Archive for the ‘Russian Phrases’ category

Russian Phrases For the Airport

March 7th, 2010
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You just flew in to Moscow’s Sheremetevo’s airport. You’re exhausted and hungry, and yet now you have to deal with the hassle of passport control and getting your luggage, and possibly even making a connecting flight. Let’s prep you for this now, so you’ll be comfortable when you get there. Let’s learn some Russian phrases for the airport online:

Let’s greet the officer at Passport Control.

zdrast – vvooey – tyeh

(Listen to the sound file at the top of this article.)

Here is my passport.
Вот мой пасспорт.
vote moi passport.

Once he’s stamped your passport and handed it back to you, thank him:

It’s time to search for your luggage. Let’s keep things simple for now and just ask:

Where — baggage?

Где багаж?
gdyeh bagazh?

Let’s say you need to buy a ticket to your next destination. These airports aren’t as big as their U.S. and European counterparts, so you’ll find the ticket counters easily enough. Let’s buy a ticket:

One ticket to ____, please.

Один билет в ____, пожалуйста.
Odeen beelyet v ____ pozhaluista.

It’s important to know things like when boarding is, and when the departure is, so let’s ask:

When does boarding begin?

Когда начинается посадка?
kogda nachinaiesta posadka?

When is departure?
Когда вылет?
kogda vweelet?

Hopefully the person you’re speaking with will know some English. In airports, at least some of the personnel usually speaks some English. Still, though, I thinks it’s best to ask them: “Can you write that down, please?”

Напишите пожалуйста.
Napisheetyeh, pozhaluista.

Be sure to make a writing gesture, in case they have trouble understanding you. Anyway, ticket in hand, you head off to find your gate.

You’ve checked the monitors, which have writing in both English and Russian, so you’re feeling pretty confident that you’re waiting in the right area to board your next flight. Still, you want to be sure. Let’s ask someone:

Is this the flight to ____ ?

Это рейс в _____ ?
eto race v ____ ?

For example: Is this the flight to Ekaterinburg?

Это рейс в Екатеринбург?
Eto race v Yihkaterinburg?

You’re boarding the plane now. Let’s confirm that you’re about to take the right seat. Ask the stewardess:

“Is this my seat?”

Это моё место?
Eto maiyo myesto?

Hopefully she’ll say, “Da” which means “Yes.”
If she says, “Nyet,” (No), she’ll probably lead your to the correct seat.

After this next flight, after you’ve collected your bags, you might want a taxi. Luckily, the word for taxi always seems to be TAXI no matter where you go. The only difference is that Russian moves the emphasis. We say “TAxi” with emphasis on the “a”, they say, ‘tahk-SEE’ with emphasis on the “ee” at the end.

There you have it. Some of the most useful Russian phrases for the airport.

Enjoy your flight!
Russian Phrases For the Airport

Learn Online Travel Phrases for Sochi 2014

February 18th, 2010

The Winter Olympics are coming to Sochi, Russia in 2014. This article will give you the basic travel phrases you’ll need if you planning on attending The Games.

The word for “taxi” is the same in Russian as in English, but the accent changes. They say it like this, “tahk-SEE”. If you say the word correctly, the driver will assume you speak some Russian, and will ask you, “kuda?” (”koo” as in koo-koo, plus “da”, which sounds like “dot” without the “t”). Kuda means “Where to?”

Tell him, “Gostinitsa” if you want to head to your hotel. Let’s sound out that word:

“Gos” rhymes with the beginning of “ostrich”.
The “ti” sounds like “tea”.
“Nit” is pronounced like “neat”.
And the “sa” rhymes with “duh”.

So: gos – tea – neat -suh…But better to spell it, “Gostinitsa.” Hotel.

If you are headed over and didn’t have time to learn Russian, there are some online courses you can try of course. For now though, some more basics.

After you get to your hotel, you’ll soon be wanting to catch the Games. Here’s the main arenas and how to pronounce them. Also, bear in mind, The Games will be organized within two clusters, a coastal cluster in Sochi and a mountain cluster in Krasnaya Polyana. (KRAHS – nai – yah Pahl – YAH – nuh.)

