Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 3

Nationalities In Russian Language

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Exercises Only

If you can’t read Russian yet, lets get that out of the way. You can do it in just a few hours. Go here –> Learn to Read Russian Free Video Course

Welcome to this third podcast of Russian Made Easy. Let’s start by reviewing what we learned in the previous podcast.

Imagine you’re at a cafe with your Russian friend. She comes back from the bathroom and sees that the food you both ordered has been served. Say each of the following phrases in Russian…out loud.

Is this my pizza?

Это моя пицца?

[NOTE: As I’ve mentioned in each transcript of this series, I’ve decided to not sound out the Russian words in here using English letters. Please listen to the podcast as you read this transcript. And if you’d like to be able to read Russian — and I promise you, it can be learned in a day or two — I’ll include a link at the bottom of this transcript to my course on reading Russian. Start now and in a few days you’ll be able to read all the Russian in this document.]

Yes, this is your pizza.

Да, это твоя пицца.

Is this my soup?

Это мой суп?

Yes, this is your soup.

Да, это твой суп.

Is this your borscht?

Это твой борщ?

This is my vodka.

Это моя водка.

So, how did you do? Did you remember to use the feminine version of my and your — that is, моя and твоя to rhyme with the feminine words like pizza and vodka? If so, you’ve already grasped a fundamental aspect of Russian grammar.

So, what’s on tap for today? Well, I know a lot of my listeners here are also going through my Russian Accelerator course, so I want to address a question I get from you guys. In Unit 1 of that course, we learn how to say: I’m an American. Listen…

Я – американец.

Listen again, and repeat after the speaker:

Я – американец.

The question I get is from all our non-American members. From Aussies and Brits and Canadians, eh? Not to mention from all our European members. They all ask, “Hey, what about us? How do you say: I’m Australian? I’m British? I’m Danish? and so on.” So, in this episode, we’ll talk about nationalities. We’ll learn to introduce our friends, and we’ll also dispel a common myth about Russian pronunciation. So let’s get to it.

How do you say…

I’m an American.

Я – американец.

Now here’s the thing. Remember in the first podcast, we learned two different words for student. Right? How would a guy say:

I’m a student.

Я – студент.

How would a girl say that?

Я – студентка.

Well, Russian is kinda wishy-washy on this idea of having a male and female version for occupations. What I mean is, some occupations do have a male and female form – like student, teacher, dancer and singer. But many others have only one form, like doctor, engineer and author.

But when it comes to nationalities, Russian is much more consistent and basically has a male and female version for each. So, this phrase:

Я – американец.

…is only the way a man would say it. An American woman should say:

Я – американка.

Listen again, and repeat:

Я – американка.

So, imagine you’re British and you’re in Kiev with your two American friends, Tony and Jane. Try introducing them to your new Russian-speaking acquaintance. Say…

This is Tony. He is an American.

Это Тони. Он – американец.

This is Jane. She is an American.

Это Джэйн. Она – американка.

Let’s try two more. Imagine you’re at the Moscow Movie Festival, and the MC is introducing the stars as they come in. As Russell Crowe enters, the MC says…

Это Рассел Кроу. Он – австралиец.

Then Nicole Kidman enters and the MC announces…

Это Николь Кидман. Она – австралийка.

So we heard:


…that’s an Australian man. And…


…that’s an Australian woman.

Try saying:

He is an Australian.

Он – австралиец.

How about: She is an Australian.

Она – австралийка.

Good job!

Alright, a quick review before going on. Say..

This is Steve. He is an American.

Это Стив. Он – американец.

This is Leyton. He is an Australian.

Это Лэйтон. Он – австралиец.

This is Sally. She is an American.

Это Салли. Она – американка.

This is Clara. She is an Australian.

Это Клара. Она – австралийка.

A quick side note: Bear in mind that — just as in English — there are other ways to say these things in Russian. For example, in English I can say, “I’m American.” but I can also say, “I’m an American.” In the first, ‘American’ is an adjective. In the second, it’s a noun. I can also convey the same idea by saying, “I’m from America.”

Alright. Let’s add two more nationalities. Repeat this first pair after the speaker:

англичанин – англичанка

One more time…

англичанин – англичанка

So what nationality is it? Well, in the movies, James Bond is perhaps the most well know англичанин.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth is certainly the most well-known англичанка.

So, an англичанин is an English man.

And an англичанка is a English woman.

And now our second pair. Again, repeat after the speaker:

канадец – канадка

One more time:

канадец – канадка

We’ll cut right to the chase on this one.

A man born and raised in, say, Toronto, is a канадец. A woman born and raised there is a канадка.

