Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy 2
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Episode #2 – Russian Made Easy
Welcome to this second podcast of Russian Made Easy. Let’s start by reviewing what we learned in the first podcast. Although we learned eleven new words — which is a lot — eight of them were cognates, so it was still a manageable amount of new words.
Anyway, imagine you’re in Moscow with some friends of yours who don’t know any Russian. After each Russian phrase you hear, please say the English translation out loud. Ready?
Мама – доктор.
Mom is a doctor.
[NOTE: As I mentioned in the transcript of Podcast 1, I’ve chosen to not sound out the Russian words in this transcript using English letters. So be sure to read along with the audio of the podcast. And if you’d like to be able to read Russian — and I promise you, 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.]
Папа – бизнесмен.
Dad is a businessman.
Он – инженер.
He is an engineer.
Я – музыкант.
I’m a musician.
Наташа – студентка?
Is Natasha a student?
Николай – студент?
Is Nikolai a student?
So, how did you do? If you got all of those, you should feel really good about yourself. If you had trouble, then it’s probably a good idea to listen to the first podcast again, taking written notes as you go. Although, don’t worry too much. These podcasts are cumulative, so you’ll get more practice and exposure to all the words we learn.
Anyway, here’s our first new word for today. Please repeat after the native speaker:
One more time:
Can you figure out the meaning? Imagine you’re in Moscow with your friends, John and Sandy. A Russian person has asked you who your friends are, so you point to John and say:
Then you point to Sandy and say:
Or imagine that a Russian acquaintance is looking at a photo of your parents. You point to your Dad and say:
Then you point to your mom and say…
…hmm, can you guess?
So, how would you translate ЭТО?
In this context, eto translates as “This is”
Pretend your Russian friend is looking at a baby photo of you. Of course, she can’t tell who it is, so you point to the photo and say:
In English we’d say: This is me. But in Russian they phrase it literally:
And that brings up an extremely important point:
V.O. And now, here’s your Tip of the Day from Russian Made Easy…
You need to know both the normal English version and the super-literal version for each phrase you learn. This is what I was referring to at the end of the first podcast: The biggest mistake that virtually all language students make is they don’t learn the super-literal translation of things…what we call the SLT. As you’ll see throughout these podcasts, I’ll always point out the SLT. This is a great shortcut to actually thinking in Russian.
Imagine you’re having dinner at your Russian friend’s house. Uncle Vadim plunks down a shotglass in front of you and fills it with a clear liquid, telling you:
What do you think he said? Listen again:
He said: This is vodka.
So the word vodka is a cognate. We say vodka, but in Russian it has a full “oh” sound:
Listen again and repeat after our native speaker:
You’re still at this Russian dinner, when grandma serves you a bowl of red soup, saying:
She said…This is borscht.
That last sound in that word is a sh-ch sound. Like, “fish chips”…shh-ch…
Repeat after the speaker:
If you’ve never had it, by the way, borscht is a delicious soup made with cabbage, beets, potatoes and a bit of pork.
Now let’s re-do this dinner scenario, except this time let’s ask about the food or drink. So, ask Uncle Vadim: This is vodka?
He nods his head,
Да, это водка.
Ask grandma: This is borscht?
She smiles and nods:
Да, это борщ.
ДА as you probably guessed, is the Russian word for YES.
Of course, in normal English we’re more likely to phrase those questions by saying, “IS this” instead of the literal “This is”, right? We’d ask:
Is this vodka? That’s the normal English version. But they phrase it literally:
This is vodka?
ЭТО is such a useful word, we need to work with it some more. So pretend you’re showing your Russian friend some photos of your trip to Russia. She points to one photo and asks:
Yes, this is Sandy.
Да, это Сэнди.
She points to another:
Tell her: Yes, this is John.
Да, это Джон.
Imagine you’re showing her a family photo, now, and say the following phrases in Russian:
This is Dad. He is an engineer.
Это папа. Он – инженер.
This is mom. She is a doctor.
Это мама. Она – доктор.
This is Jeff. He is a musician.
Это Джэф. Он – музыкант.
This is Steve. He is a student.
Это Стив. Он – студент.
This is Tanya. She is a student.
Это Таня. Она – студентка.
Let’s add two new Russian words now. Repeat after the speaker:
One more time: мой….моя
As always, let’s try to figure out the meaning from context.
Imagine that the Russian dinner you’re attending has turned into a party. Lots of people are coming and going, putting their drinks down here, and their food down over there, and so on. You walk up to the table and pick up what you thought was your bowl of borscht, but some woman says…
Эй, это мой борщ!
