Russian talking phrasebook

Here, SRAS students are dressed in traditional clothes while on a cultural excursion abroad.

The Talking Russian Phrasebook

Published: April 16, 2023

Learn Russian with this free phrasebook and its recordings made by a native Russian language speaker. For a deeper learning experience, see these online and study abroad experiences from SRAS!

Today, Russian is spoken by approximately 258 million people worldwide, making it the eighth most spoken language in the world. Russian was spread by the colonial efforts of the expanding Russian Empire and later under the Russification efforts by the Soviets. Russian is now in decline in many areas formerly ruled by Russia and the USSR, but it remains an important language internationally. Russian is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, along with English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. It is also, along with English, one of two language that astronauts are expected to know for space travel. Lastly, it is also among the languages that many security and intelligence forces around the world consider to be important.

Russian in written in the Cyrillic alphabet, first developed in the 9th century by brothers Cyril and Methodius as part of their efforts to spread Christianity in what was then the First Bulgarian Empire. It has gone through many changes, but the modern Cyrillic script used by Russian today was mostly finalized in the 18th century, under reforms led by Tsar Peter the Great. The Soviets later further simplified the alphabet by dropping several letters in an attempt to make it easier to learn and further spread literacy and education. The Russian language overall has been heavily influenced throughout its history by Mongolian, French, and English, making it a unique Slavic language.

The Talking Phrasebook Series presents useful phrases and words in side-by-side translation and with audio files specifically geared to help students work on listening skills and pronunciation. Each entry below, divided by category, features an English word or phrase in the left column and its Russian translation in the right. The Russian is presented in in English transliteration on top and in the original Cyrillic below that.

In the center column for each row is a play button. The recorded file will feature first English, then the Russian in three versions: one slow, one with each syllable broken out, and a last version that will be spoken as it might be overheard in a conversation between native speakers.

For lots more free resources for learning Russian, make sure to check out this huge list on our site!

 

Survival Basics for Russian

Hello!
Privet!
(Привет!)
*informal, conversational – to greet a friend
Hello!
Zdravstvuite!
(Здравствуйте!)
*more formal – to greet a teacher/passer-by
Yes
Da
(Да)
No
Net
(Нет)
Good morning!
Dobroe utro!
(Доброе утро!)
Good afternoon!
Dobryi den’!
(Добрый день!)
Good evening!
Dobryi vecher!
(Добрый вечер!)
What’s up?
Kak dela?
(Как дела?)
What’s up?
Kak pozhivaesh (sing.) or kak pozhivaete? (pl./formal)
(Как поживаешь? Как поживаете?)
How are you?
Kak ty? (sing.) or Kak vy? (pl./formal)
(Как ты? Как вы?)
Good, thanks, and you?
Khorosho, spasibo, a ty?
(Хорошо, спасибо, а ты?)
Good bye!
Poka!
(Пока!)
*infomal, conversational
Good bye!
Do svidaniya or Vsego dobrogo!
(До свидания! Всего доброго!)
*more formal
See you later!
Uvidimsya!
(Увидимся!)
Sorry!
Izvini!
(Извини!)
Open/closed
Otkryto/zakryto
(Открыто/закрыто)
Pull/push
Na sebya/ot sebya
(На себя/от себя)
*when referring to a door
Small/big
Malenkiy(aya)/bol’shoy
(Маленький/большой)
Do you speak English?
Ty govorish po-angliyski (sing.) or Vy govorite po-angliyski? (pl./formal)
(Ты говоришь по-английски? Вы говорите по-английски?)
I don’t speak English.
Ya ne govor’u po-angliyski.
(Я не говорю по-английски.)
I only speak a little Russian.
Ya chut’-chut’ govor’u po-russki.
(Я чуть-чуть говорю по-русски)
I understand/I don’t understand.
Ya ponimayu.
(Я понимаю.)/Ya ne ponimayu.
(Я не понимаю.)
Thank you!/Thank you very much!
Spasibo!
(Спасибо!)/Bol’shoe spasibo or spasibo bol’shoe!
(Большое спасибо!)
Very well, thanks!
Ochen’ khorosho, spasibo!
(Очень хорошо, спасибо!)
Good/bad
Khorosho (adv.)/khoroshiy/aya (adj. m/f)
(Хорошо, хороший/ая)
Plokho (adv.)/plokhoy/aya (adj. m/f)
(плохо, плохой/ая)
Please
Pozhaluysta
(Пожалуйста)
*When asking for something politely
You’re welcome!
Pozhaluysta! or Ne za chto!
(Пожалуйста! Не за что!)
*when responding to “Спасибо!”
Excuse me!
Izvinite, pozhaluysta!
(Извините, пожалуйста!)
A little
Chut’-chut’
(Чуть-чуть)
Could you speak more slowly?
Vy ne mogli by govorit’ pomedlennee?
(Вы не могли бы говорить помедленнее?)
Could you repeat, please?
Povtorite, pozhaluysta!
(Повторите, пожалуйста!)
Could you write that down?
Vy ne mogli by eto napisat’?
(Вы не могли бы это написать?)
My bag/wallet/passport was stolen
Moyu sumku/moi koshelek/pasport ukrali.
(Мою сумку/мой кошелек/паспорт украли).
Note that in Russian “сумка” is feminine (hence, the use of feminine pronoun, and both “кошелек” and “паспорт” are masculine).
I need a doctor!
Mne nuzhno ko vrachu!
(Мне нужно ко врачу).
Call the police!
Vyzovite politsiyu (pl./formal)
(Вызовите полицию!)

