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Lesson Transcript

Natalia: Здравствуйте, с Вами Natalia.
Yura: Yura, here and welcome to Absolute Beginner Season 1 Lesson 3; Speaking Russian Behind your Back.
Natalia: Hi, everyone. Natalia, here. So Yura, what are we going to study in this lesson?
Yura: In this lesson, you’ll learn about formal and informal greetings in Russian.
Natalia: The conversation takes place in Nika’s house.
Yura: The conversation is between Nika, Nika’s father and Ben.
Natalia: And one of the speakers is older than the others therefore, they will be speaking formal Russian. So listen in.
Yura: Привет, Ника! Как дела?
Natalia: Нормально. Познакомься, это мой папа.
Yura: Здравствуйте, я Бен. Как поживаете?
Yura: Хорошо, спасибо, Бен! Ну, удачного вам дня!
Yura: Спасибо, Вам тоже!
Yura: Okay, let’s do that one more time, slowly.
Natalia: Сейчас ещё раз, медленно.
Natalia: Привет, Ника! Как дела?
Yura: Нормально. Познакомься, это мой папа.
Natalia: Здравствуйте, я Бен. Как поживаете?
Yura: Хорошо, спасибо, Бен! Ну, удачного вам дня!
Yura: Спасибо, Вам тоже!
Yura: Okay, one more time with natural native speed with the translation.
Natalia: Ещё раз, с естественной скоростью носителя языка с переводом.
Natalia: Привет, Ника! Как дела?
Yura: Hi, Nica. How are you?
Natalia: Нормально. Познакомься, это мой папа.
Yura: I’m okay. Let me introduce you to my dad.
Natalia: Здравствуйте, я Бен. Как поживаете?
Yura: Hello, I’m Ben. How do you do?
Natalia: Хорошо, спасибо, Бен! Ну, удачного вам дня!
Yura: I’m fine. Thank you, Ben. Well, have a good day, you two.
Natalia: Спасибо, Вам тоже!
Yura: Thanks. You too.
Yura: You know, when I lived in Moscow, I barely heard people asking this question.
Natalia: You are right. The question “how are you” is not as popular in Russia as in the English speaking world. It’s more like an ice breaker. You say it when you really don’t have anything to ask or say.
Yura: Yeah. The reason for that is when you ask a Russian about how they are, they actually start telling you what’s going on in their lives.
Natalia: Right. This question means much more in Russia than in America for example. It’s not asked as casually. It implies that you’re really interested in how the person is doing and waiting for some news from him. But as I said, it’s a good icebreaker and there are a lot of cases when you and the person understand that the conversation is not going to last but you have to say something just out of politeness.
Yura: Okay. So now let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word we have is.
Natalia: как
Yura: How.
Natalia: как
Yura: And the next word.
Natalia: дела
Yura: Things, goings, affairs.
Natalia: дела
Yura: And the next word is.
Natalia: нормально
Yura: All right, okay, fine, not bad.
Natalia: нормально
Yura: And the next word.
Natalia: познакомься
Yura: Get to know, let me introduce you to.
Natalia: познакомься
Yura: And the next word.
Natalia: это
Yura: This, this is, it.
Natalia: это
Yura: And next.
Natalia: мой
Yura: My, masculine.
Natalia: мой
Yura: And the next.
Natalia: папа
Yura: Dad.
Natalia: папа
Yura: And the next word.
Natalia: Как поживаете?
Yura: How do you do?
Natalia: Как поживаете?
Yura: And the next word.
Natalia: хорошо
Yura: Okay, good, well, fine.
Natalia: хорошо
Yura: And the next one is.
Natalia: спасибо
Yura: Thank you.
Natalia: спасибо
Yura: And the next word.
Natalia: удачный
Yura: Successful, lucky.
Natalia: удачный
Yura: And the last word is.
Natalia: день
Yura: Day.
Natalia: день
Yura: Okay. So let’s have a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Natalia: And the first phrase we’ll look at is.
Yura: How are you?
Natalia: Right. "Как дела", literally, it means: “How are things?”
Yura: And this is the informal way of asking. There’s an even simpler way to ask that. As I remember it, "как ты" which is the literal “how are you,” is it not?
Natalia: Yes. But actually it implies something like, “how are you feeling”, or “are you okay?” It’s more personal and it’s often asked in connection with some event. For example, let’s say I just took a test and you ask me "ну, как ты?". Kind of like, “So, how are you? Are you okay?”
Yura: I see. And "как дела" is more general, I guess.
Natalia: Yeah, very general.
Yura: So what are the possible answers to "как дела"?
Natalia: Oh, there are many. A lot of Russians can actually start telling you what’s going on in their lives and you might get stuck in a long conversation.
Yura: But here’s where being a foreigner is a big advantage to you. Your whole greeting will narrow it down to how are you and fine.
Natalia: Right. The most common answer would be "нормально", which sounds like "normal" in English.
Yura: It can be translated as "okay", "fine", "nothing special" and "not bad".
Natalia: Yeah. You can also use it to ask if everything is okay: "всё нормально?"
Yura: "всё" means “everything” so "всё нормально" means “everything is okay”.
Natalia: And it can be both a question and an answer, depending on your intonation. "Всё нормально?" or "всё нормально".
Yura: Okay. Let’s move on. We are meeting Nica’s father now.
Natalia: He probably came out of the house just to take a look at Ben.
Yura: Protective father?
Natalia: No. Parents in Russia are not very protective. Curious, that’s for sure.
Yura: So Nika introduces Ben to her father.
Natalia: Right. She says "познакомься".
Yura: We can translate it as “let me introduce you to,” or “get to know”.
Natalia: Yes. It’s an informal way of introducing people.
