoj storonye (nuh PRAH-vahy stuh-rah-NYE) (on the right side) Iditye praymo. (ee-DEE-tee PRYA-muh) (Go straight.) Iditye praymo. (ee-DEE-tee PRYA-muh) (Go straight.) Iditye nazad. (ee-DEE-tee nuh-ZAHT) (Go back.) Iditye pryamo do . . . (ee-DEE-tee PRYA-muh duh) (Go as far as . . .) + the noun in the genitive case Podojditye k . . . (puh-duhy-DEE-tee k) (Go up to . . .) + the noun in the dative case Iditye po . . . (ee-DEE-tee puh) (Go down along . . .) + the noun in the dative case Iditye mimo . . . (ee-DEE-tee MEE-muh) (Pass by . . .) + the noun in the genitive case Zavyernitye za ugol! (zuh-veer-NEE-tee ZAH-oo-guhl) (Turn around the corner.) Pyeryejditye ulitsu! (pee-reey-DEE-tee oo-leet-soo) (Cross the street.) Pyeryejditye plosh'ad'! (pee-reey-DEE-tee PLOH-sh'uht') (Cross the square.) Pyeryejditye chyerez dorogu! (pee-reey-DEE-tee CHEH-reez dah-ROH-goo) (Cross the street/road.) The following phrases are typical of getting and receiving directions in Russian-speaking countries. Izvinitye, gdye magazin? (eez-vee-NEE-tee gdye muh-guh-ZEEN?) (Excuse me, where is the store?) Magazin sprava ot aptyeki. (muh-guh-ZEEN SPRAH-vuh uht uhp-TYE-kee) (The store is to the right of the pharmacy.) Gdye blizhayshaya ostanovka avtobusa? (gdye blee-ZHAHY-shuh-ye uhs-tuh-NOHF-kuh uhf-toh-boo-suh?) (Where is the nearest bus stop?) Gdye bibliotyeka? (gdye beeb-lee-ah-TYE-kuh?) (Where is the library?) Kuda idyot etot avtobus? (koo-DAH ee-DYOT EH-tuht uhf-TOH-boos?) (Where is this bus going?) Russians uses two words to translate the English where — gdye (gdye: when speaking of a specific location]) or kuda (koo-DAH: when referring to a direction of movement]). The two words are not interchangeable.

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How to Ask for Medical Help in Russian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

