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How to Improve Your Russian Conversation Skills

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Do you often find it difficult to find words in Russian? Do you have the opportunity to practice but don’t know what to say? When communicating in Russian begins, it takes resourcefulness to keep the conversation going. In this article, we will give you a few tips on how to improve your Russian conversation skills. Whether it’s a party or a business meeting, use these tips, and you’ll be the best at small talk for sure!

To learn any language, you need more than just vocabulary. You also need to be able to perceive speech by ear, read and write, and, of course, speak it. It doesn’t matter if you practice speaking alone or with a teacher. It is simply impossible to speak without using other skills. Therefore, it is better to develop Russian conversation skills.

Some Friends Chatting at the Table

A conversation can be a lot of fun

Further, we will give you a few main pieces of advice on how to improve your conversation skills in Russian and some phrases and words to keep a conversation going even if you are stuck.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Make Your Own Language Profile Cheat Sheet
  2. Learn Russian Reactions and Filler Words
  3. Learn Common Questions and Answers
  4. Learn Conversation Starters
  5. How to Improve Conversation Skills
  6. Conclusion

1. Make Your Own Language Profile Cheat Sheet

In an unfamiliar group of people, it is hard to reveal your best side and show communication skills. Sometimes it is not so easy to cope with such a task due to psychological and social factors. If the speaker experiences difficulties just speaking about himself in his native language, then when communicating in a foreign language, in addition to the language barrier and insurmountable excitement, he faces even greater difficulties. A Cheat Sheet will help you not to get lost in conversation.

Language Profile Cheat Sheet is basically your own profile that includes the key information about you — your age, gender, your activities, and interests. You take all that you like to talk about in your native language and turn it into Russian. Depending on the circumstances and purposes of communication, your story about yourself in Russian may differ. To make a personal cheat sheet, you can use some help from such translators as Google Translate or Yandex Translator if we are talking about the Russian language. But if you have a Premium account, you can talk about Language Profile with your personal teacher and create your own Russian Cheat Sheet together.

A Girl Is Taking a Note

Did you use cheat sheets at school?

What can be included in the Language Profile?

  1. General information (name, surname, age)

A typical conversation in Russian can start with the following words:

Позвольте представиться. Pozvol’te predstavit’sya. – “Let me introduce myself” 

Then you can say your name and age:

Меня зовут Аня. Мне 35 лет. Menya zovut Anya. Mne 35 let. – “My name is Anya. I’m 35 years old.”

Other things that Cheat Sheet may include:

  1. Place of residence
  2. Family

Here, you can write about parents, sisters/brothers, husband/wife, children, and what they do. 

  1. Education

This part of the cheat sheet should answer the question: where do/did I study? 

  1. Work

At this point, it is necessary to write where you work, and what professional skills you have. 

  1. Hobbies

To have more topics to discuss, write what you are passionate about. Think of possible questions.

Example 1:

Позвольте представиться. Меня зовут Аня. Мне 35 лет. Я живу в Москве. Я закончила МГУ и теперь работаю в банке. Мне очень нравиться работать с цифрами. Я замужем и у меня есть дочь. Зимой я люблю кататься на лыжах, а летом – на велосипеде.

Pozvol’te predstavit’sya. Menya zovut Anya. Mne 35 let. YA zhivu v Moskve. YA zakonchila MGU i teper’ rabotayu v banke. Mne ochen’ nravit’sya rabotat’ s ciframi. YA zamuzhem i u menya est’ doch’. Zimoj ya lyublyu katat’sya na lyzhah, a letom – na velosipede.

“Let me introduce myself. My name is Ann. I am 35 years old. I live in Moscow. I graduated from Moscow State University and now work in a bank. I really enjoy working with numbers. I am married and have a daughter. I love skiing in winter and cycling in summer.”

Example 2:

Меня зовут Марк. Мне 22 года. Я студент политехнического университета. В будущем я стану компьютерным инженером. Мне очень интересна сфера децентрализованных финансов и криптовалют. Также в свободное время я катаюсь на скейтборде.

Menya zovut Mark. Mne 22 goda. YA student politekhnicheskogo universiteta. V budushchem ya stanu komp’yuternym inzhenerom. Mne ochen’ interesna sfera decentralizovannyh finansov i kriptovalyut. Takzhe v svobodnoe vremya ya katayus’ na skejtborde.

“My name is Mark. I am 22 years old. I am a student at Polytechnic University. In the future, I will become a computer engineer. I am very interested in the field of decentralized finance and cryptocurrencies. I also go skateboarding in my free time.”

Example 3:

Я – Виктор. Мне 65 лет. Я на пенсии. Всю свою жизнь я работал бухгалтером. Теперь я путешествую по миру, знакомлюсь с традициями народов и учу новые языки.

Ya – Viktor. Mne 65 let. Ya na pensii. Vsyu svoyu zhizn’ ya rabotal buhgalterom. Teper’ ya puteshestvuyu po miru, znakomlyus’ s tradiciyami narodov i uchu novye yazyki.

“I am Victor. I am 65 years old. I’m retired. All my life, I have worked as an accountant. Now I travel the world, get acquainted with the traditions of peoples, and learn new languages.”

2. Learn Russian Reactions and Filler Words

During a conversation, native speakers use numerous phrases to support the conversation.

They sound very similar to English exclamations and have almost the same meaning.

A Man Is Pronouncing Letters

Filler words are an important part of sounding natural when you speak Russian

Ух ты! Uh ty! – “Wow!” 

– Я выиграл в лотерею 500 рублей!

– Ух ты!
– Ya vyigral v lotereyu 500 rublej!

– Uh ty!
“- I won 500 rubles in the lottery!

– Wow!”

Кошмар/Ужас! Koshmar/Uzhas! – “It’s a nightmare!” 

– Мы простояли в очереди три часа!

– Ужас! Не могу себе представить.
– My prostoyali v ocheredi tri chasa!

– Uzhas! Ne mogu sebe predstavit’.
“- We stood in line for three hours!

– It’s a nightmare! I can not imagine it.”

Да ты что! Da ty chto! – “No way!” 

– Вчера мой парень сделал мне предложение!

– Да ты что! Счастливая…
– Vchera moj paren’ sdelal mne predlozhenie!

– Da ty chto! Schastlivaya… 
“- Yesterday my boyfriend proposed to me!

– No way! You are a lucky girl…”

Ничего себе! Nichego sebe! – “That’s awesome”

– Нашему отделу дали премию.

– Ничего себе! Вот повезло.
– Nashemu otdelu dali premiyu.

– Nichego sebe! Vot povezlo. 
“- Our department was given an award.

– That’s awesome! That’s lucky.”

Понятно. Ponyatno. – “I see” 

– Я завтра не смогу прийти. Мне нужно в больницу.

– Понятно. Выздоравливай. 
– Ya zavtra ne smogu prijti. Mne nuzhno v bol’nicu.

– Ponyatno. Vyzdoravlivaj. 
“- I won’t be able to come tomorrow. I need to go to the hospital.

– I see. Get well.”

Неужели? Neuzheli? – “Really?” 

– Я опоздал, потому что застрял в пробке.

– Неужели? Уже третий раз за неделю? 
– Ya opozdal, potomu chto zastryal v probke.

– Neuzheli? Uzhe tretij raz za nedelyu?
“- I was late because I got stuck in a traffic jam.

– Really? For the third time in a week?”

What are fillers? This is a word (or words) that does not carry a special lexical meaning and is superfluous. However, such words are often used to fill a pause or to express emotions. In Russian, they are called parasitic words — people use them in a speech almost unconsciously. They can be reaction words and just unconsciously spoken words and sounds. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with the Russian conversation words to improve your skill, learn fillers, and learn reaction words in order to fill in the awkward pauses.

Как бы… Kak by… – “ Like…”

Знаешь…Znayesh’… – “You know…”

Ну… Nu… – “Well…”

В любом случае… V lyubom sluchaye… – “Anyway…”

Типа… Tipa… – “Sort of …”

Видишь ли …  Vidish’ li … – “You see…”

Да уж… Da uzh… – “Yeah…”

Точно … Tochno … – “Right…”

Короче говоря … Koroche govorya … – “In short…”

There are also sounds (interjections), that can be “parasites”: 

Гм… / Хм… Gm… / Khm… – “Um…”

Ммм… Mmm… – “Mmm …”

Ага …  Aga … – “Uh-huh …”

О! O! – “Oh!”

А! –  A! – “Uh!”

With the help of these words, we fill the void in speech, compensate for our insecurity, and take time to choose the right words. And if vocabulary is still meager, and there is something to express in words, linguistic parasites are irreplaceable helpers to facilitate the process of communication. Using them, you show that you follow the train of thought and are emotionally involved in someone’s story. But here, of course, you should be careful so that the enthusiasm and empathy do not turn into interrupting the interlocutor.

3. Learn Common Questions and Answers

There are a lot of materials on RussianPod101 about common questions and answers in Russian. Check the main articles: The 10 Most Common Questions in Russian & How to Answer Them and 10 Responses to “How are you?”

For now, look at the following questions and answers, which you are likely to hear in everyday conversations in Russian.

Practice these questions with your partner, and then try to use a few of these phrases the next time you meet a friend at a coffee shop, work event, or party.

-Чем вы занимаетесь?
-В настоящий момент я учусь.
-Chem vy zanimayetes’?
-V nastoyashchiy moment ya uchus’.
-So, what do you do?
-Right now, I’m a student. 
-Что ты делаешь по выходным?
-Ну, я люблю читать русскую классику.
-Chto ty delayesh’ po vykhodnym?
-Nu, ya lyublyu chitat’ russkuyu klassiku.
-What sort of stuff do you do on the weekends?
-Well, I tend to read Russian Classics.
– Твоя работа интересная?
– Да, я постоянно узнаю что-то новое.
– Tvoya rabota interesnaya?
– Da, ya postoyanno uznayu chto-to novoye.
– Is your job interesting? 
– Yes, I am constantly learning something new.
– Откуда ты?
– Я из Сибири, а ты?
– Otkuda ty?
– Ya iz Sibiri, a ty?
– Where are you from?
– I am from Siberia, and you?
– Вы хорошо говорите по-русски. Где вы учились?
– Я окончил МГУ.
– Vy khorosho govorite po-russki. Gde vy uchilis’?
– Ya okonchil MGU.
-Your Russian is good. Where did you study?
– I graduated from Moscow State University.

4. Learn Conversation Starters

Let’s talk about some examples of how to break the ice. A general comment is a good start for dialogue. Take a closer look, maybe there is something noteworthy in the place where you are? Or will you notice an interesting detail in the appearance, and behavior of the interlocutor? Here are some Russian conversation skills examples:

Какой завораживающий вид! –  Kakoy zavorazhivayushchiy vid! – “What an eye-catching view!”

A winning option is to ask the person for their opinion.

А как вы считаете? –  A kak vy schitayete? – “What do you think?”

A good old trick that will help out if nothing more remarkable could be found is a conversation about the weather. A selection of words about weather and nature will come in handy.

Кажется, вот-вот пойдёт снег. –  Kazhetsya, vot-vot poydyot sneg. – “Looks like it’s going to snow.”

Льёт как из ведра. У вас есть с собой зонтик? –  L’yot kak iz vedra. U vas yest’ s soboy zontik? – “The rain is coming down in buckets. Do you have an umbrella with you?”

Get some more weather ideas from our article — Learn The Top 15 Weather Conditions.

Вы смотрели вчерашнюю игру? Такой позор! –  Vy smotreli vcherashnyuyu igru? Takoj pozor! – “Have you watched yesterday’s game? What a shame!”

Hopefully, a few more phrases have been added to your favorite ways to strike up a casual conversation.

5. How to Improve Conversation Skills

If you wonder how to practice speaking Russian skills, here are some best practices which are good for learning any new language:

1. Talk and talk

If you live or study abroad, use this advantage and talk to new friends, talk in shops and cafes, and everywhere you go. If you are studying the Russian language in your own country, find a language partner, use apps for talking, or talk to a personal teacher here on RussianPod101.

2. The shadowing method

The basis of this method is simple: you need to listen to audio with a foreign speech and repeat it aloud – as close to the original as possible. Thus, you follow the speaker like a shadow. Then it all depends on the time you devote to practice. Here, regularity is above all: at least half an hour of daily classes – and soon, even in Moscow, no one will guess that you are not Russian.

3. Listen and read

You need a vocabulary to carry on a conversation, right? Learning bookish vocabulary is great, but there are also other ways to improve your vocabulary: watch movies and TV shows, listen to Russian music, radio, and podcasts (RussianPod101 also has a great podcast for learning), or read books, forums, and blogs.

Learning Russian through movies is a great way to improve your language skills! You hear live foreign speech, and enrich your vocabulary with colloquial words. To get the most out of your viewing experience, choose a movie or TV show according to your level and taste. Don’t start with The Brothers Karamazov screen adaptation so as not to get lost. Start with something funny and easy-going like the comedy TV show «Кухня» (Kitchen) or classic Oscar-winner «Москва слезам не верит» (Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears).

4. Talking on the phone

Many people find telephone conversations particularly difficult. The reason is that on the phone, we do not see people’s movements and expressions on their faces. For practice, don’t send messages, try to call and talk on the phone in a good old way. Hearing a person’s voice is much more pleasant than receiving emoticons in messengers, and it will definitely help you with Russian learning.

A Girl Is Talking on the Phone

People form significantly stronger bonds when they’re talking on the phone than when communicating over text messages

5. Talk to yourself

It is one of the best ways how to improve your Russian speaking skills. Maybe it is strange, but it works. And if someone sees, you can pretend to be on the phone and just don’t care.

What to talk about? You can simply describe what you see or comment on your actions: “Here I am eating my breakfast. It is a tasty sandwich…Here I am leaving the house. Did I take keys? Is it cold today? So, what bus should I take…”. 

6. Conclusion 

All in all, the best way for improving Russian conversation skills is to have fun practicing the Russian language. It is much easier to learn when you enjoy it. Combine serious practice with humorous things: sing along to popular songs in Russian, practice tongue twisters, or make up a speech in case of getting a Nobel Prize.

A Man Singing to the Song

Singing in a foreign language can significantly improve learning how to speak it

Remember that all these tips are effective under one extremely important condition: even if you do not have an interlocutor, you must have feedback. Find a teacher to review your written work. Be sure to check yourself with a dictionary. 

Don’t start using many new phrases until you are sure you understand what they mean and how to say them. A personal teacher is a great way here to practice Conversation Skills. Use our Premium service, MyTeacher, and it will not take long to see the result.

And what about you, do you feel comfortable when talking in Russian? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian

Advanced Russian Phrases to Broaden Your Vocabulary

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We recommend this article for those who have largely mastered the Russian language, have learned to build simple sentences on their own, and wish to improve further. If you want to not only speak in Russian but also to do so exactly like a native speaker, then you’re in the right place. The advanced Russian phrases outlined in this article will take your language skills to the next level. 

It’s very difficult to become a fluent speaker in a foreign language, not needing to think about your every word or how to phrase something. The secret, however, is simple: The more you practice, the faster you’ll refine your skills. 

Being able to start and maintain conversations in Russian is a major indicator that you’re getting closer to mastery, which makes it imperative to practice your Russian speaking skills early on. Writing also helps. Dip a toe in the water, and start writing academic essays or powerful resumes in Russian using the advanced words and phrases from this article.

We have prepared for you a comprehensive list of advanced Russian phrases for a variety of contexts. The best way to memorize them is to use them in your daily life as often as possible. If your goal is to sound like a native speaker, you should place particular focus on learning the common Russian idioms and expressions outlined at the end of this article.

Students Communicating with Each Other on a University Lawn

Whether we travel for work or for pleasure, understanding one another without language barriers enhances our lives.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Common Phrases for Writing an Essay
  2. Power Phrases for Your Resume and Cover Letter
  3. Smart Phrases for Business and Meetings
  4. Advanced Idioms, Sayings, and Proverbs for Everyday Usage
  5. Conclusion

1. Common Phrases for Writing an Essay

To write a really good essay or academic paper, you’ll need to have sufficient vocabulary. Developing the language skills for writing a persuasive argument is crucial. 

Here, we have listed several advanced Russian phrases and expressions for writing a great essay. This is absolutely not an exhaustive list, but it should be enough to help you practice your writing skills and compose an impressive academic paper.


A Girl Writing

To write a good essay, you will need to know some advanced phrases.

1.
С этой целью необходимо рассмотреть ряд ключевых вопросов.
S etoy tsel’yu neobkhodimo rassmotret’ ryad klyuchevykh voprosov.
“To that end, consideration needed to be given to a number of key issues.”

2.
Результаты недавнего исследования предоставляют убедительные доказательства в поддержку этой теории.
Rezul’taty nedavnego issledovaniya predostavlyayut ubeditel’nyye dokazatel’stva v podderzhku etoy teorii.
“The results of a recent study provide strong evidence to support this theory.”

3.
Первостепенное значение для решения поставленных нами задач имеют исследования, непосредственно направленные на изучение теоретических аспектов.
Pervostepennoye znacheniye dlya resheniya postavlennykh nami zadach imeyut issledovaniya, neposredstvenno napravlennyye na izuchenie teoreticheskih aspektov.
“Studies directly aimed at theoretical aspects are of paramount importance for finding solutions to the tasks set by us.”

4.
Сказанное заставляет полагать, что изначальное предположение было верным.
Skazannoye zastavlyayet polagat’, chto iznachal’noe predpolozhenie bylo vernym.
“This leads one to believe that the original assumption was correct.”

5.
Ещё одна ключевая вещь, о которой нужно помнить – это разнообразие.
Yeshchyo odna klyuchevaya veshch’, o kotoroy nuzhno pomnit’ – eto raznoobrazie.
“Another key thing to remember is diversity.”

6.
Многочисленные исследования показывают, что более 70% покупок совершаются импульсивно.
Mnogochislennyye issledovaniya pokazyvayut, chto bolee 70% pokupok sovershayutsya impul’sivno.
“Numerous studies show that over 70% of purchases are made on impulse.”

7.
Трудно найти однозначный ответ на этот вопрос.
Trudno nayti odnoznachnyy otvet na etot vopros.
“It is difficult to find a definite answer to this question.”

8.
Аналогичную ситуацию автор описывает в следующем эпизоде.
Analogichnuyu situatsiyu avtor opisyvayet v sleduyushchem epizode.
“The author describes a similar situation in the next episode.”

