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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Eric here. Beginner Series Season 1, Lesson 19 – “Find out how to get what you want in Russia.”
Anna: Thanks again for being here with us for this lesson in our beginner series.
Eric: In the previous lesson, we focused on how to purchase tickets.
Anna: The focus of this lesson is learning how to ask someone to take your picture.
Eric: Which I think is really useful when you’re traveling in Russia, right, Anna?
Anna: Right.
Eric: Ok. Unless you want to have those camera shots where you stick your arm out and you have the close-up of your face. That gets old fast. Ok, so this lesson is important. Alright, this conversation takes place outside of a cathedral.
Anna: The conversation is between James and a passer-by.
Eric: They are unacquainted, therefore the speakers will be speaking formal Russian. So if you’re listening on an iPod, click the center button or tap the screen on an iTouch or iPhone to see the notes for this lesson while you listen.
Anna: This is really effective for improving your reading ability.
Eric: Yeah, it’s one of my favorite features.
Anna: Alright, Eric, let’s get to the conversation.
Eric: Sounds good, Anna. I’ll be playing James.
Anna: And I’ll be playing a passer-by.
Eric: Ok, here we go.
Eric: [Извините, вы можете меня сфотографировать возле собора?]
Anna: [Конечно.]
Eric: [Спасибо! Вот фотоаппарат.]
Eric: Once again, slowly.
Anna: Еще раз, медленнее.
Eric: [Извините, вы можете меня сфотографировать возле собора?]
Anna: [Конечно.]
Eric: [Спасибо! Вот фотоаппарат.]
Eric: One time, natural native speed with translation.
Anna: Еще раз, с переводом.
Anna: [Извините, вы можете меня сфотографировать возле собора?]
Eric: Excuse me, can you take a picture of me near the cathedral?
Anna: [Конечно.]
Eric: Sure.
Anna: [Спасибо! Вот фотоаппарат.]
Eric: Thank you. Here’s the camera.
Eric: Anna, what do Russian people say when they’re about to take a picture? Do they say [сыр]?
Anna: Cheese. Well, actually they say [сыр]. Yeah, you’re right.
Eric: [сыр]
Anna: I just forget it. Some people say cheese.
Eric: Oh, really?
Anna: Cheese. Yeah, like cheese. But yeah, we say [сыр] as well. [сыр]
Eric: [сыр]
Anna: Say [сыр].
Eric: And [сыр] is?
Anna: Cheese.
Eric: “Cheese” in Russian. Ok.
Anna: Eric, you know, I wanted to ask you. [Ты можешь меня сфотографировать?] Can you take a picture of me?
Eric: [Почему, Анна] Why?
Anna: It’s for my RussianPod101.com profile. I need something that will make me look glamorous.
Eric: I know, I thought you were a movie star when I first met you, Anna.
Anna: Really?
Eric: No. But I’ll take your picture anyway.
Anna: Never mind, Eric.
Eric: Oh, that was mean.
Anna: It’s not funny.
Eric: That was mean, wasn’t it?
Eric: Now let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. Our first word is…
Anna: [мочь]
Eric: To be able to.
Anna: [мочь]
Eric: Next.
Anna: [вы можете..?]
Eric: Can you – formal.
Anna: [вы можете..?]
Eric: Next.
Anna: [фотоаппарат]
Eric: A camera.
Anna: [фотоаппарат]
Eric: Next.
Anna: [собор]
Eric: Cathedral.
Anna: [собор]
Eric: Next.
Anna: [возле]
Eric: Near, next to.
Anna: [возле]
Eric: Next.
Anna: [сфотографировать]
Eric: To photograph, to take a picture.
Anna: [сфотографировать]
Eric: Ok, let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Anna: So the first word we will look at is the verb [мочь], which means “to be able to”. In our dialogue, we use it as [вы можете…?].
Eric: Anna, this is a really common expression in Russian, right?
Anna: Right.
Eric: [вы можете…?] What does it mean again?
Anna: Can you?
Eric: “Can you?” Ok. So it can be used for making requests, right?
Anna: Right.
Eric: It’s also used to say if you’re able or not to do something. But it isn’t usually used to talk about skills. For example, if you can drive or swim. We use a different verb to talk about skills, [уметь], but in this lesson we’re going to focus on the [мочь]. So just like in your example, I could say [Анна, ты можешь] “can you” [меня сфотографировать] “take a picture of me?”
Anna: [да, я могу]
Eric: And what does that mean?
Anna: Yes, I can, but I dont want.
Eric: Thank you very little, Anna. [спасибо немножко] Ok.
Anna: You’re so mean, Eric.
Eric: You’re not going to take a picture of me.
Anna: You know the reason, right?
Eric: No.
Anna: You know.
Eric: Oh, I see. Wow. Ok. Moving on. Anna, I have a question for you.
Anna: Ok.
Eric: You said [фотоаппарат] and that means “camera”, right?
Anna: Right.
Eric: But I think there’s another word in Russia, [камера].
Anna: Right.
Eric: Is this also “camera”?
Anna: No, when Russian people say [камера] they mean “video camera”.
Eric: “Video camera”. Ok, so [фотоаппарат] is a still camera, to take pictures with. And [камера] is a video camera.
Anna: Right.
Eric: Ok. Good to know.
Anna: You know, Eric, for me [фотоаппарат] is too long. I would say [фотик].
Eric: [фотик]? Is this girly slang? Can I use this?
Anna: You can.
Eric: Oh, I have a little camera [фотик].
Anna: If you use this with this voice, it would sound weird.
Eric: So I need a manly voice like [У меня есть фотик].
Anna: Yeah, that’s good.
Eric: I have a camera. Really?
Anna: Yeah, that’s ok, yeah.
Eric: Interesting.
Anna: [Какой у тебя фотик] What kind of camera do you have?
Eric: [У меня есть Канон] I have a Canon.
Anna: Yeah.
Eric: Alright, thanks. [Спасибо] Anna for the modern Russian lesson.