When traveling, most emergencies are medical — whether you're in a Russian-speaking country or not. Know how to ask for medical help in Russian before you have an actual emergency. The simplest way to ask for assistance is to say Pomogitye! (puh-mah-GEE-tee), which means Help! You can also use the phrases: Izvinitye, mnye nuzhna pomosh'! (eez-vee-NEE-teh mnye noozh-NAH POH-muhsh') (Excuse me, I need help!) Pozovitye na pomosh'! (puh-zah-VEE-teh nuh POH-muhsh') (Call for help!) Pomogitye mn'e, pozhalujsta? (puh-mah-GEE-teh mnye pah-ZHAH-luh-stuh) (Will you please help me?). Pozvonitye v skoruyu pomosh'! (puhz-vah-NEE-teh v SKOH-roo-yu POH-muhsh') (Call an ambulance!) In the United States, calling 911 is the answer to almost any emergency question, but to get emergency medical help in Russia, call 03 for a skoraya pomosh' (SKOH-ruh-yuh POH-muhsh') (ambulance [literally: urgent help]). What's bothering you? When you get a chance to talk to the doctor, the first question you'll probably hear is Chto u vas bolit? (shtoh u vahs bah-LEET?) (What is hurting you?) or Chto vas byespokoit? (shtoh vahs bees-pah-KOH-eet?) (What brought you here? [literally: What is bothering you?]) If you have a medical condition, you should learn the Russian name for it. For example, U myenya astma. (oo mee-N'AH AHST-muh) (I have asthma.); Ya yepilyeptik. (ya ee-pee-L'EHP-teek) (I have epilepsy.); Ya diabyetik. (ya dee-uh-BEH-teek) (I have diabetes.); and Ya byeryemyenna. (ya bee-R'EH-mee-nuh) (I am pregnant.) If you have a life-threatening allergy, be sure to learn how to describe your allergy in Russian before taking your trip. Say U myenya allyergiya na . . . (oo mee-NYA uh-leer-GEE-ye nuh . . .) (I am allergic to . . .) + the word naming the cause of the allergy, such as mollyuski (mah-L'OOS-kee) (shellfish), obyezbolivayush'yeye (uh-beez-BOH-lee-vuh-yoo-sh'ee-ee) (painkillers), oryekhi (ah-RYE-khee) (nuts), pyenitsillin (pee-nee-tsih-LEEN) (penicillin), and ukus pchyely (oo-KOOS pchee-LIH) (bee stings). What are your symptoms? To get help quickly, you need to be able to explain what's wrong. The following phrases can help. Ya syebya plokho chuvstvuyu. (ya see-BYA PLOH-khuh CHOOS-tvoo-yu) (I am not feeling well. [Use if you have a headache or other mild symptoms.]) Mnye plokho. (mnye PLOH-khuh) (I am not feeling well. [Use if you are very, very sick — for example, you have intense pain or nausea, or you feel as though you may faint.]) myenya bolit zdyes' (oo mee-N'AH bah-LEET zdyes') (It hurts me here). To describe specific, less-painful symptoms, you say U myenya . . . (oo mee-NYA) (I have . . .) + one of the phrases from the following list: bol' (bohl') (pain) bolit golova (bah-LEET guh-lah-VAH) (headache) bolit gorlo (bah-LEET GOHR-luh) (sore throat) bolit ukho (bah-LEET OO-khuh) (earache) bolit zhivot (bah-LEET zhih-VOHT) (stomach ache) kashyel' (KAH-shihl') (cough) nasmork (NAHS-muhrk) (runny nose) ozhog (ah-ZHOHK) (burn) ponos (pah-NOHS) (diarrhea) syp' (sihp') (rash) toshnota (tuhsh-nah-TAH) (nausea) tyempyeratura (teem-pee-ruh-TOO-ruh) (fever) zapor (zuh-POHR) (constipation) Where do you hurt? To describe something that is hurting, use the verb bolyet (bah-l'eht') (to hurt). Such as myenya bolit . . . (oo mee-NYA bah-LEET . . .) (. . . is hurting) + the name of the organ that hurts (in the nominative case). The following words can help you to describe what part of your body is injured. gorlo (GOHR-luh) (throat) kolyeno (kah-L'EH-nuh) (knee) lodyzhka (lah-DIHSH-kuh) (ankle) noga (nah-GAH) (leg/foot) ruka (roo-KAH) (arm/hand) shyeya (SHEH-yuh) (neck) spina (spee-NAH) (back) zapyast'ye (zuh-PYAST'-yeh) (wrist) pochka (POHCH-kuh) (kidney) pyechyen' (PYE-chihn') (liver) syerdtsye (SYER-tseh) (heart) zhyeludok (zhih-LOO-duhk) (stomach) lyogkiye (LYOKH-kee-eh) (lungs) muskuly (MOOS-koo-lih) (muscles) Parts of your golova (guh-lah-VAH) (head) that you may seek treatment for include the following: glaz (glahs) (eye) litso (lee-TSOH) (face) nos (nohs) (nose) podborodok (puhd-bah-ROH-duhk) (chin) rot (roht) (mouth) ukho (OO-khuh) (ear) yazyk (yee-ZIHK) (tongue) If you're on some kind of medication, tell your doctor Ya prinimayu . . .(ya pree-nee-MAH-yo . . .) (I am on . . . [literally: I take . . .]) + the name of the medication. In most cases, a doctor will propisat' lyekarstvo (pruh-pee-SAHT' lee-KAHRST-vuh) (prescribe a medicine) for you. To get your lyekarstvo (medicine), you need to go to the aptyeka (uhp-TYE-kuh) (pharmacy) and hand your ryetsyept (ree-TSEHPT) to the aptyekar' (uhp-TYE-kuhr') (pharmacist).

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How to Ask Questions in Russian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