Whoa! You put the woman’s soup down and back away apologetically. A bit later, you pick up the shotglass of vodka that you’re certain is yours. And yet, a guy turns and says:
Эй, это моя водка!
Again, you put his shotglass down and wander off in search of yours.
So, how would you translate these?
это мой борщ translates as, “This is my borscht.”
And это моя водка! translates as “This is my vodka.”
As we see, Russian has two different ways to say “my.” And actually, it has many, MANY more ways to say “my.” But first things first. Let’s see if we can figure out when to use мой and when to use моя.
In fact, I realize you have little or no experience with Russian grammar, and yet — just for fun — I wonder if you can guess which to use. In three words, how might you say:
He is my doctor.
Он мой доктор.
And how about: She is my student.
Она моя студентка.
Whether you got those right or wrong, we’ll come back and look at them in a minute. But I want to continue for just a moment by giving you two new, easy cognates. The Russian word for pizza is:
And the Russian word for soup is…
Say them out loud:
Now, just by guessing, how do you think you’d say:
This is my soup.
Это мой суп.
This is my pizza.
Это моя пицца.
I bet you’re catching on to a pattern here. Let’s try some more, to make sure you’re getting it. Say just…
My male student.
My female student.
In your own words, how would you describe the pattern here? Hit pause and think about it for a moment.
OK, so…If a word ends in an “ah” sound — like пиццА студентКА and водКА — it needs “моя.” Otherwise we use “мой”.
This is where so many Russian courses go wrong. They burden students right off the bat with the intimidating grammar terms for this. They make students memorize stuff like “nominative case” and “adjective noun agreement” and “declension paradigms” as if that’s how we actually learn grammar. Well it’s not.
The superior method for teaching grammar is to simply let the student discover the patterns. And in Russian, it’s particularly easy because — as you’ll see throughout these podcasts — Russian grammar is based on rhyming. Listen again…I’ll exaggerate the endings of the words:
And how about…
она моя студентка
I’ll say it again, because this is a fundamental point: Russian grammar is based on rhyming. These words that end in an “ah” sound: пицца…водка…студентка and so on, are called feminine.
All the others are considered masculine. Now, admittedly, the masculine pairs weren’t really rhyming. I mean, суп doesn’t rhyme with мой. Neither does студент or доктор and so on. But masculine words WILL rhyme in many other situations. It depends on the phrase. Just know that there is a ton of rhyming in Russian, and I’ll be pointing it out as we go.
There is one exception to this pattern, though. Listen to our native speaker say: This is my Dad.
Это мой папа.
Это мой папа. Hmm….ПАПА ends in an “ah” sound, so why didn’t we say “моя”? Well, simply put, papa is masculine. Isn’t it? I mean, your Papa is a man. It doesn’t get more masculine than that. So, despite the “ah” sound at the end of papa, it’s still treated as a masculine word. That’s why it gets мой.
One last pair of new words, to wrap this all up today. Repeat after the speaker:
One more time…
Let’s try to get them from context. To do so, let’s go back one more time to that Russian dinner party we were at. You remember how you were picking up other people’s soup and vodka, thinking they were yours? Well, the host has noticed that and approaches with a bowl of borscht. She hands it to you, saying:
Это твой борщ.
She then hands you a shotglass…
Это твоя водка.
So, how would you translate these?
это твой борщ translates as, “This is your borscht.”
And это твоя водка! translates as “This is your vodka.”
So, твой and твоя are two forms of the word “your”. It’s an informal version that we use with friends and family members. We’ll learn the formal version in a future podcast.
Anyway, hand your friend a slice of pizza and tell him:
This is your pizza.
Это твоя пицца.
Hand someone their soup and say:
This is your soup.
Это твой суп.
Did you get those? We used твоя because it needs to rhyme with пицца
But we used the masculine form, твой with the word суп.
Imagine you’re at the party, talking with one of your friends who is a teacher. Pointing to a kid across the room, ask her:
Is he your student?
We’ll phrase it literally just: He your student?
Он твой студент?
Point to a girl and ask:
Is she your student?
Она твоя студентка?
Then you notice what seems to be a family photo on your friend’s desk. Point to the woman in the photo and ask:
Is this your mom?
Это твоя мама?
Now point to the man in the picture:
Ask: Is this your dad?
Это твой папа?
How will she answer:
Yes, this is my mom.
Да, это моя мама.
Yes, this is my dad.
Да, это мой папа.
