Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 15

How To Say I Live In Russian

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Exercises Only

Alright, welcome to episode 15. Today we’ll be talking about where we live. So, let’s start by repeating these two phrases:

Я живу

Ты живёшь

You might be thinking, “Wait…Didn’t we already kinda learn this? In the 3rd podcast, we learned to say things like I’m an American, and I’m Australian.” True, we did learn that. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you currently live in America or Australia. You might be living in Moscow or Kiev. Anyway, let’s repeat those two phrases again. Can you remember them?

Я живу

Ты живёшь

Also, after today’s podcast you’ll be able to say what city or state you live in. Anyway, say just that first phrase one more time…

Я живу

You hear that “zh” sound? Like the end of the word “mirage”…zh. Живу

Here it is in context:

Imagine a guy who has to commute to work in New York from his home in Boston. He’d tell people…

I work in New York, but я живу в Бостоне.

So, я живу means “I live”. Try saying…

I live in New York.

Я живу в Нью Йорке.

Try saying:

I’m an American but I live in London.

Я американец но я живу в Лондоне.

Now what was that 2nd phrase we learned?

Ты живёшь

Let’s say you’re at a party and a friend of a friend has had too much to drink. Since you’re headed out anyway, tell him: “I can take you home. А где ты живёшь?”

Где…..ты…..живёшь…translates as: Where do you live?

Ask your new friend:

You live in Kiev?

Ты живёшь в Киеве?

So far so good. Let’s now go back and review the material from the last podcast.

With just two words, ask your friend:

Where are you?

Tы где?

Say: I’m now downtown. Or….I’m in the center.

Я сейчас в центре.

Ask, “And where’s Olga?”

А где Ольга?

Say: She’s now at work.

Она сейчас на работе.

Did you remember that работа requires “na” instead of that “v” or “f” sound we would’ve expected? Great! Then let’s keep going. Imagine you’re in a cafe. Tell the waitress:

I’ll have Russian pancakes, please.

Я буду блины, пожалуйста.

Then add:

And I want coffee, please.

И я хочу кофе, пожалуйста.

And now say:

I live in Moscow.

Я живу в Москве.

Listen to those three verb phrases one more time:

Я буду

Я хочу

Я живу

I know it’s only three examples, but do you notice a pattern? When a Russian speaker starts with YA, the end of his verb will always have an “uu” sound, as long as he’s not using the past tense. Sometimes the “uu” or “yu” sound will be right before the end, like these. Listen closely:

Я боюсь

Я занимаюсь

Do you hear the “yu” sound in there? zah-nee-MAI-yuu…..sss

Я занимаюсь

Я боюсь

To repeat: With very few exceptions, the “ya” form of verbs will end in an “uu” sound. And that leads me to today’s tip…

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

This is one of the most important language learning tips I can give you. Never, ever learn grammar by memorizing rules or charts. Instead, learn grammar the way we’re designed to learn it, which is simply by noticing the patterns of language. Because that’s all grammar is: the patterns of how words change.

If a Russian teacher ever tries to make you memorize a chart of verb conjugations, don’t just walk away…RUN away, screaming. Memorizing sucks. It’s hard and it’s unproductive. But learning is awesome. It’s natural, it’s effortless, and it’s effective. And that’s what you’re doing when you notice the patterns of a language. That’s what Russian infants are doing, too. They notice, “Gosh, every time someone starts with Я there’s an “uu” sound at the end of the next word.” This then helps them guess the meaning of future, unfamiliar words. The language center of his brain absolutely understands these patterns and what they’re associated with. Fore sure, that’s what’s going on.

This is why native speakers usually make terrible teachers. They’re teaching you grammar the way they remember being taught in grade school. But that’s not how they learned it. They were completely fluent in Russian before they ever even attended kindergarden. Heck, they learned all of the word endings before they could even read. How? By picking up on the patterns. The things they learn in school are all the fancy grammar names..all the declension charts and all that stuff. That’s what they remember and that’s what they burden you with it.

I don’t teach that way. Yes, eventually it’s good to know certain grammar terms, but only AFTER you have the patterns mastered. This is why I don’t ever mention any of the case names until Unit 15 of Russian Accelerator. Throughout the course I simply help you discover the patterns of how Russian words change.