How do you ask basic questions in Russian? Well, Russian interrogative words mean the same as they do for English: who, what, when, where, why, and how. By knowing basic Russian interrogatives, you'll be able to express your questions, even without an extensive vocabulary. Kogo? (kah-VOH) (Whom?) chto (shtoh) (What?) kogda (kahg-DAH) (When?) gdye (gdeh) (Where?) Like English, the word who has no gender in Russian, but it can change depending on how it is used. It will usually appear as kto (ktoh) (the nominative case), but it can also become kogo (kah-VOH) (genitive case); kogo (kah-VOH) (accusative case); komu (koh-MOO) (dative case); kyem (kyem) (instrumental case), and kom (kohm) (prepositional case). In Russian, the word for whose is chyej (chehy) and which is kakoj (kuh-kohy). Both of these words change their endings depending on the gender, number, and case of the noun they modify. However, they are most frequently used in the nominative case. Interrogative Pronoun Genitive Case Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural whose chyej (chehy) chyej (chehy) ch’ya (ch’ya) ch’yo (ch’yo) ch’i (ch’yee) which kakoj (kuh-KOHY) kakoj (kuh-KOHY) kakaya (kuh-KAH yuh) kakoye (kuh-KOH-eh) kakiye (kuh-KEE-eh) Here's a look at some different ways to put these interrogatives into some useful phrases. Kto eto? (ktoh EH-tuh?) (Who is that?) Kakoj ryad? (kah-KOHY ryat?) (Which row?) Kakoj kurs obmyena? (kuh-KOHY koors ahb-M’EH-nuh?) (What is the exchange rate?) Kak vas zovut? (kahk vahz zah-VOOT?) (“What is your name?” [literally: What do they call you?]) Chto vy budyetye zakazyvat’? (shtoh vih BOO-d’eh-t’eh zuh-KAH-zih-vuht’?) (What would you like to order?) Kogda magazin zakryvayetsya? (kahg-DAH muh-guh-ZEEN zuh-krih-VAH-eht-s’uh) (When does the store close?) Gdye ostanavlivayutsya marshrutki? (gdye uhs-tuh-NAHV-lee-vuh-yut-sye muhr-SHROOT-kee?) (Where do the minivans stop?)

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How to Tell Time in Russian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

To get the most out of your vryemya (VR'EH-m'uh) (time) in a Russian-speaking country, know how to state and ask for time and specify times of the day. In Russian, there are many different ways to talk about time depending on how it is used. The time of day can be described in general terms or specific times. You can use the following words to describe the general time of day. utro (oo-truh) (morning) dyen' (d'ehn') (afternoon) vyechyer (v'eh-chehr) (evening) Noch' (nohch) (night) utrom (oo-truhm) (in the morning) dnyom (dn'ohm) (in the afternoon) vyechyerom (v'eh-cheh-ruhm) (in the evening) noch'yu (nohch-yu) (late at night or early in the morning) syegodnya utrom (see-VOHD-n'uh OO-truhm) (this morning) syegodnya vyechyerom (see-VOHD-n'uh V'EH-ch'eh-ruhm) (this evening) To say noon in Russian, you just say poldyen' (POHL-d'ehn') (literally: half-day). When you want to say midnight, you say polnoch' (POHL-nuhch) (literally: half night). To find out what time it is specifically, say Izvinitye pozhalujsta. Skol'ko syejchas vryemyeni? (eez-vee-nee-t'eh pah-zhah-luh-stuh. skohl'-kuh see-chahs vr'eh-m'eh-nee?) (Excuse me, please. What time is it?) Like most of Europe, Russia uses the 24-hour system for all kinds of official messages: train schedules, TV programs, working hours, and so on. So, instead of 3 p.m., you'll hear pyatnadtsdat' chasov (peet-naht-tsuht' chuh-sohf) (15 o'clock [literally: 15 hours]). In casual conversation, most people just use the 12-hour clock. To indicate a.m. say utra (oot-RAH) (literally: in the morning) and p.m. would be dnya (dn'ah) (literally: in the day). Use the following terms to express the time between the hours — the minuta (mee-NOO-tuh) (minutes; time increments) — in Russian: chasov (hour) pyatnadtsat' minut (peet-NAHT-tsuht' mee-NOOT) (15 minutes) polovina (puh-lah-VEE-nuh) (half of [the next hour]) byez (b'ehs) (without) Use the word byez (b'ehs) (without) to indicate the minutes before an hour, as in Syejchas byez pyatnadtsati pyat' (see-CHAHS bees peet-NAHT-tsuh-tee p'aht') (It's 4:45 [literally: It's 5 without 15 minutes]). However, when doing this you must but the number of minutes into the genitive case. Here are the genitive-case forms of the most commonly used numerals with this expression: odnoj (ahd-NOHY) (1) pyati (pee-TEE) (5) dyesyati (dee-see-TEE) (10) pyat'nadtsati (peet-NAHT-tsuh-tee) (15) dvadtsati (dvaht-tsuh-TEE) (20) dvadtsati pyati (dvuht-tsuh-TEE pee-TEE) (25) To state more irregular times, you can just say Syejchas . . . Hour + minutes, as in Syejchas chyetyrye dyesyat' (see-CHAHS chee-TIH-r'eh D'EH-s'uht') (It's 4:10). Russians say "o'clock" when expressing time, just as in the United States. However, saying "o'clock" in Russian is kind of tricky depending on what time it is. For most numerals, you'd use the word chasov, as in Syejchas pyat chasov (see-CHAHS p'aht' chuh-SOHF) (It's five o'clock).However, if the word for the time ends in the numerals 1, 2, 3, or 4, follow these simple rules: If the time is one o'clock, just use the word chas, as in Syejchas chas (see-CHAHS chahs) (It's one o'clock). If the time is 9:00 o'clock in the evening, use the word chas, as in Syejchas dvadtsat' odin chas (see-chahs DVAHT-tsuht' ah-DEEN chahs) (It's 21 o'clock). If the time ends in dva (dvah) (2), tri (tree) (3), chyetyrye (chee-TIH-ree) (4), use the word chasa, as in Syejchas tri chasa (see-CHAHS tree chuh-SAH) (It's 3 o'clock). To ask what time something will happen or has happened, use the phrase V kakoye vryemya . . . (f kuh-KOH-ee VR'EH-m'uh . . .) (At what time . . .).