Did you remember to use the masculine forms — твой and мой — for the word папа? Good!
Alright, here’s your final exam for this podcast. Try saying the following phrases in Russian. And please say them out loud…
Is this my soup?
Это мой суп?
Yes, this is your borscht.
Да, это твой борщ.
Is this my pizza?
Это моя пицца?
Yes, this is your pizza.
Да, это твоя пицца.
Is he your doctor?
Он твой доктор?
Yes, he is my doctor.
Да, он мой доктор.
Is she your mom?
Она твоя мама?
Yes, this is my mom.
Да, это моя мама.
This is my dad. He is an engineer.
Это мой папа. Он – инженер.
I bet you did great with those, so treat yourself to a slice of pizza today. And as you eat it, tell yourself, Это моя пицца.
In the next episode, along with teaching you some cool new phrases, I’m going to clear up a myth that people seem to believe in about Russian pronunciation. And in the meantime, as I mentioned at the end of the last episode, I’ve made a short, practice version of this podcast. It has just the exercises, without the explanations. So head over to RussianMadeEasy.com to grab a copy of those, and download the transcript to this podcast, and I’ll see you in the next episode.
CLICK HERE to learn to read Russian quickly and easily
DOWNLOADS – (right click with mouse and “save as”)
Please comment or share with one of the buttons below. Your support helps keep the ball rolling!
Your podcast has been a great help! I’ve been trying to learn Russian for the past four years after marrying into a Moldovian family and every attempt was unsuccessful and left me frustrated. After listening to your podcast, I actually remember words and phrases! Even more than that, I’ve gained a better understanding of the language. I can’t wait to try Russian Accelerator. Thank you for making learning easy.
I am really enjoying the RME program. It is such an easy way to learn. I am looking for additional words & phrases
Keep progressing. You will indeed learn many more words and constructions. A great many more. 🙂
I am really enjoying the RME program. It is such an easy way to learn. I am looking for additional words & phrases more specific to military conversations/commands. I can not find any courses which address this area. Any thoughts?
So glad you’re enjoying the podcast!
re: vocab…Without the grammatical infrastructure of the language firmly in place, the vocab from any specific field–anything from music to art, politics or the military–is going to be of minimal use. Simply, the student wouldn’t be able to conjugate any of the verbs, decline any of the constructions, and likely would be lacking in the fluency and confidence of delivery. Best thing to do is develop a solid foundation. Once all conjugations, declensions, numbers, VoMs etc are in place, adding field-specific vocab is a breeze.
Hope this helps. And kindest regards from Ukraine,
Hey Mark, Your job is amazing! I am enjoying it so much. Both “Read Russian” and “Russian Made easy” are helping a lot! I am brazilian who have been learning English for 4 years, and now I have this desire to learn Russian! So, thanks for everything you did! 😀
So glad you’re enjoying it. I hope to welcome you to Russian Accelerator one day!
Спасибо! This is easier than ever. Previously, I’ve always had trouble getting started with learning Russian because of how it has always been hard to figure out where to start, but now I think I’ll actually be able to understand it if I keep it up.
Once again, thank you.
Thank you Mark. I am a Canadian trying to learn Russian for the fun of it and with the hope of visiting Russia some day. I have been using Duolingo for the past two months which is good but lacks is what i call interaction. Your podcasts are excellent, they provide a lot of auditory, real life dialogs, repeated practice and they build on each other. Thanks again.
Thanks, Jean-Guy. Glad you’re enjoying RME. I hope to welcome you to my Russian Accelerator course, one day.
Until then, keep up the great work!
i have checked a lot of different online courses and podcast.
Your podcast is Nr. 1 – far the best ! Thank you for all your work.
Best regards from Slovenia
I hope to welcome you to my Russian Accelerator course when you finish RME. Til then,
Kind regards from Ukraine!
Hey Mark, I found these podcasts on my phone and look now i am at your website haha.
I listened to them while at work and i could not believe how simple and fun it was, also by the end of 4 lessons i could say a lot of things in Russian which is great. I have already learned the alphabets and how to pronounce through another PAID course but your course was just mind blowing for me. It is AMAZING and i will keep moving forward to learn more.
Thanks a lot, best wishes from Australia
Thanks for the kind words. So glad you’re enjoying it and learning Russian with us. Hope to welcome you to my Russian Accelerator course when you’re done. Meantime…keep up the great work!
Hi Mark, I’ve gone back to basics after quite some time off. I say gone back to basics, I never left the basics but I’ve returned to the first podcast and re-listening! Hoping some lockdown will help me to concentrate and get past these opening sentences.
