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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Eric here. Beginner Series Season 1, Lesson 4 – “And just where in Russia have you been?”
Anna: Welcome back to RussianPod101.com
Eric: With us you’ll learn to speak Russian like a native.
Anna: We also provide you with cultural insights and tips you won’t find in a textbook.
Eric: In the previous lesson, we talked about how to say where you’re from.
Anna: The focus of this lesson is the verb “to be” in the past, in prepositional case.
Eric: This conversation takes place on a flight from New York to Moscow.
Anna: The conversation is between James and Natasha.
Eric: I’ll be playing James and Anna will be playing Natasha. Ok, let’s have a listen to today’s conversation.
Anna: Джеймс, вы уже были в Санкт-Петербурге?
Eric: Да, я был там в прошлом году.
Anna: Вам понравилось?
Eric: Да, очень.
Eric: One time, slowly.
Anna: Еще раз, медленнее.
Anna: Джеймс, вы уже были в Санкт-Петербурге?
Eric: Да, я был там в прошлом году.
Anna: Вам понравилось?
Eric: Да, очень.
Eric: One time, natural native speed with translation.
Anna: Еще раз, с английским переводом.
Anna: [Джеймс, вы уже были в Санкт-Петербурге?]
Eric: James, have you already been to Saint Petersburg?
Anna: [Да, я был там в прошлом году.]
Eric: Yes, I was there last year.
Anna: [Вам понравилось?]
Eric: Did you like it?
Anna: [Да, очень.]
Eric: Yes, a lot.
Anna: Eric, [А ты был в Санкт-Петербурге?]?
Eric: Have I been to Saint Petersburg? No, unfortunately not, but I definitely would like to go there. Anna, [А ты была в Санкт-Петербурге]?
Anna: [Нет] but this is my must do plan for the summer. I’ll be sure to show you the pictures.
Eric: Oh, you’re teasing me again, Anna. [А ты была в Москве]?
Anna: Yes, this winter. And I saw no snow there. Can you believe that?
Eric: I guess it’s quite rare for Moscow, but since I’ve never been I'm able to imagine just about anything you tell me. Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Anna: [был]
Eric: Was.
Anna: [был]
Eric: Next.
Anna: [уже]
Eric: Already, yet.
Anna: [уже]
Eric: Next.
Anna: [там]
Eric: There.
Anna: [там]
Eric: Next.
Anna: [в прошлом году]
Eric: Last year.
Anna: [в прошлом году]
Eric: Next.
Anna: [в]
Eric: In, at, to.
Anna: [в]
Eric: Next.
Anna: [Вам понравилось?]
Eric: Did you like it?
Anna: [Вам понравилось?]
Eric: Ok, let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Anna: And the first word or phrase we’ll look at is Russian verb [быть] or “to be”.
Eric: It has several different forms depending on the tense and the gender of the noun it’s used with.
Anna: This verb isn’t generally used in the present, just in the past and in the future.
Eric: So, in English, we have to always use “to be” in the present tense. For example, “I’m Anna and you are Eric.”
Anna: Eric, again.
Eric: Oh, boy.
Anna: Ok, in Russian I would say. [Я Анна, а ты Ерик] Oh, no, no, no. [Я Эрик, а ты Анна]
Eric: There it is. Beautiful Russian girl… so that literally means “I Anna, you Eric”. Alright, it’s a good thing that Russian is simpler than English in this respect.
Anna: Hold on Eric! The verb has 4 forms in the past.
Eric: Anna, I knew it was too good to be true.

Lesson focus

So let’s go right into the grammar since we’re talking about the verb “to be” in Russian.
Anna: The verb “to be” is not usually used in the present, just in the past and in the future. And the verb has four forms in the past.
Eric: For example, if I say [Сергей был в Италии] which means “Serghei has been to Italy”. Serghei is a man, of course, so we use the masculine form of [быть] in the past tense.
Anna: [Марина была в Москве в прошлом году] “Marine was in Moscow last year.” Marine is a woman, so we use the feminine form of [быть].
Eric: So just to recap quickly, if I say [Я был в Санкт-Петербурге], that would mean…
Anna: It would mean that you’re a man.
Eric: Ok, it’s good that Russian reaffirms that every time. And [Анна, ты была в Санкт-Петербурге?]…
Anna: [Я не была]
Eric: [Ты не была?]
Anna: [Нет, я не была]
Eric: [ещё не была]
Anna: [ещё не была]
Eric: You haven’t been yet. Ok. So you said [была] which is the feminine form of “to be” in the past, right?
Anna: Right.
Eric: So Anna, would you ever hear on the radio something like this: [Утро было холодное]. “It was a cold morning.”
Anna: Are you kidding me, Eric? It sounds very weird. Where did you hear that?
Eric: I didn’t hear it, actually I just made that up.
Anna: Ok, as usual.
Eric: As usual. So they wouldn’t say that because everybody knows it’s cold, right?
Anna: Yeah, that’s true. It’s always cold in the morning in Russia or in Kirghizstan, whatever.
Eric: So [утро] which means “morning” is neutral, so we the neutral form of [был] which is [было]. So even though this form sounds like the feminine [была], it’s actually spelled with an O instead of an A. So Anna, could you give us a side by side comparison of the neutral and feminine forms of “to be” in the past?
Anna: Ok, Eric. For feminine it will [была, Я была].
Eric: [была], so there’s kind of an accent on the A.
Anna: So the accent is on the second syllable.
Eric: So it would be [была].
Anna: [была], right. And for the neutral, we say [была].
Eric: [было]
Anna: [было]
Eric: So it’s on the first syllable.
Anna: True.
Eric: So for feminine it’s [была] and neutral, [было].
Anna: Perfect, Eric.
Eric: Wow, I’m learning. I didn’t know that. So I always wondered what the difference was. Now I know. Thank you, Anna. [Спасибо]
Anna: Ok, Eric, can I give another example?
Eric: [Пожалуйста, Анна]
Anna: [Они не были там] which means “They haven’t been there”. [Они] is plural, so we use the plural form of [быть] which is…
Eric: [были]
Anna: Right.
Eric: The accent would be [были]?
Anna: [были]
Eric: Ok, so not [были].
Anna: Not [были].
Eric: [были], ok. I’m sorry, it’s[были].
Anna: [были]