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How to Count in Russian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Using Russian for numbers and counting can be tricky if you need to work extensively with numbers, such as in mathematics and accounting. Each Russian number has six forms depending on how it's used! The good news is that most of the time, you'll only need to use the nominative case. Cases are sets of endings that words take to indicate their function and relationship to other words in the sentence. Russian has 6 cases: nominative case (when it is the subject of the sentence); genitive case (when indicating possession); accusative case (when it is a direct object); dative case (when it is an indirect object); instrumental case (when it assists the carrying out of an action); and prepositional case (when used after some prepositions). Since most people won't find themselves needing to know all the different forms, we'll focus on just the most commonly used form: the nominative case. You'll probably use the numbers between zero and 9 the most. 0 to 9 nol' nohl' 0 odin ah-DEEN 1 dva dvah 2 tri tree 3 chyetyrye chee-TIH-r'eh 4 pyat' p'aht' 5 shyest' shehst' 6 syem' s'ehm' 7 vosyem' VOH-s'ehm' 8 dyevyat' D'EH-v'uht' 9 But wait! In Russian, when you use numbers, you have to follow a few rules: The number one followed by a noun: This number changes depending on the gender of the following noun: if masculine, say odin followed by the noun as in odin chyelovyek (ah-DEEN chee-lah-V'EHK) (one man); if feminine, say odna and if the noun is neuter, say odno. The number two followed by a noun: Change noun to singular. For masculine or neuter nouns, say dva, for feminine nouns, say dvye, as in dva chyelovyeka (dvah chee-lah-V'EH-kuh) (two men) and dvye dyevushki (dv'eh D'EH-voosh-kee) (two girls). The numbers three and four followed by a noun: Change the noun to singular; however, these numbers don't change according to gender. The numbers five through nine followed by a noun: Change the noun to plural, but do not change the noun according to gender, as in the phrase pyat' dyevushyek (p'aht' D'EH-voo-shehk) (five girls). Nouns following numerals 10 through 19 take the genitive plural: 10 to 19 dyesyat' D'EH-s'uht' 10 odinnadtsat' ah-DEE-nuht-tsuht' 11 dvyenadtsat' dvee-NAHT-tsuht' 12 trinadtsat' tree-NAHT-tsuht' 13 chyetyrnadtsat' chee-TIHR-nuht-tsuht' 14 pyatnadtsat' peet-NAHT-tsuht' 15 shyestnadtsat' shees-NAHT-tsuht' 16 syemnadtsat' seem-NAHT-tsuht' 17 vosyemnadtsyat' vuh-seem-NAHT-tsuht' 18 dyevyatnadtsat' dee-veet-NAHT-tsuht' 19