9.
Я разделяю точку зрения автора по этому вопросу.
Ya razdelyayu mneniye/tochku zreniya avtora po etomu voprosu.
“I share the author’s point of view on this matter.”

2. Power Phrases for Your Resume and Cover Letter

A resume should be short, clear, and persuasive. It is important to choose your words carefully, opting for those that best highlight your experience and competence. Effective action phrases also improve the content of a resume and its accompanying cover letter. You can use the following advanced Russian words and phrases as a reference.

A Resume

A good resume will showcase your knowledge, skills, experience, expertise, and accomplishments.

1. “optimize costs” (оптимизировать расходы) 
Во время работы в этой компании я оптимизировал расходы и получил экономию в размере миллиона рублей.
Vo vremya raboty v etoy kompanii ya optimiziroval raskhody i poluchil ekonomiyu v razmere milliona rubley.
“While working at this company, I optimized costs and saved a million rubles.”

2. “reduce procurement costs” (сократить затраты на закупки) 
Я внедрил новую систему инвентаризации и сократил затраты на закупки на 20% в первом квартале.
Ya vnedril novuyu sistemu inventarizatsii i sokratil zatraty na zakupki na 20% v pervom kvartale.
“I implemented a new inventory system and reduced procurement costs by 20% in the first quarter.”

3. “develop a project” (разработать проект) 
Я разработал проект водоочистки и решил задачу создания системы водоподготовки.
Ya razrabotal proekt vodoochistki i reshil zadachu sozdaniya sistemy vodopodgotovki.
“I developed a water purifying project and solved the challenge of creating a water treatment system.”

 4. “make a schedule with tasks” (составлять график задач) 
Во время моей работы я составлял график задач на 3 месяца вперёд.
Vo vremya moey raboty ya sostavlyal grafik zadach na 3 mesyatsa vperyod.
“During my work, I made a schedule with tasks three months in advance.”

5. “increase sales” (увеличить продажи) 
За последний год я увеличил продажи на 5%, повысил показатели эффективности отдела.
Za posledniy god ya uvelichil prodazhi na 5%, povysil pokazateli effektivnosti otdela.
“Over the past year, I have increased sales by 5% and increased the performance indicators of the department.”

6. “head a team of” (возглавлять команду из) 
В компании “Спецпроект” я возглавлял команду из трёх человек.
V kompanii “Spetsproyekt” ya vozglavlyal komandu iz tryokh chelovek.
“At the Spetsproekt company, I headed a team of three people.”

7. “design a sales scheme” (спроектировать схему продаж) 
Спроектировал схему продаж.
Sproyektiroval skhemu prodazh.
“I designed a sales scheme.”

8. “be engaged” (заниматься) 
На последнем проекте я занимался адаптацией новых сотрудников и успешно взаимодействовал с госорганами.
Na poslednem proyekte ya zanimalsya adaptatsiyey novykh sotrudnikov i uspeshno vzaimodeystvoval s gosorganami.
“On the last project, I was engaged in the adaptation of new employees and successfully interacted with government agencies.”

9. “prioritize” (расставлять приоритеты) 
Я умею расставлять приоритеты при решении задач.
Ya umeyu rasstavlyat’ prioritety pri reshenii zadach.
“I can prioritize tasks.”

10. “critical thinking” (критическое мышление) 
Также я обладаю критическим мышлением.
Takzhe ya obladayu kriticheskim myshleniyem.
“I also have critical thinking.”

11. “defend one’s point of view” (отстаивать точку зрения) 
Я умею отстаивать свою точку зрения, обладаю навыками презентации и самопрезентации.
Ya umeyu otstaivat’ svoyu tochku zreniya, obladayu navykami prezentatsii i samoprezentatsii.
“I can defend my point of view; I have the skills of presentation and self-presentation.”

3. Smart Phrases for Business and Meetings

Do you plan on working or doing business in Russia? Then you’re going to need some advanced Russian vocabulary for use in business settings. Below, we have listed several advanced Russian phrases that will help you successfully speak during a business meeting and defend your point of view in a discussion.

People of Different Professions

The single most important ingredient for success is knowing how to get along with people.

1.
Первый пункт повестки дня…
Pervyy punkt povestki dnya…
“The first item on the agenda is…”

2. 
Прежде чем мы продолжим, мы должны…
Prezhde chem my prodolzhim, my dolzhny…
“Before we move on, we should…”

3. 
В чём заключается главная проблема?
V chyom zaklyuchayetsya glavnaya problema?
“What is the main problem?”

4.
В завершение мне бы хотелось подчеркнуть основные моменты.
V zaversheniye mne by khotelos’ podcherknut’ osnovnyye momenty.
“I’d like to finish by emphasizing the main points.”

In the corporate world, people sometimes use slang. Although most of these words are borrowed from the English language, foreigners often struggle to understand what they mean. Let’s take a look at a few of these difficult words in Russian.

  • Оффер 
    • Мы сделали клиентам оффер и ждём их ответа. 
      My sdelali kliyentam offer i zhdyom ikh otveta.
      “We made an offer to the clients, and now we are waiting for their answer.”
  • Митинг 
    • У меня сейчас митинг с партнёрами, перезвони позже.
      U menya seychas miting  s partnyorami, perezvoni pozzhe.
      “I am at a meeting with partners, call back later.”
  • Стартап 
    • Наша компания выросла из небольшого стартапа. 
      Nasha kompaniya vyrosla iz nebol’shogo startapa.
      “Our company originated from a small startup.”
  • Денежные потоки 
    • Требую полной прозрачности денежных потоков! 
      Trebuyu polnoy prozrachnosti denezhnykh potokov
      “I demand full transparency of cash flow.”
  • Cолидная компания 
    Solidnaya kompaniya
    “Established company”

The word тенденция is typically used in negative contexts: 

  • Тенденция 
    • Наметилась опасная тенденция. 
      Nametilas’ opasnaya tendentsiya
      “A dangerous trend has emerged.”
  • Делегировать полномочия 
    Delegirovat’ polnomochiya
    “Delegate authority”

4. Advanced Idioms, Sayings, and Proverbs for Everyday Usage

At any level of Russian proficiency, learning idioms is very difficult. This is due to the variety of these expressions as well as their seeming strangeness. 

That said, let’s learn a few useful advanced Russian idioms and proverbs. Some of them have equivalents in English, and some can be explained in simple words.

1.
Бабушка (бабка) надвое сказала.
Babushka (babka) nadvoye skazala.
Literally: “Grandma said in two.”
Meaning: “No one knows what will happen.”

2.
Метать громы и молнии
Metat’ gromy i molnii
Literally: “To fling thunder and lightning”
Meaning: “to be in a temper”

3. 
Обещать золотые горы
Obeshchat’ zolotyye gory
“To promise mountains of gold”
Equivalent to: “To promise the moon”

4. 
Нажать на все кнопки
Nazhat’ na vse knopki
“To press on all the buttons”
Equivalent to: “To pull strings”

5. 
Называть вещи своими именами
Nazyvat’ veshchi svoimi imenami
“To call things by their names”
Equivalent to: “To call a spade a spade”

6. 
Быть между молотом и наковальней
Byt’ mezhdu molotom i nakoval’ney
“To be between the sledgehammer and the anvil”
Equivalent to: “To be between a rock and a hard place”
Meaning: To be in a difficult, dangerous situation where trouble threatens from both sides

7. 
Волосы становятся дыбом.
Volosy stanovyatsya dybom.
“One’s hair stands on end.”
Meaning: It refers to a sense of dread or intense fear.

8.
Как гора с плеч свалилась
Kak gora s plech svalilas’
“As if a mountain had fallen off one’s shoulders”
Equivalent to: “A load off one’s mind”

9. 
Камня на камне не оставить
Kamnya na kamne ne ostavit’
“Not to leave one stone upon another stone”
Meaning: To destroy something to the ground or to criticize something/somebody mercilessly

10. 
Кататься как сыр в масле
Katat’sya kak syr v masle
“To be rolling like cheese in butter”
Meaning: To live content with everything in abundance

Two Girls Speaking

Improve your speaking skills and learn advanced techniques in order to speak confidently.

5. Conclusion

This guide is your starting point on this exciting journey toward learning to speak Russian at an advanced level. Speaking Russian will never be as easy as speaking your native language, but with enough practice, you can still progress by leaps and bounds. The more advanced Russian phrases you learn, the more opportunities you’ll have to practice—and to impress native speakers. The more you learn, the easier it gets!

Visit RussianPod101.com to find a lot more valuable (and free) information. We have prepared plenty of materials for advanced learners: recorded conversations, vocabulary lists, grammar lessons, etc. You can even learn key Russian phrases and use our Russian Word of the Day feature to learn a new word every day. 

Our Premium PLUS members also have access to our MyTeacher service, which allows you to communicate with a personal tutor. They can help you practice advanced phrases in Russian, assign you personalized exercises, and help you achieve success faster. Deepen your knowledge, expand your vocabulary, and get rid of your uncertainty about communicating with native Russian speakers!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how comfortable you feel with the advanced phrases we covered today. Are you eager to start memorizing them, or is something still a bit unclear? We look forward to hearing from you. 

Enjoy learning with RussianPod101.com! 

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The Most Useful Intermediate Russian Phrases

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Conversational speech consists of many idioms and collocations. The Russian language has its own commonly used phrases, some of which you already encountered at the beginner level. Now, we would like to offer you a concise guide to the most useful intermediate Russian phrases.

When you first started learning Russian, you probably focused on memorizing lists of words. But now that you understand the language much better, picking up entire phrases will help accelerate your Russian learning—even if there are still words you don’t know! 

By using intermediate Russian phrases at the right time and in the right place, you’ll be at your best and will be able to participate in conversations with native Russian speakers.

    ➜ Make sure to go through our Intermediate lesson series to learn even more Russian phrases and to hone your language skills.

A Man Greeting a Woman at a Car Dealership

Interacting with people of diverse backgrounds is a great way to practice your verbal communication skills.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Talking About Past Events
  2. Making and Changing Plans
  3. Listing and Explaining Your Reasons
  4. Making Recommendations and Complaints
  5. Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations
  6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings
  7. To Conclude

1. Talking About Past Events

Both English and Russian have three main tenses—past, present, and future—with each tense having several different forms. While there are twelve such forms in English, most verbs in Russian have five forms (except for some verbs, which have more). 

As a beginner, you likely focused on learning how to use the present tense. But in order to begin communicating more fluently, intermediate learners should start practicing how to use the different forms of the past tense

Below, we have compiled several intermediate-level Russian phrases for talking about past events. Learning them will significantly enrich your speech!

Girls Having a Party

Parties are fun, but they’re also a great way to practice your speaking skills when learning a foreign language.

Вчера на вечеринке мы весело провели время. 
Vchera na vecherinke my veselo proveli vremya.
“We had fun at the party last night.”

Я начал здесь работать три года назад. 
Ya nachal zdes’ rabotat’ tri goda nazad.
“I started this job three years ago.”

Вчера был худший день в моей жизни. 
Vchera byl khudshiy den’ v moyey zhizni.
“Yesterday was the worst day of my life.”

Когда-то у меня был щенок по кличке Шарик. 
Kogda-to u menya byl shchenok po klichke Sharik.
“I used to have a puppy named Sharik.”

Все выходные шёл дождь. 
Vse vykhodnyye shyol dozhd’.
“It was raining all weekend.”

    ➜ Want to study the past tense in greater depth? Then visit our lesson Precious Russian Memories on RussianPod101.com to learn about verb conjugation for the past tense. 

2. Making and Changing Plans

Now we will look at the future tense and discover how to make plans in Russian. Maybe you’ve already learned how to use the future tense in one of our free lessons, but if not, make sure to see this lesson for information on how to conjugate the verb быть (“to be”).

Ready? Try to memorize the following intermediate words and phrases in Russian, and feel free to play around with them to make them your own.

A Man Planning His Schedule

Life planning means setting smart goals that are feasible, measurable, and aligned with the broader outcomes you’re seeking.

У тебя есть время в эти выходные? 
U tebya yest’ vremya v eti vykhodnyye?
“Do you have time this weekend?”

Как насчёт русской еды? 
Kak naschyot russkoy yedy?
“How about Russian food?”

Могу ли я привести с собой парня/девушку? 
Mogu li ya privesti s soboy parnya/devushku?
“Can I bring my boyfriend/girlfriend with me?”

На следующей неделе они собираются сделать ремонт в комнате. 
Na sleduyushchey nedele oni sobirayutsya sdelat’ remont v komnate.
“They are going to redecorate the room next week.”

Я хотел спросить, можем ли мы перенести встречу. 
Ya khotel sprosit’, mozhem li my perenesti vstrechu.
“I was wondering if we could reschedule the meeting.”

Давайте в следующий вторник проведём встречу в Zoom, чтобы обсудить подробности. 
Davayte v sleduyushchiy vtornik provedyom vstrechu v Zoom, chtoby obsudit’ podrobnosti.
“Let’s have a Zoom meeting next Tuesday to discuss the details.”

3. Listing and Explaining Your Reasons 

There are many sentence patterns for explaining reasons in Russian. Doing so usually means forming a complex sentence and making use of the appropriate conjunctions, which can perform a range of functions useful for organizing thoughts. 

    ➜ If you haven’t yet, we recommend adding conjunctions to your intermediate Russian vocabulary. Our Level 3 Russian pathway has several lessons about different conjunctions and their uses. 

…потому что… 
…potomu chto…
“…because…”

  • Мы здесь, потому что нам не все равно. 
    My zdes’, potomu chto nam ne vse ravno.
    “We are here because we care.”
  • Я тут, потому что она попросила. 
    Ya tut, potomu chto ona poprosila.
    “I only came because she asked.”

Вот почему… 
Vot pochemu…
“That’s why… ”

  • Нам не все равно, вот почему мы здесь. 
    Nam ne vse ravno, vot pochemu my zdes’.
    “We care; that’s why we are here.”
  • Она попросила, вот почему я тут. 
    Ona poprosila, vot pochemu ya tut. 
    “She asked; that’s why I came.”

Так получилось, что… 
Tak poluchilos’, chto…
“It so happened that…”

  • Оказалось, что это девичья фамилия его мамы. 
    Okazalos’, chto eto devichya familiya evo mamy.
    “Turns out that it’s his mother’s maiden name.”
  • Так получилось, что мне нужно было уехать. 
    Tak poluchilos’, chto mne nuzhno bylo uehat’. 
    “It so happened that I had to leave.”

In Russian, you can use the following words to list your reasons. These words are always hyphenated:

    ★ во-первых (vo-pervykh) – “firstly”
    ★ во-вторых (vo-vtorykh) – “secondly”
    ★ в-третьих (v-tret’ikh) – “thirdly”
    ★ в-четвертых (v-chetvertykh) – “fourthly”
    ★ в-пятых (v-pyatykh) – “fifthly”
    ★ etc. 

Я выбрал это по трём причинам. Во-первых… Во-вторых… И последнее, но не менее важное… 
Ya vybral eto po tryom prichinam. Vo-pervykh… Vo-vtorykh… I posledneye, no ne meneye vazhnoye…
“I chose it for three reasons. First of all… Secondly… Last but not least…”

В первую очередь…
V pervuyu ochered’…
“First of all…”

4. Making Recommendations and Complaints

It’s difficult to imagine the modern world without internet communication. We all, in one way or another, require the internet in our daily lives: sending emails, performing work-related tasks, writing reviews and recommendations… 

In this section, we’ll touch on that last point. You’ll find a variety of intermediate phrases in Russian that you can use to make recommendations or complaints.

A Woman Showing Another Woman Something on a Tablet

Online reviews can help other customers make better choices.

Попробуй. Это лучшее, что я когда-либо пробовал. 
Poprobuy. Eto luchsheye, chto ya kogda-libo proboval.
“You should try this. It’s the best I’ve ever had.”

Нам очень понравилось в этом отеле. Я обязательно вернусь сюда снова. 
Nam ochen’ ponravilos’ v etom otele. Ya obyazatel’no vernus’ syuda snova.
“We loved staying at this hotel. I would definitely go back again.”

Плохое обслуживание. Не рекомендую. 
Plokhoye obsluzhivaniye. Ne rekomenduyu.
“Bad customer service. Would not recommend it.”

Лучшая еда в городе! 
Luchshaya yeda v gorode!
“The best food in the city!”

5. Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations

The following intermediate phrases in Russian will help you react more naturally during a conversation. Using the right phrase at the right time can help keep the conversation going and make your speech more fluent and relaxed. The Russian reaction phrases below are simple and easy to remember.

Класс! / Обалдеть! / Здорово! 
Klass! / Obaldet’! / Zdorovo!
“Awesome!”

Неужели? / Правда? 
Neuzheli? / Pravda?
“Really?”

Да что ты говоришь! / Да ты что! / Не может быть. 
Da chto ty govorish’! / Da ty chto! / Ne mozhet byt’.
“No kidding!”

Боже мой! / Ничего себе! 
Bozhe moy! / Nichego sebe!
“Oh my goodness!”

Ух ты! / Вот это да! 
Ukh ty! / Vot eto da!
“Wow!”

Это круто (потрясающе, ужасно, потрясно и т.д)!
Eto kruto (potryasayushche, uzhasno, potryasno i t.d)!
“That’s cool (fantastic, awful, mind-blowing, etc.)!”

Let’s use them in a couple of sample dialogues:

А: Вчера на вечеринке мы весело провели время.
B: Здорово! Я рада за вас.

A: Vchera na vecherinke my veselo proveli vremya.
B: Zdorovo! Ya rada za vas.

A: We had fun at the party last night. 
B: Awesome! I’m happy for you.

А: Вчера был худший день в моей жизни.
B: Правда? Что случилось?

A: Vchera byl khudshiy den’ v moyey zhizni.
B: Pravda? Chto sluchilos’?

A: Yesterday was the worst day of my life.
B: Really? What happened?

6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings

All over the world, there are polite phrases used to show good manners, praise others, and encourage one another. In Russia, too, we have “magic words” and other niceties for business and social occasions. Below are a few of the most useful Russian phrases for intermediate learners who want to make a great impression on native speakers.

A Man and a Woman Cheering with Glasses of Wine

Having good manners is an incredibly important life skill.

Приятного аппетита! 
Priyatnogo appetita!
“Bon appétit!”