So the word for a Canadian male is….канадец.

And for a Canadian female? канадка

For fun, let’s do a celebrity quiz. I’ll name a famous person, and you say his or her nationality. Ready?

Paul McCartney.




Alannis Morrisette


Crocodile Dundee


Queen Elizabeth


Nicole Kidman


Bruce Willis


The mayor of Montreal.


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

I’d like to take a moment now to dispel a huge myth people seem to believe about pronunciation. I get emails and sound files from our members all the time, “I worry that my pronunciation isn’t perfect.” Or, “My native speaking teacher says my Russian accent isn’t perfect yet. She keeps having me practice the same few words over and over. Help!”

Here’s the fact of the matter: Your pronunciation needs to be just good enough so that native speakers understand you. That’s it. End of story. You will never speak Russian without an accent. Never. And you’ll never fool a Russian speaker into thinking you’re a native speaker. Neither will I. But so what?! All that matters is that you speak well enough to be understood. I mean, what does it even MEAN to speak without an accent?

Think about English. What is the correct pronunciation? American? British? Australian? If American, then which American accent? New York? Boston? The Southern drawl? That dry, Chicago accent? If British is the correct accent, then which British version? North London? Cockney? Scottish? Irish? As long as we understand each other, that’s what counts.

And it kills me when native Russian speakers give students of Russian a hard time, and criticize their pronunciation. I have never met a single Russian speaker in the US who doesn’t speak without a brutally thick accent. I’ve met Russians in the U.S. who’ve been living there for thirty years and speak English well, but gimme a break…the instant they open their mouth — with just a single word — it’s immediately obvious they’re Russian. Хэлло Марк. Хау ар ю? But again I say: So what? We understand them. They can function in our society. They can communicate. End of story.

So please…do not obsess about trying to perfect your pronunciation. But do check with a native speaker from time to time to be certain they understand what you’re saying. That’s why we include access to our native speaking Success Coaches with Russian Accelerator. You just need to know that your speech is understandable.

Anyway, that rant is over, let’s learn two more words and then put it all together.

Repeat after the speaker…

друг – подруга

One more time.

друг – подруга

Can you figure out what they mean? Well, imagine you’re in Moscow with your two friends, Randy and Christina. You’re in a club and you’re introducing them to a new Russian acquaintance. You gesture to Randy and say,

Это мой друг Рэнди.

Then you gesture to Christina.

Это моя подруга Кристина.

So, Randy is your друг

And Christina is your подруга.

Both words translate as friend, but друг is for guys and подруга is for girls. Think of it this way. If I tell you that my friend Pat is coming over, you have no idea whether Pat is a man or a woman. But if I tell you in Russian, it’s clear. Listen…

Это мой друг Пэт.

We know Pat is your друг…your male friend.

Это моя подруга Пэт.

In this case, we know Pat is a female friend.

By the way, please don’t think of подруга as meaning your “girlfriend”. There’s no romantic associations with the word. It’s simply a friend who is female. And if you’re a guy with a Russian girlfriend, don’t ever call her your подруга because it immediately makes her “just a friend.” We’ll learn the word for “girlfriend” — the kind with romantic overtones — in a future podcast.

(Anyway,) let’s put all this together.

How would you ask in Russian:

Is this your friend?

Это твой друг?

Answer: Yes. This is my friend John.

Да. Это мой друг Джон.

He is an American.

Он – американец.

Is this your female friend?

Это твоя подруга?

Yes. This is my female friend Monica.

Да. Это моя подруга Моника.

She is an American.

Она – американка.

This is my friend Leyton. He is an Australian.

Это мой друг Лэйтон. Он – австралиец.

This is my friend Nicole. She is an Australian.

Это моя подруга Николь. Она – австралийка.

My mom is a Canadian.

Моя мама – канадка.

My father is an Englishman.

Мой папа – англичанин.

This is my friend Charlie. He is a Canadian.

Это мой друг Чарли. Он – канадец.

This is my female friend Louisa. She is English.

Это моя подруга Люиса. Она – англичанка.

If you got all these, you really are making awesome progress in Russian.

In the next podcast we’ll learn about greetings and introductions, plus I’ll show you a great tip for maximizing your study time.

As always, I’ve put an “exercise-only” version of this on my site, RussianMadeEasy.com, so be sure to head over there and download that. That’s where you’ll find the transcript as well. And in the meantime, keep on practicing. I’ll see you in the next episode.