“Bolshaya ledovaya arena” is the Big Ice-Rink, and the “Malaya ledovaya arena” is the Small ice Rink. Let’s look at the pronunciation:

“bahl – SHAI – yuh leh – DOH – vai -yuh ar – YEN – uh.” Practice saying it fast.
Meanwhile, the word “Malaya” is pronounced: “MAH – lai – uh.”

Speed Skating takes place at: “Konkabezhni Tsentr”

Figure Skating takes place in the “Ledovi Dvarets Sporta” (Lit: The Ice Palace of Sport.) The accent is on the “o”…Leh -DOH-vi Dvar-ETS.

If curling is your thing, you can catch all the heart-stopping action at the Arena For Curling, called “Arena Dlya Kurlinga”.

The Olympic Stadium itself also sounds very similar in Russian: “Olympiski Stadion”.

And the Main Olympic Village is called “Glavnaya Olympiskaya Derevniya.”

Sports like bobsledding and skiing take place in another main region, the Krasnaya Polyana.
For bobsledding, the main word you need is, “Bob-sleigh”. Say that to someone, and they’ll help you find the right place. And for ski events, you’ll want to know the word “Leezh-nee”. From that word, just add a little body language as to whether you ‘re interested in watching cross-country, or downhill.

Of course there will be brochures in English, but won’t you feel better knowing some of these words and using them when you’re there. It’ll be like your own form of participating in the games.

Oh, and one last word, after the sports are done for the night: Pivo (pronounced “PEE-vuh”) is the Russian word for beer.


Learn Useful Russian Travel Phrases

February 13th, 2010

Here are some useful Russian phrases for traveling. Print out this article, or jot them onto a note-card. Let’s start with the airport. The phrase you’ll need there is:

Here’s my passport.

vote moi PASSpurt.

The word “passpurt” looks weird, but it’s the best way to write it. The accent goes on the capital letters, PASS, but rhymes with the “pas” part of “pasta”.

Out of the airport, you’ll want a taxi to your hotel. Luckily, the word taxi is virtually the same in Russian as in English, except the accent is on the second syllable: “takSEE.” There are all sorts of questions the drive might ask you, but they’re all bound to be variations on, “Where to, pal?” Since most travelers stay in hotels. Let’s learn that word:

Hotel = gosteenitsa.

As with the first syllable of “passpurt”, “gos” also rhymes with the vowel sound of “pasta.” Then, sounding out the rest of the word, we have: “TEE – neets – uh” with the stress going on the TEE. So one more time, it’s: “gosteenitsa.” Then follow it with the name of your particular hotel.

Before getting in the cab, it’s good to know how much the driver wants. We can ask this with one word:

How much = skoilko

Let’s sound it out: skOIL – kuh

Imagine a company called RISK OIL COMPANY. Watch as we cut out the middle of that name:


This will help you learn and pronounce the word in Russian accurately.

Of course, if you don’t know much Russian, you probably won’t understand his answer. So I recommend just taking out a notepad and handing it to him. Numbers are written the same way in Russian, so you’ll be able to understand. Though clarify that the number is rubles (or grivna, if you’re in Ukraine) and not dollars.

Rubles? = rublei?

roo (As in, “Kangaroo”) + blei (rhymes with “play”). The emphasis goes on the “blei” part.
Hopefully, the driver will nod and say, “Da, da” which means, “Yes, yes.”

So, toss your suitcase in the trunk and thank him as you get in the cab:


Sounds like this: “spa – SEE – buh”

Once you arrive to the hotel, be sure to tell the driver, “Here, this is for you,” as you hand him the money. (A small tip is usually appreciated, but not mandatory as it seems to be in the US). Tell him:
vote vam

We saw, “Vote” already, when we were handing our passport to the officer in the airport. The “vam” part means, “for you” and rhymes with “mom”. Of course, he’ll then say, “Thank you.” Do you remember the word?


Grab your bag and head to the hotel.

Welcome to Russia!

The Many Ways to Say “No” in Russian

August 24th, 2009

Russian word for NoMost of my students don’t seem to have a problem remembering the word for ‘no’ in Russian, but for the sake of consistency, here’s my powerphrase for it:

Is the boss in his office? No, he’s not in yet.

Ok, let’s talk about how to say no in Russian..Politely..