Добро пожаловать в наш магазин. 
Dobro pozhalovat’ v nash magazin.
“Welcome to our store.”

Пожалуйста, будьте как дома. 
Pozhaluysta, bud’te kak doma.
“Please make yourself at home.”

Пожалуйста, дай мне знать, если возникнут какие-либо вопросы.
Pozhaluysta, day mne znat’, yesli vozniknut kakiye-libo voprosy.
“Please let me know if you have any questions.”

Жду от тебя ответа. 
Zhdu ot tebya otveta.
“I look forward to hearing from you.”

Счастливого пути! 
Schastlivogo puti!
“Have a safe trip!”

Вы не могли бы..? 
Vy ne mogli by..?
“Could you…?”

Прошу прощения за то, что отнял ваше время. 
Proshu proshcheniya za to, chto otnyal vashe vremya.
“I apologize for wasting your time.”

Я хотел бы спросить вас… 
Ya khotel by sprosit’ vas…
“I would like to ask you…”

7. To Conclude

Alright, now we’re sure that if you go to Russia, you’ll have no problems communicating with the locals. Collocations will help you out in any—even the most difficult—situation!

Don’t forget to explore RussianPod101.com and create your free lifetime account today. Our Russian learning website provides a lot of free information to help you practice grammar, learn vocabulary, and pick up new phrases. 

Also, consider upgrading to Premium PLUS so that you can take advantage of our MyTeacher service. This will give you an incredible opportunity to learn Russian 1-on-1 with a teacher, so you could practice all the new intermediate Russian phrases from this article and ask any questions you might have.

Until next time, happy Russian learning!

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The Best Podcasts for Learning Russian

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Do you find native Russian speakers simply impossible to understand? Are you tired of reading boring textbooks and doing endless exercises? If so, we suggest you start listening to some Russian podcasts for language learners!

A Woman Is Tired from Reading a Textbook

Are you tired of reading? Why don’t you try podcasts?

There are many benefits to living in the digital age, but this is especially true when it comes to language learning. Today, you can improve your Russian with ease and pleasure using your phone, tablet, computer, and the internet. Whether you’re learning Russian for fun, in order to speak with friends, or for work, podcasts are a great tool to help you start understanding the language better.

Podcasting (the word is a contraction of “iPod” and “broadcasting”) is the process of creating and distributing audio files on the internet. As a rule, podcasts focus on a specific topic and have a consistent publication frequency. Due to their convenient format and the wide variety of topics they cover—from science to comedy—podcasts continue to grow in popularity. Moreover, listening to podcasts in another language is an effective way to learn that language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Benefits of Using Podcasts to Learn Russian
  2. The Best Russian Podcasts for Learning the Russian Language
  3. Tricks to Help You Learn Russian More Effectively with Podcasts
  4. Conclusion

1. Benefits of Using Podcasts to Learn Russian

First of all, listening to podcasts in Russian will help you get used to how it’s spoken in daily life. How do you speak your native language? Surely quickly and without long pauses; you shorten words, use idioms, and incorporate slang terms. Natural Russian speech sounds much the same. If you want to understand “real” Russian in addition to the stuff you learn in textbooks, you cannot do so without listening to live, fluent conversations. This is where Russian podcasts come in handy. Other useful tools include Russian films, TV shows, and songs.

Secondly, you will become acquainted with modern vocabulary. In all fairness, it must be said that many educational materials teach vocabulary that either lost its relevance a decade ago or is simply too formal for ordinary conversations. On the other hand, podcasts are a product of our time, so they’re built upon a base of words and phrases that are relevant today.

Thirdly, hearing these words in context will teach you how to use the vocabulary you learn. Learning words is half the battle since you need to understand how to apply them correctly in a conversation. The examples found in podcasts help a lot in this regard; the more content you listen to, the more opportunities you’ll have to use a particular vocabulary word. Themed podcasts are especially useful in this regard.

Fourthly, Russian podcasts offer free language lessons. Some of them provide additional information for money, but most podcast episodes are freely available for everyone.

A Woman Watching and Listening to Something on Her Tablet with Headphones

Podcasts offer many benefits when used as language learning tools, and they’re extremely portable.

2. The Best Russian Podcasts for Learning the Russian Language

1. Russian Made Easy 

  • Level: True Beginner to Lower-intermediate
  • Theme: Teaching Podcast
  • Free content + Premium subscription

The Russian Made Easy podcast is a great learning resource for those who are just starting their Russian studies. Language teacher Mark Thomson presents modern ways of learning the language, including contextual learning, pattern recognition, and speed learning techniques. The podcast was made for beginners who would like to start speaking and understanding Russian in no time. Mark explains everything in English, and native speakers use Russian. At the end of each episode (about 20 minutes), you can do exercises to help solidify what you’ve learned. 

2. RussianPod101 

  • Level: True Beginner to Advanced
  • Theme: Teaching Podcast
  • Free content + Premium subscriptions

RussianPod101 offers an innovative and fun way to learn Russian with podcasts. We provide a ton of lessons on the Russian language and culture, including content for learners at every level. Russian might be one of the most difficult languages in the world, but our tools help take some of the pressure off you. Audio lessons, slowed-down audio, line-by-line breakdowns, and more are waiting for you! 

3. Russian with Max

  • Level: Lower-intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: Teaching Podcast, News, Politics, Society
  • Free content + Premium membership program

This Russian podcast is geared toward learners at the intermediate level and above. On the website, you’ll find stories, videos, articles, and a weekly podcast made by a qualified Russian language teacher. Each story lasts about 15 to 50 minutes and includes a podcast transcript.

4. In Russian Terms  

  • Level: Upper-intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: Current Events 
  • Free content

This podcast is made for advanced learners. It has 54 episodes, each one from 10 to 20 minutes long. It focuses on current political and social events taking place in Russia, and the host uses commonly used idioms while providing cultural context.

5. Russian Podcast 

  • Level: Beginner to Upper-intermediate
  • Theme: History and Culture
  • Free and paid content

This podcast is recorded in Russian, but its simple dialogues and grammar explanations make it ideal for beginners. It has a huge number of episodes, and you can access transcripts and explanations for a fee. Episodes are anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour long. 

Headphones Over Some Colorful Books

Auditory memory has a great impact on language learning.

6. Learn Russian with Dasha 

  • Level: Beginner to Upper-intermediate
  • Theme: Life Stories
  • Free content

This is an educational podcast recorded in slow Russian, and it comes with transcripts so you can easily follow along. Dasha is a Russian language teacher from Siberia, and she talks about her life and experiences in this podcast series. Episodes are anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes long. 

7. Slow Russian 

  • Level: Beginner to Upper-intermediate
  • Theme: Slang, Idioms, Common Expressions
  • Free content

One of the best Russian podcasts for beginners, Slow Russian includes transcripts and translations for learners. In each episode, you’ll learn about Russian traditions, holidays, and poets; you’ll also get to hear about how Russians perceive international media and movies, such as Star Wars and Harry Potter. Episodes are about 15-25 minutes long and recorded in slow Russian. 

8. Very Much RussianLearn Russian as Russians speak it!

  • Level: Upper-intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: History and Culture
  • Free content

This is one of the best Russian podcasts for intermediate learners who are ready to level up. Very Much Russian talks about more complex topics like collocations, slang, and idioms, and each episode comes with a transcript and translation. Episodes are only a few minutes long, and they incorporate Russian jokes or funny stories to further engage listeners. 

9. Speaking Russian 

  • Level: Beginner to Upper-intermediate
  • Theme: Teaching Podcast
  • Free and paid content

This podcast teaches the basics of Russian. It’s good for beginners, as you’ll hear simple Russian words and phrases explained in English. Episodes are less than 10 minutes long.

A Man Is Sitting in Front of a Laptop while Wearing His Headphones

Podcasts are a time-efficient tool for learning.

10. Speaking Russian Advanced 

  • Level: Upper-intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: Reading Russian Classics
  • Free and paid content

In this advanced Russian podcast, a native speaker reads from classic works by Anna Karenina and Leo Tolstoy. The host then explains the main Russian expressions in English and provides a summary. We recommend this podcast for more advanced learners because it’s geared toward native speakers. 

11. Arzamas 

  • Level: Upper-intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: History and Culture
  • Free content

Arzamas is a Russian history and culture podcast aimed at native speakers. This trusted podcast also publishes courses on the Arzamas website, including lectures by Russian experts in a number of fields: science, history, literature, art, anthropology, philosophy… Each episode runs for 10-60 minutes. 

12. Dikie utki (Wild ducks) 

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: Life Stories
  • Free content

Do you enjoy hearing wild, bizarre, breathtaking, and sometimes disgusting stories from people from different walks of life? Then you’ll love this Russian podcast, which is all about life stories. You’ll hear stories about failed dates, crazy parties, fun childhood experiences, and more. This is a great resource for advanced Russian learners because it uses real-life speech full of idioms and advanced vocabulary. Each episode is about 30-50 minutes long.  

13. Идеи, Изменившие Мир (Ideas that changed the world) 

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: History of Science
  • Free content

This Russian-language podcast consists of several 10- to 15-minute episodes that cover the stories behind discoveries that changed our lives. You’re sure to be entertained and intrigued, as many of these discoveries were made under unusual circumstances. 

14. Как стать русским? (How to become a Russian?)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: History and Culture
  • Free content

Hosted by journalist Timothy Kirby, who emigrated from the United States to Russia, this podcast discusses Russian culture and traditions. Each episode is roughly 45 minutes long. 

3. Tricks to Help You Learn Russian More Effectively with Podcasts

The human brain is amazing and works even when we are not aware of it. Even when you’re listening to a podcast while driving to work and can understand only one word out of five, your brain is still remembering and analyzing information!

Using podcasts will help strengthen your listening and comprehension skills. With podcasts, you can stop the track, check grammatical constructions and translations, and (like on YouTube) slow down the playback speed. You can use your favorite app to learn with Russian podcasts, as most of them are available on popular podcast apps.

A Woman Is Lying on the Grass and Listening to Something with Her Headphones

One study proves that podcasts stimulate mental imagery more intensely than watching or reading; they also cause listeners to have to pay more attention.

Follow these guidelines to perfect your Russian listening skills with podcasts:

  • Listen to podcasts at least once a day; set aside 5-10 minutes when you can listen without distractions. 
  • Choose a podcast that will interest you. This is important because otherwise, you will lose interest.
  • It is better to start with a podcast for your level. You may get lost in the fluent speech of native speakers and drop your studies out of frustration.
  • Listen to the podcast without looking at the explanations—can you understand the main idea of the conversation?
  • Listen again, but look at the text this time. This will help you identify new words, solidify unfamiliar grammatical constructions, and mark the natural pronunciation.
  • Pay attention to the context because it will help you understand what unfamiliar words mean.

And the most important thing: Do not despair, even if everything seems incomprehensible to you. The more you practice, the faster your speech will become native-like.

4. Conclusion

All in all, the best Russian-language podcasts are those that have something to offer both beginners and advanced learners. Whichever podcast you choose, listening every day will help you learn the peculiarities of the language: intonation, pronunciation, word stress, logical pauses, etc. 

Members of RussianPod101.com get access to several of our podcast-style lessons for free, while Premium members can enjoy the entire library. Each of our lessons includes a number of useful tools to make learning easier: vocabulary lists, PDF lesson notes, slowed-down audio, and more. In addition, we provide auxiliary tools on our website and make a point of including useful cultural context in every lesson. 

If you upgrade to Premium PLUS, you can also learn 1-on-1 with your own Russian tutor through our MyTeacher service. You can discuss your favorite podcasts with a Russian teacher, ask questions, and work on your pronunciation. 

Happy learning!

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Common Russian Phrases for Beginners

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So, you’ve probably already conquered the Russian alphabet—congrats! Now it’s time to work on your vocabulary. Save the grammar for later. But instead of jumping into word lists right away, let me offer you something better: Russian beginner phrases you can start using today. 

I’ve been learning languages for more than a decade myself. I know that unpleasant feeling of not being able to make up a sentence when it’s finally my time to shine. Learning a few ready-made phrases solves this problem: At the heat of the moment, you won’t have to manipulate separate words. The whole phrase would just pop up in your mind. It’s like magic!

In this article, I’ll cover the 50 most common Russian phrases for beginners. You’ll learn the basic greetings and self-introduction lines, essential courtesy phrases, and some expressions that’ll help you order food in a restaurant, buy a souvenir, and not get lost in the city. This set of phrases will be particularly helpful if you plan to visit Russia, as not many Russians speak English

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Greetings and Self-introductions
  2. Courtesy Phrases
  3. Shopping
  4. Eating Out
  5. Asking for Help
  6. What’s Next?

1. Greetings and Self-introductions

It all starts with a hello! Let’s begin by going over a few basic Russian phrases you’ll need to know as you meet new people and make friends. 

Hello. [formal]Hi. [informal]
Здравствуйте. 
(Zdravstvuyte.)
Привет. 
(Privet.)
These are universal greetings. They can be used at any time of day.

If you want to be more specific (or just want to flaunt your knowledge of Russian), keep reading.

Good morning.
Доброе утро. 
(Dobroye utro.)

Good afternoon.
Добрый день. 
(Dobryy den’.)

Good evening.
Добрый вечер. 
(Dobryy vecher.)

How are you doing? [formal]How are you? [informal]
Как поживаете?
(Kak pozhivayete?)
Как дела? 
(Kak dela?)

I’m fine, thank you.
Всё хорошо, спасибо.
(Vsyo khorosho, spasibo.)

Now, straight to introducing ourselves and getting to know other people.

What’s your name? [formal]What’s your name? [informal]
Как вас зовут?
(Kak vas zovut?)
Как тебя зовут?
(Kak tebya zovut?)

My name is Amelie.
Меня зовут Амели
(Menya zovut Ameli.)

Where are you from? [formal]Where are you from? [informal]
Откуда вы?(Otkuda vy?)Откуда ты?(Otkuda ty?)

I’m from France.
Я из Франции.
(Ya iz Frantsii.)

Nice to meet you.
Приятно познакомиться.
(Priyatno poznakomit’sya.)

Nice to meet you, too.
Мне тоже. 
(Mne tozhe.)

Literally: Me too.

➤ You might be surprised to see how many ways there are to greet people in Russian! Our guide to Russian greetings is there to prove it.

Two Businesswomen Smiling and Shaking Hands

Amelie and Olga just met. How would they greet each other? How would they introduce themselves?
Challenge yourself and come up with a short dialogue for this imaginary scene to practice!

2. Courtesy Phrases

  • Cultural Note:

There’s one word in Russian that can turn a rude thug into a courteous gentleman. And this word is Пожалуйста (Pozhaluysta) – “Please.” Simply adding this word to the end of your request is enough to make you sound polite. 

Interestingly, we use the same word for both “Please” and “You’re welcome.” In the following chapters, pay attention to how it’s used. Пожалуйста. :)

Please.
Пожалуйста.
(Pozhaluysta.)

Thank you.
Спасибо.
(Spasibo.)

You’re welcome.
Не за что.
(Ne za chto.)

Excuse me.
Извините.
(Izvinite.)

I’m sorry. [formal]I’m sorry. [informal]
Простите, пожалуйста.
(Prostite, pozhaluysta.)
Извини.
(Izvini.)

That’s okay.
Ничего страшного.
(Nichego strashnogo.)

Literally: Nothing scary.

Goodbye. [formal]Bye. [informal]
До свидания.
(Do svidaniya.)
Пока.
(Poka.)

A Woman Waving Goodbye to Her Husband and Little Baby as She Leaves for Work

Do you think she’s saying «Пока» or «До свидания»? Why?

3. Shopping 

Do you plan on buying a souvenir for your loved one, or maybe a loaf of bread from a local grocery store? In either case, knowing these beginner phrases in Russian will help you have a smooth shopping experience. 

May I have a bottle of water, please?
Можно бутылку воды, пожалуйста? 
(Mozhno butylku vody, pozhaluysta?)
The base structure:

May I have _____, please?
Можно _____, пожалуйста?
(Mozhno _____, pozhaluysta?) 

[I’d like] a loaf of bread, please.
Булку хлеба, пожалуйста. 
(Bulku khleba, pozhaluysta.)

Do you have milk?
У вас есть молоко?
(U vas yest’ moloko?)

How much is the shirt?
Сколько стоит рубашка?
(Skol’ko stoit rubashka?)

How much in total?
Сколько будет всё вместе?
(Skol’ko budet vsyo vmeste?)

Do you accept credit cards?
Вы принимаете карты?
(Vy prinimayete karty?)

➤ You can find more words and phrases for shopping on RussianPod101.com.


A Young Couple and Their Daughter Choosing Pastries at the Store

You know some Russian already! Help the lady buy a cake.
Word hint: cake – пирожное(pirozhnoye)

4. Eating Out

Russia boasts a number of delicacies that’ll have your mouth watering from the first time you step into a traditional restaurant. Before your trip, make sure to learn these useful Russian phrases for dining out! 

I’m hungry.
Я хочу есть.
(Ya khochu yest’.)

Literally: I want to eat.

I’m thirsty.
Я хочу пить.
(Ya khochu pit’.)

Literally: I want to drink.

For here or to go?
Будете есть здесь или возьмёте с собой?
(Budete yest’ zdes’ ili voz’myote s soboy?)

Could I have the menu, please?
Можно меню, пожалуйста?
(Mozhno menyu, pozhaluysta?)

Do you have a lunch menu?
У вас есть бизнес-ланч?
(U vas yest’ biznes-lanch?)

What would you recommend?
Что бы вы посоветовали?
(Chto by vy posovetovali?)

I’m allergic to…
У меня аллергия на…
(U menya allergiya na…)

I’d like to have a salad.
Я буду салат.
(Ya budu salat.)

I’d like to have soup, please.
Можно мне суп, пожалуйста?
(Mozhno mne sup, pozhaluysta?)

The bill, please.
Можно счёт, пожалуйста?
(Mozhno schyot, pozhaluysta?)

➤ To be able to make a more specific order in the restaurant, check our vocabulary list Useful Phrases for Ordering Food.


A Couple Ordering at a Restaurant

Congrats, you’ve found a bonus phrase!
Вы готовы сделать заказ? (Vy gotovy sdelat’ zakaz?) – “Are you ready to order?”

5. Asking for Help

Our final set of Russian beginner phrases consists of expressions you might need to use during your trip should something go wrong, such as communication issues or getting lost.