 

Introductions in Russian

What is your name?
Kak tebya zovut?
(Как тебя зовут?)
Pleased to meet you!
Priyatno poznakomit’sya!
(Приятно познакомиться!
Russians may also say “Очень приятно” in place of it and respond to that with “Взаимно” (It’s mutual).
I am 25 years old.
Mne dvadcat’ pyat’ let.
(Мне двадцать пять лет.)
How old are you?
Skol’ko tebe let?
(Сколько тебе лет?)
Where are you from?
Otkyda ty?
(Откуда ты?)
I am American.
Ya iz Ameriki.
(Я из Америки)
No, I am from Canada.
Net, ya iz Kanady.
(Нет, я из Канады)
She is Australian.
Ona Avstraliyka.
(Она австралийка)
He is Irish.
On irlandets.
(Он ирландец)
We are from New Zealand.
My iz Novoi Zelandii.
(Мы из Новой Зеландии)
They are from Wales.
Oni iz Uel’sa.
(Они из Уэльса)
How do you like Russia?
Tebe nravitsya v Rossii?
(Тебе нравится в России?)
I like Russia very much.
Mne ochen’ nravitsya v Rossii.
(Мне очень нравится в России)
Have you ever been to Novgorod?
Ty kogda-nibud’ byval(a) v Novgorode? (sg., m/f), Vy kogda-nibud’ byvali v Novgorode? (pl./formal)
(Ты когда-нибудь бывал(а) в Новгороде? Вы когда-нибудь бывали в Новгороде?)
I have never been to Saint-Petersburg before.
Ya nikogda ne byval(a) v Sankt-Peterburge.
(Я никогда не бывал(а) в Санкт-Петербурге)
This is my second time in Russia.
Ya uzhe vtoroi raz v Rossii or Eto uzhe vtoraya moya poezdka v Rossiyu.
(Я уже второй раз в России/Это уже вторая моя поездка в Россию)
What do you do?
Chem ty zanimaesh’sya?
(Чем ты занимаешься?)
I am a student/businessman/teacher/doctor.
Ya student/biznesmen/uchitel’/vrach.
(Я студент/бизнесмен/учитель/врач)
I am on vacation.
Ya v otpuske (if you’re working)/Ya na kanikulakh (if you’re a student on a holiday break),
(Я в отпуске/Я на каникулах).
I am here on business.
Ya zdes’ po rabote.
(Я здесь по работе).

 

Asking Directions

Where are the toilets?
Gde zdes’ tualet?
(Где здесь туалет?)
Men
Muzhskoy (tualet)
(Мужской)
Women
Zhenskiy (tualet)
(Женский)
Where is the nearest bank?
Gde zdes’ blizhayshiy bank?
(Где здесь ближайший банк?)
Where is the nearest post office?
Gde zdes’ blizhayshee otdelenie pochty?
(Где здесь ближайшее отделение почты?)
Where is the nearest train station?
Gde zdes’ blizhayshiy vokzal?
(Где здесь ближайший вокзал?)
Where can I find Wi-Fi?
Vy ne znaete, gde zdes’ Wi-Fi?
(Вы не знаете, где здесь Wi-Fi?)
Do you know the Wi-Fi password?
Vy ne znaete, parol’ ot Wi-Fi?
(Вы не знаете пароль от Wi-Fi/от вай-фая? (Gen. can be used colloquially)
How can I order a taxi?
Kak mne zakazat’ taksi?
(Как мне заказать такси?)
Straight ahead!
Vam pryamo!
(Вам прямо!)
Take a right!/Take a left!
Povernite napravo!
(Поверните направо!)/Povernite nalevo!
(Поверните налево!)
After the stoplight
Posle svetofora
После светофора
Next/First/Last
Sleduyushchiy
(Следующий)
Perviy
(Первый)
Posledniy
(Последний)

 

Shopping

How much does that cost?
Skol’ko eto stoit?
(Сколько это стоит?)
The menu, please!
Bud’te dobry menu!
(Будьте добры меню!)
I’d like a beer, please
Ya by khotel(a) zakazat’ pivo,
(Я бы хотел(а) заказать пиво).
I’d like the bill, please.
Mozhno shchet, pozhaluysta?
(Можно счет, пожалуйста?)
Do you accept credit cards?
Vy prinimaete kreditnye karty?
(Вы принимаете кредитные карты?)