CLICK HERE to learn to read Russian quickly and easily

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Episode 3 – Full Program

Episode 3 – Exercises Only


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54 responses to “Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 3”

  1. Kaelyn Avatar

    Hi Mark, I’ve loved the podcast and your approach to teaching Russian! I know I have to talk to Native Russians in order to develop fluency. And I’ve been in my head a lot about my pronunciation. So I felt a sigh of relief when you talked about accents and never being able to speak without one.💖

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Thanks, Kaelyn. And yes, that key point is worth repeating: Your only goal is to speak well enough so that native speakers understand you. Over time, with lots of exposure and very close listening, your pronunciation will improve.

  2. kasra Avatar

    hey mate i have this problem in russian if i want to ask my female friend that the guy who is standing next them is their friend should use male version of друг or the female version

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      If the friend is a guy, use: друг

      If the friend is a woman, use: подруга

  3. Esther Avatar


    I had been wanting to learn Russian for a long time but the alphabet was just too hard and I couldn’t find an app or website with an effective method to learn it. Your app is awesome!! Йур апп из асом! LOVED the Жан Жак Руссо ристоран in Санкт-Петербург!!!

    Anyways, I’m French (female), how would you say that in Russian?
    Google trad says я француз but I don’t trust it.
    Also, I 100% agree with you about accents: accents are great!!!
    Thank you!

    Эстэр (is that how I would write my name in cyrillic?)

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет, Эстер!

      Thanks so much for the kind words. And a glowing review on whereever you found our app(s) is always appreciated.

      re: spelling…Your name is more commonly sounded out in Cyrillic using “e” as the 2nd vowel.

      She is a French woman. = Она француженка.
      He is a Frenchman. = Он француз.

      Hope to welcome you to our Russian Accelerator course one day!

  4. Mona Avatar

    Привет Марк

    Можете сказать Эмарати (Emarati- nationality of people from UAE/Dubai)
    For masculine and feminine and adjectives?


    Ur fav spotlight listener
    The Little Nobel One,

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Thanks for the kind words:
      Он эмиратец = He is an Emirati

      Она эмиратка = She is an Emirati

      Hope this helps!

  5. lola Avatar

    Hi! I accidentally replied to another comment here but i wanted to ask, how do i say that i’m an Argentinian woman in Russian?

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Я – аргентинка!

      Ys ar-gen-TEEN-ka

      Congrats, by the way, on an amazing world cup!

      1. lola Avatar

        Thank you so much!!
        and i’m very proud about the world cup hahahsw

  6. Johanna Avatar

    Hi Mark! Thanks for a great podcast! How do I tell someone I’m a Swedish female? Thanks in advance!

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Йоханна!

      Я шведка.
      Ya shvedka

      So glad you’re enjoying the course!


      1. Johanna Avatar


        1. Mark Thomson Avatar
          Mark Thomson

          My pleasure!

  7. Olivia Avatar

    Hello Mark
    I just started learning russian and your podcast helps me a lot.
    I’m from Switzerland so how would I say “I’m Swiss” male and female ?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Я – швейцарка. = I am Swiss.

      Он – швейцарец.

  8. Hanna Avatar

    I am from Hungary (female). How do you say this?

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Я – венгерка. (I am a Hungarian (woman)

      Hope this helps!


  9. Roa Avatar

    Hey Mark!
    Just finished episode 3, how would I say I’m Moroccan (female form) and also wanna know male form just in general.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Glad to help.

      He is a Morrocan.
      Он марокканец.

      She is a Morrocan.
      Она марокканка

      So you would simply say: Я – марокканка

      Hope this helps!

  10. Danica Avatar

    Hello Mark!
    How do you say Filipino (male) and Filipina (female) – from the Philippines?
    Thank you!

    I completed your Reading Russian course and found it so well done! Thank you so much!

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Даника!

      Thanks for the kind words.

      He is a Filipino. = Он – филиппинец

      She is a Filipino. = Она – филиппинка.

      Hope this helps!

  11. Medha Avatar

    Hi Mark,
    How do I say ‘ I am an Indian’ in Russian? ( I am female)

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Я – индианка.

      (Я – индиец) (for men)

  12. Vanessa S. Avatar
    Vanessa S.

    Hello Mark,
    I just came across your podcast on Spotify by chance and I’m loving it. I love learning new languages and Russian is definitely challenging at first but you made it so easy to jump in on it.
    I’m a Brazilian woman. How do I say ‘I’m Brazilian’ in Russian? You can give me both male and female if that’s ok.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Ванесса!