Could you help me, please? [formal]Please help me. [informal]
Не могли бы вы помочь, пожалуйста?
(Ne mogli by vy pomoch’, pozhaluysta?)
Помоги, пожалуйста.
(Pomogi, pozhaluysta.)
These simple phrases will get you places. Don’t underestimate the magical powers of “please.”

Lost in Translation

Do you speak English? [formal]Do you speak English? [informal]
Вы говорите по-английски?
(Vy govorite po-angliyski?)
Ты говоришь по-английски?
(Ty govorish po-angliyski?)

I don’t speak Russian very well.
Я плохо говорю по-русски.
(Ya plokho govoryu po-russki.)

I don’t speak Russian.
Я не говорю по-русски.
(Ya ne govoryu po-russki.)

How do you say “Red Square” in Russian?
Как сказать “Red Square” по-русски?
(Kak skazat’ “Red Square” po-russki?)
Quick answer: Красная Площадь (Krasnaya Ploshchad’)

Could you repeat, please? [formal]Repeat, please. [informal]
Не могли бы вы повторить, пожалуйста?
(Ne mogli by vy povtorit’, pozhaluysta?)
Повтори, пожалуйста.
(Povtori, pozhaluysta.)

Or simply:
Что? (Chto?) – “Sorry?”

Could you repeat a little slower, please?
Можно ещё раз, но помедленнее, пожалуйста?
(Mozhno yeshchyo raz, no pomedlenneye, pozhaluysta?)

I don’t understand.
Я не понимаю.
(Ya ne ponimayu.)

I’m sorry; I don’t know.
Извините, я не знаю.
(Izvinite, ya ne znayu.)

Asking for Directions

  • Cultural Note:

It’s time to introduce another important courtesy-related word: «Извините» (Izvinite) – “Excuse me.” It serves the same purpose as its English equivalent and can be used before you “bother” a stranger.

Interestingly, we use the same word for “sorry” as well.

Excuse me, where is the restroom?
Извините, где здесь туалет?
(Izvinite, gde zdes’ tualet?)

Excuse me, I’m looking for the subway.
Извините, я ищу метро.
(Izvinite, ya ishchu metro.)

Is there an ATM around here?
Здесь неподалёку есть банкомат?
(Zdes’ nepodalyoku yest’ bankomat?)

Excuse me, how can I get to the park?
Извините, как добраться до парка?
(Izvinite, kak dobrat’sya do parka?)

Is it far?
Это далеко?
(Eto daleko?)

➤ Check our lesson on directions, and learn how to say “turn right” and “turn left” as well. Fewer chances to get lost in town!

A Tourist Holding and Examining a Map

You’re in Saint Petersburg, and you’re looking for The Hermitage.
You have no GPS, and the map won’t help you since it’s obviously not the map of Saint Petersburg.
How would you ask somebody for directions?

6. What’s Next?

Browse our collection of lessons to learn even more Russian beginner phrases. I bet you’d be especially interested in our Survival Phrases series! It covers more topics that would be particularly useful while traveling in Russia: riding the bus, catching a taxi, greeting a business partner, and more.

After this, you can start to expand your vocabulary and explore some basic grammar. But no need to dive into the grammar just yet: What’s the point of knowing how to combine words if you have no words to combine? At the beginner level, it might be more efficient to focus on word chunks and set phrases instead, like the ones mentioned in this article.

Also, if you happen to have any questions about the Russian beginner phrases we covered, our teachers will help you dispel any doubts. With RussianPod101’s Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, you get personal 1-on-1 coaching with a tutor. Feel free to ask anything about Russian grammar, vocabulary, or culture—our teachers are there to help you! You can also choose to receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. 

Too many benefits to fit in one paragraph—just give it a try!

Happy learning with RussianPod101.

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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Advanced Russian Words to Help You Level Up

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Have you already mastered the basics of the Russian language? If so, this means you have put in the time and effort to gain an extensive vocabulary and that you can make simple statements with relative ease. Congratulations! 

But as they say, you can always do better. You should be proud of the Russian-language proficiency level that you have achieved up to this point, but remember that there is always room for improvement. To reach the advanced level, you’ll need to study more advanced Russian words and make continual progress by working to improve your skills on a daily basis. 

Thanks to the global spread of the internet, it has become more convenient than ever to learn Russian online. If you would like to improve your Russian skills even further and learn to use the language exactly like native speakers, then you’re in the right place. 

RussianPod101 has compiled this comprehensive list of advanced Russian vocabulary words you’ll need in order to level up. We have included words and example sentences that will definitely allow you to show off your knowledge: academic words, business terms, legal jargon, and alternative “high-end” words to use in place of their simpler counterparts.

A Man Is Sitting in Front of a Laptop

Online learning definitely reduces financial strain as it’s far more affordable compared to attending traditional universities or language classes.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Advanced Academic Words
  2. Advanced Business Words
  3. Advanced Medical Words
  4. Advanced Legal Words
  5. Alternative Words for Academic or Professional Writing
  6. Conclusion

1. Advanced Academic Words

The education systems of the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe differ significantly from the education system in Russia. In this section of our advanced Russian words list, you’ll find words and phrases in Russian that will be useful to know while studying in Russian schools and universities (and, of course, when speaking with students in Russia). The topic of education is very broad, but the purpose of this list is to provide you with the most relevant words for Russian communication in academic settings.

  • Экзамен (Ekzamen) – “Assessment” [noun]
  • Сомнительный (Somnitel’nyy) – “Ambiguous” / “Doubtful” [adjective]
  • Дискуссия (Diskussiya) – “Discussion” [noun]
  • Сессия (Sessiya) – “Examinations” [noun]
  • Диплом (Diplom) – “Diploma” [noun]

Example Sentences:

Сомнительно, что она сдаст экзамен. 
Somnitel’no, chto ona sdast ekzamen.
“It is doubtful that she will pass the exam.”

После показа фильмов проводилась тематическая дискуссия. 
Posle pokaza fil’mov provodilas’ tematicheskaya diskussiya.
“Each showing of the documentary was followed by a panel discussion.”

После удачной сдачи сессии он получил диплом. 
Posle udachnoy sdachi sessii on poluchil diplom.
“After successfully passing the examinations, he received a diploma.”

A Graduate Cap Lying on Top of a Pile of Books

Over four million students were enrolled in Russian institutions of higher education in 2019.

  • Лекция (Lektsiya) – “Lecture” [noun]
  • Урок (Urok) – “Lesson” [noun]

На лекциях и уроках получают знания. 
Na lektsiyakh i urokakh poluchayut znaniya.
“We gain knowledge at lectures and lessons.”

  • Химический (Khimicheskiy) – “Chemical” [adjective]
  • Принципы (Printsipy) – “Foundations” / “Basis” [noun]

Принципы химических реакций
Printsipy khimicheskikh reaktsiy
“Foundations of chemical reactions”

  • Методическое пособие (Metodicheskoye posobiye) – “Guideline” [the word пособие is a noun and методическое is an adjective]
  • Обнаружить (Obnaruzhit’) – “To detect” [verb]
  • Случайно (Sluchayno) – “Randomly” / “Accidentally” [adverb]
  • Приложение (Prilozheniye) – “Appendix” [noun]

Он случайно обнаружил приложение к методическому пособию. 
On sluchayno obnaruzhil prilozheniye k metodicheskomu posobiyu.
“He accidentally discovered an appendix to the guideline.”

  • Таблица (Tablitsa) – “Chart” / “Table” [noun]

Таблица является полезным инструментом. 
Tablitsa yavlyayetsya poleznym instrumentom.
“The chart is a useful tool.”

  • Кругозор (Krugozor) – “Prospect” / “Horizons” [noun]

У него широкий кругозор. 
U nego shirokiy krugozor.
“He has broad horizons.”

  • Абзац (Abzats) – “Paragraph” [noun]

Абзац форматируется как заголовок. 
Abzats formatiruyetsya kak zagolovok.
“A paragraph is formatted as a heading.”

  • Решающий (Reshayushchiy) – “Crucial” [adjective]
  • Ядерный (Yаdernyy) – “Nuclear” [adjective]

Первым пунктом повестки дня должна стать ратификация улучшений решающего инструмента обеспечения ядерной безопасности. 
Pervym punktom povestki dnya dolzhna stat’ ratifikatsiya uluchsheniy reshayushchego instrumenta obespecheniya yadernoy bezopasnosti.
“At the top of the agenda should be the ratification of improvements to a crucial nuclear security instrument.”

  • Расписание (Raspisaniye) – “Schedule” / “Timetable” [noun]
  • Минимальный (Minimal’nyy) – “Minimum” [adjective]

Студенты получили ориентировочное расписание с минимальным количеством занятий. 
Studenty poluchili oriyentirovochnoye raspisaniye s minimal’nym kolichestvom zanyatiy.
“Students received an indicative timetable with a minimum number of classes.”

  • Ориентировочный (Oriyentirovochnyy) – “Preliminary” / “Approximate” [adjective]
  • Общежитие (Obshchezhitiye) – “Dormitory” [noun]

В общежитии был беспорядок. 
V obshchezhitii byl besporyadok.
“The dormitory was a mess.”

  • Формат (Format) – “Format” [noun]

Сдайте работу в формате pdf. 
Sdayte rabotu v formate pdf.
“Submit your work in PDF format.”

  • Среда (Sreda) – “Medium” [noun]

Питательная среда содержит лактопептон. 
Pitatel’naya sreda soderzhit laktopepton.
“The nutrition medium contains lactopeptine.”

  • Продолжительность (Prodolzhitel’nost’) – “Duration” [noun]

Продолжительность занятия — 30 минут. 
Prodolzhitel’nost’ zanyatiya — 30 minut.
“The duration of the lesson is 30 minutes.”

  • Убеждённый (Ubezhdyonnyy) – “Convinced” [adjective]

Убеждённый европеец, он рассматривал европейский идеал строго в рамках международного сотрудничества. 
Ubezhdyonnyy yevropeyets, on rassmatrival yevropeyskiy ideal strogo v ramkakh mezhdunarodnogo sotrudnichestva.
“A convinced European, he set the European ideal squarely in a framework of international cooperation.”

2. Advanced Business Words

Business vocabulary is not limited to business contexts; many of the advanced Russian words presented below are used in ordinary everyday conversations as well. While going through this list, keep in mind that each specialty requires a specific vocabulary set. Daily meetings with colleagues, negotiations with business partners, communication by phone and email—all these things require a special skill set and a specific set of vocabulary.

  • Стратегия (Strategiya) – “Strategy” [noun]
  • Встречное предложение (Vstrechnoye predlozheniye) – “Counteroffer” [noun]

Встречное предложение партнёра было частью запасной стратегии. 
Vstrechnoye predlozheniye partnyora bylo chast’yu zapasnoy strategii.
“The partner’s counteroffer was part of a fallback strategy.”

  • Фискальный (Fiskal’nyy) – “Fiscal” [adjective]

Бухгалтерский и налоговый учёт фискального накопителя
Bukhgalterskiy i nalogovyy uchyot fiskal’nogo nakopitelya
“Accounting and tax accounting of the fiscal driver”

  • Сотрудничество (Sotrudnichestvo) – “Collaboration” / “Cooperation” [noun]
  • Соглашение / Договор (Soglasheniye / Dogovor) – “Agreement” [noun]

Частью сотрудничества является подписание договора. 
Chast’yu sotrudnichestva yavlyayetsya podpisaniye dogovora.
“Part of cooperation is the signing of an agreement.”

  • Бюджет (Byudzhet) – “Budget” [noun]

Бюджет академии увеличился на 11 процентов. 
Byudzhet akademii uvelichilsya na 11 protsentov.
“The budget for the academy was raised by 11 percent.”

Russian Rubles

Russia was the sixth-largest economy in the world in 2019, the World Bank estimates. In nominal terms, Russia ranks eleventh.

  • Бухгалтер (Bukhgalter) – “Accountant” [noun]
  • Отдел (Otdel) – “Department” [noun]
  • Визитка (Vizitka) – “Business card” [noun]

На визитке бухгалтера был указан его отдел. 
Na vizitke bukhgaltera byl ukazan yego otdel.
“The accountant’s business card indicated his department.”

  • Валюта (Valyuta) – “Currency” [noun]
  • Товар (Tovar) – “Commodity” [noun]
  • Покупатель (Pokupatel’) – “Customer” [noun]

Покупатель купил товар за валюту. 
Pokupatel’ kupil tovar za valyutu.
“The buyer bought the product with foreign currency.”

  • Эффективность (Effektivnost’) – “Efficiency” [noun]

Отдел повысил показатели эффективности. 
Otdel povysil pokazateli effektivnosti.
“The department has improved efficiency indicators.”

  • Упаковочный лист (Upakovochnyy list) – “Packing list” [the word лист is a noun and упаковочный is an adjective]
  • Срок (Srok) – “Deadline” / “Time” [noun]
  • Счёт (Schyot) – “Invoice” [noun]

Срок поставки по счёту и упаковочному листу — сегодня. 
Srok postavki po schyotu i upakovochnomu listu — segodnya.
“The invoice and packing list delivery time is today.”

  • Инвестиции (Investitsii) – “Investment” [noun]
  • Директор (Direktor) – “Managing director” [noun]
  • Переговоры (Peregovory) – “Negotiation” [noun]

Директор провёл переговоры, касающиеся инвестиций. 
Direktor provyol peregovory, kasayushchiyesya investitsiy.
“The managing director negotiated investments.”

  • Вакансия (Vakansiya) – “Opening” / “Vacancy” [noun]

Вакансия руководителя этого проекта заполнена. 
Vakansiya rukovoditelya etogo proekta zapolnena.
“The leadership vacancy on this project has been filled.”

  • Прибыльный (Pribyl’nyy) – “Profitable” [adjective]
  • Заказ (Zakaz) – “Purchase order” [noun]

Компания выполнила прибыльный заказ
Kompaniya vypolnila pribyl’nyy zakaz.
“The company has completed a profitable order.”

  • Резюме (Rezyume) – “Resumé” / “Curriculum vitae” [noun]

Я отправила моё резюме на вакантные места. 
Ya otpravila moyo rezyume na vakantnyye mesta.
“I sent my resumé for a few job openings.”

  • Подпись (Podpis’) – “Signature” [noun]

Подпись не нужна, только инициалы. 
Podpis’ ne nuzhna, tol’ko initsialy.
“You don’t have to sign it; just your initials.”

  • Поставка (Postavka) – “Supply” [noun]
  • Налог (Nalog) – “Tax” [noun]

Поставка не облагается налогом. 
Postavka ne oblagayetsya nalogom.
“The supply is tax-deductible.”

  • Сделка (Sdelka) – “Transaction” / “Deal” [noun]

Сделка была прибыльной. 
Sdelka byla pribyl’noy.
“The deal was profitable.”

3. Advanced Medical Words

Imagine that you’re in Russia when you start to feel unwell. To get the help you need, you’ll have to describe your symptoms and overall condition (knowing a little about the Russian health system would help, too). In this section, we’ll introduce you to the most useful advanced Russian words related to healthcare. 

  • Биопсия (Biopsiya) – “Biopsy” [noun]

Эндометриальная биопсия нужна, чтобы проверить эффективность прививки. 
Endometrial’naya biopsiya nuzhna, chtoby proverit’ effektivnost’ privivki.
“An endometrial biopsy is needed to test the vaccine efficacy.”

  • Деменция (Dementsiya) – “Dementia” [noun]

Совет фонда считает, что у меня деменция. 
Sovet fonda schitayet, chto u menya dementsiya.
“The foundation board thinks I have dementia.”

  • Ординатура (Ordinatura) – “Residency” [noun]

Мне так сильно понравилась ординатура, что я прошёл её дважды.
Mne tak sil’no ponravilas’ ordinatura, chto ya proshyol yeyo dvazhdy.
“I liked residency so much that I did it twice.”

  • Заболевание (Zabolevaniye) – “Disease” / “Illness” [noun]

Заболевание является серьёзным тормозом для развития. 
Zabolevanie yavlyayetsya ser’yoznym tormozom dlya razvitiya.
“The disease is a major problem for development.”

  • Рецепт (Retsept) – “Prescription” [noun]

Врач выписал мне рецепт. 
Vrach vypisal mne retsept.
“The doctor wrote me a prescription.”

A Doctor Is Consulting with a Patient

Health is one of the crucial things in life that money can’t buy. Please, stay healthy!

  • Астма (Astma) – “Asthma” [noun]

Ну, у её дочери астма. 
Nu, u yeyo docheri astma.
“Well, her daughter has asthma.”

  • Зависимость (Zavisimost’) – “Addiction” [noun]

Ричардс лечился от алкогольной зависимости в 2006 году. 
Richards lechilsya ot alkogol’noy zavisimosti v 2006 godu.
“Richards was in rehab for alcohol addiction in 2006.”

  • Поликлиника (Poliklinika) – “Outpatient department” [noun]

Поликлиника была создана для диагностики. 
Poliklinika byla sozdana dlya diagnostiki.
“The outpatient department was set up to provide diagnostic care.”

  • Медицинский центр (Meditsinskiy tsentr) – “Health care center” [the word центр is a noun and медицинский is an adjective]
  • Cтоматологический (Stomatologicheskiy) – “Dental” [adjective]

Стоматологические клиники и медицинские центры в России могут быть частными. 
Stomatologicheskiye kliniki i meditsinskiye tsentry v Rossii mogut byt’ chastnymi.
“Dental clinics and medical centers in Russia can be private.”

  • Медицинский полис (Meditsinskiy polis) – “Health insurance certificate” [the word полис is a noun and медицинский is an adjective]

Медицинский полис будет только через месяц. 
Meditsinskiy polis budet tol’ko cherez mesyats.
“The health insurance certificate will be ready in a month.”

  • Приёмный покой (Priyomnyy pokoy) – “Emergency room” [the word покой is a noun and приёмный is an adjective]
  • Больничная палата (Bol’nichnaya palata) – “Hospital ward” [the word палата is a noun and больничная is an adjective]

В приёмном покое много больничных палат. 
V priyomnom pokoye mnogo bol’nichnykh palat.
“There are many hospital wards in the emergency room.”

