Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 7

Order Food In A Russian Restaurant

Listen To Entire Episode

Exercises Only

Welcome to episode number 7. Let’s practice saying two new Russian words. These are two of the most common words in the language. So, repeat after the speaker:

есть …again… есть

 [NOTE: I’ve chosen to not sound out the Russian words in these transcripts using English letters. If you’d like to be able to read Russian (it can be learned in just a few days) I’ll include a link at the bottom of this transcript to my course on reading Russian.]

 If I were to sound that out using English letters, I’d spell it y-a-y-s-t….есть

Listen one more time: есть

And now try this one:


…one more time…


It’s long overdue, but let me finally talk a moment about the rolled R in Russian. If you’re having trouble try saying “udder”….udder…See how your tongue bounces off the roof of your mouth? That’s how a rolled R feels. So this new word…


…in super-slow motion would be: hо-UDDER-sho

We also have that very Russian X sound. It’s almost like you’re clearing your throat, I mean, as if to spit. (demo). I know…it’s a little gross. But you do need a touch of that in there. Xuh

One more time, slowly: ho-UDDER-show

And quickly, from a native speaker:


All three vowels there are the letter “o” by the way, but in Russian, only one O per word can be pronounced as an “oh.” The rest sound like “uh”.

Try our two new words again:


Alright. As those seep into your sub-conscious, let’s review the material from podcast 6.

You’ve just been seated in a cafe and the waiter is ready for your order. Greet him, and say:

I’ll have coffee, please.

Здравствуйте, я буду кофе, пожалуйста.

How should you thank him when he brings it?


To which he will reply:


Now wait a second. What does пожалуйста mean? Please or You’re welcome? Well, hopefully you recall that it literally means ‘please’, but it’s also used as a response when someone thanks you because you’re telling them PLEASE…there’s no need to thank me.


Now, looking at the menu, you notice a photo of some food item that looks like pasta. And, like so many foreign foods, the word is a cognate in Russian. Listen:


So point to the picture and ask the waiter with just two words:

Is this pasta?

Это паста?

How will he say: Yes, this is pasta.

Да, это паста.

So tell him:

I’ll have the pasta, please.

Я буду пасту пожалуйста.

Did you remember to say “pastu”…with an “uu” sound at the end? Remember, by ordering pasta we’re doing something to the word. And so its “ah” ending has to change to “uu.” If you’re still shaky on that, it might be worth reviewing the previous podcast, number 6. But if you got it right and said pastu, honestly, you’re doing great!

So, do you recall those two words we started the podcast with?



Let’s see if you can figure out what they mean.

Pretend I’m at my Russian friend’s apartment. As he heads into the kitchen, he asks me if I want a beer. I know he usually has a big selection of beers in his fridge, so listen to our conversation:

Есть Хайнэкэн?

Да, есть.

Хорошо. Я буду Хайнэкэн, пожалуйста.

Let’s try a similar example, but with soft-drinks. My girlfriend is standing by her refrigerator and asks if I want a soda. I know she has all sorts of soft drinks, so I ask her…

Есть Спрайт?

Да, есть.

Хорошо. Я буду Спрайт, пожалуйста.

Do you kind of have a feel for how those two words might translate? Here’s that first conversation in English:

“Is there Heineken?”

“Yes, there is.”

“Okay, I’ll have a Heineken, please.”

So, есть translates as “is there” or “there is” depending on if you’re using it to ask a question or make a statement. But super-literally, it translates as “there exists”. As in:

“There exists Heineken?”

“Yes, there exists.”

Awkward sounding, for sure, but important to know.

And what about that other word, хорошо? Well, that can translate a number of ways. In these examples it’s used like the English word “okay”.

“Okay, I’ll have a Heineken.”

Хорошо. Я буду Хайнэкэн

The word is also used as a way of agreeing. Like, imagine your wife says, “I think I’ll make soup tonight. Sound good to you?” You’d reply…”Okay.”


You wanna go to the movies?


The word has other uses and meanings that we’ll pick up as we go along…хорошо?

Anyway, let’s step back into the cafe and put these words to work for us. So, you’re sitting at the table. You’ve already exchanged greetings with the waitress. So ask her:

Is there soup?

Есть суп?

Listen to her response:

Да. Есть борщ и есть солянка.

So, she said: Yes, there is borscht and there is solyanka.

Since you’re not familiar with that solyanka soup, let’s play it safe and order the borscht. Tell her:

I’ll have the borscht, please.

Я буду борщ, пожалуйста.

But if you were feeling adventurous and wanted to try a new soup, how would you say:

I’ll have the solyanka.

Я буду солянку.

Did you remember to change the “a” at the end of solyanka to an “uu” sound? solyanku.

Я буду солянку.

