7 Secrets to Learn Russian Fast

Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy 16

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Episode #16 – Russian Made Easy


Welcome to episode 16. Remember, these podcasts are cumulative, so if you’re just joining us, please start at Podcast #1.

Anyway, today we’ll be talking about where we work. I’d like to start by going back to a phrase we learned in podcast #14. Do you remember how to say:

I’m now at work.

Я сейчас на работе.

But we also learned that the word for “work”, on its own, was just:


…with an “ah” ending.

Listen again and repeat:


So how would you say:

I like my work.

Мне нравится моя работа.

Try saying: I love my work.

Я люблю мою работу.

To the nitpickers out there, Yes, there is another way to say this, using the reflexive possessive pronoun свой , as in: Я люблю свою работу — but if you don’t mind, we’ll be using this more intuitive version just for now.

I love my work.

Я люблю мою работу.

So, here’s our first new phrase for today. Listen and repeat:

Я работаю

One more time:

Я работаю

My friend is a barrista (a coffee maker) in Starbucks. Now, if a Russian person asks my friend what he does, my friend would say: Я работаю в Старбаксе.

My other friend is a waitress in a cafe. If a Russian person asked her what she does, she’d say:

Я работаю в кафе.


Я работаю

…translates as: I work

Try saying:

I work in New York.

Я работаю в Нью Йорке.

How about:

I work in Moscow.

Я работаю в Москве.

Ok, here’s our next new word. It’s a cognate. Repeat after the speaker:


One more time…


Here it is in context…As defined by their market capitalization, Exxon Mobil is the world’s largest компания.

In English we say “company” and in Russian they say компания.

So here’s the main construction we want to master today. In standard English we’d say:

I work for Microsoft. We might also use the word “at” as in: I work at Intel.

Now the literal way Russians usually express this idea is:

I work in the company _____.

For example: I work in the company Microsoft.

Я работаю в компании Майкрософт.

Notice how the word “ff” changes the end of компания to a long ee sound. f–kompanee. Listen…

в компании

Try saying:

I work in the company Intel.

Я работаю в компании Интэл.

I work in the company Exxon.

Я работаю в компании Эксон.

How would you say:

This is my company.

Это моя компания.

Did you use “моя” to rhyme with “компания”?

Ask your friend:

Is this your company?

Это твоя компания?


Do you like your work? (Lit: To you is pleasing your work?)

Тебе нравится твоя работа?

Imagine someone calls you while you happen to be working. How would you tell them:

I’m working at the moment.

Я работаю сейчас.

So here’s a question for you…How might you ask your friend:

You’re working now?

Hit pause and think about it for a second…

So, remember our two verb patterns so far?




So to ask: “You’re working right now?” we need to say…

Ты работаешь сейчас?


Ты работаешь сейчас?

But we remember that word order in Russian is more flexible. And a native speaker is probably more likely to phrase that:

Ты сейчас работаешь?

By putting the word “работаешь” at the end, he’s putting more emphasis on it. It’s like asking…

“Ya working now?”

Whereas, if he says it this way:

Ты работаешь сейчас?

The emphasis is on “сейчас” so it’s like he’s asking, “You’re working now??

But again, the difference is subtle, and they can also emphasize words with their tone, or emphasis, instead of just word order.

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

In my experience, one of the hardest parts for most people who are learning a language is simply staying motivated. As soon as things get tough, their resolve seems to weaken. The doubts creep in, like, “I’ll never be able to speak Russian like that.” And then come the excuses, “I can’t study this week. I’ve got too much going on.” Pretty soon, they stop altogether, satisfied with having learned a few words and phrases.

What those people are missing is a powerful, underlying motivation to learn Russian. And that’s what I’d like to talk about for a moment.

For me, the motivation was to be able to travel through St. Petersburg and Moscow on my own, completely independently. I didn’t want some tour guide telling me how long I could spend in the DaVinci room of the Hermitage museum. I wanted to be able to rent an apartment, buy my own food, catch taxis and all that…all by myself. So my need for independence when traveling to Russia was my powerful motivation.

For lots of guys, the motivation is to be able to talk to their Russian wife or fiance in her own language. They realize how much better it makes them look, that they care enough to learn Russian. And not just to talk with her, but with her family and friends, too. Knowing how to speak Russian also makes guys more valuable. Things aren’t so desparate for Russian or Ukrainian women these days. I’ve been living here in Ukraine now for five years, so believe me, I know. They’re becoming choosier. So speaking Russian will give a guy a huge edge.

Another big motivation is the job market. Russia is the largest country on earth and due to their vast oil deposits they stand to become a major force in international commerce. Imagine being able to add the line, “Fluent in Russian” to your resume. It’s a great way to add value to yourself as an employee.

So now and again take a little time to think of al the benefits you’ll get by being able to speak Russian. Whether it’s for travel, for romance or for business, knowing Russian will benefit you for a lifetime.

Alright, back to it. How would you ask a new friend:

Where do you work?

Где ты работаешь?

How will she say:

I work in the company Dell.

Я работаю в компании Дэлл.

Try saying: I work downtown. (Or: I work in the city center.)

Я работаю в центре.

Try saying:

I’m an American. I live in California.

Я – американец. Я живу в Калифорнии.

Say: I work in the company Google.

Я работаю в компании Гугл.

With just two words, ask your friend:

You working?

Ты работаешь?

How will he say:

No. I’m not working now.

Нет. Я не работаю сейчас.

Let’s learn two easy cognates. Repeat this first one after the speaker:


And again:


So in English we say ‘bank’ and in Russian it’s банк.

And here’s our 2nd cognate:


I’m new to this company, so I just have a small cubicle. But one day I hope to have my own офис.

So, in English we say office, and in Russian they deepen the “oh” sound…офис

Say: I work in a bank.

Я работаю в банке.

Did you remember to add that “yeh” sound at the end of “bank”?

в банке.

Ask your friend:

Do you work in a store or in an office?

Ты работаешь в магазине или в офисе?

Again, we need that “yeh” sound both times: в магазине …. в офисе

Imagine you’ve called your friend’s cellphone. He answers and you ask him:

Where are you now?

Где ты сейчас?

How will he say:

I’m in the office.

Я сейчас в офисе.

How do you say:

I’m now in the bank.

Я сейчас в банке.

A friend asks you:

Where is your office?

Где твой офис?

In two words, say:

In the center.

В центре.

Let’s end with some general review today. In the previous podcast, we worked with the verb patterns for Я and ТЫ. For example, how do you say:

I’ll have coffee. Whereas what will you have?

Я буду кофе, а что ты будешь?

Say: I’ll have….You’ll have.

Я буду. Ты будешь.

How do you say:

I live in Maryland. Where do you live?

Я живу в Мэриленде. Где ты живёшь?

Say: I live…you live

Я живу. Ты живёшь.

And how do you say:

I want pizza. And what do you want?

Я хочу пиццу. А что ты хочешь?

Say: I want…you want

Я хочу. Ты хочешь.

And of course, today we learned how to say:

I work in the company Sony.

Я работаю в компании Сони.

Ask your friend:

Where do you work?

Где ты работаешь?

Say: I work…you work…

Я работаю. Ты работаешь.

That wraps up today’s podcast. In the next one, we’ll add a new verb pattern that’ll let us say things like, “She lives in Minsk,” or, “He works downtown,” and so on. That’ll really come in handy and expand your vocabulary being able to talk about other people. And we’ll also talk…about talking.

I’ll see you then!

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