The word for ‘no in Russian, is ‘nyet’. To pronounce it, first say “in yet”, then take away the “ihh” sound. Although it’s obviously imperative to know ‘nyet’, you run the risk of coming across as rude if you simply answer ‘nyet’ to certain questions, offers or requests. (Imagine if a host offers you something to eat. You’d probably decline by saying ‘No, thank you’ and not just ‘No.’) With that in mind, here are some other ways to say ‘No’ in Russian:

To answer politely, the equivalent of ‘No, thank you.’ in English, you’d say ‘Nyet, spahSEEba.’ [As always, the capital letters indicate emphasis.]

To answer sarcastically, or in anger, as in: ‘Thanks, don’t bother!’, a Russian person will say ‘Nyet, nee NAHdah!’

In English, we have quite a few informal ways to say ‘No’, as in: Nope and Nyeah and Nah. In Russian, an informal ‘No’ sounds like ‘nyet’ but without the ‘t’ at the end: ‘Nyeh.’ It’s worth noting that this informal ‘no’ is as common in Russian as it is in English. My girlfriend Dasha and I, for example, hardly ever say ‘nyet’ to each other — in any context — because it’s way too formal. Instead, we use the lighthearted ‘nyeh.’

There’s one more form of ‘No’ worth mentioning: ‘Da nyet’. Since ‘da’ means ‘yes’ in Russian, it appears as if you’d be saying ‘yes no’, but you’re not. Instead, ‘da nyet’ has the feeling of acknowledging something, and yet declining or contradicting it. Here are some examples:

Every time I visit Dasha’s home, her mom immediately offers me something to drink, saying, “You must be thirsty.” I then smile, pat my stomach, and say, “Da nyet, on the way over I drank a whole thing of juice. But thanks.”

If it’s winter, her mom might say, “Let me turn up the heat, you must be cold.” Assuming I’m not cold, I’d reply, “Da nyet, I’m very comfortable.”

It took me a while to get used to saying ‘da nyet’ because, as I mentioned, it seems like you’re saying ‘yes no’, but then I realized that in this phrase, ‘da’ is an acknowlegment. It’s as if the ‘da’ part is saying, “Yes, I see your point, but…”

So, there you have it. The many ways to say ‘no’ in Russian.

How To Construct Useful Russian Phrases

August 23rd, 2009

Because of something called cases, it can be difficult to construct useful phrases in Russian. However, if you’re willing to allow some minor grammatical mistakes in your communications, then there’s a host of useful Russian phrases you can create, using the fill-in-the-blank method below.

Before getting started, it should be pointed out that the only correct spelling of a Russian word is with the Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet. Since I will be using only English letters in this article, I will be giving two different spellings: The first will help with pronounciation, where capital letters indicate emphasis, and the second version will show the more common, simplified written form. Ready? Let’s get started:

Phrase #1: Do you like______ ?
Phonetic spelling: TibYEAH NRAHveetsa ________ ?
Usually written: Tebe nravitsa ________ ?
Literally: To you is pleasing _______ ?
Example: Tebe nravitsa chocolate? (To you is pleasing chocolate?)

Phrase #2: I like ________ .
Phonetic spelling: minYEAH NRAHveetsa ________ .
Usually written: Mne nravitsa ________ .
Literally: To me is pleasing _______ .
Example: Mne nravitsa pizza. (To me is pleasing pizza.)

Phrase #3: Where is ________ located?
Phonetic spelling: GihDYEAH naKHOdeetsa _______ ?
Usually written: Gde naxoditsa ________ ?
Literally: Where is located _______ ?
Example: Gde naxoditsa toilet? (Where is located the toilet?)

Phrase #4: How old are you?
Phonetic spelling: SKOILka tihBYEAH lyet?
Usually written:skolko tebe let?
Literally: How many to you years?

Phrase #5: I am ____ years old.
Phonetic spelling: minYEAH ____ lyet.
Usually written: mne ____ let.
Literally: To me ____ years.
Example: Mne 40 let. (To me 40 years.)

Phrase #6: I want _____ .
Phonetic spelling: Ya khaCHU ____ .
Usually written: ya xochu _____ .
Literally: I want _____ .
Example: Ya xochu soup. (I want soup.)