      Thanks for the kind words. There are two forms for Brazilian in Russian. Below is the headline from a current news article about a famous female Brazilian soccer player. Note the use of бразильянка:
      Легендарная бразильянка Формига, сыгравшая на 7 чемпионатах мира, завершила международную карьеру

      …and yet here’s the common usage for a Brazilian male, coming from a different form of the word. Again, from recent news:
      Афонсо Алвес: бразилец, которого не знали на родине, а он сверкнул в Нидерландах

      бразилец = Braz. male

      Hope this helps! And I hope to welcome you to my online video course called Russian Accelerator.

      Cheers from Ukraine,

      1. Vanessa S. Avatar
        Vanessa S.

        Привет, Марк!

        I will work through the episodes of RME first and then I’m definitely considering signing up for the RA. I got interested in learning Russian because 95% of the people that meet me thinks I’m Russian. The other 5% thinks I’m Ukrainian or Polish 😊.

        I noticed when you wrote привет, the letter ‘t’ in the Cyrillic keyboard comes out as ‘т’ after you type. I went through the Cyrillic alphabet modes but must have missed the cursive way to write that?


        1. Mark Thomson Avatar
          Mark Thomson

          Hi Vanessa,

          I’m not certain I follow. You’re surprised that when you type the Cyrillic letter т that it comes out as…..a т ?
          (Bear in mind, it’s approaching midnight here, so I’m probably missing the essence of your question.) 🙂

          Either way, I hope to welcome you to Russian Accelerator. (No ‘T’s needed.)

  13. Urs Avatar

    Hi Mark,
    I greatly enjoy your free course in Russian! Well done…A difficult thing made easy! That’s a rare art….
    But in TODAY’s America, I guess starting such a course with the word “vodka” in the first lession might be considered racist by some…a bit crazy, I know…
    Just returned from California, where you are considered an alcoholic, if you drink just one glass of red wine daily!

    Keep on with your good work!
    Regards, Urs

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Spasibo, Urs. I doubt anyone is offended merely by teaching the word водка.
      There were no stereotypes associated with it. People will hear the word. It’s useful to recognize in its various forms.
      Anyway, keep up the great work. Hope to see you in my Accelerator course ond day.


      1. Astrid Avatar

        Hello, I have know idea how to make a comment so I am just replying to you. Now, my question is; how do you say “I am German” and how do you say “I am serbian”. I am a female, so I really only need the feminine version. But you could tell me the masculine version anyway. Oh and by the way, these are great podcasts 👍. I watched a video and the comments were all Russian, I actually understood some of the comments in the video. So thank you!

        1. Mark Thomson Avatar
          Mark Thomson

          Она сербка. = She is a Serbian.
          Он серб = He is a Serbian.

          Она немка. = She is a German.
          Он немец. = He is a German.

          So glad you’re enjoying the podcast. Hope to see you in Russian Accelerator one day!

          1. Astrid Avatar

            Thank you!

    2. Philip Avatar

      All due respect, I’m Brazilian and the one who drinks one glass of wine is considered the designated driver lol.
      Jokes aside, I love learning languages, I feel like breaking barriers so we become a more globalized world!

      Thanks Mark for a great job you’ve been doing!


  14. trevor Avatar

    how you going I am Trevor, songs of within Australia, myself an Australian I thought of placers to travel to that are different to other people speck of , I thought why not, Italy over to Russia out in space on short trip, space museums, Russia music & songs, coffee eating boiled roast when out, site seeing space astrology & museums,
    you under stand myself, sticking it to the few that wouldn’t think of traveling to Russia, for holidays
    best wishers Trevor amiss of Australia

  15. Kumaravelan Avatar

    Thanks buddy I have no words to describe my gratitude….I am feeling like to hug you my friend..

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Just glad to help.

  16. MohdIkmal Avatar

    Hey Mark,

    I just found your podcast. Still getting through em.
    I have been into Russian since 2017 as i am very fan for cyber security n stuff. Plus, there is one company that i follow into – the Group-ib. Thus motivate me to learn even more.

    Thanks, Mark. God bless you.

  17. Jakson Steel Avatar
    Jakson Steel

    Privet Mark,
    Today I purchased your trial of Russian Accelerator. Love it so far but I have a question.
    How should I make the Flashcard for ‘A’? Since it’s used as ‘so’, ‘but’, ‘whereas’, ‘and’, I wonder how exactly I should Organize the Flashcard?
    Spasibo, Jakson Steel

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Jakson,

      Just saw your question about making a flashcard for ‘A’.
      (Sidenote: as an R.A> member, it’s better to email us your questions.)

      I probably wouldn’t make a flashcard for ‘A’. Instead, I’d write it in my grammar notebook.
      (Are you making one of those?) And then include all three meanings, including an example sentence for each.

      …or…if making flashcards….

