7 Secrets to Learn Russian Fast

Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy 12

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Episode #12 – Russian Made Easy


Alright, welcome to episode number 12. Here’s our main phrase for today. Please repeat after the speaker:

Я люблю

One more time…

Я люблю

We’ll come back and learn the meaning of that in a moment, but let’s review the material from the last episode. How do you say:

I like crepes. (We need the plural form here.)
Мне нравятся блины.

And how does that literally translate?
To me are pleasing crepes.

Try saying:
I like her.
Again…what’s the SLT here?
She to me is pleasing.
Она мне нравится.

Ask a friend:
Do you like rock?
Тебе нравится рок?

No. I like blues.
Нет. Мне нравится блюз.

Alright, so…What was that new phrase we started this podcast with?
Я люблю

To our Russian Accelerator members, I’m sure you remember learning that word in Unit 5 Lesson 3. In today’s podcast, we’re going to get extra practice with this very useful construction. For those who haven’t encountered this phrase yet, let’s try to get the meaning from context. So…

I like milk chocolate, but Я люблю dark chocolate!

And I like spaghetti, but Я люблю пиццу!

Do you have a feel for it? Я люблю translates as “I love…”

Say: I love to dance!
Я люблю танцевать!

I love borscht!
Я люблю борщ!

Let me do a quick flashback to the previous podcast. How would you say:
This is caviar.
Это икра.

Икра with an “ah” sound at the end. That’s its most basic form. But how do we say:
I want caviar.
Я хочу икру.

икру…with an “uu” sound because we’ve done something to the caviar. We wanted it.
By now, that rule is old hat for you, I’m sure. But how do you say:
I like caviar.

Мне нравится икра.

Why is it ending with an “ah” sound? Икра. Doesn’t liking it count as doing something to the caviar? And thus, shouldn’t it change to икру?

Hit pause and give your own explanation for this. If you understand this point, you’ll have another major aspect of Russian grammar mastered.


The reason икра doesn’t change in that construction is because, in Russian, the caviar is doing the action. Strange as it sounds, it is pleasing us. Or to us, really. But notice how, in our new construction, we are once again the one doing the action. That is:

I love caviar.
Я люблю икру.

…and that’s why it’s now икру with an “uu” ending. Let’s practice this idea of liking vs. loving.

Ask your friend:
Do you like vodka?
Тебе нравится водка?

How will he say:
Yes. I love vodka.
Да. Я люблю водку.

In that first one we had Водка with an “ah” and in the second one we had водку with an “uu”. Why? Because vodka is doing the action in the first sentence. But in the second one, we’re doing the action – we’re loving vodka.

Apologies, by the way, if I’m beating a dead horse with this grammar point, but again, if you get this, you’re actually mastering a big chunk of Russian grammar.

Next, let’s learn the name of two Russian cities and two Ukrainian cities. Repeat after the speaker:

Санкт Петербург

One more time:
Санкт Петербург

Fill in the blank with one of those cities. Ready?
The capital of Russia is….Москва

The capital of Ukraine is….Киев

The home of Russia’s world-class Hermitage museum is…Санкт Петербург

Ukraine’s largest port city, located on the Black Sea is….Одесса

So, try saying:
I love St. Petersburg!
Я люблю Санкт Петербург.

I love Moscow!
Я люблю Москву!
Did you remember to change the “ah” at the end of Москва to an “uu” sound? Москву.

I love Kiev.
Я люблю Киев.

I love Odessa.
Я люблю Одессу.

Of course, you can put any location into this construction. For example:
I love New York.
Я люблю Нью Йорк.

There’s a very useful transitional word we should learn now. Listen and repeat:

Of course, it sounds just like the English word “no” but that’s not what it means. As I said, it’s used to make transitions. Like this…

I’d love to stay for dinner HO it’s getting late…I really should go.

Or how about:

I’d lend you the money HO I left my wallet at the office.

So, HO is the Russian word for “but”. So try saying:

I like Moscow but I love St. Petersburg.
Мне нравится Москва но я люблю Санкт Петербург.

I love pizza, but I don’t want to eat.
Я люблю пиццу но я не хочу кушать.

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

One of my listeners wrote the other day and asked, “I listen to your podcasts every day and I think I’m doing really well. But I worry that maybe my pronunciation isn’t very good. And the problem is I have no one to practice with in my area. Any suggestions? Spasibo!” From Janet, in Vermont.

Thanks for writing, Janet. And that’s certainly a common issue. So what I’d like to offer you Janet, and any of our listeners who are in the same boat, is a chance to use our Success Coaching over at Russian Accelerator. For free. I wish I could offer the full, year-long access that Russian Accelerator members get, but I can’t do that. Still, I invite you to send them one recording of yourself. So here’s what to do. And again, this invite is for anyone listening to these RussianMadeEasy podcasts.

Just record yourself speaking the Russian you’ve learned in these podcasts. Do NOT say the English part. Just the Russian. And please keep it under five minutes. Make sure it’s an mp3 or wav file, and email it to: coaching@russian-accelerator.com

Again that’s: coaching@russian-accelerator.com

For the subject line of the email, please write: Podcast Offer

In a day or two, one of our coaches will have listened to it, and will get back to you with their comments. Because, really, one of the most important things for you, as a new student is to know that a native speaker understands you.

Alright, and here’s the last new word for today. Repeat after the speaker:


One more time:


Notice it’s tibya with a “ya” sound, not tebe with a “yeh” sound. Let’s get it from context:

When I proposed to my wife, I got down on one knee and told her:
“Honey, Я люблю тебя. Will you marry me?”

Я люблю тебя.
Translates as I love you.

And you’ll hear it in this word order as well. Listen…
Я тебя люблю.

Either is fine but that second one is probably more common.

Ask your friend:
Do you like jazz?
Тебе нравится джаз?

I love you.
Я тебя люблю.

Here I’m just contrasting: тебе and тебя

Let’s work once more with all of today’s new words. Say…

I like Kiev but I love Odessa.
Мне нравится Киев но я люблю Одессу.

I love St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Я люблю Санкт Петербург и Москву.

Imagine you’ve asked a Russian woman to marry you, and you’re explaining to her child:
I love your mom.
Я люблю твою маму.

I like blues but I love rock.
Мне нравится блюз но я люблю рок.

And let’s end with that most useful romantic phrase:
I love you.
Я тебя люблю.

Alright…As always, head over to RussianMadeEasy.com for today’s audios and transcript. And you’ll find our Success Coaching email address there, too, if you didn’t write it down.

In the next podcast we’ll talk about heading out and seeing the town. Keep practicing, and I’ll see you next time!

Send your 5 minute recording (mp3 or wav file) only in Russian, to:


Subj: Podcast Offer

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