7 Secrets to Learn Russian Fast

Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy 20

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Episode #20 – Russian Made Easy


Welcome to the second mid-term of these Russian Made Easy podcasts. If you remember our first mid-term, back in podcast number 10, you played the role of interpreter, translating the Russian you heard into English. Today we’ll take it a step further, having you translate back and forth between the languages. So, imagine you’re in a sports bar in Kiev with your friend Jason. There’s a Russian couple sitting nearby and so you decide to introduce yourself.


Let’s start by saying:

Hello, my name is Anton. And what’s your name?

Здравствуйте. Меня зовут Антон. А как Вас зовут?


Here’s how the Russian guy replies:

Меня зовут Влад. Но…давай на ты, хорошо?


He said, “Me they call Vlad.” In other words, “My name is Vlad.” But then he said something we haven’t encountered in these podcasts. It was a three-word phrase. Listen again…


давай на ты.


We’ll officially learn that phrase in a future podcast, but just doe now, know that it’s an invite to speak informally. Remember, здравствуйте is a formal greeting, but this guy wants to speak casually. So tell him:


Informally? Ok.

На ты? Хорошо.


Then Vlad asks:

Ты – англичанин?


He asked you: Are you an Englishman?


Tell him:

Yes, I’m an Englishman.

Да. Я – англичанин.


Say: I live in Liverpool but I work in Odessa.

Я живу в Ливерпуле но я работаю в Одессе.


Ask Vlad: And where do you work?

А где ты работаешь?


Vlad replies:

Здесь в Киеве. В центре. Я работаю в компании Самсунг.


Vlad’s response started with a word that’s new to this podcast. The word was: Здесь


Here’s a quick contextual phrase to help you get the meaning:


Ever see one of those maps in a shopping mall. It has an arrow pointing to a red dot and it says, “You are здесь.”


So, здесь translates as “here, in this location.” So when you asked Vlad where he works, he said:


Здесь в Киеве. В центре. Я работаю в компании Самсунг.

Here in Kiev. In the center. I work in the company Samsung.


And Vlad says:

Кстати, ты хорошо говоришь по-русски, Антон.


So he said: Kstati, you speak Russian well, Anton.

Kstati is a word that Russians use to change the subject. In English we’d say, “By the way…”


Tell him: Thanks. And do you speak English?

Спасибо. А ты говоришь по-английски?


He shakes his head:



Vlad gestures to your friend Jason, who’s watching the game and asks you:

Кто это?


He asked…Who is this?


Tell him: This is my friend Jason. He’s a lawyer.

Это мой друг Джэйсон. Он – адвокат.


Say: He’s an American but now he lives in Kiev.

Он – американец но сейчас он живёт в Киеве.


He works for Apple.

Literally: He works in the company Apple.

Он работает в компании Эппл.


Now you point to the girl next to Vlad who’s talking on her cellphone and ask him:

And who’s this?

А кто это?


He says:

Это Наташа.


Ask him: Is she your female friend?

Она твоя подруга?


He says:

Нет, не подруга. Она моя девушка.

No, not a female friend. She is my devushka.


You saw them holding hands earlier, so he must be saying, She’s my girlfriend. And he is. Though it’s interesting to note that the word devushka more accurately means “girl” or “young woman.” So he’s saying, “She is my girl,” literally.


Она моя девушка.


Say the word one more time:



Vlad then asks:

А у тебя есть девушка?

And at you there is a girlfriend?

Of course, in normal English we’d say: Do you have a girlfriend?


Tell him: Yes. She’s now in Odessa.

Да. Она сейчас в Одессе.


We’ve encountered four new words in this mid-term so far. Let’s see if you remember them.

When we met Vlad, we greeted him formally by saying:



And then he replied with this phraseL

…давай на ты, хорошо?


Do you remember what that means? It’s an invitation to speak informally.


давай на ты, хорошо?


You don’t have to worry about learning to say it just yet, because it’s better if the native speaker makes the suggestion to speak informally. So we just want to recognize it for now.


Then we heard:



Imagine your Russian friend is giving you a walking tour of her city. You ask her:

Where do you work?

Где ты работаешь?


Stopping in front of a bank she points to it and says:

Я работаю здесь.


So she’s saying: I work here.


In a cafe, ask the waitress: Is there Wi-Fi here?

Note the word order: Here there is Wi-Fi

Здесь есть Wi-Fi?


Then we heard:



Imagine your wife comes home from shopping. You tell her about your work day and then you remember that her mom called. You say, “Kstati, your mom called. She wants to know if we’re coming over for dinner.”


So, кстати is a word Russians use to introduce a new topic. Imagine you’ve been chatting with your girlfriend in her home. It suddenly occurs to you that her mom isn’t there, though she usually is. So ask her:


By the way, where is your mom?

Кстати, где твоя мама?


Finally we learned the word: девушка


A girl you’re just friends with is your подруга, whereas a girl you’re dating is your девушка.

Say: She is my girlfriend.

Она моя девушка.


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


I could’ve written the dialogue that we’re using for this mid-term without including any new words, but I put them in there on purpose. Why? Because when you’re speaking to people in Russian, you’ll hear unfamiliar words all the time, and I don’t want you to panic. I want you to get used to it. Often you’ll be able to figure out an unfamiliar word from context, and from the situation. And for the ones you can’t figure out, well, in an upcoming podcast, I’ll show you how to ask what a word means.