Yura: Next she says, “This is my dad.”
Natalia: "Это мой папа" where "eto" means “this” or “this is”, "мой" is obviously “my” and "papa" is hard for anything else but dad.
Yura: Yes. So no matter how laid back Russian dads are, you should still start with the polite form of speech with them. Next we have a phrase for “how are you” again but this time, it will be polite and somewhat formal.
Natalia: Как поживаете?
Yura: Как is “how”. We already know that and "поживаете" can be translated as “live” but in a very general sense. The whole phrase can be translated as “how is your life going?”
Natalia: Right. There are also different answers to that. Of course, her father can simply say "нормально" to Ben’s polite question because he is older. And for that matter, superior to Ben. But in our case, he’s being neutrally polite and says, "хорошо".
Yura: "Хорошо, спасибо". It means “good, thank you”. It’s probably the most neutral answer and suitable for almost all situations.
Natalia: Yes.
Yura: So dad took a look at the foreigner his daughter is hanging out with. Now it’s time to leave. What does he say before he leaves?
Natalia: "Удачного вам дня" which means have a good day.
Yura: Literally, it means have a lucky day which is a Russian version of "have a good day". "Удачного" means lucky.
Natalia: We hear the word "Вам" there, which means “to you”. It can be a polite “you” or a plural “you”. I’m guessing in this case, that refers to both kids, so he means have a good day you two.
Yura: Right. So while wishing a good day to the kids, dad meant them both "vam". In that case, it was meant to be plural. But the reply to “you two” "Вам тоже" implies the polite “you” when Ben is saying that to Nika’s dad.
Natalia: Yes. That’s how it is.
Yura: In this lesson’s grammar part, we’ll give you a short introduction into the forms of speech in Russian.
Natalia: In a word, how to sound polite or casual in Russian.
Yura: Polite forms in Russian are used only when you are talking to a person. If you want to sound polite, you use "Вы", the polite “you”. And if you are talking to a friend, you use "ты". But it’s not the only thing that distinguishes the formal and informal forms of speech in Russia.
Natalia: You also have to modify your verbs a little. Only their endings to be exact. For example, the phrase “let’s go” would sound different in formal and informal forms. Informally, it would sound as "пойдём". But if you want to sound more polite, you should say "пойдёмте".
Yura: Sounds like you only added two letters to the end to make it polite.
Natalia: Exactly. Usually, polite and informal verbs only differ in the ending "tye". Polite verbs have it, informal verbs don’t.
Yura: So basically, we can switch from one form to another just by adding or dropping "tye" at the end. Is that right?
Natalia: For most cases, yes. But unfortunately, the examples we have in this lesson are a little exceptional.
Yura: What are the examples? Can you name those verbs first?
Natalia: Sure. We only have three in this lesson; познакомься – poznakom'sya.
Yura: Get to know, let me introduce you to.
Natalia: здравствуйте – zdrastvuite
Yura: Hello.
Natalia: поживаете.
Yura: Living. Why do we have hello in this list? It’s not a verb.
Natalia: Oh, in Russian, it is a verb. Literally, it means “be healthy”.
Yura: Interesting. So the first two verbs we have in the command form “get to know” and “be healthy”. The first one "познакомься" is said in the informal way because Nica was talking to her friend Ben saying that. But what if she was talking, let’s say, to a teacher, introducing Ben to him?
Natalia: She’d say "Познакомьтесь, это Бен"..
Yura: I see. What about "здравствуйте"? I thought the informal version of it would be "privet".
Natalia: Well, because "здравствуйте" can be verb grammatically, we can modify it according to the rules of Russian grammar. We can drop the ending "tye" and say "здравствуй"! But that would be somewhere in between "здравствуйте" and "привет". You can use it with a person you would use a "ty" form with but still want to sound polite.
Yura: Got it. What about the last verb "поживаете"?
Natalia: "Поживаете" is a formal verb. To make it less formal, you should drop the ending "tye" and add "шь".So the phrase would sound as "как поживаешь".
Yura: So would it mean the same as "как дела"?
Natalia: Yeah, but "как дела" is much more common to use in the informal speech.
Yura: I see. So let’s sum up. There are formal and informal ways of speaking in Russian. But you should mind them only when talking directly to a person. If you are talking about another person, you should sound the same whether you talk about your neighbor or president. But talking directly to a person requires you to use appropriate form of speech.
Natalia: Right. You use formal or informal “you” which are "Вы" or "ты" and you adjust the verbs to the situation. Formal verbs usually end in "tye".
Yura: That just about does it for today.
Natalia: Listeners, have you ever dreamed of starring in one of our lessons?
Yura: If your answer is yes, use the voice recording tool on the lesson page.
Natalia: Record your voice with a click of a button.
Yura: And then play it back just as easily.
Natalia: Then compare it to the native speakers in the lesson.
Yura: And adjust your pronunciation.
Natalia: After a few tries, you’ll be speaking better Russian than Yura here.
Yura: Thanks.
Natalia: Go to RussianPod101.com and rapidly improve your Russian pronunciation.