  • Операционная (Operatsionnaya) – “Operating room” [noun]
  • Реанимация (Reanimatsiya) – “Intensive care unit” [noun]
  • Пациент, больной (Patsiyent, bol’noy) – “Patient” [noun]

Из операционной пациента перевели в реанимацию. 
Iz operatsionnoy patsiyenta pereveli v reanimatsiyu.
“The patient was transferred from the operating room to the intensive care unit.”

  • Стационарный больной (Statsionarnyy bol’noy) – “Inpatient” [the word больной is a noun and стационарный is an adjective] Please note that the word больной can also be used as an adjective, just as “patient” can be a noun or an adjective in English.  
  • Амбулаторный больной (Ambulatornyy bol’noy) – “Outpatient” [the word больной is a noun and амбулаторный is an adjective]
  • Медсестра (Medsestra) – “Nurse” [noun]
  • Терапевт (Terapevt) – “Physician” [noun]
  • Отоларинголог (Otolaringolog) – “ORT specialist” [noun]

Медицинское обслуживание стационарных и амбулаторных больных осуществляется разными группами докторов и медсестёр, в том числе терапевтами и отоларингологами. 
Meditsinskoye obsluzhivaniye statsionarnykh i ambulatornykh bol’nykh osushchestvlyayetsya raznymi gruppami doktorov i medsestyor, v tom chisle terapevtami i otolaringologami.
“Medical services for inpatient and outpatient care are provided by various groups of doctors and nurses, including physicians and ORT specialists.”

  • Записаться на приём (Zapisat’sya na priyom) – “To make an appointment” [verb]

Записаться на приём было очень сложно. 
Zapisat’sya na priyom bylo ochen’ slozhno.
“It was very difficult to make an appointment with a doctor.”

According to statistics, more than half of Russians trust alternative and complementary medicine. Previously, only old ladies knew and shared amongst themselves all the recipes of alternative medicine; now, these recipes can be found on TV and the internet. Healing properties are attributed to herbal tinctures, the steam of boiled potatoes, and other methods of alternative medicine. Here are some advanced Russian words related to complementary medicine:

  • Народная медицина (Narodnaya meditsina) – “Alternative medicine” / “Complementary medicine” [the word медицина is a noun and народная is an adjective]
  • Грелка (Grelka) – “Hot water bottle” [noun]
  • Горчичник (Gorchichnik) – “Mustard plaster” [noun]
  • Отвар (Otvar) – “Brew” [noun]
  • Целебные травы (Tselebnyye travy) – “Medicinal herbs” [the word травы is a noun (plural of трава – “herb”) and целебные is an adjective]

Отвар из целебных трав, горчичники и грелка являются популярными средствами в народной медицине. 
Otvar iz tselebnykh trav, gorchichniki i grelka yavlyayutsya populyarnymi sredstvami v narodnoy meditsine.
“Medicinal herb brews, mustard plasters, and a hot water bottle are popular remedies in alternative medicine.”

4. Advanced Legal Words

While these legal words and phrases may be long, difficult to remember, and even harder to spell, they’re sure to prove useful in a number of contexts. Memorize these advanced Russian words to get a leg up in the business world and to enrich your personal life (these are words you might find used on news stations and in the paper). 

  • Гражданин (Grazhdanin) – “Passport holder” / “Resident” [noun]
  • Закон (Zakon) – “Law” [noun]
  • Нарушать закон (Narushat’ zakon) – “To break the law” [verb]

Граждане не должны нарушать закон. 
Grazhdane ne dolzhny narushat’ zakon.
“Residents must not break the law.”

  • Тяжба (Tyazhba) – “Lawsuit” [noun]
  • Юрисконсульт (Yuriskonsul’t) – “Legal adviser” [noun]
  • Законный представитель (Zakonnyy predstavitel’) – “Legal representative” [the word представитель is a noun and законный is an adjective]

Законный представитель и юрисконсульт помогут с судебными тяжбами. 
Zakonnyy predstavitel’ i yuriskonsul’t pomogut s sudebnymi tyazhbami.
“A legal representative and a legal adviser will help with filing a lawsuit.”

  • Нотариус (Notarius) – “Notary public” [noun]

Нотариус проверяет чистоту сделки и следит за тем, чтобы недвижимость продавалась свободной от долгов. 
Notarius proveryayet chistotu sdelki i sledit za tem, chtoby nedvizhimost’ prodavalas’ svobodnoy ot dolgov.
“A notary public verifies the purity of a deal and ensures that property is sold free of debts.”

  • Бездействие (Bezdeystviye) – “Omission” / “Nonfeasance” [noun]

Такие нарушения могут иметь место в силу действия или бездействия государства.
Takiye narusheniya mogut imet’ mesto v silu deystviya ili bezdeystviya gosudarstva.
“Such violations can occur by state action or omission.”

  • Юрист (Yurist) – “Lawyer” [noun]
  • Суд (Sud) – “Court” [noun]
  • Спорить (Sporit’) – “To dispute” [verb]

Юрист оспорил это решение в суде. 
Yurist osporil eto resheniye v sude.
“The lawyer disputed this decision in court.”

A Russian Courtroom

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is the highest judicial body of constitutional supervision in the Russian Federation.

  • Мошенничество (Moshennichestvo) – “Fraud” [noun]
  • Прокурор (Prokuror) – “Prosecutor” [noun]

Прокурор предъявил обвинение в мошенничестве. 
Prokuror pred’yavil obvineniye v moshennichestve.
“The prosecutor indicted for fraud.”

  • Обжалование (Obzhalovaniye) – “Appeal” [noun]
  • Виновный (Vinovnyy) – “Liable” / “Guilty” [adjective]
  • Обвинительное заключение (Obvinitel’noye zaklyucheniye) – “Indictment” [the word заключение is a noun and обвинительное is an adjective]

Виновный обжаловал обвинительное заключение. 
Vinovnyy obzhaloval obvinitel’noye zaklyucheniye.
“The person found guilty appealed against the indictment.”

  • Судебное постановление (Sudebnoye postanovleniye) – “Injunction” [the word постановление is a noun and судебное is an adjective]

Это судебное постановление у нас в кармане. 
Eto sudebnoye postanovleniye u nas v karmane.
“This injunction is in the bag.”

  • Правосудие (Pravosudiye) – “Justice” / “Justice systems” [noun]
  • Приговор (Prigovor) – “Verdict” / “Sentence” [noun]

В то же время женщины теряют доверие к системе правосудия, если приговоры минимальны и не обеспечивают им какую-либо защиту. 
V to zhe vremya zhenshchiny teryayut doveriye k sisteme pravosudiya, yesli prigovory minimal’ny i ne obespechivayut im kakuyu-libo zashchitu.
“At the same time, women lose faith in justice systems where sentences are minimal and fail to offer them any protection.”

  • Свидетель (Svidetel’) – “Witness” [noun]

Свидетель видел золотой рисунок. 
Svidetel’ videl zolotoy risunok.
“The witness saw a gold stripe.”

  • Правоотношение (Pravootnosheniye) – “Legal arrangement” / “Legal relation” [noun]

Ссылка на конкретное правоотношение может не вполне подходить для некоторых правовых систем. 
Ssylka na konkretnoye pravootnosheniye mozhet ne vpolne podkhodit’ dlya nekotorykh pravovykh sistem.
“The reference to a defined legal relationship might not easily be accommodated in certain legal systems.”

  • Права человека (Prava cheloveka) – “Human rights” [noun]

Права человека также являются основой внешней политики. 
Prava cheloveka takzhe yavlyayutsya osnovoy vneshney politiki.
“Human rights also constitute one of the key pillars of foreign policy.”

5. Alternative Words for Academic or Professional Writing 

To write a really good essay, you need to have a sufficient vocabulary of advanced Russian words. Developing the necessary language skills for writing a persuasive argument is crucial. In this section, we’ll equip you with the words and phrases you’ll need to write a great essay or to compose other forms of academic/professional writing. We have also included a number of advanced Russian words that are hard to pronounce, long, or hyphenated. 

Alternative Words

In the first column, you’ll find a simple Russian word; in the second column, you’ll find a more advanced or nuanced replacement you could use instead. 

поэтому (poetomu) – “so”
Conjunction
таким образом (takim obrazom) – “therefore”
Conjunction
Таким образом, курс рубля повысился. 
Takim obrazom, kurs rublya povysilsya. 
“Therefore, the ruble has been appreciated.”

большой (bol’shoy) – “big”
Adjective
огромный (ogromnyy) – “huge” / “enormous”
Adjective
Это огромный успех. 
Eto ogromnyy uspekh. 
“This is a huge success.”

любить (lyubit’) – “to love”
Verb
обожать (obozhat’) – “to adore”
Verb
Я обожаю этот сериал. 
Ya obozhayu etot serial. 
“I adore this show.”

хорошо (khorosho) – “good”
Adjective
прекрасно / замечательно (prekrasno / zamechatel’no) – “beautiful” / “wonderful”
Adjective
Это прекрасно, просто замечательно. 
Eto prekrasno, prosto zamechatel’no. 
“It’s wonderful, just beautiful.”

Complex Linking Words

  • Для того чтобы (Dlya togo chtoby) – “For the purpose of” / “In order to” 

This linking word can be used to introduce an explanation.

Example:

Нужно прийти домой пораньше, для того чтобы успеть сделать уроки.
Nuzhno priyti domoy poran’she, dlya togo chtoby uspet’ sdelat’ uroki.
“You need to come home early in order to have time to do your homework.”

  • Другими словами / Иными словами (Drugimi slovami / Inymi slovami) – “In other words” 

Use the linking word другими словами or иными словами when you want to express something more simply so that it’s easier to understand, or to emphasize or expand upon a point of view.

Example:

Иными словами, он переживает кризис.
Inymi slovami, on perezhivayet krizis.
“In other words, he is in a state of crisis.”

Complicated Words for Russian Learners

Are you up for a challenge? Then try memorizing a few of these more complicated Russian words for advanced learners! 

  • Подбираться, подкрадываться (Podbirat’sya, podkradyvat’sya) – “To sneak up” / “To creep up” [verb]

Он подобрался незаметно. 
On podobralsya nezametno.
“He crept up unnoticed.”

  • Растеряться (Rasteryat’sya) – “To become confused” [verb]
  • Вдобавок (Vdobavok) – “In addition” [adverb]

Я растерялась и вдобавок забыла, что хотела сказать.
Ya rasteryalas’ i vdobavok zabyla, chto khotela skazat’.
“I was confused and, in addition, forgot what I wanted to say.”

  • Неудовлетворённость (Neudovletvoryonnost’) – “Discontent” [noun]

Они вечно показывали неудовлетворённость работой. 
Oni vechno pokazyvali neudovletvoryonnost’ rabotoy.
“They were forever discontent with work.”

  • Правописание (Pravopisaniye) – “Spelling” [noun]

Одно ясно — его правописание оставляет желать лучшего. 
Odno yasno — yego pravopisaniye ostavlyayet zhelat’ luchshego.
“One thing is certain—his spelling leaves much to be desired.”

  • Самообладание (Samoobladaniye) – “Self-control” [noun]

Самообладание очень важно в любом обществе. 
Samoobladaniye ochen’ vazhno v lyubom obshchestve.
“Self-control is crucial to any society.”

  • Приспосабливаться (Prisposablivat’sya) – “To adapt” [verb]

Эти голограммы способны учиться и приспосабливаться. 
Eti gologrammy sposobny uchit’sya i prisposablivat’sya.
“These holograms have the ability to learn and adapt.”

  • Орудовать (Orudovat’) – “To work by tool” / “To wield” [verb]

Я даже не знаю, как орудовать ножом. 
Ya dazhe ne znayu, kak orudovat’ nozhom.
“I wouldn’t even know how to wield a knife.”

  • Махнуть рукой (Makhnut’ rukoy) – “To give up” / “A lost cause” [verb]

А ты, на тебя можно махнуть рукой. 
A ty, na tebya mozhno makhnut’ rukoy.
“You, however—you’re a lost cause.”

  • Истолковывать (Istolkovyvat’) – “To interpret” / “To translate” [verb]
  • Ненадлежащий (Nenadlezhashchiy) – “Improper” [adjective]

Ненадлежащее поведение и поступки можно оценивать и истолковывать по-разному. 
Nenadlezhashcheye povedeniye i postupki mozhno otsenivat’ i istolkovyvat’ po-raznomu.
“Improper behavior and conduct can be appraised and interpreted in different ways.”

  • Несподручно (Nespodruchno) – “Awkwardly” / “Inconveniently” / “Uncomfortably” [colloquialism] [adverb]

В смысле… для меня это, как бы, несподручно. 
V smysle… dlya menya eto, kak by, nespodruchno.
“I mean, I’m not comfortable with that.”

Hyphenated Words

In the Russian language, compound words are often hyphenated. These words include compound nouns, compound names, the names of compass points, shades of color, and so on. Here are some examples:

  • Северо-восточный (Severo-vostochnyy) – “Northeast” [adjective]

Подул северо-восточный ветер. 
Podul severo-vostochnyy veter.
“The northeast wind blew.”

  • Фруктово-ягодный (Fruktovo-yagodnyy) – “With/made from fruits and berries” [adjective]
  • Изумрудно-зелёный (Izumrudno-zelyonyy) – “Emerald-green” [adjective]

Это был фруктово-ягодный изумрудно-зелёный джем.
Eto byl fruktovo-yagodnyy izumrudno-zelyonyy dzhem.
“It was a fruit and berry emerald-green jam.”

  • Диван-кровать (Divan-krovat’) – “Convertible sofa bed” [noun]
  • Купля-продажа (Kuplya-prodazha) – “Buy/sell” / “Sale and purchase” [noun]

Фирма занималась куплей-продажей диванов-кроватей. 
Firma zanimalas’ kupley-prodazhey divanov-krovatey.
“The company was engaged in the sale and purchase of sofa beds.”

  • Мало-помалу (Malo-pomalu) – “Little by little” [adverb]

Мало-помалу каждая часть головоломки становится на своё место. 
Malo-pomalu kazhdaya chast’ golovolomki stanovitsya na svoyo mesto.
“Little by little, every piece of the jigsaw is falling into place.”

  • Перекати-поле (Perekati-pole) – “Rolling stone” [noun]

Потому что ты и я, мы — перекати-поле. 
Potomu chto ty i ya, my — perekati-pole.
“Cause you and I, we’re rolling stones.”

6. Conclusion

In this article, you have learned more than 100 new advanced Russian words and phrases that will help you improve and enrich your Russian vocabulary

RussianPod101.com has plenty of resources designed to help you reach your Russian learning goals, no matter your current proficiency level. If you’re feeling confident, we recommend creating your free lifetime account today and checking out our advanced Russian course

In case you found this topic a bit difficult to grasp on your own, you can upgrade to Premium PLUS in order to use our MyTeacher service. A personal tutor will gladly help you memorize and use new Russian words and phrases, provide you with personalized assignments, and more! 

Before you go: Which of the above words and phrases do you find most useful? Please, let us know in the comments.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian

Intermediate Russian Words: Expanding Your Vocabulary

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As an intermediate learner of Russian, you already know how to form basic sentences, ask for directions, and even order a beer. Congrats on making it this far! Since you already have a sense of basic grammar, adding up new layers of vocabulary will be easier from now on. This is where the real expansion starts!

To pass the intermediate level of TORFL (Test of Russian as a Foreign Language), you’ll need to know around 2000 words. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll cover 300+ intermediate Russian words in this article—just enough to give you a general idea of what areas you could explore to increase your vocabulary. 

Remember to keep your intermediate words relevant. Save any complicated or situational terms like “chisel” or “egg slicer” for the advanced level. There—the sky’s the limit, you know. For now, let’s just focus on less common pronouns, more sophisticated verbs, additional nouns for describing the physical world around you, and other parts of speech to help you cover more topics in a conversation.

➤ Check our beginner Russian words list first if you’re looking for something simpler. There, you’ll also find plenty of general tips on vocabulary learning.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Pronouns
  2. Nouns
  3. Verbs
  4. Adjectives
  5. Numbers
  6. Adverbs
  7. Conjunctions and Prepositions
  8. What’s Next?

1. Pronouns

whoseчей (chey)

my
your [form.] / [inf.]
his, its
her
our
their
мой (moy)
ваш (vash) / твой (tvoy)
его (yego)
её (yeyo)
наш (nash)
их (ikh)

nobody’sничей (nichey)

[refers to my, your, his, her, our]свой (svoy)
  • У неё своя квартира. 
    (U neyo svoya kvartira.)
    “She has her own apartment.”

(at least) somebodyкто-нибудь (kto-nibud’)

(at least) somethingчто-нибудь (chto-nibud’)

someнекоторые (nekotoryye) [plural]

which oneкоторый (kotoryy)

every, eachкаждый (kazhdyy)

anyлюбой (lyuboy)

other, another oneдругой (drugoy)

-selfсебя (sebya)
  • Я себя виню. 
    (Ya sebya vinyu.
    “I blame myself.”

(by) myself,
(by) yourself, etc.
[without any help]
сам (sam)
  • Я сам всё сделаю. 
    (Ya sam vsyo sdelayu.)
    “I’ll do it myself.”

A Woman Painting the Walls of Her New Apartment Yellow

Теперь у неё своя квартира. 
(Teper’ u neyo svoya kvartira.)
“She now has her own apartment.”

2. Nouns

Because nouns make up such a huge chunk of any language, they should be one of your top priorities as you build up your intermediate Russian vocabulary. Below, we’ve listed several Russian nouns in a variety of categories to get you started. 

Relatives

auntтётя (tyotya)
uncleдядя (dyadya)
nieceплемянница (plemyannitsa)
nephewплемянник (plemyannik)
grandmotherбабушка (babushka)
grandfatherдедушка (dedushka)
granddaughterвнучка (vnuchka)
grandsonвнук (vnuk)
cousin [f.]двоюродная сестра (dvoyurodnaya sestra)
cousin [m.]двоюродный брат (dvoyurodnyy brat)

➤ You can also check our list of common occupations to learn how to talk about people’s jobs.

Around Town

cinema theaterкинотеатр (kinoteatr)
parking lotпарковка (parkovka)
libraryбиблиотека (biblioteka)
hairdresser’sпарикмахерская (parikmakherskaya)
bus stop
tram stop
остановка (ostanovka)
bus stationавтовокзал (avtovokzal)
shopping mallторговый центр (torgovyy tsentr)
pharmacyаптека (apteka)
night clubночной клуб (nochnoy klub)
templeхрам (khram)

➤ You can find even more shops downtown!
➤ If you’re more into nature, though, we have a vocabulary list for you as well.