That’s all I really wanted to say for today’s tip: Don’t worry when you hear an unfamiliar word. Keep listening and try to get the gist of the sentence. Chances are, you’ll figure it out a bit later.


So, let’s get back to today’s mid-term. When we left the conversation with Vlad, he had just introduced us to his devushka, Natasha. So let’s skip ahead in time just a bit. Vlad and Natasha have stood up and are putting on their coats. He’s gesturing for you and your friend Jason to do the same, and follow them out. He says…




Which means: Let’s go!


Ask him: Where to?



He says:

В кафе. Я хочу кушать.


That means: To a cafe. I want to eat.


Tell him: To a cafe? Okay.

В кафе? Хорошо.


In the cafe now, Vlad greets the waitress as she approaches:



She replies:

Добрый день. Что Вы хотите?


Then Natasha tells the waitress:


Я буду чай и блины с мёдом.

So, Natasha said, I’ll have tea and pancakes …s-myodom. We’ll have to pay attention to what the waitress brings her, to see what that means. Meanwhile, the waitress repeats Natasha’s order:


Чай и блины с мёдом.


The waitress turns to Vlad.

А Вам?


Vlad says:

Я буду омлет и капучино, пожалуйста.

So he said: I’ll have an omlet and cappucino, please.


Uh-oh, now it’s your turn. Greet the waitress, and then ask her: Is there salad?

Здравствуйте. Есть салат?


She says…

Да. Есть винегрет и есть греческий салат.


Tell her:


Ok. I’ll have the vinaigrette, please.

Хорошо. Я буду винегрет, пожалуйста.


The waitress turns towards Jason and says…

И Вам?


Again that means” “And for you?”


Tell the waitress:

He doesn’t speak Russian.

Он не говорит по-русски.


Say: He’ll have the borscht.

Он будет борщ.


Vlad turns towards you and asks….

Антон, хочешь водку?


He asked: Anton, want vodka?


In four words, tell him: No thanks. (I) don’t want.

Нет, спасибо. Не хочу.


Tell him: I don’t like vodka.

Lit: To me not pleasing vodka.

Мне не нравится водка.


Vlad then asks:

А пиво?


Say: “Pivo”? What is this?

Пиво? Что это?


And Vlad explains….

Ну, Хайнекен, Будвайзер, Корона…или Балтика.


Say: Yes, yes….I like beer.

Да, да…мне нравится пиво.


Say: Okay, I’ll have a Baltika, please.

Хорошо, я буду Балтику, пожалуйста.


Did you say “Baltiku” with an “uu” sound, by the way? If so, please give yourself an A+ for the course so far. But let’s keep going. Listen to what Vlad asks the waitress:


Скажите…здесь есть Wi-Fi?

He said, …something…..here there is Wi-Fi?


Try saying that…just those last three words. Ask:

Is there Wi-Fi here?

Здесь есть Wi-Fi?


The waitress tells him:

Да, есть.


Vlad thanks her as she walks off…



He then takes out his phone to use the Wi-Fi but his screen is blank. It seems his battery died. He says…


Блин! Мне нужен интернет но мой телефон не работает.


Hmm….He said, “Pancake! To me is necessary the internet but by telephone isn’t working!”

Bleen, funny enough, is a Russian curse word. It’s not a bad word, though. It’s like saying “dangit.” No one’s going to be offended.




Anyway, just for practice, try repeating Vlad’s last phrase. Say…

I need the internet but my phone isn’t working.

Мне нужен интернет но мой телефон не работает.


He then asks you:

У тебя есть телефон?


So he said: At you there is a phone? In other words: Do you have a phone?


In three words say: I don’t have.

Literally: At me no.

У меня нет.


Then add:

But Jason has.

Literally: But at Jason there exists.

Но у Джэйсона есть.


Anyway, as dinner winds down at the cafe, Vlad suddenly ask you…

Кстати, Антон….Тебе нравится джаз?


By the way, Anton, do you like jazz?


Say: Yes, I love jazz, blues and rock.

Да. Я люблю джаз, блюз и рок.


Vlad says:

Хорошо. Значит…пошли в джаз-клуб.

Ok….Znacheet…..let’s go to a jazz club.


But Natasha complains:

В джаз-клуб? Но я хочу танцевать!

To a jazz club? But I want to dance!


Vlad turns to you:

Есть проблема.

There’s a problem.


Ask him: She wants to dance?

Она хочет танцевать?


He says:

Да, она хочет танцевать.

Yes, she wants to dance.


Roll your eyes and say,




Did you add an “ee” sound to the end to make it plural? Listen to that word again.



That’s the end of the mid-term. How’d you do? My email address is mark@RussianMadeEasy.com


And no matter how you did in this mid-term, in my book you still get an A. Getting this far takes persistence, determination and motivation…and it deserves recognition. So consider yourself an A student in this class. I’ll see you next time!


P.S. Scroll down to see a picture of Natasha’s order: Блины с мёдом



блины с мёдом

Crepes with honey


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