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Planning a trip to Russia? Before you leave, it might be a good idea to learn a few basic words and phrases in Russian.
Russian is actually a very useful language to learn. It is the seventh most spoken native language in the world. Of course, most native Russian speakers live in Russia, but there are also a lot of Russian speakers in Europe and Eurasia.
If you want to get started learning Russian, one of the first things you need to do is learn some basic Russian phrases. In this post, we’ve collected a few that you should learn, understand, and memorize as you will find them useful when talking to native Russian speakers.
Bonus: Download a FREE PDF With 79 Most Common Russian Phrases
As in many languages, in Russian, there are words that mean “hello”. In Russian, these are the formal “zdrastvuyte” and the informal “privet”. You can also say hello to a Russian speaker with the following three phrases, depending on the time of day.
Pronunciation guide: dObroye Utro
English meaning: Good morning
Pronunciation guide: dObriy den’
English meaning: Good afternoon
Pronunciation guide: dObriy VEcher
English meaning: Good evening
After you have greeted each other appropriately, the next step to starting a friendly conversation with a Russian speaker would be to introduce yourselves. You can do so by using the following phrases.
Pronunciation guide: kak vas zoVUT?
English meaning: What is your name? (formal)
Pronunciation guide: teBYA zoVUT?
English meaning: What is your name? (informal)
Pronunciation guide: meNYA zoVut
English meaning: My name is
After the introductions have been made, it’s time for a little polite small talk with the following Russian phrases.
Pronunciation guide: priYATno poznaKOmitsa
English meaning: It’s nice to meet you.
Pronunciation guide: kak deLA?
Pronunciation guide: haraSHO, spaSIbo
English meaning: I’m fine, thank you
Pronunciation guide: nePLOho, spaSIBO
English meaning, I’m OK, thank you
If you need to bring the conversation to a halt first, as you need to go somewhere, you should use the following phrases to take your leave.
Pronunciation guide: do sviDAniya
English meaning: Goodbye
Pronunciation guide: DObroi NOchi
English meaning: Good night
Pronunciation guide: do VSTREchi
English meaning: Until next time
One of the main reasons given for studying Russian is because someone is traveling to Russia or another area where there are a lot of Russian speakers.
Even if you have started taking Russian language lessons with a native speaking tutor, you will want to be able to tell people that you are just learning and you might need some help understanding them. These are a few phrases you should know and use as needed.
Pronunciation guide: pomoGIte, poZHAlusta
English meaning: Help me, please
Pronunciation guide: YA ne poniMAyu
English meaning: I don’t understand
Pronunciation guide: YA poniMAyu
English meaning: I understand
Pronunciation guide: YA ne govoryU po RUSski
English meaning: I don’t speak Russian
Pronunciation guide: vi govoRIte po angLIYski
English meaning: Do you speak English?
Pronunciation guide: Ya PLOkha govoryU po Ruskie
English meaning: My Russian is bad
Pronunciation guide: Ya NimNOga govoryU po Ruskie
English meaning: I speak a little Russian
Pronunciation guide: PavTArite, poZHAlusta
English meaning: Could you please repeat
Pronunciation guide: GavRItye poZHAlusta MYEDliney
English meaning: Could you please speak slowly
When traveling in an area where a lot of people speak Russian, it would be wise to know how to ask for directions and understand the directions that you are being given. The following phrases will be useful for those reasons.
Pronunciation guide: Gde
English meaning: Where is?
You can use this phrase to ask for directions, all you have to do is add the name of the place you want to go. Here are examples of how to ask for directions to three important places: the metro station, the bus station, and the bathroom.
Pronunciation guide: gde metro
English meaning: Where is the metro?
Pronunciation guide: gde avTObus?
English meaning: Where is the bus?
Pronunciation guide: gde tuaLET
English meaning: Where is the bathroom?
As we mentioned, you also need to understand the directions that a Russian speaker will give you. So you should memorize the following phrases and what they mean.
Pronunciation guide: iDIte PRYAmo
English meaning: Go straight
Pronunciation guide: poverNIte na PRAvo
English meaning: Turn right
Pronunciation guide: poverNIte na LEvo
English meaning: Turn left
It is probably a good idea to have a map of the area on you and, if you need to find one, you can say this.
Pronunciation guide: KARtu, poZHAlusta
English meaning: A map, please.
Here are a few other Russian phrases that could be useful to know when trying to navigate a new area.
If you have found the bus or metro station, you can buy a ticket to your next destination with these phrases.
Pronunciation guide: gde biletNAYA kasa?
English meaning: Where is the ticket office?
Pronunciation guide: oDIN biLYET, poZHAlusta
English meaning: One ticket, please.
You should probably also know how to ask about taxi’s – or “taksi” in Russian. Here are the phrases you can use.
Pronunciation guide: gde stoYANka takSI
English meaning: Where is a taxi stand?
Pronunciation guide: gde mozhNo vyZHAT takSI
English meaning: Where can I find a taxi?
If you have found a taxi, you can tell your driver where you want to go by using this phrase
Pronunciation guide: OTVEzite menYA po etoMU adresu
English meaning: Drive me to this address
If you are in a taxi or a rented car, you can tell your driver that you want to get off by using the following Russian phrase.