Lesson focus

Eric: Now it’s time for grammar. Ok, James asks [Вы можете меня сфотографировать] “Can you take a picture of me?”
Anna: To ask someone to do something for you, you usually use the verb [мочь], “to be able to”. You can use it in the present tense. I want to give you very, very useful example.
Eric: Ok.
Anna: [Вы можете мне помочь?]
Eric: Anna, could you translate that for us?
Anna: Could you help me?
Eric: Could you break it down?
Anna: [вы]
Eric: You – formal.
Anna: [можете]
Eric: Can.
Anna: [мне]
Eric: To me.
Anna: [помочь]
Eric: “Help”. Literally, “You can to me help” or “Can you help me?” it’s formal.
Anna: It’s formal.
Eric: Ok. How would you ask informally?
Anna: [Ты можешь мне помочь?]
Eric: Ok. So the only thing that changes is the [ты] and the verb [можешь].
Anna: Right.
Eric: Instead of [можете]. Great. It’s a good expression to know if you ever need help. So Anna, when could this question be used? What kind of situation? Like “I’m dying” or “Help me with my homework” or…
Anna: Just any time you need help.
Eric: Ok. Good to know. So let’s break this verb down. [мочь]
Anna: Ok. [я могу]
Eric: I can.
Anna: [ты можешь]
Eric: You can – informal.
Anna: [он, она может]
Eric: He, she can.
Anna: [мы можем]
Eric: We can.
Anna: [вы можете]
Eric: You can – formal.
Anna: [они могут]
Eric: “They can.” Ok, Anna, [спасибо].
Anna: [Пожалуйста, Эрик] Eric.


Eric: For more information about this verb and other example sentences, please check out the PDF file for this lesson. Anna, I think that will do it for today.
Anna: So stop by RussianPod101.com and leave us a comment on this lesson.
Eric: We always look forward to reading your comments. See you next time.
Anna: [До встречи]