Now, you’re having trouble finding coffee on the menu, so ask the waitress:

Is there coffee?

Есть кофе?

Again, listen to her answer:

Да, есть. И есть капучино.

Tell her:

Okay, I’ll have the cappuchino, please.

Хорошо. Я буду капучино, пожалуйста.

Now, here are two more easy cognates in Russian. Again, they’re foods. Listen and repeat…



So, we say yogurt, and in Russian it’s йогурт with that deep “uu” sound.

And that 2nd one is muffin.

They have a “mah” sound at the beginning. And for that, envision a bluberry muffin, or some other sweet muffin. Think cakey, not bready.

So, imagine your girlfriend has come over for breakfast, but sadly you don’t have much to offer. Tell her…

There’s coffee, there’s yogurt, and there’s a muffin.

Есть кофе, есть йогурт, и есть маффин.

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

Today’s tip is quick ‘n’ easy: When you’re in Russia or Ukraine and you’re using your Russian, try asking questions that you already know the answer to. That might sound like a dumb thing to do, or a waste of a person’s time, but it’s not. Because — since you already know the information — you can relax and focus all your attention on listening to the native speaker. When I was is Moscow, for example, I’d stop people on the street from time to time and ask how to get to Red Square….again, even though I knew exactly how to get there — because I wanted to analyze their answers, and their word choice, and so on, without that stress of, “Man, I gotta make sure I remember all this.”

So that’s the tip of the day: From time to time, ask questions you already know the answer to.

Alright, let’s put it all together now:

So, you’re in a cafe and the waitress comes over. Start by greeting her:


You’re hoping to hear that same greeting, but instead she says:

Добрый день. Что Вы хотите?

Gulp! Well, don’t panic. She used a different greeting: Добрый день.

And then she followed with: Что Вы хотите?

as she pulled out her pad and pen.

So, we haven’t learned all those words, but we have encountered ЧТО, remember? In Podcast 5 we learned to point at something and ask:

What is this?

Что это?

So, ЧТО is the Russian word for “what”.

So when the waitress pulls out her pad and pen and asks Что Вы хотите?

She’s asking, WHAT….something something. And it’s a safe bet she’s asking What do you want? or What would you like? She obviously wants to know your order. So let’s ask her:

Is there soup?

Есть суп?

How will she say:

Yes, there is. There is borscht and solyanka.

Да, есть. Есть борщ и солянка.

Tell her:

Okay, I’ll have the borscht, please. And coffee.

Хорошо. Я буду борщ, пожалуйста. И кофе.

Change your mind. Tell her…

No, I’ll have the solyanka.

Нет, я буду солянку.

She says: Solyanka? Ok.

Солянку? Хорошо.

Tell her: Thanks.


And she says: You’re welcome.


That was kind’ve fun. Let’s try another one. The waiter comes over, so greet him:


He, too, uses that other greeting:

Добрый день.

..and then asks you:

Что Вы хотите?

We know he’s asking, WHAT….something something. I don’t want to officially learn this phrase yet. We’ll cover it in a future episode. For now we’re just going to assume he’s asking: What do you want?

Now, imagine that — although it’s 11am — you haven’t had breakfast yet. Let’s ask him:

Is there yogurt?

Есть йогурт?

And here’s his reply:

А…завтрак хотите. Ну…есть йогурт, есть маффин, есть блины…и есть кофе и капучино.

You’ll notice this happens a lot with any foreign language you learn. Native speakers never seem to use the exact phrases you’ve studied. Of course, why would they? The assumption by native speakers is essentially: Well, he knows those words, so he must know these words, too.

But don’t worry. We can deal with this. Let’s first listen one more time to his response:

А…завтрак хотите. Ну…есть йогурт, есть маффин, есть блины…и есть кофе и капучино.

The first four words are new to us. But then he gets to stuff we have learned:

есть йогурт, есть маффин, есть блины…и есть кофе и капучино.

He’s saying:

There is yogurt, there is a muffin, there are blini — blini are those are thin Russian pancakes, basically like crepes — and there is coffee and cappuccino.

So tell him:

Okay, I’ll have the yogurt, please. And cappuccino.

Хорошо. Я буду йогурт, пожалуйста. И капучино.

He reads back your order:

Ok…Yogurt and cappuccino.

Хорошо. Йогурт и капучино

Tell him: Thanks.


How does he say: You’re welcome.


If you’re comfortable with this kind of exchange, you’ll do great when you visit Russia or Ukraine. Sure, there are tons of foods that we haven’t covered, but there are also so many cognates when you’re dealing with food, it’s easy to get by. Here are six food cognates off the tip of my head. Can you recognize each one? Listen..