So, speaking of patterns, let’s look at another one. Pretend your friend has ordered tea and you thought he didn’t like tea at all. In three words — including the word “you” — ask him:

You want tea?

Ты хочешь чай?

Ask a friend:

You live in Boston?

Ты живёшь в Бостоне?

Now we only have two examples here, but do you hear a pattern? Listen again…

Ты хочешь

Ты живёшь

When a Russian speaker starts with ТЫ, the end of the verb will always have an “ish” sound, as long as they’re not talking about the past tense. Sometimes it’ll sound like “eesh”, sometimes like “ish”, sometimes “aiesh”..but always that “sh” sound at the end.

Ты хочешь

Ты живёшь

And as with the YA forms, sometimes it’s right before the end. Like these…

Ты занимаешься

Ты боишься

Hear the “sh” sound in there? Ты занимаешься zah-nee-MAI-ish-…..sya

So here, the pattern is that the “tee” form of verbs will have a “sh” sound at the end. That’s the pattern you want to be aware of.

Imagine, then, that we’re in a cafe with our friend. I say..

I’ll have coffee.

Я буду кофе.

Now, how might you ask your friend:

What will you have?

Hit PAUSE and think about it for a second.


What will you have?

Что ты будешь?

Let’s compare the Я and ТЫ forms side by side. Repeat after the speaker…

Я буду….ты будешь

Я хочу…ты хочешь

Я живу….ты живёшь

So it’s always: Ya-something-uu….and….tee-something-shh

So, from now on, try to keep your ear out for those patterns.

And let’s go back, now, to our main construction of the day. Imagine you’re showing your new Russian friend some photos, one of which is of the city you live in. Your friend will ask: Is this __blank__? And you’ll answer, Yes. I live in __blank__.

So let’s try that:

Это Нью Йорк?

Say: Yes, I live in New York.

Да. Я живу в Нью Йорке.

Do you see how that exchange let’s us hear the basic version of New York..and then the “in New York” version, with that “yeh” sound at the end? Let’s try another. This time, though, I won’t prompt you. Just reply to the speaker’s question the way we did in the first example.

Это Лондон?

Да. Я живу в Лондоне.

Это Санкт Петербург?

Да. Я живу в Санкт Петербурге.

Это Севастополь?

Да. Я живу в Севастополе.

Это Лос Анджелес?

Да. Я живу в Лос Анджелесе.

Это Вашингтон?

Да. Я живу в Вашингтоне.

Now, regardless of whether we’re talking about a city or a state, if it ends in an “oh” sound, it won’t change. Listen…

Это Чикаго?

Да. Я живу в Чикаго.

And if the word ends in a “ya” sound, like Australia and California, listen to the new ending…

Это Калифорния?

Да. Я живу в Калифорнии.

Instead of the expected “yeh” sound, we get a long “ee” sound.

Is this Australia?

Это Австралия?

Yes. I live in Australia.

Да. Я живу в Австралии.

Let’s try a few more. Again, without any prompting, just answer the speaker:

Это Аризона?

Да, я живу в Аризоне.

Это Сан Диего?

Да. Я живу в Сан Диего.

Let’s try to work this construction into a longer statement about yourself, using stuff we’ve learned from earlier podcasts. Ready?

Say: Hello, my name is Tony.

Здравствуйте, меня зовут Тони.

I’m an American but I live in Odessa.

Я американец но я живу в Одессе.

If you’re an American woman, you’d of course have said:

Я американка…

Anyway, speaking with you on friendly terms, that is, informally, your new friend asks:

Do you like Odessa?

Тебе нравится Одесса?

Yes, I love Odessa.

Да. Я люблю Одессу.

Did you get all the three forms of the word Odessa correct? We heard: Одесса, Одессе and Одессу.

If you got all three correct, give yourself an A+ for having excellent Russian grammar. It really will impress your Russian friends that you speak so grammatically.

Anyway, let’s try that same exchange but with a different content words:

Say: Hello, my name is Robert.

Здравствуйте, меня зовут Роберт.

I’m an Englishman but I live in Moscow.

Я Англичанин но я живу в Москве.

Again, speaking with you on friendly terms, your new friend asks:

Do you like Moscow?

Тебе нравится Москва?

Tell her:

Yes, I love Moscow.

Да. Я люблю Москву.

