As promised here is a list of simple words and phrases a tourist might find handy in Russia. These deal with things you might need to know as you move about and interact with people in shops or restaurants.
Questions/comments are always welcome.
Russian (Say It) Definition / Example / Note
Zdrastvuitye / (ZDRAST-voo-eet-ye) / Zdrastvuitye Nokolia Vasilich /Formal Hello used to greet new people. / Formal address uses first name and patronymic (middle name). Used for older people or social superiors like your boss.
Privyet (Priv-yet) Informal Hello for friends / Privyet Karolin
Dasvedanye (das-ve-DAN-ya) Formal Good-bye / Dasvedanye Nokolia Vasilich
Paka (Pa-ka) Informal good-bye like””See you” / Paka Karolin
Pazhalusta (Pa-ZHAL-u-sta) Please
Cpacibo (spa-SEE-ba) Thank you
Gdya ta? (G’d-ye-TA) Where close by? / Gdye ta Metro stansiya? Where is the metro station? / Use if you are asking for the closest thing.
Gdye? (G’d-YE) Where? / Gdye tualet? Where is the toilet?
Magazin (Maga-ZEEN) Store
Apteka (Ap-te-ka) Pharmacy
Ya (Ya) I or me
Moi (mo-ee) My
Vee (Vee) Formal form of you for new people or her parents
Ti (Tee) Informal you for friends / Ti kochish kushit? You want to eat?
Kochu (Ko-CHOO) I want / “Kochu means “I want”, Kochish means “You want”
Nado (Na-do) Need
Kushit (KOOSH-it) Eat
Tualet (Too-a-let) Toilet
Izvinitye (iz-vin-EET-ye) Excluse me
Skazhitye (Ska-zhit-ye) Tell me / Skazhitye pazhalusta. Gdye ta apteka? “Tell me please, where is the pharmacy?”
Pokazhitye (po-ka-ZHIT-ye) Show me “Pazhalusta, pokazhitye eta chashka” “Please, show me that cup”
Eta (e-ta) This/that
Dinge (Din-ge) Money
Kupit (Ku-PEET) To buy / Ya kochu kupit eta chashka I want to buy this cup
Platit (pla-TEET) To pay / Ya nado platit I need to pay.
Da (Da) Yes
Nyet (Nyet) No
Ne (Nye) Not / Ya ne kochu kushit I don’t want to eat / This is like Nyet without the ‘T’. Kind of a casual thing
Na Leva (Na-LE-va) On/To the Left
Na Prava (Na-pra-va) On/to the Right
Smotrit (smo-TREET) Look Smotritye na leva Look to the left / “Smotritye is “you look”
Stop (Stop) Stop just like English
Otkrit (ot-KRIT) Open / Magazin otkrit The store is open
Zakrit (za-KRIT) Close/Closed / Magazin zakrit The store is closed
Krasivaya (kra-SIV-aya) Beautiful / Vi krasivaya You are beautiful / Handy for romancin’
Krasni (crass-nee) Red
Zeloni (zel-OH-nee) Green
Zholti (ZHOL-tee) Yellow/Gold
Sini (see-nee) Dark blue
Chorni (CHOR-nee) Black
Ulitsu (OO-lit-su) Street
Dorogi (do-Rogue-ee) Road
Dorogaya (doro-GUY-ya) Dear / Moi dorogaya krasivaya divochka My dear beautiful girl Another handy romancin’ phrase
Dvochka (d-VOCH-ka) Young woman/Miss / Izvinitye dvochka. Pazhalusta skazhitye mnye gdye tualet. Excuse me miss, please tell me where the restroom is.
Daimnye (DIE-min-ya) Give me
Kasse (casa) Cashier
Platit (pla-TEET) To pay / Ya kochu platit. Gdye ta kasse? I want to pay. Where is the cashier? “You have to go to the cashier, pay, and bring the receipt back to the shop assistant to get your goodies.”
Pobolshiye (po-BOL-shee) larger/more
Pomenshiye (po-MEN-shee) smaller/less
Podeshevliye (po-de-SHEV-li-ye) Cheaper
U vas yest (OO-vass-yest) Do you have…? / U vas yest chto nibud podeshevliye? Do you have anything cheaper?
chto (ch-toh) What / Chto vi kochish? What do you want?
chto nibud (ch-toh nee-bood) Anything / U vas yest chto nibud podeshevliye? Do you have anything cheaper?
Mashinu (Ma-sheen-oo) Automobile Sounds like machine+oo
Poezd (po-ezd) Train
obuf (o-boof) shoes/boots
shapka (shap-ka) hat
rubashka (roo-bash-ka) shirt
bruki (broo-kee) pants
noski (noss-kee) socks
kurtka (koort-ka) coat
ruk (rook) hand/arm
naga (na-GAH) leg/foot
golovo (go-loh-voh) head
zheludik (zhe-LOO-dik) stomach
Pelmini (pel-MIN-ee) Like Dim Sum. One of my faves.
Tvorog (tvor-rog) is a common dish madeof cheese curds. It is sold a “farmer’s cheese” in the US. Russians take this to extremes by mixing flavorings into it and coating it with chocolate. If you like yogurt give it a try.
The Cyrillic alphabet is based on the Greek alphabet. Everything is spelled phonetically using this alphabet, so if you learn how the letters sound, you can sound out street signs well enough to get places you’ve heard of.