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How to Make Small Talk in Russian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Making small talk in Russian is just the same as in English. Touch on familiar topics like jobs, sports, children — just say it in Russian! Small talk describes the brief conversations that you have with people you don't know well. Small talk is where relationships begin. Small talk generally consists of greetings and introductions and descriptions of personal information and interests. If you're able to hold your own in each of these areas, you'll be able to handle most small talk situations. Greetings and introductions Greetings and introductions in Russian are a bit more formal than in English. There is a right way to greet people and a wrong way. In fact, if you botch your greeting, you may get a funny look or even offend the person you're addressing. As you'd expect, you should use a polite greeting when you run into someone you know or want to know. To greet a person you know well, say zdravstvuj (ZDRAH-stvooy) (hello) or privyet! (pree-V'EHT) (Hi!). To greet anyone else (or a group), say zdravstvujtye (ZDRAH-stvooy-t'eh) (hello). Russians like to begin with first suggesting that you become acquainted. They usually say Davajtye poznakomimsya! (duh-vahy-t'eh puhz-nuh- koh-meem-suh!) (Let's get acquainted). The most common response is Davajtye! (duh-vahy-t'eh!) (Okay! [literally: Let's!]). The following phrases will help you make introductions. Myenya zovut (Mee-N'AH zah-VOOT) + your name.) (My name is . . .) Kak vas zovut? (kahk vahz zah-VOOT?) (What is your name? [literally: What do they call you?]) When you want to introduce someone, all you need to say is Eto . . . (eh-tuh . . .) (This is . . .). Then you simply add the name of the person. Exchanging personal information After the necessary introductions, small talk is really just a question of talking about yourself and asking the other person questions about themselves. The following phrases will come in handy when you're chitchatting with someone new. Ya iz Amyeriki (ya eez uh-MYE-ree-kee) (I am from America) Vy iz kakogo goroda? (vih eez kuh-KOH-vuh GOH-ruh-duh?) (What city are you from?) Ya zhivu v Siyetlye (ya zhih-VOO f see-YET-l'eh) (I live in Seattle) What you do for living is crucial for a Russian's understanding of who you are. Be prepared to answer the question Kto vy po profyessii? (ktoh vih puh-prah-F'EH-see-ee?) (What do you do for a living? [literally: What's your job?]). To tell someone what you do for a living, say Ya + your profession. Here's a list of the most common professions: agyent po nyedvizhimosti (uh-G'EHNT puh need-vee-zhih-muhs-tee) (real-estate agent) aktrisa (ahk-TREE-suh) (actress) aktyor (ahk-TYOR) (male actor) archityektor (uhr-khee-T'EHK-tuhr) (architect) bibliotyekar' (beeb-lee-ah-T'EH-kuhr') (librarían) biznyesmyen (beez-nehs-M'EHN) (businessman) bukhgaltyer (bookh-GAHL-t'ehr) (accountant) domokhozyajka (duh-muh-khah-ZYAHY-kuh) (homemaker) inzhyenyer (een-zhee-N'EHR) (engineer) khudozhnik (khoo-DOHZH-neek) (artist, painter) muzykant (moo-zih-KAHNT) (musician) myedbrat (meed-BRAHT) (male nurse)/myedsyestra (meed-sees-TRAH) (female nurse) myenyedzhyer (MEH-nehd-zhehr) (manager) pisatyel' (pee-SAH-t'ehl') (author, writer) predprinimatyel (preht-pree-nee-MAH-t'ehl) (a businessman or a businesswoman) programmist (pruh-gruh-MEEST) (programmer) pryepodavatyel' (pree-puh-duh-VAH-t'ehl') (professor at the university) studyent (stoo-D'EHNT) (male student)/studyentka (stoo-D'EHNT-kuh) (female student) uchityel' (oo-CHEE-t'ehl') (male teacher)/uchityel'nitsa (oo-CHEE-t'ehl'-nee-tsuh) (female teacher) vrach (vrahch) (physician) yurist (yu-REEST) (attorney, lawyer) zhurnalist (zhoor-nuh-LEEST) (journalist) zunbnoj vrach (zoob-NOY vrahch) (dentist) Talking about personal interests Many friendships are forged on the bond of common interests. You can use the following phrases to compare interests when making small talk. To discover someone's likes or dislikes, you can ask one of the following: Chyem ty lyubish' zanimat'sya? (chyem tih LYU-beesh' zuh-nee-MAHT-suh?) (What do you like to do? [informal singular]) Chyem vy lyubitye zanimat'sya? (chyem vih LYU-bee-tee zuh-nee-MAHT-suh?) (What do you like to do? [formal]) Ty lyubish' . . . ? (tih LYU-beesh' . . . ?) (Do you like . . . ? [informal singular]) + the imperfective infinitive of a verb or a noun in the accusative case Vy lyubitye . . . ? (vih LYU-bee-tee . . . ?) (Do you like . . . ? [formal singular) (plural]) + the imperfective infinitive of a verb or a noun in the accusative case

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