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Lesson Transcript

Natalia: Здравствуйте, с Вами Natalia.
Yura: Yura here. Absolute Beginners Season 1, Lesson 4; The Younger Russian Generation.
Natalia: Yura, what are we going to study in this lesson?
Yura: In this lesson, you’ll learn about Russian verbs.
Natalia: And the conversation takes place in a café.
Yura: The conversation is between Ben and Nika who are just getting to know each other.
Natalia: And the speakers are the same age, so they will be speaking informal Russian.
Yura: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Yura: Ника, ты говоришь по-английски?
Natalia: Немного. Нет, очень плохо. Но я говорю по-немецки.
Yura: Правда? Я тоже немного говорю. Совсем немного.
Natalia: Но ты хорошо говоришь по-русски!
Yura: Нет-нет, я только учу…
Yura: Okay, let’s do that one more time slowly.
Yura: Ника, ты говоришь по-английски?
Natalia: Немного. Нет, очень плохо. Но я говорю по-немецки.
Yura: Правда? Я тоже немного говорю. Совсем немного.
Natalia: Но ты хорошо говоришь по-русски!
Yura: Нет-нет, я только учу…
Yura: Okay, one more time with natural native speed with the translation.
Natalia: Ника, ты говоришь по-английски?
Yura: Nika, can you speak English?
Natalia: Немного. Нет, очень плохо. Но я говорю по-немецки.
Yura: A little. No, very badly, but I can speak German.
Natalia: Правда? Я тоже немного говорю. Совсем немного.
Yura: Really? I can speak a little German, very little.
Natalia: Но ты хорошо говоришь по-русски!
Yura: But you are fluent in Russian.
Natalia: Нет-нет, я только учу…
Yura: No, no. I’m just learning.
Yura: So Nika can speak German, but has trouble with English. And Ben is studying Russian and knows a little German.
Natalia: I think Nika can communicate in English especially if she has a university degree. But if she’s a service worker, a waitress or a shop staff then, but in that case, she wouldn’t speak German either.
Yura: Her major in school might have been German. So, you’re saying that young people can speak some English, right?
Natalia: Well definitely enough to be able to explain you the directions. Actually I think most young people in Moscow or St. Petersburg can do much better than that even. But I wouldn’t hope for much in the small cities.
Yura: I see. This is where our knowledge of Russian will come in handy.
Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word we have is?
Natalia: говорить
Yura: To speak.
Natalia: говорить
Yura: And the next word is?
Natalia: по-английски
Yura: In English.
Natalia: по-английски
Yura: Next?
Natalia: немного
Yura: A little.
Natalia: немного
Yura: And the next word is?
Natalia: очень
Yura: Very, very much, really.
Natalia: очень
Yura: And the next word is?
Natalia: плохо
Yura: Badly, bad.
Natalia: плохо
Yura: And the next word?
Natalia: по-немецки
Yura: In German.
Natalia: по-немецки
Yura: And the next word?
Natalia: правда
Yura: The truth, true, really?
Natalia: правда
Yura: And the next word is?
Natalia: совсем
Yura: Completely, totally, at all.
Natalia: совсем
Yura: And the next word?
Natalia: учить
Yura: To learn, to study.
Natalia: учить
Yura: And the next word?
Natalia: хорошо
Yura: Okay, good, well, fine.
Natalia: хорошо
Yura: And the next word?
Natalia: только
Yura: Only, just.
Natalia: только
Yura: Let’s have a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Natalia: And the first word we’ll look at is?
Yura: The word to speak.
Natalia: Говорить
Yura: Говорить is a dictionary form of the word to speak, but in the dialogue, it was a little modified into "говоришь". How did it sound all together, the phrase do you speak, I mean?
Natalia: ты говоришь?
Yura: Right. And without this question intonation, the phrase would sound just like a statement, "ты говоришь". So, pay attention to your intonation. Next we have the word English.
Natalia: по-английски. This small prefix "-pa" means something like in. So, "по-английски" doesn’t mean the English language itself. It can be translated as in English.
Yura: So in the phrase do you speak and I can speak, all languages come with the prefix "-pa" in the beginning, right?
Natalia: Yes. Let me give you some more examples. I’m going to ask you questions and you can answer just yes or no, okay? We’ll practice the question, do you speak, with different languages now. So, Yura, Ты говоришь по-немецки?
Yura: German чуть-чуть.
Natalia: Ты говоришь по-русски?
Yura: Russian да.
Natalia: Ты говоришь по-французски?
Yura: French нет.
Natalia: Ты говоришь по-английски?
Yura: English, I think so, да!
Natalia: Ты говоришь по-испански?
Yura: Spanish, нет.
Natalia: Great. What else can you say instead of "да" or "нет"?
Yura: We could say a little or very little or very bad.
Natalia: Right. Let’s start with a little. In Russian it sounds as "немного", which literally means not much.
Yura: So "немного" is a little, how do we say, “Very little?”
Natalia: совсем немного. "Совсем" is the word for very in Russian but it’s used only with negatives, something like at all in English. You don’t say I’m hungry at all, right? You only use it with the negatives. For example, I’m not hungry at all. Same with this "совсем",so the phrase "совсем немного" literally means not much at all.