 

Counting

(The audio files have been grouped into four quicker sets.)

0 nol’
(ноль)
1 odin
(один)
2 dva
(два)
3 tri
(три)
4 chetyre
(четыре)
5 pyat’
(пять`)
6 shest’
(шесть)
7 sem’
(семь)
8 vosem’
(восемь)
9 devyat’
(девять)
10 (1-10)
desyat’
(десять)
11 odinnatsat’
(одиннадцать)
12 dvenadsat’
(двенадцать)
13 trinadsat’
(тринадцать)
14 chetyrnadsat’
(четырнадцать)
15 pyatnadsat’
(пятнадцать)
16 shestnadsat’
(шестнадцать)
17 semnadsat’
(семнадцать)
18 vosemnadsat’
(восемнадцать)
19 devyatnadsat’
(девятнадцать)
20 (11-20)
dvadsat’
(двадцать)
21 dvadsat’ odin
(двадцать один)
22 dvadsat’ dva
(двадцать два)
30 tridsat’
(тридцать`)
40 sorok
(сорок)
50 pyat’desyat
(пятьдесят)
60 shest’desyat
(шестьдесят)
70 sem’desyat
(семьдесят)
80 vosem’desyat
(восемьдесят)
90 devyanosto
(девяносто)
100 (21-100)
sto
(сто)
111 sto odinnadsat’
(сто одиннадцать)
125 sto dvadsat’ pyat’
(сто двадцать пять )
200 dvesti
(двести)
300 trista
(триста)
400 chetyresta
(четыреста)
500 pyat’sot
(пятьсот)
600 shessot
(шестьсот)
700 sem’sot
(семьсот)
800 vosem’sot
(восемьсот)
900 devyat’sot
(девятьсот)
1000 (111-1000)
tysiacha
(тысяча)

 

Additional Resources for Understanding Russian

For a deeper learning experience, see these online and study abroad experiences from SRAS!

For lots more free resources for learning Russian, make sure to check out this huge list on our site!

Caviar-Eurasian-Culture-Blini-language

The Language and History of Caviar: Olga’s Blog

Olga below describes the place of caviar in Russian food culture. In simplified Russian, she describes where the delicacy is harvested from, the major types of caviar, and how the types differ in cost and quality. We also provide an English primer below discussing more of the history of caviar, how it is eaten and […]

Mushroom picking in Russia Poland Latvia

Mushrooms in Cultures and Cuisines: Olga’s Blog

Olga below continues her discussion of the deeply held place that mushrooms have in Russian culture. In part one of this discussion, she focused on how and where and find the mushrooms. In part two, below, she discusses how the mushrooms are preserved, prepared, and consumed. A staple of the regional diet for centuries, mushrooms […]

Mushroom Season Russia Latvia Poland

Mushroom Season Has Begun! Olga’s Blog

Olga below discusses the deeply held national tradition of mushroom gathering. An important part of Russian food tradition for many centuries, Russian children are taught in school from an early age to tell the difference between various types of native mushrooms. Many, like Olga, will go with relatives and friends to the woods to put […]

Study Abroad for Russian in the US

Study Abroad in America for Russians: Olga’s Blog

As part of her major program in international relations at Moscow State University, Olga applied to study abroad in the United States in 2007. As was not uncommon for students applying for study abroad in either direction, Olga hit several bureaucratic snags. What is perhaps most remarkable about the below text, however, is the description […]

What is the First Day of University Like in Russia? Olga’s Blog

Below, Olga discusses what a first year freshman experiences on day one of their college education. The day offers no classes. It is instead filled with speeches, handshakes, and status symbols. All of this is highly indicative of the role of formality and ceremony in Russian education and Russian society. This resource is part of […]

About the author

Alex Sitnikov

Alex Sitnikov

Alex holds a BA in Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language (RFL) and an MA in Translation. He came to Moscow from Tolyatti to study at Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2013 and has been in love with the city ever since. Alex coordinates student activities in Moscow for SRAS. When he’s not occupied with that, Alex likes to play guitar, sing, read, play videogames, and make YouTube videos.

Program attended: SRAS Staff Member

View all posts by: Alex Sitnikov