How to say Hi in Russian

July 28th, 2009 by Mark Leave a reply »

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Power Phrases Lesson #4
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If you want to say Hi in Russian look no further! In this video I teach you the Russian word for hi, which is privet. Remember as always to roll your R’s in Russian, including the R in privet. To get a feel for the rolled R, try saying the word udder, and note how your tongue bounces against the roof of your mouth. So, suuuuper slow, the pronunciation of Privet would be:

Puh-udder-ee-viyet. Say this faster and faster, and you will work the rolled Russian “R” into your speech naturally.

Be careful how you use Hello and Hi as it really does depend on who you are speaking to and what the situation is. Hi is the more casual version to be used when speaking with those who you are familiar with.

The Russian word for Hello, by the way, is relatively difficult to learn, so I put it much later in these videos. But don’t worry, we’ll get to it. For now, you can get by with just Privet, and even if you use it mistakenly (that is, during a formal first meeting with an adult), you won’t overly offend because they know you are a foreigner and they appreciate even the smallest effort to learn their language.

You’ll often hear people especially young women greet each other (and you) with Privetik! (The “ik” part is pronounced “eek,” but usually written as “ik.”) What that little “ik” at the end is doing is making it cutesy. In fancy lingo terms, it’s called the diminutive, but I tend to avoid using fancy terms like that.

Anyway, if you say that to a girl, I guarantee she’ll laugh and think it’s the cutest darned thing she’s ever heard a foreigner saying privetik! If you want, you can make lots of words cutesy like that. Sometimes you need to add just “ik” at the end, but sometimes it works better with “chik” (pronounced just like the word “cheek”). If, for example, you know that the word “poka” (pronounced puhKAH) means “See you later,” you can make the cutesy version for a big laugh:

Pokachik!

Or even cuter: Pokachikee!

Remember that in all instances the accent is on the KA syllable.

Want more? Da (which means Yes) could become Dachik, and nyet (No) could be nyetchik. Not that you’ll hear it very often. A little “chik” goes a long way. But using it once or twice when people — especially women — don’t expect it, you’ll get a big reaction.

Good Luck!

Russian Destroyer

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3 comments

  1. Franko says:

    I heard that Hello is one of the toughest words in Russian……Is that true? Thanks for the help…lesons are way kool!

  2. Mark says:

    It is indeed true. Eleven letters, starting with three consnants in a row: z+d+r…It’s hell…Eh, I mean, Hello!

  3. Steven says:

    hey Mark,
    I like your blog, much good info, I’ll have to try that, the “ik” on my next trip to Kiev in August, ha, ha!

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