Russian for Beginners: The Russian language is, without a doubt, a fascinating language to learn. It is the first tongue of many famous authors, artists, musicians, scientists, and filmmakers. After reading masterpieces such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, I wanted to read them in their native language.

For the people who do not speak it, Russian is a highly confusing language. It may be both thrilling and intimidating for a novice since the alphabet is highly distinctive, words are not pronounced like they are written, and it is one of the few remaining Slavic languages. Learning Russian, on the other hand, is really beneficial! Listed below are a few intriguing reasons why the language and its speakers are so impressive and intriguing.

Learning the Russian Language, My Journey

I’m obsessed with language learning; in fact, I speak three foreign languages and three Filipino dialects. The FIFA World Cup, on the other hand, encouraged me to study Russian. When it was announced in 2014 that Russia would host the 2018 World Cup, I was so excited that I bought a book called ‘Russian For Dummies’ the next day (because I really wanted to go). I started by watching YouTube courses and reading Russian translations. Self-teaching is challenging, so I hired a private Russian instructor in 2015 and worked with him for many weeks. I don’t claim to be fluent, but I can get by with a decent accent.

And, yeah, I finally read Anna Karenina in Russian in 2018!

Learn a Language Series: French, Filipino

Interesting Facts About the Russian Language

  • Russian (руcский язык) is the most widely spoken language in Eurasia. It is the largest of all European native languages, and it is by far the most spoken of all Slavic languages.
  • Every year on June 6th, Russian Language Day celebrates the world’s eighth most spoken language (with roughly 154 million native speakers). The day also honors Aleksandr Pushkin, a Russian poet regarded as the father of modern Russian literature.
  • It has 33 characters and is written in the Cyrillic script alphabet. It is divided into 10 vowels, 21 consonants, and 2 letters that have no sound.
  • It is one of the United Nations’ six official languages, and it ranks with English, Chinese, and Spanish as a major world language.
  • Russian is the official language in 4 countries: Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
  • According to Foreign Service Institure (FSI), Russian is a difficult language to learn. It is in Category IV along with Arabic, Cantonese, and Korean. It require 44 weeks of full-time study to learn.
  • It’s compulsory for all astronauts in the international space station to learn Russian, so we can call it an international language of space.
  • In Russia, there are a variety of ways to change a person’s name to convey your emotional attitude toward them. Most of the time, this is how you address your loved ones.
  • The Russian keyboard layout is completely different from the qwerty layout, making it extremely difficult to use.  However, you do not need to purchase a Russian keyboard to have a Russian keyboard layout and enter Russian symbols.

Russian for Beginners: Common Expressions and Greetings

EnglishRussianPronunciation
Hello (Formal Usage)Здра́вствуйтеzdrav-stvoo-tye
Hi (Informal Usage)Приве́тpreev-yet
Good Day, HelloДо́брый Деньdoh-bry dzyen’
Good EveningДо́брый ве́черdoh-bry vyecher
Good Bye (General use/more formal)До свида́нияduh-svee-dah-nya
Please/You’re WelcomeПожа́луйстаpah-zhahl-stah
Thank YouСпаси́боspah-see-bah
Excuse me…Извини́теeez-vee-nee-tye
My name is…Меня́ зову́тmeen-yah zah-voot…
Pleased to meet you (lit. “it is very pleasant”)О́чень прия́тноoh-chen’ pree-yaht-nah

Russian for Beginners: Useful Questions

EnglishRussianPronunciation
Do you speak English?Вы зна́ете англи́йский?vi znah-yeh-tye an-glee-skee
How are you doing?Как дела́?kahk dze-la?
Would you help me, please?Не могли бы вы мне, помочь?Ne mogli by vy mne pomoch’?
What is your name?Как вас зову́т?kahk vas zah-voot
What time is it?Cко́лько вре́мени?skohl-kuh vreh-meh-nee?
What is the weather like (when asking about the weather for today)Какая сегодня погода?kah-KAH-yah see-VOHD-nyah pah-GOH-dah
How much is this?Сколько это стоит?Skol’ka eto stoeet
Where can I find a …?Где можно найти …?Gde mozhna naytee …?
Where is the toilet?скажите пожалуйста, где туалет?Skazhite pozhalusta, gde toalet?
Do you have any …?Есть ли у Вас…?Est’ lee oo vas
Could you speak more slowly?Говорите, пожалуйста, медленнееGavareetye pazhalooysta myedleeney
Could you repeat that, please?Не могли бы вы повторить пожалуйста?Ne moglee buv vee pah-ftah-REE-tyeh pah-ZHA-loo-stah?

Russian for Beginners: Days of the Week

EnglishRussianPronunciation
Mondayпонедельникpuh-nee-DYEHL’-neek
TuesdayвторникFTOHR-neek
Wednesdayсредаsree-DAH
Thursdayчетвергcheet-VYEHRK
FridayпятницаPYAHT-nee-tsuh
Saturdayсубботаsoo-BOH-tuh
Sundayвоскресеньеvuhs-kree-SYEHN’-yeh

Russian for Beginners: Months of the Year

EnglishRussianPronunciation
Januaryянварьyeen-VAHR’
Februaryфевральfee-VRAHL’
Marchмартmahrt
Aprilапрельah-PRYEHL’
Mayмайmahy
Juneиюньee-YOON’
Julyиюльee-YOOL’
AugustавгустAHV-goost
Septemberсентябрьseen-TYAHBR’
Octoberоктябрьahk-TYAHBR’
Novemberноябрьnah-YAHBR’
Decemberдекабрьdee-KAHBR’

 I hope you find the lists helpful. до встречи (until next time)! 

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Polly Amora is the señorita behind GoldenIslandSenorita.Net and the general manager of a privately-owned company in Manila, Philippines. She is a lifelong learner who is very outgoing, speaks four languages, is loud and outspoken, and loves to have adventures in the mountains, on the beach, and in the city. You can throw her anywhere, and she'll handle it like a pro. Ice cream and beer are two of her weaknesses.