      Write a whole sentence.

      Card 1:
      So, what’s your name?
      A…kak vas zovoot?

      Card 2:
      I’ll have coffee, whereas she’ll have tea.
      Ya budu kofe, a ona budit chai.


      Make sense?

      Hope this helps,


  18. Bruno Avatar

    thanks Mark…I’m an actor in LA, trying to learn Russian, since with everything going on in the world, I’m sure more and more Russian speaking roles will be needed….thanks again, Bruno…3 lessons down. 🙂

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Bruno,

      That sounds like a wise career move.

      Check back in after the mid-terms (Podcast #10 and #20) and let me know how you’re doing.
      Best wishes for a successful 2018,


  19. Adi Dominguez Avatar
    Adi Dominguez

    Hi Mark
    I am Mexican and planning a trip to Russia for next year. I can not think of a more intimidating language to try to learn than russian. Although I have only gone through the first 3 episodes I actually feel like trying to learn some russian before my trip is not such a crazy idea after all.
    Needless to say if I was scared of the language the thought of learning the alphabet was completely out of the question; until I found your app. It is unbelieveable how easy you make it for us. Thank you so much
    Greetings from Puerto Vallarta,
    Dr. Adi Janette Dominguez de Alba

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Dr. Adi!

      You see? It’s not crazy at all to try learning Russian. 🙂
      I hope to welcome you to my Russian Accelerator course after you finish my podcast.
      In the meantime, keep up the great work!


  20. Daithí Avatar

    Thanks for these brilliant podcasts Mark. I’m using them in conjunction with an app of yours I found in the iOS App Store that teaches how to read the Russian alphabet.

    I’ve just started with Russian because I want to be able to read online Russian news media. I’ve only been learning for four weeks and I can already figure out quite a few headlines thanks to your app and these podcasts.

    I wish Gaeilge had it’s own alphabet, some sounds just don’t work with the Latin alphabet so I’m glad Russian has its own. I think it actually makes pronunciation easier when you learn what the letters sound like. IMO apart from Ё they seem to stick to the phonetic rules better than English does with the Latin alphabet.

    I’m enjoying your style of teaching too, no fuss, just to the point with the good stuff that actually helps you to learn. Many thanks.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Daithi,

      Thanks for the kind words about my podcast and my alphabet app. So glad you’re enjoying them.
      It would help much if you could post positive reviews about one or both, on iTunes and/or the app store.

      And yes, I would say Russian’s Cyrillic alphabet is **orders of magnitude** more phonetic than English’s.
      (Look no further than “Arkansas” vs “Kansas”…compare the pronunciation of the letters “k-a-n-s-a-s” in both)

      I also hope you’ll check out Russian Accelerator. It’s my online, video course. You can learn more about it here…


      Thanks again, and let me know how you do on the final exam (Podcast #30)!

      Best wishes from Ukraine,

      Mark Thomson
      pres. Russian Accelerator

  21. Pieter Vandewoestyne Avatar
    Pieter Vandewoestyne

    Hi Marc,
    I love your podcasts, I’d have given up on learning Russian if I hadn’t discovered these.
    Your voice is perfect for it, and your methods are the best! I can’t wait until I reach the final podcast and see how i progressed.
    Anyway, I’ve got a question regarding this lesson:
    I am from Belgium and I speak Dutch.
    So when I want to introduce myself in Russian, how do i say ‘I am from Belgium’?

  22. Jordan Avatar

    Amazing podcasts. So easy to follow and retain information from. Really appreciate the effort you’ve gone into for these. Thanks, from Australia.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Thanks so much for the kind words.
      Let me know how you do on the id-term (podcast #10) and the final (#30).

      And maybe we’ll see you in my online video course, Russian Accelerator.

      Either way, thanks again for taking the time to write,


    2. Alina Avatar

      Hello Mark!
      I just found out my family comes from Russia and I would love to connect with my roots and learn the language. You’re podcast is really helping me!
      I would like to know how do you say “I’m finnish” in russian
      Thank you!

      1. Mark Thomson Avatar
        Mark Thomson

        Привет Алина!

        Я – финка! Мой брат – финн! <--- with two "n"s

  23. John Avatar

    Great series! I have studied a number of different languages at various points, and your Tip of the Day here is absolutely right! Aaaamen! It’s so easy to have so much anxiety about the wrong things that we become too afraid to try at all. I greatly appreciate the friendly, easy-going approach with this series and it’s helping me to overcome a lot of previous exasperation I have had in trying to learn Russian.

  24. Pina Avatar

    Thanks a million. It is so easy to follow and understand.

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