Lesson 1. The Basics...
Mar 10, 2001
The Bottom Line You will find that the basic words will same you some trouble and will delight your Russian friends (if any...)
As a native (and anyhow being enormously interested in foreign languages in general) I have decided to write on the topic. So now, what do you need to know to have less difficult time on your trip to Russia especially if you do not speak the language? Note that if you take an adventure to visit the cities that can not be regarded as those central you may have troubles: due to the level of the secondary education here few people you are likely to meet in the streets shall speak enough English. The words are written in transcription due to the fact that Russian alphabet differs considerably.
Da - yes
Niet - no
Meeting a person.
Prevet - means "hello": use it when greeting your Russian friends: they shall be delighted to hear the words of their own language from a foreigner.
Dobrij den' - stands for "good afternoon" with exactly the same meaning as in English
Dobroe utro - (pronounced as dobroje ootro would be said in English) - means "good morning": a greeting use should use before 12 o'clock in the morning
Dobrij vecher - "good evening" in English: greet people with these words if you meet them after 17 - 18 o'clock in the evening
Saying goodbye to a person.
Do svidania - the word means "good bye" and is used in both formal and informal speech if you mean to see the person again.
Poka - the same meaning but you should only use the word when parting with a friend (or friends) of yours.
Spasibo - means "thanks" and is the most common word of the kind in Russia
Spasibo vam - an exact "thank you" in Russian is used sometimes when thanking a person
Spasibo tebe - the same "thank you" but only applied to a friend
Bol'shoe spasibo - the most exact counterpart of the expression in English is "thank you very much". Used when you are deeply grateful or just want to show more respect.
So you have done something wrong and you want to beg pardon. How to do that?
Izvinite menia - excuse me (used also if you want somebody to get out of your way in a means of transportation)
Prostite pozhalusta - has exactly the same meaning as the previous one.
Proshu proschenija - "I beg your pardon" is the exact phrase in Russian with much the same use.