Yura: But it’s the same as very little in this case. How do you say very bad or very badly in Russian?
Natalia: очень плохо
Yura: In this case we use "очень" for very because it’s a positive statement just like in English. And "плохо" is the word for bad or badly in Russian. What’s the opposite for bad, Natalia?
Natalia: хорошо, good. And very good would be?
Yura: очень хорошо
Natalia: And not good at all?
Yura: Совсем не хорошо
Natalia: You got it. Okay, let’s move on. We heard the word of surprise from Ben when he heard that Nika could speak German. It sounded as "правда"?
Yura: It means really? The primary meaning of this word is the truth. So when you say "это правда", it means it’s true or I’m telling the truth. But in the question "правда?", it sound just like a simple really?
Natalia: Yes. That was before Ben said that he can also speak a big of German. Do you remember the word for also too, Yura?
Yura: тоже. But it’s not just also or too. It also stands for the words like neither or either in English.
Natalia: Right. Now, we have just two words left before we move on to the grammar part. The first word is "только".
Yura: Which means only, just. Like in our sentence I’m just learning.
Natalia: я только учу. "Учу" comes from the word "учить", which means to study, to learn. "Учить" is the dictionary form of this word and "учу" is used when you are talking about yourself.
Yura: By the way when you say, “I study Russian,” for example, you don’t use "po-russki" anymore, right?
Natalia: "po-russki" is used when you’re talking about the languages you can speak. But the languages itself sound different.
Yura: Right. When you want to name a language itself, like in a sentence I study Russian, these words lose the prefix "po-" in the beginning and add short E in the end. Natalia, let’s practice the phrase I study with different languages a bit.
Natalia: Okay. We’ll use the same languages we’ve mentioned before. So Я учу немецкий.
Yura: I study German.
Natalia: Я учу русский
Yura: I study Russian.
Natalia: Я учу английский
Yura: I study English.
Natalia: Я учу французский
Yura: I study French.
Natalia: Я учу испанский
Yura: I study Spanish. Очень хорошо.
Now let’s get to the grammar part. Okay, in this lesson we’ll talk about verbs in the Russian language. Verbs are the words that describe actions. They are all the words that are modified according to tenses. For example, I work, I’m working, I worked, I will work and so on.
Natalia: But Russian language is a bit different in this aspect. There is no difference between I work and I am working in Russian for example.
Yura: Right. And this is actually good news for you. Russian language has only three tenses. It means that in the present tense for example the phrase like I work, I’m working, I do work sound the same in Russian. In the past tense, I worked, I have been working, I had been working, I did work also have one way of translating into Russian. Same works for the future tense.
Natalia: You’re right. But this simplicity has its tricks.
Yura: It’s called verb conjugation.
Natalia: The very conjugation have very logically structured rules and patterns.
Yura: But I don’t think we should go through then in this lesson. Instead, we will give you the general idea of what changes the verbs can go through.
Natalia: Let’s start with the verbs from this lesson. Those were "говорить" and "учить".
Yura: To speak and to study, to learn. As you can hear, the above examples all end in "ts" which indicates that these verbs are infinitive, used in a dictionary form.
Natalia: Most of the verbs you’ll find in a dictionary will end in "ть".
Yura: As we have already mentioned, the verbs change according to a person. So the phrase I speak and he speaks will sound differently in Russian. Now, let’s try our first conjugations.
Natalia: Okay, listen. Я говорю – ya govoryu.
Yura: I speak.
Natalia: Ты говоришь – ty govorish
Yura: You speak.
Natalia: Я учу – ya uchu
Yura: I learn.
Natalia: Ты учишь – ty uchish
Yura: You learn. The endings have patterns. They’re applicable to all the other verbs.
Natalia: Right. Now, let’s try to form a full sentence. Yura, ты говоришь по-русски?
Yura: Да, я говорю по-русски. By the way, to say that you are fluent or bad in a language, all you have to do is insert the word "хорошо", good or "плохо", bad into the sentence. Я хорошо говорю по-английски – ya horosho govoryu po-angliski, I am fluent in English. Я плохо говорю по-немецки – ya ploho govoryu po-nemecki, I am bad in German.
Natalia: And ты хорошо говоришь по-русски, Yura.
Yura: Оо, спасибо Natalia. So, that’s just about does it for this lesson.
Natalia: Listeners, can you understand Russian TV shows, movies or songs?
Yura: How about your friends or loved ones, conversation in Russian?
Natalia: If you want to know what’s going on, we have a tool to help.
Yura: Line by line audio.
Natalia: Listen to the lesson conversations line by line and learn to understand natural Russian fast.
Yura: It’s simple really.
Natalia: With a click of a button, listen to each line of the conversation.
Yura: Listen again and again and tune your ears to natural Russian.
Natalia: Rapidly understand natural Russian with this powerful tool.
Yura: Find this feature on the lesson page under premium member resources at RussianPod101.com.


