7 Secrets to Learn Russian Fast

Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy 19

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Episode #19 – Russian Made Easy

 

Welcome to episode 19 of Russian Made Easy. As always, if you’re new here, it’s best to start with Episode 1. Anyway, today we’ll learn a very useful construction to talk about what we, or other people, have. So let’s start by repeating this new phrase:

У меня есть

One more time:

У меня есть

How would you translate it? Imagine you’re hanging out with your friend when she tells you, “Darn, my battery died and I need to make a call.” So you take out your cellphone and say:

У меня есть телефон. Хочешь?

 

We know everything except those first two words: U minya….there is a telephone. You want?

 

Although “u minya” translates as, “I have”, it’s important to know the super literal translation which is: AT ME

 

Notice, too, that the 2nd word is меня not мне. Listen to them side by side:

min-YEH….versus….min-YAH

 

Мне. Меня.

So, in normal English we’d say: I have a car.

But in Russian, they phrase it literally:

At me there exists a car.

У меня есть машина.

 

Also notice that the feminine word ‘mashina’ doesn’t change. That’s because the car is really the subject of the sentence. We’re not doing anything to the car. There just exists a car….at me.

 

Try saying:

I have a computer. (Lit: At me there is a computer.)

У меня есть компьютер.

 

Alright. Let’s let all that percolate in the part of your brain — and there is one, now — dedicated to Russian. Time for some review…

 

Ask your friend:

Do you need an apartment?

Тебе нужна квартира?

 

Tell your friend:

I like your car.

Мне нравится твоя машина.

 

Ask your friend: Where’s your apartment? Downtown?

Где твоя квартира? В центре?

 

Ask your friend:

Want a souvenir?

Хочешь сувенир?

 

Say: No, I don’t need a souvenir.

Нет. Мне не нужен сувенир.

 

Ask your friend: Where’s your computer?

Где твой компьютер?

 

Tell him: I need the internet.

Мне нужен интернет.

 

Finally, say:

You speak Spanish well.

Ты хорошо говоришь по-испански.

 

Ok….let’s get back to today’s new construction. Imagine you just offered your friend coffee but he said he didn’t want any. Tell him…

 

I have tea.

У меня есть чай.

 

So again, we know these two forms of the word “me” now. Say…

 

I need a telephone. (Lit: TO me is needed a phone.)

Мне нужен телефон.

 

Now say: I have a telephone.

Literally: At me there is a telephone.

У меня есть телефон.

 

Again, that’s: mne versus minya.

 

So, with that in mind, how do you think you’d ask a friend:

Do you have a telephone?

 

Hit PAUSE and think about it for a moment:

 

Do you have a telephone? (Lit: At you there is a telephone?)

У тебя есть телефон?

 

Did you hear the word “tibya”? Say it one more time:

У тебя есть телефон?

 

Let’s compare:

Do you need a computer?

Literally: TO YOU is needed a computer?

Тебе нужен компьютер?

 

Now ask: AT YOU there is a computer?

У тебя есть компьютер?

 

So we have:

to you = тебе

 

versus

at you = у тебя

 

тебе….тебя

 

Ask your friend:

Do you have a car?

У тебя есть машина?

 

Now let’s learn how to use this construction to say or ask what other people have. First, how do you say:

 

This is my friend John.

Это мой друг Джон.

 

Now listen to how we say:

John has a car.

У Джона есть машина.

 

Did you hear that? Say just…”At John…”

У Джона.

 

Based on that one example, how do you think you’d say:

Mark has a telephone.

У Марка есть телефон.

 

U Marka….At Mark. Let’s discuss what’s going on here in today’s tip…

 

V.O. And now, here’s your Tip of the Day from Russian Made Easy…

 

In Russian, there are many small words, like “U” that we just learned, and “v” or “ff” as in, V Makdonaldsyeh. And these little words have a big effect on the words that follow.

 

For example, ask: Where’s the bank?

Где банк?

 

But now say:

I’m now in the bank.

Я сейчас в банке.

 

That little word, “в” forced the word банк to change to банке. And that Russian word “у”, which we’ve been translating as “at”, also affects the words that follow. For example, my friend’s name is Vadim. But to say: At Vadim there is a computer, his name changes. Listen…

У Вадима есть компьютер.

 

As we’re seeing, the pattern with masculine words and names — when we have “uu” in front of them — is to simply add an “ah” sound at the end. У Марка….У Вадима…and so on.

 

Now listen to these:

 

This is Olga.

Это Ольга.

 

Olga has a car. (Literally: AT Olga there is a car.)

У Ольги есть машина.

 

How might you say: This is Svetlana. Svetlana has a computer.

Это Светлана. У Светланы есть компьютер.

 

So , the pattern with feminine words and names — when we have “у” in front of them — is to change the “ah” sound at the end to an “ee” sound. U Svetlani….U Olgi…and so on.

 

Again, the takeaway here is: Keep an eye out — well, an kee[ ear out — for the effect that these little words have on the words that follow.

 

Alright, let’s add a new word, now, to our vocabulary. Repeat after the speaker:

кошка

 

One more time:

кошка

 

The only pet I have is a koshka named Fluffy. She likes to sit in my lap and purr when I pet her.

 

So, a кошка is a cat.

 

How would you say:

This is my cat Fluffy.

Это моя кошка Флафи.

 

I like your cat.

Мне нравится твоя кошка.

 

I want a cat.

Я хочу кошку.

 

I have a cat.

У меня есть кошка.

 

 

And one more new word. Listen and repeat:

ручка

 

Again?

ручка

 

Can you guess what a ruchka is? Here it is in context.

 

I have two writing utensils on my desk. The wooden one that writes with lead is a pencil, and the plastic one that writes with ink is called a ручка.

 

So a ручка is a pen.

 

Ask your friend:

Do you have a pen?

У тебя есть ручка?

 

Say: I need a pen.

Мне нужна ручка.

 

Imagine your friend has a really cool, glow-in-the-dark pen. Tell her:

I want your pen!

Я хочу твою ручку!

 

How would you say:

Vladimir has a pen.

У Владимира есть ручка.

 

Say: Mom has a cat.

У мамы есть кошка.

 

Let’s work in other recent vocabulary. Say…

This is Dasha.

Это Даша.

 

Dasha has an apartment in the center.

У Даши есть квартира в центре.

 

This is Ivan.

Это Иван.

 

Ivan has a car.

У Ивана есть машина.

 

(Notice we say Ivan, they say Иван.)

 

This is my dad.

Это мой папа.

 

Dad has a computer.

У папы есть компьютер.

 

Before we end, let’s ask our friend one more time:

Do you have a cat?

У тебя есть кошка?

 

How will she say:

Yes, I have a cat.

Да, у меня есть кошка.

 

 

How are you doing with all these? I’m really interested to hear how you’re doing, so please write me an email and send it to: mark@RussianMadeEasy.com

 

As for today’s material, try to talk about the things you have, and the things people you know have. Really try to master this У тебя / У меня construction. It’s just so common. Meanwhile, next week we have our second major review, so make sure you’re ready for that, and I’ll see you then!

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