Омлет, грейпфрут, банан, гамбургер, хот-дог, спагетти, брокколи

We could go on forever with food cognates. So don’t worry. When it comes to ordering in a restaurant, you’ll do great.

I’ve moved the link to the Read Russian Videos to the sidebar on the right. Check out the Read Russian in 3 Hours links. You can get the free app for i-phone, or Android, or watch the videos online in your browser if you’d like.

Have questions or comments about how to order food in a Russian restaurant? Please feel free to write me at: mark@russianmadeeasy.com

And pick up today’s downloads — the exercises and today’s transcript — at RussianMadeEasy.com

See you next time…

DOWNLOADS – (right click with mouse and “save as”)

Episode 7 – Full Program

Episode 7 – Exercises Only


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26 responses to “Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 7”

  1. Jane Avatar

    Hi Mark, I wish I hadn’t wasted my money on Babbel, your course is far superior.
    I hope to make use of your Russian Accelorator course next.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Thanks, Jane! I look forward to welcoming you to RA!


  2. Nicholas Avatar

    Hi Mark,

    Just stopping by to say how thankful I am for the Russian alphabet learning course! I am on to RME now.

    One comment on the Episode 7 video, it cuts off immediately after “…you’ll do great.” Which is fine, I checked the website to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but I thought I would let you know, as I’m sure you didn’t intend that.

    I plan to purchase RA when I can, RME is fantastic.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Николас!

      Thanks so much for the kind words of support, and for the heads up about the tech glitch. Hopefully the team will attend to that shortly.
      Meantime, keep up the great work. I look forward to welcoming you to R.A.!


  3. Ahdi Alhunaif Avatar

    Good day Mark.. great content, I’m going through this 30 day course, and so far I am well beyond convince that your accelerator course would be the best choice for me after I finish those 30 days.

    One question regarding this particular episode.. as I learned from you when using “Я буду” the “aah” sound in the feminine words change to “uu”.. which was confusing when we reached the word капучино. it is sounded with a “aah” like Capochinaa.. and yet when I put it with “Я буду капучино” we say is with “aah” in the end.. I was hoping for some clarification in the lesson, but there was no explanation, why it was against the rule you taught us.

    sorry for the long message.. and thank you in advance.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Ahdi!

      Thanks for the kind words.

      re: капучино ….Notice that it ends with an ‘o’ which makes it neuter.
      It might sound like an “ah”, but that’s because **unstressed** O’s in Russian sound like that.
      (Which I would sound out with the English letters “uh”, more than “ah.”) (kah-pu-CHEE-nuh)

      In any case, only feminine nouns change when we do something to them.
      Пицца? Я буду пиццу! (Pizza? I’ll have pizza!)

      Make sense?

      1. Ahdi Alhunaif Avatar
        Ahdi Alhunaif

        Yes.. perfect sense.. I realized it still has an o in the end, but the pronunciation was clear that it was not o for капучино .. 🙂

        but now it is clear.. thank you for your prompt response.. by the way, I am from Kuwait, and do lots of business with CIS countries, and I made a decision to learn how to communicate with them, rather than always looking for someone to translate. thank you for your efforts.

        kind regards,


        1. Mark Thomson Avatar
          Mark Thomson

          I think that’s great that you’re learning Russian for your work with CIS countries. I’m certain it will prove invaluable in a variety of ways.

  4. Alessio M Avatar
    Alessio M

    I am there from your app for learning Cyrillic, which did a great job.
    I learned english by myself but it took years to reach there, but with your method, somehow i don’t forget anything after learning it, this is by far the best learning approach i’ve ever seen.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Спасибо Алессио! <--- Can you read that? Hope to see you in my Accelerator course. https://www.russianaccelerator.com/sign-up.html


  5. Paul squires Avatar
    Paul squires

    I started with your Russian made easy course and then jumped to the accelerator course. I see that they are both covering a lot of the same info. Do I need to continue with Russian made easy or will the accelerator program cover all that for me? I really love your teaching methods. I have been trying for two years to learn Russian from books and audio tapes and to be honest all I have really learned is what you call an object. But when I go over to Ukraine where my fiancé is at, hopefully if I can! I want to know more than to point to object and call it by name. Your programs I have just started but have learned so much already. I’m glad I found you and this course. Because I realize there is a good way to learn Russian language. I have wanted for many years since the early 90’s to learn Russian. My favorite authors are Russian my favorite music is Russian composers. But I promised my love if I can ever get over there I will speak her language and not leave it for the woman to adapt to man. It is hard for me because I am stubborn cowboy, but your teachings make sense to me. Thank you! Now once I learn I hope to actually be able to go to Ukraine if our governments end their dispute. so спасибо
    Твой друг

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Paul!