I really just wanted to say a huge thank you. The podcasts are great from start to finish in terms of content and an easy to follow structure. I look forward to working through the rest of the series.
Thanks so much for the kind words. As I tell everyone here…I hope to see you in my Russian Accelerator course. I promise we’ll turn you into a conversational speaker!
Regards from Ukraine,
im already at lesson 8, but i am going back to the episodes because i forget how to pronounce them. I am currently getting really good with this, mark is an amazing teacher, and its actually really easy! im also learning french, and some of the words are familiar, and in french its easy to remember, even without pronouncing it. your podcasts are a lot like my french classes, and im mostly self taught in french, since my moms side is french, so i learned from her and my brother, hes my half brother on my moms side, and he took french. So some of it i remember how to pronounce, but im still righting it down. Im getting really good, and i hope that others who are learning! have a good day!
autumn E, new york
but now im on lesson 13, and i had actually looked up how to say i love you so i could tell my girlfriend and it measured up to what you said perfectly!
anyways, its past 1am in ny, and im gonna go to sleep, so bye!
Just discovered your website. I’m having so much fun learning Russian, I have wanted to learn it for a long time but any resources I previously looked up made it so complicated.
Thank you for simplifying it, I feel I am learning so much already.
Glad you’re enjoying the podcast…it’s certainly a great use of your time during this global lockdown.
Let me know how you progress. And when you’re done, I hope to welcome you to my Russian Accelerator course. 🙂
Cheers from Ukraine,
i just found ut about it too, and i feel the same way. every other website i have used make it so hard, but mark actually makes it so easy!
Thanks so much, Autumn. And I’m glad you’re using this global period of self-isolation to add a valuable new skill to your resume. Keep up the great work, and I hope to welcome you to my Russian Accelerator Online course soon.
your welcome! i have nothing else to do, and ive been wanting to learn russian for a while so im like, why dont i look around at some places online, and you were the easiest! so now im walkin around my house in ny, and speakin russian so nobody understands me, its quite funny.
This podcast is amazing, cant belive how fun and easy it is to learn Russian 🙂
Jenny – Stockholm- sweden
Thanks, Jenny! Please check in again after the RME mid-term and let me know how you’re doing.
Cheers from Ukraine,
I have been learning he alphabet in Russian and now I went true the lessons 1 until 5. Like it very much :-). I hope that I can talk within one year to Russian people.
Thanks for the nice lessons
Spasibo, Maurice. And when you’re done, I hope to welcome you to my Russian Accelerator course.
Until then, keep up the great work, and let me know how you do on the final exam of RME. 🙂
What a great learning approach! Creating foundations of how to learn a language!
I speak Greek, English, Spanish and with your courses, I will soon be proud of speaking Russian!
Thank you so much
Glad you’re enjoying my podcast. I hope you’ll check out Russian Accelerator. It’s my online, video course.
I promise, we’ll turn you into a confident, conversational Russian speaker.
You can learn more about it here…
Cheer from Ukraine,
I can’t believe I spent hundreds of dollars on rosetta stone and other programs when this was available. And believe me this is way better. Do you have Flash Cards if not those should be incorporated as a way to reinforce what we’ve already learned?
In the course I reccommend making your own flashcards, and in fact detail the method. But yes, handmade flashcards–though seemingly a Bronze Age technique–are still the best way to go. The physical act of writing has been shown (in actual, scientific studies) to boost recall.
I did the first podcast and i like it very much.
I new already basis and a lot of verbs in russian language ,so i just has to concentrate on the grama what you explained..and it was great.
So now i download Russian made easy podcast 2 ,and iam ready to pay for it but there is no podcast i just have to read,but i only listen in my carr when iam driving my carr…..so maybey i did something wrong?
Best regards peter
Hi Peter, The episode downloads are at the bottom of the lesson below all the text, just above the comments section.
Please right click save as, and you should be able to get the entire Lesson 2 episode. RME is free, so nothing to pay for.
Also, RME is available as an app for i-os and Android, and also available on Youtube. Let me know if you need further assistance.
-TIP FOR EVERYONE –
Use your spacebar to pause and unpause the audio. This will give you more time to answer and make it so you don’t have to scroll up and lose your place. You also don’t have to download and run it separately since you won’t have to scroll to the top. This has helped me a lot, so I hope it benefits you all as well.
Anyway, thank you so much for this awesome podcast, Mark. I absolutely love your approach and teaching style. I’m getting close to finishing the podcast (episode 24), and then I’ll see you in Russian Accelerator.
