A quick guide to basic Russian lingo!

So, you’re in Russia? And you want to learn a bit of the local lingo? Here’s a very quick guide to the basics in Russian.

When meeting up with Russians, a handshake is an appropriate gesture when greeting or leaving. You might want to start with:

Hello/Hi Привет [pri-v’et]

Good morning Доброе утро [dob-r-je ut-r]

Good afternoon Добрый день [dob-ryj d’en’]

Good evening Добрый вечер [dob-ryj v’e-ch’er]

Your friendly Russian hosts may well wish you:

Welcome! Добро пожаловать! [db-ro p-zha-l^-vat’]

You’ve got past the greeting stage, what next?

How are things? Как дела? [kak d’e-la]

Good/OK Хорошо [kh-r-sho]

Excellent отлично [^t-lich’-no]

Pointing, gesturing and smiling will get you a long way, together with a few basic phrases:

Yes Да [da]

No Нет [n’et]

Maybe Может быть [mo-zhet byt’]

Please Пожалуйста [p^-zha-lus-ta]

Thank you Спасибо [spa-si-b^]

Thank you very much Большое спасибо [bl’-sho-je spa-si-b]

Excuse me Извините [iz-vi-ni-t’e]

Sorry Простите [pr^s-ti-t’e]

And if all else fails, and communication breaks down completely:

I don’t understand Я не понимаю [ja n’e p^-ni-ma-ju]

Do you speak English? Вы говорите по-английски? [vy g-v-ri-t’e p^-an-glis-ki]

I don’t speak Russian Я не говорю по-русски [ja n’e g-v-r’u p^-rus-ki]

All too soon it’s time to leave:

Bye Пока [p^-ka]

Goodbye До свидания [d^ svi-da-ni-ja]

Good night Спокойной ночи [sp-koj-nj no-chi]

Congratulations, you can now say a few basic Russian phrases. That wasn’t too tricky!

Feeling inspired to take it further? Why not download the Collins Russian Phrasebook e-book to take your language learning to the next level? Go on, what is there to lose!

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