      Great questions, and I’ve just sent a lengthy reply via email.
      To paraphrase here: My Russian Accelerator ourse is much larger,
      and goes into much great detail and depth. The podcast acts as a primer,
      laying down the fundamental patterns. R.A. then greatly expands on them.
      And by using video, R.A. can do much more, and more efficiently, than the audio-only format of the podcasts.

      Spasibo bolshoe for your support,


  6. Luis Felipe Avatar
    Luis Felipe

    Hi Mark! thank you very much for sharing your knowledge of Russian language and make the lessons as didactias and fun. I learned a lot in a short time and would like to learn even more.

  7. Milo Avatar

    Hello, I have a question regarding the -а to -у change when doing something to a feminine noun. In a reply to another comment, you said feminine nouns can end in -я as well. When doing something to a noun that ends as such, would it retain the “y”(<-english y) sound and be changed to -ю? Or would the last letter still be changed to -у?

    I also want to say thank you so so much! These podcasts have helped me make more progress in three days than I could have made in weeks using any other system. Thanks a bunch.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Great question, Milo. Yes, the Я ending of feminine nouns change to Ю when we do something to the noun.
      And thanks for the kind words about the podcast! Hope to see you in my Russian Accelerator course. 🙂


  8. milan Avatar


  9. Leesa Buffer Avatar
    Leesa Buffer

    LOVE LOVE LOVE RussianMadeEasy!!!!! I am flying through the lessons. The teaching/learning style is spot on (at least for me). Speaking the language feels very natural, not foreign (perhaps I am channeling my Russian grandfather haha). Everyday I look forward to participating…it’s a highlight. Your voice, Mark, is so smooth and easy to listen to, as well as the native speakers. Thank you so much! Leesa

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Leesa,

      Wow! Spasibo bolshoe for the kind words. I love your enthusiasm. I think you’re going to do great in the podcast and in the language in general.
      Please let me know how you do on the final exam (Podcast #30).
      Keep up the great work!

  10. Chris Logsdon Avatar
    Chris Logsdon

    Got it thank you.

  11. Chris Logsdon Avatar
    Chris Logsdon

    Curious why cuppuccino doesn’t change from the oh to the uu when ordering?

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Chris,

      капучино is not a feminine noun (it doesn’t end with an ‘а’ or a ‘я’. Only feminine nouns change in that way.

  12. Simone Brizio Avatar
    Simone Brizio

    Hi Mark,
    it’s fun for me to follow your lessons, I enjoy them very much. As you can notice from these words, I’m not even a decent English speaker, so it’s a double task!
    Anyway, ‘Russian Made Easy’ is great! I discovered it less than a week ago, and I’ve just finished Episode #7. Please tell me: #30 is REALLY the last one?
    Best regards,
    Simone (Genoa, Italy)

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Simone!
      Yes, #30 is the final podcast. But the teaching doesn’t end there. It’s really just begun.
      I hope you join my Russian Accelerator course. It’s all video based, which is much more effective.
      You can check it out here:

      Hope to see you there! 🙂

  13. J Avatar

    Wanted to say that this is one of the best learning tools I have come across, and I’ve tried many. You really understand intuitively how the brain learns, and I appreciate the intuitive approach to learning grammar versus studying complicated abstract terminology. I think the problem with most language learning software or audiotapes, is that those who have created them are linguists, and assume that the readers are comfortable in the same ecosystem of terminology as they are.

    A couple of comments on how this experience could be improved:

    -For myself I don’t listen to the audio here, I find it stressful to try to keep up, and/or have to pause and unpause constantly. Instead I read only the transcripts. It would be helpful to possibly not use the cursive forms for certain words, as anyone learning Russian probably has just focused on the standard alphabet and the cursive can be confusing.

    -It would also be helpful in the transcript section were the answers/replies hidden, requiring a click to reveal them. As it stands I have to keep a second window open to use to cover the answers, as I attempt to think of them.

    Thanks again for providing this enormously valuable learning tool.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Thanks for the comment. I totally agree: Most other courses (and especially Russian textbooks) are created by terminology-obesessed linguists who seem to have no clue how we actually learn languages.
      I would strongly recommend that you go back to listeing to the podcasts instead of just reading the transcripts. Pressing PAUSE all the time is good: Gives you some exercises (ok, kidding there)….But it does keep you listening actively. And most important, you’ll hear all the native speakers we use.
      Thanks again. And maybe we’ll see you in my video-based ‘Russian Accelerator’ course.

  14. Gertrude Colvan Avatar

    Hi Mark
    I’m adding Russian Made Easy as a supplement to my Russian Accelerator lessons. Currently
    working on unit 8, lesson 1. i would love to send a recording of my voice but I just don’t know
    how. I will try to get someone to help me out. Sorry…Will definately try to get help.
    Any suggestions? Gertrude Colvan

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