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Lesson Transcript

Привет всем! С Вами Светлана. Hi everybody! I’m Svetlana
Welcome to RussianPod101.com’s Русский язык за три минуты.The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Russian.
In the last lesson, we learned the most common forms of greetings in Russian. Do you remember them?
In this lesson we’re going to learn a very useful phrase: “Do you speak English?”
If you find yourself in a situation where you need assistance in English, this phrase can be a lifesaver. And because you’re asking it in Russian, you can be sure that everyone will understand what you’re saying, even if their answer is no.
Here's the informal way to say it.
Ты говоришь по-английски?
[slowly] Ты говоришь по-английски?
In Russian, verbs change depending on the pronoun that is used. The pronoun “ты” is the singular “you” in English. It is a very informal way to address people. Don’t use it with complete strangers, especially if the person is older than you. I don't recommend that you use it in formal gatherings either, such as business meetings, conferences, and so on.
The verb “говоришь” means “speak” in English. As I already mentioned, verbs usually change in Russian according to pronoun and time. The original form for the verb “говоришь” is “говорить”.
To learn how to properly conjugate Russian verbs, like “говорить”, please take a look at our Absolute Beginner series on RussianPod101.com. You can find very detailed grammar lessons and resources there!
To make this sentence a question, we don't need to change the word order or anything like that - all we need is to change our intonation.
“You speak English.” is Ты говоришь по-английски. but “Do you speak English?” is Ты говоришь по-английски?
A more polite way to ask this question in Russian is to use the pronoun “вы” which is translated in English as the *plural* “you”. Remember, as we change the pronoun, we also need to conjugate the verb to match it. говорить is conjugated to говорите. So the whole phrase in Russian will be “Вы говорите по-английски?”
[slowly] “Вы говорите по-английски?”
The phrase “по-английски” stays the same and probably you have already understood the meaning, right? It means “In English”. Very easy!
By adding Извините, "excuse me", you make the sentence even more polite:
Извините, вы говорите по-английски?
[slowly] Извините, вы говорите по-английски?
The responses you might receive could be one of these three:
Да "Yes."
[slowly] Да
Немного "A little."
[slowly] Немного
Нет , “No”.
[slowly] Нет.
The full version for the negative sentence will be “Нет, я не говорю по-английски”. Since this is a negation, we need to add the particle “не” before the verb “говорю”. Notice also that the verb, говорите also changed. It changed to говорю because we used the pronoun “I” here - “я” in Russian. Thus the phrase “I do not speak English” is: “я не говорю по-английски”
Now it’s time for Svetlana’s tips .
For those of you who are not native English speakers, don’t worry - you can of course use this question with any language you need. Many other European and Asian languages are also popular in Russia, so maybe you will get lucky! Just substitute по-английски with…
по-немецки for German.
по-испански for Spanish.
по-китайски for Chinese.
по-японски for Japanese.
Great! In this lesson we mentioned the expression ”Извините”. But did you know that this can also be used as an apology? In the next lesson we will learn this and other ways to apologize in Russian. It’s never too late to show your good manners towards Russian people!
I'll see you in our next Русский язык за три минуты series. Пока пока