Eric: Ok, there we go. If you’d like to know more, please check out the PDF for a detailed explanation of this verb. In addition, we have lots of examples of the prepositional case in the PDF so please check that out. Ok, Anna, I think that does it for today.
Anna: Don’t forget to stop by and leave us a comment on today’s lesson.
Eric: Anna, are you ordering our listeners to leave comments?
Anna: Eric, stop it. You finish the lesson, right? Stop teasing me.
Eric: Ok, ok. Now you’re ordering me. Alright, that will definitely do it for this lesson. We’ll see you next time.
Anna: [До встречи]


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

RussianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:30 PM
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Have you been to St Petersburg? Do you love to travel? Where is the best place you have been to.... And why? Where would you recommend a friend to go to? We would love to know all these and more!

RussianPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 04:52 PM
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Здравствуйте, Anni!

Спасибо for your kind feedback and for sharing your experience!

We are happy to have you here ❤️️

Please, feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Kind Regards,


Team RussianPod101.com

Anni Valentine
Tuesday at 08:57 AM
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For me at this point after leaving these lessons for a few years and then doing some but being super busy, just slowing down and focusing and going at my speed, which is very slow, IS very good and feels way better! I love that it is possible to go at our own speed. Russian is hard, however starts to sink in. whew! 😳😄❤️️ I love Russian. My heritage language as my mom was Russian and spoke it with her mother.

RussianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:28 AM
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Здравствуйте Ivan Vibing,

The answer on how to type on a keyboard differs whether you are a Windows or a Mac user but generally speaking, you have two main options. One is to set up a virtual keyboard on your computer. For example on Windows, you can easily do this by opening your Language settings, and under Preferred languages adding the language(s) you want to type in. After that, your keyboard can be switched between the layouts of your home country and that of the language you are learning. This is an easy and convenient solution, however its main disadvantage is that you will need to memorize where the different characters are located.

The second option is to use an on-screen keyboard. This is a bit harder, since you will need to click on the buttons one by one using your computer mouse. These on-screen keyboards come in two main forms: either as an app that you can download on your computer, or as a website.

Hope I could be of help! If you need further technical assistance, please send us an email to contactus@ŁŁŁŁŁ so that our technical team can help you out!

Всего наилучшего,


Team RussianPod101.com

Ivan Vibing
Sunday at 08:25 PM
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The best and easiest way to change the keyboard using a Mac is to use the Magic Keyboard. The Price is around 99 USD, depending on the country in which you live. Here is a link:


RussianPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 06:13 PM
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Здравствуйте Anni,

Спасибо for your great feedback. 😇

Let us know if you have any questions!

Всего наилучшего,

Левенте (Levente)

Team RussianPod101.com

Tuesday at 09:51 AM
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Good level for me. I know some Russian b;ut not the grammar. This is very thorough and slow enough.

RussianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:42 PM
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Hello Liz Mackay,

I have corrected your sentences a bit.

B 2017 я ездила в Санкт - Петербург. Мы были там три дня.

All other sentences - I am sorry, I didn't understand.😳


Team RussianPod101.com

RussianPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 02:46 AM
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Привет Liz Mackay!

Thank you for posting. You can do it the same way on your PC / Mac as on your phone: by downloading a Russian keyboard. Once that's done, you just need to either memorize the Russian keyboard layout or put stickers on the keys, and start typing. :)

Hope this helps.

Всего наилучшего,

Левенте (Levente)

Team RussianPod101.com

Liz Mackay
Monday at 02:33 AM
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I can write in Russian on my iPhone but not my pc.

B 2017 я ездила в Сайт Петербургу. Мы были там три день. Мы были на малинку корабль который мы ездили в Москву.

Мой любыми место было кижи.

Liz Mackay
Monday at 02:14 AM
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How can I write in Russian here?😭 I can't find a Russian keyboard.