For homework, try that exchange with some other combinations. And of course, make sure you’ve made flashcards for these new constructions

In the next episode we’ll learn to talk about one of the most common topics of conversation: Where we work. Meanwhile, head over to RussianMadeEasy.com for today’s transcript and audio downloads and I’ll see you next time!

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Episode 15 – Full Program

Episode 15 – Exercises Only


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26 responses to “Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 15”

  1. Kristine Avatar

    Is there a place where one can listen to JUST the exercises as a podcast? I like to listen to these when I’m on a long car ride, but it can be a bit overwhelming by episode 15 to just jump into without significant review. However, as you can imagine, it’s not easy or safe to be utilizing the exercise option on the website from my phone.

    Suggestions or ideas?

    ** Love these by the way. It’s so overwhelming to try to learn another language, especially one with a completely different alphabet, outside of a school setting, but you make it so much less daunting.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Kristine,

      Great suggestion! I’ve forwarded it to our tech staff. They said they’ll try to have a solution in place by the weekend. Please to me directly for updates on it: mark@RussianMadeEasy.com

  2. Mark Mallah Avatar
    Mark Mallah

    Mark- I’m really enjoying your teaching style. I did exactly what you counsel here against doing- taking a class from a native speaker and learning all the cases- prepositional, accusative, genitive, nominative, dative, and instrumental. See, I know the names of all the cases, and I wrote down all these complex rules pertaining to each but could never access it my mind very easily. I did this for 2 years and decided to try a different approach. I wish I had found you first. So, I find that I know almost all of the vocabulary so far in these podcasts but I’m learning the language in a new and better way, for the first time. Thanks. After I finish these 30 podcasts, or perhaps before, what course of yours do you recommend I take? Thanks.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Mark,

      Glad you’re enjoying the course. Given your experience, I’d recommend our Russian Accelerator course (the Three Course Bundle). I promise we’ll turn you into a confident conversational speaker of Russian.


  3. Etienne Avatar

    Hello Mark. very very very nice podcast! I love it and I feel that I’m learning fast!
    there’s just one thing that I struggle to understand at the moment..
    from the Russian speakers I think I’m hearing “odyessee”
    from you I’m hearing

    I think in your Cyrillic course, you mentioned that only one vowel per word could get the stress.
    if the first “e” in Одессе gets the stress, then the second one should sound like /ee/ or /e/. isn’t it?
    so… “odyessee” or “odyessye”?

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson


      Native speakers tend to under-pronounce things, especially the endings of words which are not normally stressed. (such as: В Одесе)
      Me, for the sake of the student, I tend to over-pronounce. You will always do best to imitate a native speaker, so do your best to sound like them. 🙂

      Hope this helps,

  4. Matthew Freeman Avatar
    Matthew Freeman

    Hi Mark,

    I was wondering why we say Ты Где and put the Ты first instead of after like in English where we would say Where are you, not You are where?

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Matthew,

      Great question. First of all, English can put the “you” after as well. Imagine your friend was supposed to meet you at the theater.He calls at the meeting time, and from the background noise it’s clear he’s somewhere else. You might ask, “And you are where, exactly?”

      Anyway, in Russian, word order is largely a factor of putting the new/important information at the end of the sentence. I could write a book about the ordering of words that Russians choose (and how quickly they make the determination), but in any case, you’ll start to develop a feel on your own as you go through the course and notice the patterns.

  5. Clinton Avatar

    I have a question about the “ff” or “v” sound before the name of where one lives. Is this handled differently if the name of the place begins with an F or a V? I currently live in Florida, and I did live in Virginia, so this is particularly relevant to me.

    Just a side note: It’s not a power phrase, but under the given use, if I say California, I think about Jed Clampett. “We’re moving out to Californy!” I’m pretty sure that’s not the first time you’ve heard that comparison.

    Anyway, thanks for the course. I look forward to Russian Accelerator.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Я живу во Флориде.
      vuh Flor-EE-dyeh

      Я живу в Вирджинии.

      Thanks, Clinton!

  6. Martin Stubbs Avatar
    Martin Stubbs

    I am really enjoying your Russian made easy course. I love how you use the patterns of language to help remember how to speak and when to change certain parts of the words. Can I ask, is there a pattern to know when to use «Ты» and «Тебе»? I cannot seem to find one and it’s hard to remember which to use. Many thanks

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Мартин!