Thanks for the tip, Jack. I’ll have my tech guys post that somewhere for all to see.
Meantime, thanks so much for the kind words. I look forward to welcoming you to Russian Accelerator!
Hi there, I have found your course about two weeks ago. I find it very useful. Most of my practice is during driving a car. I am listening to the material every day and I think I catch it:)My native language is polish, so I think it is a little bit easier to learn the pronunciation. Thak you very much, because I have just started my adventure with this language. All the best Mark. Greetings from Wroclaw – Tom.
Thanks for writing, Tom. I love travelling to Poland because–though I don’t speak much Polish–I can understand a surprising amount of what I read.
Lots of cognates between Russian and Polish (obviously, both being Slavic languages.)
I love how it’s inevitably the words that are central to a culture:
beer, bread, water, meat, God, market
piwo, chleb, woda, mięso, Bóg, rynek
пиво, хлеб, вода, мясо, Бог, рынок
Anyway, hope to welcome you to my Russian Accelerator video course one day.
Great lessons! One question. As a newbie how do I find out the SLT of a sentence? Are there particular books/ online resources that will help me look these up?
Thanks for writing. Glad you’re enjoying my Russian Made Easy podcasts.
Throughout those lessons I’ll always give the SLT, but I’m able to give more detailed SLTs in my online video course called Russian Accelerator. (I try not to plug it too much during the podcasts. 🙂
I hope you’ll check it out. We’ll turn you into a confident, conversational Russian speaker!
You can learn more about it here…
Thanks again for your kind words of support.
Cheers from Ukraine,
20 years ago I learnt Japanese one of the tough language in a Japanese University in a very complex way. They are of course well programmed for 6 full months. But your way of teaching is very practical. I just started yesterday and I find it very interesting & down to earth way of learning.
Chinnnappan Mani UAE
Hi Mark! Thanks so much for an engaging way to learn a new language. Somewhere, you say Russian is one of the 3 hardest languages to learn and I was surprised to see that! This course makes it seem–well–easy!
I have a trip to Russia in about a month and want to learn as much Russian as I can beforehand. I listened to half the podcasts a year ago and am re-starting them now. You mention Russian Accelerator a lot and I was wondering what your thoughts were on how to use your language material. Should I skip the podcasts and go straight to the Accelerator course or do the podcasts first (2 per day) and then Accelerator?
Hello Mark I’m so happy to find this website, I start with Russian today and I hope I will stay to the end, thank you very much 🙂
I hope you’ll stick through to the end as well. Please let me know how you do on the mid-term and finals of the podcast!
Thank you so much Mark! You are doing an excellent job! I’m a native greek speaker and I speak also English and Italian. I tried a few times to have a glimpse into Russian and it was so difficult following the classical textbooks ways.. Learn the alphabet, the handwritting, learn this, learn that and remember nothing..
Your method is great and reminds me how I started speaking Italian gradually when I lived there for a long period. This is how humans learn how to speak and this is how foreign languages should be tought..
Congratulations, I will be a very frequent visitor and fan of your website!
Spasibo, Christos! I’ve been to Greece a few times (Crete, then Corfu) and have always been impressed by how — at least those in the tourism businesses — always seemed to speak both English *and* Russian. (Which was smart, given how many Russians travel to Greece.) Anyway, I’m sure you’ll do great in the language. And I hope to see you in my Russian Accelerator video course!
You can learn more about it here…
I absolutely love your podcasts and exercises! I find your content really educational and useful and I really appreciate it! Thank you so much!
Your website is great. I like all the verbal practice that you have us do. I’ve been learning Russian from 2 other websites (dotty-dingo and russianforfree). I’ve learned a lot from the other websites, but felt like I needed to try a different approach. My 8 year old daughter and I just started this website this week. She’s much more receptive to your method than trying to learn about the Russian Cases! You’re absolutely right about learning to speak right away first, and then learn the grammar AFTER.
My goal is to eventually become fluent in Russian, to the point of possibly getting some kind of interpreter job or something. If it happens, great. If not, I’ll still be fluent in Russian, which is awesome on its own terms.
Well, on to your lesson 3. Talk to you again soon.
Thanks sooo much,
Thanks for your kind words about my podcast. So glad both you and your daughter are enjoying it.
Hopefully, after you’ve finished all 30 episodes, you’llconsider taking my online course, ‘Russian Accelerator.’ (I try to not plug it *too* much during the podcasts. 🙂 )
Anyway, keep up the great work…both of you!