Phrase #7: D you want _____ ?
Phonetic spelling: Tee KHOchish _____ ?
Usually written: Ti xochish _____?
Literally: You want _____ ?
Example: Ti xochish coffee? (You want coffee?)

Phrase #8: What do you do?
Phonetic spelling: chem tee zahniMAIeshsya?
Usually written: chem ti zanimaeshsya?
Literally: With what do you occupy yourself?

Phrase #9: I spend my time doing _______ . [NOTE: This is in answer to the question above.]
Phonetic spelling: ya zahniMAHyous ________om.
Usually written: ya zanimayus _____om.
Literally: I occupy myself with _____ .
Example: Ya zanimayus sportom. (I spend my time playing sports.)
Example: Ya zanimayus businessom. (I spend my time doing business.)

Phrase #10: I live in ________ .
Phonetic spelling: Ya zhiVU v ______ .
Usually written: ya zhivu v ______ .
Literally: I live in ______ .
Example: Ya zhivu v America. (I live in America.)

As I mentioned, there are plenty of grammatical mistakes in these constructions, but you will absolutely be understood by native Russian speakers, and you will certainly find these phrases useful at some point.

Good luck!

17 Russian Phrases for Love

August 1st, 2009

Russian phrases to express loveHow do I love thee, let me count the ways in Russian! As in English, the Russian language has many ways to express the feelings you have for your partner, and I would like to detail 17 Russian phrases for love in this article. As always, I will write the phrase in English twice. The first will help with pronunciation, the second will be the more common written version. And remember, the only true way to spell any of these phrases is in Cyrillic, but don’t worry: All Russians can read and pronounce the English alphabet. Let’s get started!

I love you. = Ya tebYA luBLU [Written: Ya tebya lublu]

This can be amplified with different adverbs and phrases. For example:

I really love you. = Ya tebya OCHin lublu. [Written: Ya tebya ochin lublu.]

I truly love you. = Ya daystVEETelno tibya lublu. [Written: Ya destvitelno tibya lublu.]

I love you very strongly. = Ya lublu tebya OCHin SEELnuh. [Written: Ya lublu tibya ochin silno.]

I love you with all my strength. = Ya lublu tibya eez za fsYEKH seel. [Written: Ya lublu tibya iz za fsex sil.]

I love you more than anyone else in the world. = Ya lublu tibya BOILsheh fsekh na SVYETyeh. [Written: Ya lublu tibya bolshe fsex na svete.]

You are my love. = Tee maiYAH luBOAF. [Written: Ti maya lubov.]

You are my only love. = Tee yehDEENstvinaya maya lubov. [Written: Ti edinstvinaya maya lubov.]

You are my beloved. = Tee maiYAH luBEEmaya. [Written: Ti maya lubimaya.] Though corny-sounding in English, calling a woman your beloved in Russian is extremely common and will win her over!

If you just met a woman and want to impress her, you can tell her the following:
I believe in love at first sight! = Ya VYERu v luBOAF SPYERvava vzGLYAda. [Written: Ya veryu v lubov s pervovo vzglada.] You can then follow up with a question:
�And do you believe, also? = A tee TOzhe VYEReesh? [Written: A ti tozhe verish?]

Dear! = DoroGAya. [Written: Dorogaya.] This is the most common form of address when speaking to your girlfriend or wife. You could also refer to her as

Sweety! = MEElaya. [Written: Milaya.]

Often, the adjective my is added before these:

My dear! = DoroGAya maya. [Written: Dorogaya maya.]

My sweety! = Meelaya maya. [Written: Milaya maya.]

I adore you. = Ya tebYA ahbihZHAIyu. [Written: Ya tebya obizhayu.]

You are my second half. = Tee maiYAH ftaRAYA palahVEENa. [Written: Ti maya ftoraya polovina.] This phrase, about her being your second half, is extremely common in Russian.

Hopefully you found this list of Russian phrases for love to be useful. Now go put them to work for you!

This one, here in Russian

August 1st, 2009

This video teaches the Russian word for “This one here.” If you are a music fan, you might know of a singer named Etta James. Remember Etta, and you can easily remember how to say This One Here in Russian. Have a look at the video for the simple explanation. And remember to point as you say it, because it’s a phrase you use as your telling something which thing you want.

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