Around the House

kitchenкухня (kukhnya)
kettleчайник (chaynik)
panсковорода (skovoroda)
сковородка (skovorodka) [informal]
saucepanкастрюля (kastryulya)
lidкрышка (kryshka)
stoveплита (plita)
ovenдуховка (dukhovka)
fridgeхолодильник (kholodilnik)
microwave ovenмикроволновая печь (mikrovolnovaya pech’)
микроволновка (mikrovolnovka) [informal]
sinkраковина (rakovina)
living roomгостиная (gostinaya)
armchairкресло (kreslo)
sofaдиван (divan)
carpetковёр (kovyor)
curtainsшторы (shtory)
fireplaceкамин (kamin)
shelfполка (polka)
bedroomспальня (spal’nya)
alarm clock
[even in your smartphone]
будильник (budil’nik)
pillowподушка (podushka)
blanketодеяло (odeyalo)
bedsheetпростыня (prostynya)
wardrobe
[also the cupboard
in the kitchen]
шкаф (shkaf)
bathroomванная (vannaya)
studyкабинет (kabinet)
balconyбалкон (balkon)

A Kitchen

Let’s practice what we’ve learned! Answer in Russian:
1. What is this room?
2. In the picture, find at least three items from the list!

Veggies, Fruits, Berries

eggplant
aubergine
баклажан (baklazhan)
zucchiniкабачок (kabachok)
pumpkinтыква (tykva)
cucumberогурец (ogurets)
broccoliброкколи (brokkoli)
cabbageкапуста (kapusta)
lettuceсалат (salat)
pearгруша (grusha)
watermelonарбуз (arbuz)
melonдыня (dynya)
peachперсик (persik)
apricotабрикос (abrikos)
avocadoавокадо (avokado)
grapeвиноград (vinograd)
kiwiкиви (kivi)
pineappleананас (ananas)
plumслива (sliva)
strawberryклубника (klubnika)
raspberryмалина (malina)
cherryвишня (vishnya)

Animals

wolfволк (volk)
bearмедведь (medved’)
deerолень (olen’)
foxлиса (lisa)
elephantслон (slon)
giraffeжираф (zhiraf)
lionлев (lev)
tigerтигр (tigr)
monkeyобезьяна (obez’yana)
whaleкит (kit)
snakeзмея (zmeya)
goatкоза [f.] (koza)
козёл [m.] (kozyol)
sheep
ram
овца (ovtsa)
баран (baran)
roosterпетух (petukh)
rabbitкролик (krolik)
hedgehogёж (yozh)

➤ For animal lovers, we’ve prepared an entire article dedicated to animal words in Russian!

A Llama

Моё любимое животное — лама. А твоё?
(Moyo lyubimoye zhivotnoye — lama. A tvoyo?)
“My favorite animal is the llama. What about you?”

Clothes and Footwear

swimming suitкупальник (kupal’nik)
bathrobeхалат (khalat)
jacketкуртка (kurtka)
sneakers
trainers
кроссовки (krossovki)
slippersтапки (tapki) [plural]
тапочки (tapochki) [plural]
flip-flopsшлёпанцы (shlyopantsy) [plural]
bootsботинки (botinki) [plural]
high bootsсапоги (sapogi) [plural]

Technology

screenэкран (ekran)
keyboardклавиатура (klaviatura)
mouseмышь (mysh’)
laptopноутбук (noutbuk)
speakersколонки (kolonki) [plural]
headphones
earphones
наушники (naushniki) [plural]
USB-stickфлеш-карта (flesh-karta) [formal]
флешка (fleshka) [informal, more common]
chargerзарядное устройство [formal]
(zaryadnoye ustroystvo)

зарядник (zaryadnik) [informal]

Sports

tennisтеннис (tennis)
basketballбаскетбол (basketbol)
soccerфутбол (futbol)
volleyballволлейбол (volleybol)
swimmingплавание (plavaniye)
karateкарате (karate)
hockeyхоккей (khokkey)
gymтренажёрный зал (trenazhyornyy zal)
тренажёрка (trenazhyorka) [informal]

➤ Do you know which of these sports are in the Olympic Games? Check our list of Olympic sports to see if you were right!

3. Verbs

Verbs comprise another key component of language, so it would be wise to learn the most common intermediate Russian verbs at this stage. Doing so will give you more precise and engaging words to use when talking about actions or states of being.

to standстоять (stoyat’)
to sitсидеть (sidet’)
to lie downлежать (lezhat’)
to liveжить (zhit’)
to dieумирать (umirat’)
to seemказаться (kazat’sya)
to stay, to remainоставаться (ostavat’sya)
to enterвходить (vkhodit’)
to exitвыходить (vykhodit’)
to meanзначить (znachit’)
to loseтерять (teryat’)
to returnвозвращаться (vozvrashchat’sya)
to noticeзамечать (zamechat’)
to be afraidбояться (boyat’sya)
to feelчувствовать (chuvstvovat’)
to be on timeуспевать (uspevat’)
to be lateопаздывать (opazdyvat’)
to recallвспоминать (vspominat’)
to holdдержать (derzhat’)
to releaseотпускать (otpuskat’)
to nameназывать (nazyvat’)
to approachподходить (podkhodit’)
to pick upподнимать (podnimat’)
to throwбросать (brosat’)
to throw awayвыбрасывать (vybrasyvat’)
to sendпосылать (posylat’)
to receiveполучать (poluchat’)
to tellрассказывать (rasskazyvat’)
to be silentмолчать (molchat’)
to believeверить (verit’)
to have doubtsсомневаться (somnevat’sya)
to runбежать (bezhat’)
to walk, to strollгулять (gulyat’)
to shoutкричать (krichat’)
to call (somebody)звать (zvat’)
1. to imagine
2. to present
представлять (predstavlyat’)
to pronounceпроизносить (proiznosit’)
to smileулыбаться (ulybat’sya)
to cryплакать (plakat’)
to laughсмеяться (smeyat’sya)
to offerпредлагать (predlagat’)
to agreeсоглашаться (soglashat’sya)
to refuseотказываться (otkazyvat’sya)
to fallпадать (padat’)
to winвыигрывать (vyigryvat’)
to loseпроигрывать (proigryvat’)
to disappearисчезать (ischezat’)
1. to meet with sb.
2. to date sb.
встречаться (vstrechat’sya)
to carryнести (nesti)
to be surprisedудивляться (udivlyat’sya)
to botherмешать (meshat’)
to promiseобещать (obeshchat’)
to remindнапоминать (napominat’)
to forceзаставлять (zastavlyat’)
to observeнаблюдать (nablyudat’)
to wake upпросыпаться (prosypat’sya)
to fall asleepзасыпать (zasypat’)
to useпользоваться (pol’zovat’sya)
to dreamмечтать (mechtat’)
to explainобъяснять (ob’yasnyat’)
to confessпризнаваться (priznavat’sya)
to inviteприглашать (priglashat’)
to get to know sb.знакомиться (znakomit’sya)
to lieврать (vrat’)
to give a presentдарить (darit’)
to take awayзабирать (zabirat’)
to sufferстрадать (stradat’)
to get tiredуставать (ustavat’)
to be sickболеть (bolet’)
to recoverвыздоравливать (vyzdoravlivat’)

A Woman being Gifted Something by Her Friends

Choose five Russian verbs to describe the image.
___________________________
Level up: Now, make sentences using these verbs to describe the image!

4. Adjectives

Our next set of intermediate Russian words consists of frequently used adjectives. You may have learned a few of these descriptive words as a beginner, but now that your Russian skills are stronger, you can make better use of them to really engage your audience.

➤ If these aren’t enough for you, please head over to our blog post on the top 100 Russian adjectives.

mainглавный (glavnyy)
similar toпохожий (pokhozhiy)
entireцелый (tselyy)
realнастоящий (nastoyashchiy)
differentразный (raznyy)
sameодинаковый (odinakovyy)
weirdстранный (strannyy)
loudгромкий (gromkiy)
noisyшумный (shumnyy)
quiet, soft [sound]тихий (tikhiy)
emptyпустой (pustoy)
fullполный (polnyy)
cleanчистый (chistyy)
dirtyгрязный (gryaznyy)
regular, usualобычный (obychnyy)
nextследующий (sleduyushchiy)
previousпрошлый (proshlyy)
famousизвестный (izvestnyy)
familiarзнакомый (znakomyy)
formerбывший (byvshiy)
free [without cost]бесплатный (besplatnyy)
correctправильный (pravil’nyy)
wrongнеправильный (nepravil’nyy)
interestingинтересный (interesnyy)
boringскучный (skuchnyy)
poorбедный (bednyy)
richбогатый (bogatyy)
specialособый (osobyy)
greatотличный (otlichnyy)
terribleужасный (uzhasnyy)
softмягкий (myagkiy)
hard, firmтвёрдый (tvyordyy)
funnyвесёлый (vesyolyy)
happyсчастливый (schastlivyy)
dangerousопасный (opasnyy)
safeбезопасный (bezopasnyy)
futureбудущий (budushchiy)
closestближайший (blizhayshiy)
dryсухой (sukhoy)
wetмокрый (mokryy)
1. useful
2. healthy
полезный (poleznyy)
uselessбесполезный (bespoleznyy)
harmfulвредный (vrednyy)

5. Numbers

11одиннадцать (odinnadtsat’)
12двенадцать (dvenadtsat’)
13тринадцать (trinadtsat’)
14четырнадцать (chetyrnadtsat’)
15пятнадцать (pyatnadtsat’)
16шестнадцать (shestnadtsat’)
17семнадцать (semnadtsat’)
18восемнадцать (vosemnadtsat’)
19девятнадцать (devyatnadtsat’)
20двадцать (dvadtsat’)
30тридцать (tridtsat’)
40сорок (sorok)
50пятьдесят (pyat’desyat)
60шестьдесят (shest’desyat)
70семьдесят (sem’desyat)
80восемьдесят (vosem’desyat)
90девяносто (devyanosto)
100сто (sto)
200двести (dvesti)
300триста (trista)
400четыреста (chetyresta)
500пятьсот (pyat’sot)
600шестьсот (shest’sot)
700семьсот (sem’sot)
800восемьсот (vosem’sot)
900девятьсот (devyat’sot)
1,000
2,000
3,000
etc.
тысяча (tysyacha)
две тысячи (dve tysyachi)
три тысячи (tri tysyachi)
10,000
20,000
30,000
etc.
десять тысяч (desyat’ tysyach)
двадцать тысяч (dvadtsat’ tysyach)
тридцать тысяч (tridtsat’ tysyach)
100,000
200,000
300,000
etc.
сто тысяч (sto tysyach)
двести тысяч (dvesti tysyach)
триста тысяч (trista tysyach)
1,000,000миллион (million)

➤ Our video on Numbers will explain how to say numbers like “22” and “56.” It’s pretty straightforward, as you’ll see. 

An Old Guy Fanning Out His Money while Holding a Cigar

Let’s practice more!
Check how much cash you have in your pocket or wallet right now. Can you say the number in Russian?
– You can keep it a secret ;) –

6. Adverbs

(at) homeдома (doma)
alreadyуже (uzhe)
stillпока (poka)
beforehandзаранее (zaraneye)
immediatelyсразу (srazu)
constantlyпостоянно (postoyanno)
againснова (snova)
onceоднажды (odnazhdy)
approximatelyпримерно (primerno)
enoughдостаточно (dostatochno)
justтолько (tol’ko)
finallyнаконец (nakonets)
togetherвместе (vmeste)
accidentallyслучайно (sluchayno)
obligatoryобязательно (obyazatel’no)

➤ You’ll find example sentences for these adverbs (and many more) on our 100 Must-Know Russian Adverbs List.

7. Conjunctions and Prepositions

At the intermediate level, one of the best ways to improve your Russian is to become familiar with the most common conjunctions and prepositions. These little words and phrases can help you more smoothly connect ideas, provide additional information, and more.

even thoughхотя (khotya)
as ifбудто (budto)
ifесли (yesli)
despiteнесмотря на (nesmotrya na)
instead ofвместо (vmesto)
forради (radi)

Я делаю это ради тебя.
(Ya delayu eto radi tebya.)
“I’m doing it for you.”
throughчерез (cherez)
amongсреди (sredi)
betweenмежду (mezhdu)
atу (u)

у окна (u okna) – “at the window”
except forкроме (krome)

A Woman Smiling while Walking into Her Home

Наконец-то я дома! 
(Nakonets-to ya doma!)
“I’m finally home!”

8. What’s Next?

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of intermediate Russian words, but it should give you some ideas on how to develop your vocabulary further. Did you know any of these words already, or were they all new to you?

Feel free to explore more words in each category and come up with your own lists. Just keep it relevant: Learn something that you personally need or want to know. If knowing the bird names isn’t on your priority list, let them wait. At this level, you can also dip your toes into abstract topics: politics, economics, culture. But don’t overcomplicate it just yet.

To make the most of this article, you can create flashcards with new words from this list. Reviewing them helps retention, especially when combined with spaced repetition. And I can’t stress enough the importance of practice: producing new words—for example, making up sentences on your own—and recognizing them in texts or speech make them stick even faster. 

Also, keep in mind that nouns and pronouns decline, adjectives change their ending depending on the gender and case, and verbs conjugate. Remember: It’s not the number of words that matters, but your ability to combine them well

That’s where our teachers could help you. You can get a private tutor with RussianPod101’s Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher. Your tutor will help you choose the best pathway to continue your Russian learning journey. You can ask them anything about Russian grammar, vocabulary, or culture—they will dispel any doubts! You can also opt to receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, as well as voice recording tasks to work on specific skills. Too many benefits to fit into one paragraph… Just give it a try!

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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Learn the Names of Animals in Russian

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A visit to Russia presents a great opportunity to see some extraordinary wildlife! For example, the Russian taiga is home to such animals as boars, reindeer, moose, and even bears. Russians also love their pets—if you ever find yourself invited to a Russian’s home, don’t be surprised if you encounter a dog or cat during your stay.

Pets

In this article, we’ll be taking a trip to the zoo to learn the names of different animals in Russian. While some of these animal names may sound familiar to you and prove easy to memorize, others will be more of a challenge. Make sure to keep an open mind while reading and to write down any unfamiliar animal names for future reference—you might already know the basics, like “cat” and “dog,” but I doubt you know the Russian word for “monkey”! 

We will be covering the names of animals in a variety of categories: 

  • Pets
  • Farm animals
  • Wild animals
  • Sea animals
  • Bugs and insects
  • Birds, reptiles & amphibians

In addition, we’ll teach you the sounds of animals in Russian according to our onomatopoeia, the names of animal body parts, and several expressions and idioms related to animals. 

Before we continue, keep in mind that the Russian language has grammatical gender. This applies to animals, as well, so we’ve included the names for both male and female animals where applicable (sometimes, the name is the same regardless of the animal’s gender). 

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Pets
  2. Farm Animals
  3. Wild Animals
  4. Sea Animals
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds, Reptiles & Amphibians
  7. Animal Body Parts
  8. Animal Verbs
  9. Animal Sounds
  10. Animal-Related Idioms and Slang Expressions
  11. Conclusion

1. Pets

More than half of Russian families have pets. The most popular are cats, which comprise 54% of all pets. 38% of the pets in Russia are dogs, while 7% are farm animals (like rabbits). Only 3% are animals like hamsters, turtles, rats, mice, aquarium fish, and ornamental birds (parrots). Very few people here have exotic animals. 

Interesting fact: Snails are probably the most exotic animal you’ll find kept as a pet in Russian homes. They have recently gained popularity, especially the giant African snail Achatina

Now, here are the names of the most common Russian pets: 

  • Кошка (Koshka) / Кот (Kot) – “Cat (female)” / “Cat (male)” 
  • Собака (Sobaka) – “Dog” 
  • Хомяк (Khomyak) – “Hamster” 
  • Черепаха (Cherepakha) – “Turtle” 
  • Аквариумная рыбка (Akvariumnaya rybka) – “Aquarium fish” 
  • Улитка (Ulitka) – “Snail” 
  • Мышь (Mysh’) – “Mouse” 
  • Крыса (Krysa) – “Rat” 
  • Морская свинка (Morskaya svinka) – “Guinea pig”

A Snail Creeping on a Table

Snails are very therapeutic to watch and easy to take care of.

2. Farm Animals

Farming is quite popular in Russia nowadays. Townspeople began to master farming during the 2008 financial crisis; some lost their jobs and took up farming to support themselves, and others just wanted to do something different. Retired people often move to villages and keep poultry such as chickens, geese, and ducks. Rabbits are also quite popular in villages and on small farms. Of course, there are also large animal farms with livestock such as goats, sheep, pigs, horses, and cows.

One more exotic farm animal in Russia is the reindeer, which is most often bred for its meat and antlers. In some regions, farms have larger numbers of reindeer than sheep or horses.

The word for “farm” in Russian is: 

  • Ферма (Ferma) “Farm” 

And here’s a list of the most common farm animals in Russian: 

  • Курица (Kuritsa) – “Chicken” 
  • Петух (Petukh) – “Rooster” 
  • Цыплёнок (Tsyplyonok) – “Chick” 
  • Утка (Utka) – “Duck” 
  • Кролик (Krolik) – “Rabbit” 
  • Коза (Koza) – “Goat” 
  • Овца (Ovtsa) – “Sheep” 
  • Лошадь (Loshad’) – “Horse” 
  • Свинья (Svin’ya) – “Pig” 
  • Корова (Korova) – “Cow” 
  • Северный олень (Severnyy olen’) – “Reindeer” 

3. Wild Animals

Most of the wild animals in Russia live in the taiga, the Arctic, and the Subarctic regions.

Common animals in Russian forests include chipmunks, hazel grouses, wolverines, sables, squirrels, and sika deer. Legendary predators include the Ussuri tiger, the leopard, and of course, the national animal of Russia—the bear. Wild ungulates are well spread throughout the territory of Russia: big boar, wild reindeer, graceful roe deer, large moose, and saiga. 

Traditionally, Russian hunters favored fur-bearing animals such as sables, muskrats, minks, and foxes. The arctic fox is the primary species harvested for its fur. 