Yura: Goodbye
Natalia: Goodbye


Please to leave a comment.
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Sunday at 05:18 PM
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Hi, I have a question.

At the very top in the dialogue section, the third sentence "Правда? Я тоже немного говорю. Совсем немного." is translated as "Really? I can speak a little German. Very little." But I can't seem to find the word for German in this sentence. Wouldn't it have to be "Правда? Я тоже немного говорю по-немецки. Совсем немного." Is that correct?


RussianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 12:43 AM
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Hello Jason Wojcik,

I cannot tell you which one is more common. 😄 The choice depends on a person and they are both very common.


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Jason Wojcik
Saturday at 04:19 AM
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Since Russian allows flexibility in word order, is this more common to hear:

Я хорошо говорю

instead of:

Я говорю хорошо

As a native English speaker, the word order feels awkward.

Йода говорит по русски 😁

благодарю вас!

RussianPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 01:05 AM
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Hello Анни,

You have very good sentences. I corrected few mistakes.

"Я учу русский!

Я хорошо говорю по-испански и по-английски. Но плохо говорю по-французски. Немного говорю по-японски и по-корейски! ... Я понимаю португальский."


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Friday at 11:54 PM
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Я учу русский!

Я хорошо говорю по-испански и английски. Но плохо говорю по-французски. Немного говорю по-японски и корейски! ... я понимаю португальски 😅

RussianPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 12:58 AM
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Hello korhan,

Correct ?


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Wednesday at 06:45 AM
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ty horosho govorish po-russki ?

net , ya tolko uchu.

RussianPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 12:47 PM
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Hello Canova,

Thank you for posting.

Do you click on the speaker icon more than once?

If you click play, then you press it again thinking you might have not pressed it, it will actually stop the audio and you'll hear just bits and pieces.

Try to click on the icon once.

If you still experience the issue, could you please specify which audio you're having the problem with?

Thank you,


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Wednesday at 05:01 PM
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Добрый день

This is a technical remark: when I click on the audio icon to listen the sentence, there is a lag and first or second words are not heard, it begins after...

RussianPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 11:33 AM
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Hello Satchit,

Thank you for posting.

You can activate the voice recording tool by clicking the microphone icon next to audio play icons, please see this image for reference: http://screencast.com/t/ycGs6RtbO

(*the screenshot is for CantoneseClass, but the voice recording tool is at the same place on RussianPod101.com as well)

The voice recording tool is developed by Flash, and you need to access to the site on your PC or Mac to enjoy the feature.

Let us know if you have any further questions.



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