Yura: goodbye
Natalia: goodbye


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

RussianPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Let us know if you have any questions.

Saturday at 09:45 AM
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Why use "Как поживаете?" instead of "Как дела?" ?

Is it used to show respect to the older person?

RussianPod101.com Verified
Friday at 12:09 AM
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Hello Tim,

thank you for your question! 👍

My for feminine is "моя", so "моя мама".

Kind Regards,


Team RussianPod101.com

Wednesday at 12:58 AM
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Hello! How can I say "My mom?" I don't know how the word for "my" would change to feminine if it were used in the same context as " my dad" is used in this dialogue.

Thank you!

RussianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 07:20 AM
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Здравствуйте robert groulx,

Thank you very much for your kind feedback, we are very happy you liked our content and that you are learning Russian with us! 😉 Good luck with your Russian studies!

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Kind regards,


Team RussianPod101.com

RussianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 07:19 AM
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Здравствуйте robert groulx,

Thank you for posting and studying with us. We are very happy to hear you liked our lesson. If you are uncertain about something, didn't get something quite right, go through it again. You know, nothing is as helpful in language learning as regular repetition! 😉 Good luck with your Russian studies!

If you have any questions, please let us know. 😄

Kind regards,


Team RussianPod101.com

Enid Dean
Wednesday at 07:21 PM
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liked this lesson as i understood it

RussianPod101.com Verified
Monday at 10:17 PM
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Hello Karis,

1. Yes, your name can be pronounced in Russian. Regarding nickname - it depends on you. 😳

2. You can check this lessons.


Hope it can help you.

3. No sure what do you mean by "Ys or Es". Could you please give an example? 😄


Team RussianPd101.com

Saturday at 03:39 AM
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I have a few questions for you.

1: There is a family that will adopt two Russian kids my age and I want to be able to communicate to them without Google translate. Is my name a name that can be pronounced in Russian or do I need a nickname of some sorts?

2: I can't roll my Rs. I have practiced so much but still can't do it. Is that needed for Russian or is it okay? If it is needed, so you have any ideas to help me be able to do it?

Also, I have an expander in my mouth and can't pronounce my Ys or Es very well.... Will that make it harder to communicate in Russian?

RussianPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:36 PM
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Hello Shanna,

In your sentence the words "lucky/successful day" would be in Nominative case (if you mean "I/we/you etc. have a lucky day").

If you use it as a wish to someone ("I wish you a lucky day"), then it`s just a set phrase and its better to remember it as it is. The difference between Accusative case and Genitive case (which can be used in this case) is too complicated and is considered to be an advance grammar.


Team RussianPod101.com

Saturday at 04:31 AM
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I am trying to figure out the genitive case for 'have a lucky/successful day.

According to my reading we would usually use the genitive case to show possession. In this case should we think of it as the luck or success belonging to the day?