      Happy to help. We use Ты when “you” is the one doing the action. But here’s the key point…We apply this analysis only to the SLT, **not** the normal English version.
      Let’s say we want to ask a friend: “You like jazz?”

      You might think…Hmm. Seems like “you” is doing the action (liking jazz) so I need to start with “Ты.”
      No! We need to work from the SLT

        , which–for this phrase is–“To you is pleasing jazz?”

        Тебе нравится джаз?

        This is a complex idea to get across, and a simple post on this website isn’t really the ideal medium for properly explaining it. Hopefully you’ll develop a better feel as you progress through my RME podcast. And we certainly cover it in great detail in my Russian Accelerator course, as well. Hoping this helps…

  7. Danielle Stanley Avatar
    Danielle Stanley

    Hi Mark. I’m returning to earlier lessons for purposes of review. I’ve noticed some new details, either that you have added as updates or that I did not catch the first time around. I’m one of those persons who needs to review fairly often. I also wonder about why some of the Russian speakers have slightly different pronunciations and when are posing questions, do not have
    a lift at the end of the sentence. The woman as a very slight lift but the man simply makes a
    statement. Do most Russian speakers NOT lift the tone at the end of a question?

    Thanks as always,
    Danielle Stanley

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Danielle,

      Russians do in fact lift their voice to indicate a question, though not always at the end of the phrase.
      Instead, it basically goes on the word in question. Это твоя футболка? (Is that YOUR T-shirt?)
      The speaker’s voice will rise on ‘твоя’ making it a clear question.

      Hope that helps!

  8. Amin Avatar

    hello mark
    I’m Amin an Iranian.
    you are teaching great . i downloaded a lot of podcasts in apple podcast but they didn’t help me until i found “RME” .
    thank you a lot teacher Thompson and please recommend some video courses
    دمت گرم استاد مارک
    Amin . your new student

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Спасибо, Амин!

      I hope you’ll check out my video-based course called Russian Accelerator.
      Kind regards from Ukraine,

  9. Nick Avatar

    Please fix the link for Full Episode 14 Transcript. Many thanks for these great lessons! Nick

    1. Support Avatar

      Hi Nick, Link is fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

      1. Nick Avatar

        Many, Many thanks!

  10. Anne Marie Falls Avatar
    Anne Marie Falls

    Hi Mark,
    I am new to your podcast . I would like to join the acceleretor and video course. please advise me on how to join

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hello Anne,

      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you’re enjoying my podcast and I hope you’ll check out Russian Accelerator. It’s my online, video course and you can learn more about it here…


      And please don’t hesitate with any questions. We’re here to help. 🙂

      Kind regards from Ukraine,

      Mark Thomson
      Pres. Russian Accelerator

  11. Some guy Avatar

    These podcasts are still helping me learn thanks for your time and effort in making these podcasts

  12. Linda Avatar

    Hi Mark!

    Thank you very much for these great podcasts. Very useful – especially the combination of audio and transcripts.

    Best regards,


  13. Ken Avatar

    Hi Mark

    I had to check out your American phrase; “Memorizing sucks”. Well, I think it’s a very apt choice of words. I like your approach to learning and especially your attitude towards grammar.

    I don’t regard myself as stupid with 3 diplomas under my belt, but trying learning Russian grammar with all the books, CDs etc I’ve tried; it’s been a very discouraging experience.

    So, perhaps trying to learn Russian grammar tables – “sucks” – for sure. I like your techniques Mark and how you gradually introduce the “patterns” into the learning process. Thanks for making this freebie available to us lesser mortals, struggling to get to grips with, what seems to be, one of the toughest languages on the planet, (well so the academics would have us believe).

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Ken,

      Thanks for writing. “Sucks” is a great (American) word. Just about anything can suck.
      And yes, memorizing most certainly sucks.

      I’d love to hear how you progress through the podcast, so please check in after the final exam (Podcast #30).
      And hope to see you in my Russian Accelerator course!


  14. Smart Ali Avatar
    Smart Ali

    I took online courses for learning Russian, the teacher killed me for learning grammar. That’s make me giving up.
    your courses inspired me and now i’m back and confident to learn Russian.

    you are doing great job

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