Here are the names of popular wild animals in Russian: 

  • Бурундук (Burunduk) – “Chipmunk” 
  • Рябчик (Ryabchik) – “Hazel grouse” 
  • Росомаха (Rosomakha) – “Wolverine” 
  • Соболь (Sobol’) – “Sable” 
  • Белка (Belka) – “Squirrel” 
  • Олень (Olen’) – “Deer” 
  • Тигр (Tigr) – “Tiger” 
  • Леопард (Leopard) – “Leopard”
  • Медведь (Medved’) – “Bear” 

In ancient times, people would call certain animals by so-called euphemisms (substitute words). It was believed that calling a bear by its real name was seen as an invocation of the bear, which was obviously undesirable. So, Медведь (Medved’) literally means “honey-eater.” This beast has other euphemistic names, as well: Mishka, Potapych, Toptygin, and others.

A Mother Bear and Her Cubs

The bear is one of the most common symbols associated with Russia.

  • Кабан (Kaban) – “Boar” 
  • Лось (Los’) – “Moose” 
  • Сайгак (Saygak) – “Saiga” 
  • Норка (Norka) – “Mink” 
  • Песец (Pesets) – “Arctic fox” 
  • Лиса (Lisa) – “Fox” 
  • Волк (Volk) – “Wolf” 
  • Манул (Manul) – “The Pallas’s cat, Manul” 

The manul is a very expressive cat and the constant hero of Russian memes.

4. Sea Animals

In Russia, whose shores are washed by the waters of three oceans and thirteen seas, there are a lot of sea animals—many of which are rare species. Below, you’ll find the English and Russian names of the most common marine animals.

  • Рыба (Ryba) – “Fish” 
  • Кит (Kit) – “Whale” 
  • Тюлень (Tyulen’) – “Seal” 
  • Морж (Morzh) – “Walrus” 
  • Морской котик (Morskoy kotik) – “Fur seal” 
  • Медуза (Meduza) – “Jellyfish” 
  • Бутылконос (Butylkonos) – “Bottlenose whale” 

The bottlenose whale is quite a rare animal, found in the cold Barents Sea. 

5. Bugs and Insects

There are also many types of bugs in Russia, most of which are active from April to May and hibernate during autumn. There are also a few dangerous bugs with toxic venom, which can be fatal under unfavorable conditions. Such venomous bugs include the Karakurt (black widow) spider in Southern Russia and the Asian hornet in the East. But actually, they’re quite rare, and most of the insects here are harmless.

  • Пчела (Pchela) – “Bee” 
  • Комар (Komar) – “Mosquito” 
  • Муха (Mukha) – “Fly” 
  • Паук (Pauk) – “Spider” 
  • Бабочка (Babochka) – “Butterfly” 
  • Шершень (Shershenʹ) – “Hornet” 
  • Таракан (Tarakan) – “Cockroach” 
  • Муравей (Muravey) – “Ant” 
  • Мотылёк (Motylyok) – “Moth” 
  • Божья коровка (Bozh’ya korovka) – “Ladybug” 

Literally, the term Божья коровка (Bozh’ya korovka) means “God’s little cow.” This name refers to the spots on its body, which are similar to the spots on certain cows. In addition, ladybugs can give milk—but rather than ordinary milk, it is red and poisonous! 

But…why God’s? 

Nobody knows exactly. But they fly in the sky, and in the past, superstitious people asked them to forecast the weather or predict the harvest.

6. Birds, Reptiles & Amphibians

There are about 804 bird species in Russia, and in the cities, you’ll likely see a lot of pigeons, chickadees, sparrows, wagtails, and bullfinches in the wintertime. Sometimes, you might even see a woodpecker or a crossbill. People feed birds (especially during the winter), and many Russians build feeders to help birds survive cold days.

  • Голубь (Golub’) – “Pigeon” 
  • Синица (Sinitsa) – “Chickadee” 
  • Воробей (Vorobey) – “Sparrow” 
  • Трясогузка (Tryasoguzka) – “Wagtail” 
  • Снегирь (Snegir’) – “Bullfinch” 
  • Дятел (Dyatel) – “Woodpecker” 
  • Клёст (Klyost) – “Crossbill”

A Snake

77 reptile species inhabit the territory of Russia. Luckily, only a few of them are venomous.

  • Лягушка (Lyagushka) – “Frog” 
  • Змея (Zmeya) – “Snake” 
  • Жаба (Zhaba) – “Toad” 
  • Ящерица (Yashcheritsa) – “Lizard” 
  • Черепаха (Cherepakha) – “Turtle” 
  • Крокодил (Krokodil) – “Crocodile” 

7. Animal Body Parts

Here are the names of basic animal body parts in Russian: 

  • Волосы (Volosy) – “Hair” 
  • Крыло (Krylo) – “Wing” 
  • Хвост (Khvost) – “Tail” 
  • Шерсть (Sherst’) – “Fur” 
  • Рог (Rog) – “Horn” 
  • Перо (Pero) – “Feather” 
  • Крыло (Krylo) – “Wing” 

8. Animal Verbs

  • Мяукать (Myaukat’) – “To meow” 
  • Лаять (Layatʹ) – “To bark” 
  • Рычать (Rychat’) – “To roar” 
  • Жужжать (Zhuzhzhat’) – “To buzz” 
  • Скакать (Skakat’) – “To gallop” 
  • Ползти (Polzti) – “To crawl” 
  • Кормить (Kormit’) – “To feed” 

9. Animal Sounds

The interesting thing about animal sounds is that they vary from one language to another. For example, a child in the U.K. imitates a dog’s sound as “woof-woof,” while a Russian toddler is taught to imitate barking with gav-gav.

  • Хрю-хрю (Khryu-khryu) – Pig 
  • Мяу-мяу (Myau-myau) – Cat 
  • Чик-чирик (Chik-chirik) – Bird
  • Кря-кря (Krya-krya) – Duck 
  • И-го-го (I-go-go) – Horse

A Cow

And what sound does a cow make in Russian? Correct: “moo.”

Curious how to pronounce some additional animal sounds and other words? Then you might enjoy reading the children’s poem Путаница (Putanica) by renowned Russian poet Kornej Chukovskij! 

10. Animal-Related Idioms and Slang Expressions

Animals have always lived close to people. And in Russian speech, many idioms and slang expressions mention different characteristic features of some common animals in Russia in one way or another.

Денег куры не клюют. (Deneg kury ne klyuyut.)

Literal translation: Chickens do not peck money.
Meaning: to have lots of money

Съел собаку (S”yel sobaku)

Literal translation: to have eaten a dog
Meaning: to be an old hand at something

Тянуть кота за хвост (Tyanut’ kota za khvost)

Literal translation: to pull the cat by its tail
Meaning: to beat around the bush

Кошки скребут на душе. (Koshki skrebut na dushe.)

Literal translation: Cats are scratching on the soul.
Meaning: to feel sick at heart

Делать из мухи слона (Delat’ iz mukhi slona)

Literal translation: to make an elephant out of a fly
Meaning: to make something out of nothing

Хоть волком вой (Khot’ volkom voy)

Literal translation: to howl like a wolf
Meaning: to despair due to an inability to correct a bad situation

Чёрная кошка пробежала. (Chyornaya koshka probezhala.)

Literal translation: Black cat ran between people.
Meaning: This is what they say about people who have quarreled.

Надуться как мышь на крупу (Nadut’sya kak mysh’ na krupu)

Literal translation: pouted like a mouse about the grains
Meaning: to be offended or dissatisfied with something

На кривой козе не подъедешь. (Na krivoy koze ne pod”yedesh’.)

Literal translation: You can’t drive up on a crooked goat to a person.
Meaning: Russians say this about people who are difficult to find an approach to. In the old days, one-eyed animals were called crooked. In particular, goats with only one eye lose the ability to move straight.

На птичьих правах (Na ptich’ikh pravakh)

Literal translation: bird rights
Meaning: without a legal basis; unofficially

Ежу понятно. (Yezhu ponyatno.)

Literal translation: Even a hedgehog understands.
Meaning: We say this about something that is obvious.

11. Conclusion

In this article, you learned the names of several different animals in the Russian language. If you would like to hear a recording of their pronunciation, make sure to visit our vocabulary list Animal Names

Once you’ve mastered this key topic, you’ll be able to enjoy a greater range of conversations with native Russian speakers during your visit. Russians love their pets, and many of us live in the countryside where we raise farm animals. What better way to begin a casual chat than by asking someone about their favorite furry friends? 

To continue learning about the Russian language and culture, create your free lifetime account on RussianPod101.com today! We offer a range of themed vocabulary lists, audio and video lessons, and other free resources (such as this English-Russian dictionary). If you sign up for a Premium PLUS account, you’ll also get access to our MyTeacher service; your personal Russian tutor will help you learn faster and smarter through personalized exercises and more. 

Before you go: What’s your favorite pet? Do you know its name in Russian? Please let us know in the comments!

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Russian Phone Call Phrases for Everyday Use

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If you’re studying Russian as a foreign language, it’s important for you to practice your oral communication skills as regularly as possible. 

Speaking on the phone with native Russians is a great way to hone your speaking skills, become familiar with new words and expressions, and gain more confidence in yourself. But we understand that it can be a daunting task for language learners! 

To help you get a strong start, we’ve compiled a list of all the basic Russian phone call phrases you need to know. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be able to make and take phone calls in Russian with ease—whether you’re chatting with a friend or reserving a table at an upscale restaurant.

Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Picking up the Phone
  2. Saying Who You Are
  3. Stating the Reason for the Call
  4. Asking to Speak to Someone
  5. Asking Someone to Wait
  6. Leaving a Message
  7. Asking for Clarification
  8. Ending the Phone Call
  9. Sample Phone Conversations
  10. Conclusion

1. Picking up the Phone

The first set of Russian phone call phrases you’ll need to know are those for greeting the caller. Here are a few standard greeting expressions you can use: 

  • Aлло. (Allo.) – “Hello.”
  • Я вас слушаю. (Ya vas slushayu.) – “I’m listening to you.”
  • Слушаю. (Slushayu.) – “I’m listening.”

A Woman Holding a Blue Handset

It’s said that 95% of Russian phone conversations start with Алло.

2. Saying Who You Are

Once you’ve greeted the caller, it’s time to introduce yourself. You can use any of the following Russian phone phrases for this:

  • Это ___. (Eto ___.) – “This is ___.”
  • Это говорит ___. (Eto govorit ___.) – “This is ___.”
  • Вас беспокоит ___. (Vas bespokoit ___.) – “This is ___.”

3. Stating the Reason for the Call

After introducing yourself, you’ll need to explain why you’re calling. There are several ways to do this, depending on the situation. These Russian phone call phrases and their English equivalents will be helpful:

  • Вы мне звонили. (Vy mne zvonili.) – “I’m returning your call.”
  • Я звоню, чтобы спросить / уточнить / подтвердить… (Ya zvonyu, chtoby sprosit’ / utochnit’ / podtverdit’…) – “I’m calling to ask / clarify / confirm…”
  • Мне нужно поговорить с кем-то насчёт… (Mne nuzhno pogovorit’ s kem-to naschyot…) – “I need to talk to somebody about…”

A Person Taking Notes

If you’re not confident in your knowledge of the Russian language, it’s a good idea to come up with what you’re going to say during the phone call in advance.

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

If there’s a specific person you’d like to speak to, you can use one of these basic Russian phone phrases to let the receiver know this: 

  • Я хочу поговорить с ___. (Ya hochu pogovorit’ s ___.) – “I want to talk to ___.”
  • Это ___? (Eto ___?) – “Is this ___?”
  • Могу я поговорить с ___? (Mogu ya pogovorit’ s ___?) – “May I talk to ___?”
  • Пожалуйста, позовите ___. (Pozhaluysta, pozovite ___.) – “Call ___, please.”

5. Asking Someone to Wait

If you receive a call and need some time to check something, you could ask the other person to wait by using one of these basic Russian phone phrases: 

  • Подождите минутку, я проверю. (Podozhdite minutku, ya proveryu.) – “Just a moment, let me check.”
  • Минуточку. (Minutochku.) – “Just a minute.” [very informal]
  • Вы подождёте немного? (Vy podozhdyote nemnogo?) – “Will you wait a bit?”
  • Не вешайте трубку. (Ne veshayte trubku.) – “Hold the line, please.”

A Woman Talking on the Phone and Checking the Time

If you’re really busy with something and will not be available in the next few minutes, don’t make the other person wait. It’s better to have him or her call you back.

6. Leaving a Message

If you’re unable to reach the person you wanted to speak with, you should be able to leave them a message. Here are a few ways you can leave a message over the phone in Russian:

  • Передайте ___, что… (Peredayte ___, chto…) – “Let ___ know that…”
  • Можете, пожалуйста, попросить [имя] перезвонить на номер [номер телефона]? (Mozhete, pozhaluysta, poprosit’ [imya] perezvonit’ na nomer [nomer telefona]?) – “Can you please tell [name] to call me back at [phone number]?”
  • Передайте ___, что я звонила/звонила. (Peredayte ___, chto ya zvonila/zvonila.) – “Please tell ___ that I’ve called.”

7. Asking for Clarification

As we mentioned earlier, it can be quite difficult for a non-native speaker to talk over the phone in Russian. If you fail to understand what the other person is saying, you can ask for clarification by using one of these simple Russian phone phrases: 

  • Можете, пожалуйста, повторить? (Mozhete, pozhaluysta, povtorit’?) – “Could you repeat, please?”
  • Вас плохо слышно. (Vas ploho slyshno.) – “I can’t hear you well.”
  • Я не расслышал / расслышала. (Ya ne rasslyshal / rasslyshala.) – “I didn’t hear.”
  • Пожалуйста, говорите погромче. (Pozhaluysta, govorite pogromche.) – “Speak louder, please.”

An Impatient Woman on the Phone

Talking to a Russian consultant using the Russian phone conversation phrases we’ve covered? Remember that he or she is probably overwhelmed with work, so be patient!

8. Ending the Phone Call

There are a few different ways you could end your phone call, depending on the situation. Below are several phrases you could use to sound polite and friendly while ending the conversation. 

  • Я могу вам чем-то ещё помочь? (Ya mogu vam chem-to eshchyo pomoch’?) – “Is there anything else I can help you with?”
  • Вы мне очень помогли, спасибо! (Vy mne ochen’ pomogli, spasibo!) – “You helped me a lot, thank you!”
  • Спасибо за помощь. (Spasibo za pomoshch’.) – “Thank you for your help.”
  • Увидимся в… (Uvidimsya v…) – “See you at…”
  • До встречи. (Do vstrechi.) – “See you.”
  • Хорошего дня / вечера. (Horoshego dnya / vechera.) – “Have a good day / evening.”
  • До свидания. (Do svidaniya.) – “Goodbye.”
  • Пока. (Poka.) – “Bye.”

9. Sample Phone Conversations

Now that you know quite a few Russian phone call phrases, it’s time to take it a step further. We’ve prepared two sample dialogues for you. The first one is an informal chat between two friends and the second one is a formal conversation between one of the friends and a cafe manager. You’ll see some of the phrases we’ve covered already in these dialogues, so be attentive while reading!

Conversation #1

Дима:
Алло.
Allo.
“Hello.”

Рома: 
Алло, Дима, это Рома.
Allo, Dima, eto Roma.
“Hello, Dima, this is Roma.”

Дима: 
Привет, Рома, рад тебя слышать! Как у тебя дела?
Privet, Roma, rad tebya slyshat’! Kak u tebya dela?
“Hello, Roma, glad to hear from you! How are you?”

Рома: 
Дела отлично, твои как?
Dela otlichno, tvoi kak?
“I’m fine, what about you?”

Дима:
пойдёт. Что нового?
Poydyot. Chto novogo?
“I’m okay. What’s new?”

Рома: 
Ничего особенного… Слушай, я тут хочу пообедать в субботу в новом кафе на Арбате. Называется «Кофебум». Может, слышал?
Nichego osobennogo… Slushay, ya tut hochu poobedat’ v subbotu v novom kafe na Arbate. Nazyvaetsya «Kofebum». Mozhet, slyshal?
“Nothing special… You know, I want to have lunch at a new cafe on Arbat on Saturday. It’s called Сoffeeboom. Have you heard about it?”

Дима: 
Да, я собирался туда сходить, но всё никак.
Da, ya sobiralsya tuda shodit’, no vsyo nikak.
“Yes, I was going to go there, but still haven’t.”

Рома: 
Здорово! Буду я, Женя и Макс. Ты пойдёшь с нами?
Zdorovo! Budu ya, Zhenya i Maks. Ty poydyosh’ s nami?
“Nice! There will be Zhenya, Max, and I. Will you join us?”

Дима: 
А во сколько вы собираетесь?
A vo skol’ko vy sobiraetes’?
“Well, what time are you going to meet?”

Рома: 
В три.
V tri.
“At three.”

Дима: 
Отлично, я как раз к этому времени освобожусь.
Otlichno, ya kak raz k etomu vremeni osvobozhus’.
“Nice, I’ll be free right by this time.”

Рома: 
Вот и договорились! Тогда до скорого.
Vot i dogovorilis’! Togda do skorogo.
“I guess we’ve got a deal. See you soon!”

Дима: 
До скорого!
Do skorogo!
“See you!”

Friends Having a Meal Together

Lunch with friends is certainly a good plan for Saturday!

Conversation #2

Екатерина: 
Кафе «Кофебум», на связи менеджер Екатерина, чем я могу вам помочь?
Kafe «Kofebum», na svyazi menedzher Ekaterina, chem ya mogu vam pomoch’?
“This is manager Ekaterina from Coffeeboom Cafe, what can I help you with?”

Рома: 
Здравствуйте, Екатерина, я хотел бы забронировать у вас столик на субботу.
Zdravstvuyte, Ekaterina, ya hotel by zabronirovat’ u vas stolik na subbotu.
“Hello, Ekaterina, I’d like to book a table for Saturday.”

Екатерина: 
Минутку… Какое время вас интересует?
Minutku… Kakoe vremya vas interesuet?
“Just a minute… What time are you interested in?”

Рома: 
Три часа дня.
Tri chasa dnya.
“Three in the afternoon.”

Екатерина:
Сколько будет гостей?
Skol’ko budet gostey?
“How many guests will be there?”

Рома: 
Четыре человека.
Chetyre cheloveka.
“Four people.”

Екатерина: 
На чьё имя бронировать?
Na ch’yo imya bronirovat’?
“For whom should I book?”

Рома: 
Роман.
Roman.
“For Roma.”

