10 Important Words & Phrases To Learn Before Visiting Russia

mbbs in russia
February 18, 2022

Russia is one of the most popular countries not only for students from various countries for their higher studies but also for the various luxury and adventure travelers from around the world. No matter what is the purpose of your visit to Russia, the language can be a huge trouble, especially for the first time travelers.

Though finding people with English competency is not a difficult task for students enrolled in Russian universities. However, it would be difficult to navigate and experience the country outside with no prior knowledge of the language or culture. The locals might not be so thorough with English and you might have trouble navigating or understanding.

 Read More: India & Russia: Overlapping Cultures, Languages and Beliefs

Similarly the parents traveling to Russia for meeting their children would require knowledge of a few key phrases and words to experience the country in its full allure.

1. Привет!

Pronounced as Priv-ee-yet

Meaning: Hi! (non-formal)

Greet your friends and peers with this. It is a great way to greet which is way less formal greeting than Здравствуйте (pronounced as Zdras-voy-tye; meaning- Hello). Use it with street vendors, passersby and anyone but remember not to use it to greet any old ladies otherwise they may take offense which may land you in trouble.

2. Хорошо.

Pronounced as Hor-a-show

Meaning: Good.

This magic word can help you in all sorts of situations. It is a good standard answer to all type questions like- How are you? Is this enough? Do you need to stop here? Would you like some more?

Pair it with Да (pronounced as ‘da’; meaning- yes) and you’ll find it incredibly easy to answer many everyday small-talk. You can also phrase it like a question if you are unsure of something.

3. Пожалуйста.

Pronounced as Puh- zhal-stah

Meaning: Please.

You can add this onto any verb and it will become polite automatically. The generally used imperatives in Russian language like- Give me, Do this, Go here; but with please, it becomes more like “Could you please give me… “.

4. Извините!

Pronounced as Iz-vin-ee-tye!

Meaning: I’m sorry!

Tip for the beginner, say the ‘tye’ sound with a soft ‘t’. This phrase would come handy not only when you do something wrong, or you think someone may have taken offense to something you’ve said. This also works when you are walking on a street and bump into someone.

Another tip, never say this with a smile, as it may seem strange and the other person may feel you are mocking them and that could be a problem.

5. Спасибо!

Pronounced as Spa-si-ba!

Meaning: Thank you!

It never hurts to be polite, but don’t be surprised if your Russian friends think you’re strange for saying this. Russian friends tend not to thank each other unlike other parts of the world. But still, the phrase may come useful at various occasions.

6. Это

Pronounced as Ehta

Meaning: This.

A small word that can fit into any sentence, helping the others to understand what you are talking about. It is effective when you are shopping and may not figure out what something is called in their local language. Это will get you what you want much faster.

7. Можно

Pronounced as Mohz na

Meaning: Can.

Another helpful word like Это, which you most probably would use many a times in a day during your stay in Russia. The word basically asks permission to do something, or if something is possible. Depending on tone and inflection (as well as some hand gestures) you can pretty much use this to check the possibility of anything: if you are allowed on the train now, if you can take your purchases, if you could have a bag for your purchases if you can use the restroom,and so on.

8. Очень приятно

Pronounced as Ochin pri yat-na

Meaning: Pleased to meet you.

The phrase will get brownie points when you meet someone who knows you’re a foreigner and you’ll make a good strong impression on them. Additionally, it is extremely polite. Shaking hands with men is the best way to greet them, but women offer a handshake only if you are close to them. To be safe, simply mirror the action of the person you are meeting.

9. До свидания!

Pronounced as Das vi-dan-ya!

Meaning: Good bye!

The formal good-bye is a good option if you do not personally know the person you are speaking to. For your friends, you can opt to say Пока (pronounced as Pa-ka) which is simply a non-formal counterpart of До свидания.

10. Я не понимаю

Pronounced as Ya nee pah-ni-my-u

Meaning: I don’t understand.

This can very often be paired with the phrase of “Do you speak English?,”(Вы говорите по-английски, pronounced as Vy govorite po-angliyski?). In Russia, people often just rephrase what they originally said in Russian. Generally, Russian speakers are quite friendly when you take the time to learn a few phrases.

 Also Read: The Scope Of Learning Russian During MBBS in Russia

Armored with these words, you are ready to board your flight to Russia and enjoy the country in its pure aesthetics.