Pronunciation guide: ostanoVItes’ zdes’, poZHAlusta
English meaning: Stop here, please
First, you should probably know how you can ask about a good place to eat.
Pronunciation guide: gde khoroSHIY restoRAN
English meaning: Where is a good restaurant?
When dinning in a restaurant, you will find the following Russian phrases useful.
Pronunciation guide: na dvoIH, poZHAlusta
English meaning: A table for two, please.
Pronunciation guide: MOzhno meNU poZHAlusta?
English meaning: Could I have the menu, please?
Pronunciation guide: ya BUdu
English meaning: I will have
Pronunciation guide: MOzhno mne staKAN
English meaning: May I have a glass of
Pronunciation guide: MOzhno mne CHAshku
English meaning: May I have a cup of
Pronunciation guide: MOzhno chek, poZHAlusta?
English meaning: Check, please
If you are going shopping, be it for necessities or to pick up a few souvenirs, you will probably find yourself needing to use the following Russian phrases.
Pronunciation guide: YEST’il u vas v naLICHI
English meaning: Do you have?
Pronunciation guide: YEST druGOJ razMYER
English meaning: Do you have a different size?
Pronunciation guide: YEST druGOJ tsvYET
English meaning: Do you have a different color?
Pronunciation guide: YA beRU eta
English meaning: I’ll take this.
Pronunciation guide: skol’ko STOit?
English meaning: How much is it?
Pronunciation guide: MOzhno zaplaTIT’ naLICHnue?
English meaning: Can I pay by cash?
Pronunciation guide: MOzhno zaplaTIT’ kreDItnoi KARtochkoi?
English meaning: Can I pay by credit card?
You should also know how to ask for certain specific stores. Here are some Russian phrases that you can use to do so.
Pronunciation: gde superMARket
English meaning: Where is the supermarket?
Pronunciation: gde suVEnir magazine
English meaning: Where is the souvenir shop?
Pronunciation guide: gde KNIzhni magaZIN
English meaning: Where is the bookstore?
Pronunciation guide: gde BUlochnaya
English meaning: Where is the bakery?
Pronunciation guide: gde APteka
English meaning: Where is the pharmacy?
Aside from food and shopping, one of the most important things you need to know how to ask for is accommodations. Here are a few useful phrases that you can use once you get to a hotel.
Pronunciation guide: U vas YEST svaBODnyye NAmyeRA
English meaning: Do you have any rooms available?
Pronunciation guide: U MYEnya yest braNIravaniYE
English meaning: I have a reservation
Pronunciation guide: SKOLka za naCH?
English meaning: How much is it per night?
Pronunciation guide: va SKOLka ZAyest
English meaning: At what time is check-in?
Pronunciation guide: va SKOLka vyyest
English meaning: At what time is check-out?
Here are a few other Russian phrase that you might find useful for communicating with native Russian language speakers.
Pronunciation guide: NE MOGli by vy mne POmoch
English meaning: Can you help me?
Pronunciation guide: YA POterYALsya
English meaning: I’m lost
Pronunciation guide: bal’SHOye spaSIbo
English meaning: Thank you very much
Pronunciation: spaSIbo za POmoshch
English meaning: Thank you for your help
Pronunciation guide: NicheVO, nichVO, poZHAlusta
English meaning: That’s all right
Pronunciation: SchasLIvava PooTEE
English meaning: Have a nice trip
Pronunciation guide: gde bol’NITSA
English meaning: Where is the hospital?
Pronunciation guide: mne PLOkha
Meaning: I don’t feel well
Pronunciation guide: u menYA boLIT zhiVOT
English meaning: I have a headache
Pronunciation guide: u menYa boLIT goloVA
English meaning: I have a stomachache
Pronunciation guide: YA poTERyal svoy KOshelek
English meaning: I lost my wallet
Pronunciation guide: YA poTERyal passport
English meaning: I lost my passport
Pronunciation guide: YA poTERyal moi kLYUchi
English meaning: I lost my keys
Pronunciation guide: kak doBRATsya v aeroport
English meaning: How do I get to the airport?
Pronunciation guide: SKOL’ko vreMEni
English meaning: What time is it?
Pronunciation guide: khoCHOO yest’
English meaning: I’m hungry
Pronunciation guide: khoCHOO pit’
English meaning: I’m thirsty
Pronunciation guide: YA vyeGYEtariaNYETS/YA vyGYEtarianKA
English meaning: I’m a vegetarian (masculine/feminine)
Pronunciation guide: MnYE nRAvitSa
English meaning: I like it
Pronunciation guide: MnYe NYE nRAvitSA
English meaning: I don’t like it
The best way to begin having conversations in Russian is to first build up your mental library of common words and phrases, then begin practicing using these words and phrases in conversations.
You can download a PDF of this list of basic and common conversational Russian phrases and memorize what they mean to learn when you should use them. If you really want to learn quickly, however, you should work with an online native Russian speaking tutor.
Go through this list of Russian phrases with your tutor. They can help you understand when and how you can use them in conversations. They can also correct your pronunciation and accent as needed so that, when you finally travel to an area with a lot of Russian speakers, you can easily chat with the locals.
Dobroye utro, Dobriy vecher, Kak vas zovut?, Menya zovut, Priyatno poznakomitsa
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