Екатерина: 
Хорошо, забронировала вам столик на имя Роман, на субботу, на три часа дня.
Horosho, zabronirovala vam stolik na imya Roman, na subbotu, na tri chasa dnya.
“Okay, I’ve made a reservation for Roma, on Saturday, at three in the afternoon.”

Рома: 
Всё верно, спасибо!
Vsyo verno, spasibo!
“That’s right, thank you!”

Екатерина: 
Будем вас ждать! До свидания.
Budem vas zhdat’! Do svidaniya.
“We’ll be waiting for you. Goodbye.”

Рома: 
До свидания.
Do svidaniya.
“Goodbye.”

10. Conclusion

In this guide, you’ve learned more than 30 Russian phone call phrases! You can use them to engage in simple dialogues, in both formal and informal situations. 

But don’t stop yet! 

There are many other Russian phone phrases for use in specific situations, not to mention a wealth of additional expressions and vocabulary to discover. 

If you’re serious about your studies and want to learn about the Russian language and culture in a fun, engaging manner, check out RussianPod101.com! We provide numerous study materials, including vocabulary lists and audio/video lessons for learners at every level. 

Struggling to get very far on your own? Then you might enjoy the benefits of our MyTeacher service. You can study with an experienced private tutor who speaks the language natively. They can help you better understand certain concepts and even help you with your pronunciation! 

Before you go: Have you ever made a phone call in Russian? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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Basic Russian Words for Beginners: An Essential Minimum

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There are about 150,000 words in modern Russian. But worry not—even I, a native speaker, probably know only half of those words. (Difficult to count, you know?) 

Anyway, as a beginner in Russian, you’d need no more than 300-500 words to start expressing simple ideas. For this reason, our list of basic Russian words for beginners could be a good place for you to start.

On this list, you’ll find the essential vocabulary needed to talk about people, places, everyday objects and their attributes, and simple actions. You’ll learn how to count to ten and use your first prepositions to talk about location.

Make sure to check the intro chapter (How to Make the Most of this Beginner Vocabulary List) first, and then we’ll get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. How to Make the Most of this Beginner Vocabulary List
  2. Pronouns
  3. Nouns
  4. Verbs
  5. Adjectives
  6. Numbers
  7. Adverbs
  8. Prepositions and Conjunctions
  9. Question Words
  10. What’s Next?

1. How to Make the Most of this Beginner Vocabulary List

Beginner words are like bricks for building basic sentences. But you can’t assemble a strong wall without some mortar—and in a language, this “mortar” is grammar. 

The relationships between words are much more complex in Russian than in English. It’s not always easy or practical to replace one word with another, and you need to have an idea of how words interact with each other in a sentence. 

You’ve probably heard that it’s better to learn vocabulary in chunks. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid learning separate words and cram full sentences instead, though some find this approach effective. But whenever looking up a word, it’s worth checking the dictionary entry notes and some example phrases to see how the word fits into a sentence. The word itself and its entourage often form collocations

Collocations define the word’s closest “friends.” For instance, if it’s a verb, it might have a preposition it’s usually used with: to be interested in, to rely on. If it’s an adjective, it could have its favorite intensifier: ridiculously expensive (and not completely), very tired (and not utterly).

And, again, let’s not forget about the grammar. Russian nouns, for example, have grammatical gender. The gender of a noun determines the ending of the adjective attached to it. Most prepositions assign a specific case to a noun, changing its ending as well. Yes, it’s all about the endings.

RussianPod101 keeps both of these aspects in mind. Most of our vocabulary lists include examples so you can see how each word functions in a sentence.

I’m not expecting a beginner to be familiar with Russian grammar yet. To make your life easier, I’ve mentioned some basic grammar features for every part of speech. Ideally, you should keep them in mind when trying to insert a word into a phrase. Otherwise, you might end up with a bunch of words that you have no idea what to do with. Those grammar notes are there just to give you an idea of what you could learn next. No need to push yourself; take it slowly.

Here’s your Beginner Words Toolkit that will help you get started:

➤ Our article Russian Grammar in a Nutshell for the basic characteristics of the main parts of speech

➤ A dictionary with simple collocations and/or example sentences. Why not try Yandex Translate or Linguee, for instance? 

➤ A flashcard tool to keep your vocabulary in order and to revise it on a regular basis

And, obviously, the list itself! ⬇

A Girl Studying Flashcards with Fruit Names on Them

Make flashcards for the new words you’re learning. You can quiz yourself by looking at one side of the card then flipping it to see the answer. Make sure you master both directions and don’t forget to shuffle the cards every day.

2. Pronouns

Pronouns are the first words you should add to your Russian beginner vocabulary base. It would be difficult to have a fluid conversation without them, as they reduce redundancy and help maintain flow. 

We’ll cover three types of Russian pronouns here: personal, demonstrative, and indefinite. 

Personal Pronouns

These change their form depending on the person, number, case, and (sometimes) gender. 

➤ We’ve carefully crafted a guide on Russian pronouns for those who want to know everything about them. (And a little bit more.)

PersonEnglishRussian
1st person singularIя (ya)
2nd person singularyou
[informal]
ты (ty
3rd person singularhesheitон (on)
она (ona)
оно (ono)
1st person pluralweмы (my)
2nd person pluralyou
 [formal and plural]
вы (vy)
3rd person pluraltheyони (oni)

Demonstrative Pronouns

These change their form depending on the number, case, and gender. 

EnglishRussian
masculinefeminineneuterplural
this / theseэтот (etot)эта (eta)это (eto)эти (eti)
that / thoseтот (tot)та (ta)то (to)те (te)

  • этот дом (etot dom) – “this house”
  • эти люди (eti lyudi) – “these people”
  • та машина (ta mashina) – “that car”

Indefinite Pronouns

These pronouns only inflect for case.

EnglishRussian
somebodyкто-то (kto-to)
somethingчто-то (chto-to)

A Woman with Her Family Ordering Something from a Bakery

Эти, пожалуйста. (Eti, pozhaluysta.) – “These ones, please.”

3. Nouns 

Russian nouns change their form depending on the gender, case, and number. Pay attention to the gender when looking a word up in a dictionary.

➤ We’ve done extensive research on noun behavior and summarized it in our Russian declension guide!

People

personчеловек (chelovek)
peopleлюди (lyudi)
manмужчина (muzhchina)
womanженщина (zhenshchina)
kidребёнок (rebyonok)
childrenдети (deti)
motherмама (mama)
fatherпапа (papa)
sisterсестра (sestra)
brotherбрат (brat)
daughterдочь (doch’)
sonсын (syn)
husbandмуж (muzh)
wifeжена (zhena)
familyсемья (sem’ya)
boyfriendпарень (paren’)
girlfriendдевушка (devushka)
friend [m]друг (drug)
friend [f]подруга (podruga)

➤ If you’d like to start talking about occupations as well, check out our list of the most common jobs.

Time 

You’ll notice that, unlike in English, we don’t capitalize the days of the week or—a spoiler for the future—the names of months. Also, the week in Russia starts on Monday.

minuteминута (minuta)
hourчас (chas)
dayдень (den’)
weekнеделя (nedelya)
monthмесяц (mesyats)
yearгод / лет (god / let)
  • один год (odin god) – “one year”
  • два года (dva goda) – “two years”
  • двадцать пять лет (dvadtsat’ pyat’ let) – “twenty-five years”
Год(а) is used with numbers ending in 1, 2, 3, 4
Лет is used with numbers ending in 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0
morning
in the morning
утро (utro)
утром (utrom)
afternoon
in the afternoon
день (den’)
днём (dnyom)
evening
in the evening
вечер (vecher)
вечером (vecherom)
night
at night
ночь (noch’)
ночью (noch’yu)
Mondayпонедельник (ponedel’nik)
Tuesdayвторник (vtornik)
Wednesdayсреда (sreda)
Thursdayчетверг (chetverg)
Fridayпятница (pyatnitsa)
Saturdayсуббота (subbota)
Sundayвоскресенье (voskresen’ye)

Talking about Days in Russian

Food & Restaurant

fruitфрукты (frukty)
vegetablesовощи (ovoshchi)
waterвода (voda)
coffeeкофе (kofe)
teaчай (chay)
juiceсок (sok)
breadхлеб (hleb)
riceрис (ris)
pastaмакароны (makarony)
saladсалат (salat)
meatмясо (myaso)
fishрыба (ryba)
dessertдесерт (desert)
tableстол (stol)
chairстул (stul)
spoonложка (lozhka)
forkвилка (vilka)
knifeнож (nozh)
glassстакан (stakan)
menuменю (menyu)

➤ Learn in three minutes how to make an order in a Russian restaurant.

A Table Filled with Several Dishes of Different Foods

Name in Russian as many objects as you can find here!

Places

worldмир (mir)
countryстрана (strana)
city townгород (gorod)
streetулица (ulitsa)
houseдом (dom)
shopмагазин (magazin)
restaurantресторан (restoran)
hotelотель (otel’)
downtownцентр города (tsentr goroda)
police stationполиция (politsiya)
hospitalбольница (bol’nitsa)
airportаэропорт (aeroport)
schoolшкола (shkola)
universityуниверситет (universitet)
companyкомпания (kompaniya)
toiletsтуалет (tualet)
seaморе (more)
mountainгора (gora)
forestлес (les)
placeместо (mesto)

➤ Learning how to ask for directions in Russian will help you not get lost while exploring the city! 

Basic Items

phoneтелефон (telefon)
PC laptopкомпьютер (komp’yuter)
the internetинтернет (internet)
penручка (ruchka)
pencilкарандаш (karandash)
bookкнига (kniga)

Means of Transport

carмашина (mashina)
busавтобус (avtobus)
trainпоезд (poyezd)
planeсамолёт (samolyot)
taxiтакси (taksi)
bicycleвелосипед (velosiped)
subwayметро (metro)

Body Parts

headголова (golova)
eyeглаз (glaz)
noseнос (nos)
mouthрот (rot)
toothзуб (zub)
earухо (uho)
hairволосы (volosy)
arm handрука (ruka)
leg footнога (noga)
finger toeпалец (palets)
stomachживот (zhivot)

➤ If you happen to need a list of body parts in order to talk to a Russian doctor, we’ve got you covered: Most Useful Phrases for Talking to Your Doctor.

Conversation

questionвопрос (vopros)
answerответ (otvet)
wordслово (slovo)
phraseфраза (fraza)
ideaидея (ideya)

A Student Raising Her Hand in Class

У меня вопрос! (U menya vopros!) – “I have a question!”

4. Verbs

There are two types of regular verbs in Russian, plus the irregular ones. They change their form depending on the tense, mood, and aspect; sometimes, they can conjugate for number and gender as well. 

➤ If all these linguistic terms sound too confusing, we’ve broken down Russian verb conjugation into digestible pieces in one of our articles.

When looking up a verb in a dictionary, pay attention to whether there’s any preposition that comes with the verb as well as how the noun changes next to it. Knowing the aspect—perfective or imperfective—can also be useful at times, but let’s save that for later. 

Reverso Conjugator can help you with the verb forms if needed.

With that out of the way, here are the most useful Russian beginner verbs: 

to go (on foot)идти (idti)
to ride to driveехать (yehat’)
to comeприходить (prihodit’)
to arrive
(on a vehicle)
приезжать (priyezzhat’)
to go awayуходить (uhodit’)
to departуезжать (uyezzhat’)
to loveлюбить (lyubit’)
to likeнравиться (nravit’sya)
to wantхотеть (hotet’)
to be able toмочь (moch’)
to do to makeделать (delat’)
to readчитать (chitat’)
to writeписать (pisat’)
to speak to talkговорить (govorit’)
to listenслушать (slushat’)
to hearслышать (slyshat’)
to askспрашивать (sprashivat’)
to replyотвечать (otvechat’)
to knowзнать (znat’)
to rememberпомнить (pomnit’)
to forgetзабывать (zabyvat’)
to seeвидеть (videt’)
to watchсмотреть (smotret’)
to thinkдумать (dumat’)
to understandпонимать (ponimat’)
to takeбрать (brat’)
to giveдавать (davat’)
to searchискать (iskat’)
to findнаходить (nahodit’)
to showпоказывать (pokazyvat’)
to waitждать (zhdat’)
to beginначинать (nachinat’)
to continueпродолжать (prodolzhat’)
to finishзаканчивать (zakanchivat’)
to seemказаться (kazat’sya)
to decideрешать (reshat’)
to allowразрешать (razreshat’)
to forbidзапрещать (zapreshchat’)
to tryпробовать (probovat’)
to sleepспать (spat’)
to eatесть (yest’)
to drinkпить (pit’)
to workработать (rabotat’)
to restотдыхать (otdyhat’)

5. Adjectives

Russian adjectives “agree” with nouns and change their form depending on the gender, number, and case. In dictionaries, all Russian adjectives are masculine. To combine them with feminine nouns, for example, you’d need to slightly change the ending.

➤ We’ve covered these aspects in detail in our article about the top 100 Russian adjectives.

goodхороший (horoshiy)
badплохой (plohoy)
bigбольшой (bol’shoy)
smallмаленький (malen’kiy)
cheapдешёвый (deshovyi)
expensiveдорогой (dorogoy)
longдлинный (dlinnyi)
shortкороткий (korotkiy)
beautiful
handsome
красивый (krasivyi)
ugly
scary
страшный (strashnyi)
simple
light
лёгкий (lyogkiy)
difficultсложный (slozhnyi)
fastбыстрый (bystryi)
slowмедленный (medlennyi)
importantважный (vazhnyi)
favoriteлюбимый (lyubimyi)
newновый (novyi)
oldстарый (staryi)
youngмолодой (molodoy)
fat
thick
толстый (tolstyi)
thin [person][object]худой (hudoyтонкий (tonkiy)
strongсильный (sil’nyi)
weakслабый (slabyi)
kindдобрый (dobryi)
angry evilзлой (zloy)
hotгорячий (goryachiy)
coldхолодный (holodnyi)
sweetсладкий (sladkiy)
saltyсолёный (solyonyi)
spicyострый (ostryi)
deliciousвкусный (vkusnyi)
blackчёрный (chyornyi)
whiteбелый (belyi)
blueсиний (siniy)
redкрасный (krasnyi)
greenзелёный (zelyonyi)
firstпервый (pervyi)
lastпоследний (posledniy)
sameтакой же (takoy zhe)
differentдругой (drugoy)
the bestлучший (luchshiy)
the worstхудший (hudshiy)

A Blue Car

Come up with at least four Russian adjectives to describe this car!

6. Numbers

Numbers also agree with nouns and change their form depending on the case.

1один (odin)
2два (dva)
3три (tri)
4четыре (chetyre)
5пять (pyat’)
6шесть (shest’)
7семь (sem’)
8восемь (vosem’)
9девять (devyat’)
10десять (desyat’)

➤ If that seems too easy, try learning how to count to 100!

7. Adverbs

Adverbs are the least troublesome of the bunch. They’re satisfied with their initial form, so most of them don’t decline. The only exception is when they “compete” and form the degrees of comparison. 

yesterdayвчера (vchera)
todayсегодня (segodnya)
tomorrowзавтра (zavtra)
lateпоздно (pozdno)
earlyрано (rano)
soonскоро (skoro)
primarilyсначала (snachala)
thenпотом (potom)
neverникогда (nikogda)
rarelyредко (redko)
sometimesиногда (inogda)
oftenчасто (chasto)
alwaysвсегда (vsegda)
hereздесь (zdes’)
тут (tut)
thereтам (tam)
everywhereвезде (vezde)
insideвнутри (vnutri)
outsideснаружи (snaruzhi)
maybeможет быть (mozhet byt’)
alsoтоже (tozhe)
many 
much
много (mnogo)
few 
little
мало (malo)

8. Prepositions and Conjunctions

Prepositions change the case of the noun they combine with. 

➤ Check out our article on Russian prepositions to witness it firsthand!

inв (v)
onна (na)
underпод (pod)
aboveнад (nad)
withс (s)
withoutбез (bez)
aboutо (o)
fromот (ot)
untilдо (do)
nearоколо (okolo)
throughчерез (cherez)
afterпосле (posle)
andи (i)
orили (ili)
butно (no)
becauseпотому что (potomu chto)
that’s whyпоэтому (poetomu)

9. Question Words

The final set of Russian beginner words we’ll look at today are question words. They can be used either at the beginning of a question or independently.

  • Что ты сказал? (Chto ty skazal?) – “What did you say?”
  • Что? (Chto?) – “What?”

Who?Кто? (Kto?)
What?Что? (Chto?)
Where?Где? (Gde?)
When?Когда? (Kogda?)
At what time?Во сколько? (Vo skol’ko?)
Why?Почему? (Pochemu?)
What for?Зачем? (Zachem?)
How?Как? (Kak?)
Where to?Куда? (Kuda?)
Which one?Какой? (Kakoy?)
Whose?Чей? (Chey?)
How much?
How many?
Сколько? (Skol’ko?)

A Woman Chatting on the Phone and Smiling

Где встретимся? (Gde vstretimsya?) – “Where shall we meet?”

10. What’s Next?

How many words do you think we’ve covered in this article? Almost 300! 

How many of these were new to you? And, more importantly, how do you remember all of them now?

Again, there’s little point in learning separate words without studying how to combine them. It would be like looking at a pile of bricks without knowing how to use them to build a house. So, don’t forget about the grammar, try to learn words in chunks, study the dictionary entry notes, and check some example sentences. Later on, you’ll be able to see the patterns yourself and predict the behavior of a word.

Also, using flashcards and spaced repetition has been proven effective in remembering words. New neural connections in your brain build through repetition, so don’t shy away from getting back to your vocabulary list every now and then. Producing new words—for example, writing your own sentences with them—and recognizing them in texts or speech helps with retention as well. This means that graded reading and listening will make them stick even faster! 

That’s where our teachers could help you. You can get a private tutor with RussianPod101’s Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher. Your tutor will help you choose a pathway to begin your Russian journey. Feel free to ask them anything about Russian grammar, vocabulary, or culture—they’re there to help you! You can also opt to receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and even voice recording tasks to improve your skills. Too many benefits to fit in one paragraph. Just give it a try!

➤ Eager to learn more? RussianPod101 has lots to offer! 

  • Check our collection of Core Russian Words with audio and example sentences.
    You can learn up to 2000 of the most common Russian words!

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and to unravel its mysteries together.

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