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10+ Basic Russian Phrases for Your Next Trip (+Pronunciation)

posted by Liza 26th November 2019 0 comments
Kirovsky Zavod - Most beautiful St. Petersburg metro stations
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Hi guys, in this post, I will share with you 10 basic Russian phrases that you will 100% need for your trip to Russia. Russian is one of the most complicated languages on Earth. It doesn’t help that Russia uses another alphabet – Cyrillic. Cyrillic makes things even more complicated. However, phonetically, Russian isn’t that hard at all. And if you have some time, you can also teach yourself Cyrillic in a couple of hours. 

If you’re interested in learning Cyrillic to be able to read Russian signs, I recommend checking this website out. 

If you’re new to this blog, hi, I’m Liza. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, I call London my home now. Nonetheless, I try to visit St. Petersburg at least 3-5 times per year because my family and friends are still there. I love helping fellow travellers and have written A LOT of content about travelling around Russia. Make sure to check my Russia blog posts category to find out more. In the meantime, you can check my posts about safety in Russia and my ultimate guide to St. Petersburg!

Without further ado, let’s get started with the phrases in Russian that you will definitely use while travelling in Russia! At the end of this post, you will also find my video, where I will pronounce all these phrases (still in progress, I’m afraid).

Basic Russian phrases for your trip to Russia

10 Basic Russian Phrases for Your Next Trip to Russia (With pronunciation!)

Thank you: Spasibo (Спасибо)

If you can only learn one word in Russian, let it be “Spasibo” or thank you. Spasibo is pronounced as spa-see-bah. Another (harder) version of thank you is thanks a lot aka “Bolshoe Spasibo”. Bolshoe Spasibo is pronounced as bol’-show-ye spa-see-bah, however just thanks will suffice in most occasions.

how to buy bus tickets in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg

Yes / No: Da / Net (Да / Нет)

If you want to say yes in Russia, say da. Da is pronounced as duh. If you want to say no, use net – pronounced as nyet with a soft “n”.

One … Please: … Pozhalujsta ( … пожалуйста)

Another super useful basic phrase in Russian that will help you buy things in a supermarket or order dishes in a restaurant is “… Pozhalujsta”. You need to replace … with a relevant noun, such as glass, pizza etc. Technically, you can use it with a number such as one, two etc (odin, dwa). There are, however, three genders in Russian language, so you would need to change “One” accordingly to Odin, Odno or Odna. For the sake of simplicity and if you just want to make yourself understood, you can use grammatically incorrect “Odin” for everything and people will understand you or you can just drop it use the phrase without a number.

Just say … pozhalujsta pronounced as “ … Pah-zha-looy-stah” – if it sounds too harsh, scroll to the end of the post and watch my video. It will make much more sense. 

Some useful nouns that you can use with one … please:

Ticket – Bilet (Bee-let)

Bill – Shyot -(Sh-yot)

Salad – Satat (Sah-lat)

Moscow in winter. Moscow Christmas Market
Moscow in winter

Hello / Good day: Zdravstvujte or Dobry Den’ (Здравствуйте / Добрый день)

If you want to know how to say hello or good day in Russia, use Zdravstvujte or Dobry Den. 

Zdravstvujte is pronounced as “Sdrav-stvooy-te”, which is a bit complicated, so you might want to use Dobry Den instead. Dobry den’ is pronounced as Dob-reey den’ with a very soft ‘n’ at the end.

How much is it – Skolko eto stoit (Сколько это стоит)

How much is it is a very basic phrase that will make your stay in Russia easier. It will be “Skolko eto stoit” pronounced as “Skol’-co eh-tow stow-it”. 

Useful phrases in Russian
metro in St. Petersburg

Card or cash? – Kartoy or Nalichnimi? (Картой или наличными?)

Another one of the 20 basic Russian phrases is the answer to the question “Would you pay cash or card?”. 

This question will be asked pretty much everywhere in Russia. The question in Russian sounds like this:

“Vy budete platit’ kartoy ili nalichnimi?” 

And you need to say:

Kartoy (pronounced as car-toy) – if you’re planning to pay with card

Nalichnimi (pronounced as na-leech-ny-mee) if you’re going to pay cash

Useful Russian phrases
Pelmeni – Russian traditional food

Learn how to count in Russian – Odin, Dva, Tri, Chetyre, Pyat’, Desyat’, Sto, Tyusyacha

It’s important to know how to count in Russian, at least until 5, plus know some useful numbers like 10, 100 and 100. 

One – Odin (Ah-deen)

Two – Dva (Dva – super easy to pronounce)

Three – Tri (Tree)

Four – Chetyre (Cheh-ty-re)

Five – Pyat’ (Pyat’)

10 – Desyat’ (Deh-syat’)

100 – Sto (Stoh)

1000 – Tysyacha (Tee-sya-cha)

How are you? – Good, thanks! – Kak dela? Khorosho, Spasibo (Как дела? Хорошо, спасибо)

You might be asked this question a lot in Russia. And this question is how are you or kak dela (pronounced as kak dee-la). 

If you want to answer something like I’m good, thanks, then say – Khorosho, Spasibo (pronounced as Kha-ra-show, spa-see-bow). 

Russian phrases
St. Petersburg in winter

I’m sorry or sorry – Izvinite (Извините)

If you want to approach someone to ask something or you just bumped into someone and you want to say sorry, say “Izvinite” pronounced as (eez-vee-nee-te). 

Where – Gde (Где)

And the last one of the 10 basic Russian phrases for your next trip to Russia is where – “gde” (pronounced as kdeh). You can combine it with Izvinite, so you can say the full phrase “Izvitite, gde + noun”. 

For example, you can say: Izvinite, gde metro? Sorry, where is the metro?

Best things to do in Saint Petersburg in January
Museums in St. Petersburg

I hope that these 10 basic Russian phrases were useful for you and you will be able to navigate in Russia without any problems. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

I’ve got a lot of posts about Russia on this blog! Make sure to check some of them out:

The guide to transport in St. Petersburg

Best things to do in Moscow for a weekend

Where to watch ballet in Russia?

Free things to do in St. Petersburg

How expensive is it to travel in Russia

5 safety rules in Russia

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