Monday, October 29, 2012

The Very Basic Guide to Russian

This is a very basic guide to Russian. I took the effort to learn some Russian before travelling to Ukraine and Russia. I learned quite a lot and it helped to read road signs and eventually to rent a car, but I thought maybe less would be more.

Let`s start this very basic guide to Russian with something completely different. What makes a vacation on Oahu or another Hawaiian island Hawaiian? It´s the way people in the tourist business talk to you. They use only a few words of Haiwaiian and use them instead of the English words. They use aloha (hello), mahalo (thanks), ukulele, wikiki (fast), and you come acrosss moku (island), pali (cliff), lu´ao (feast), poi (pounded taro root), a´a (sharp lava), pahoehoe (smooth lava), mana (spiritual power), hula, kapu (taboo), and aloha oe (goodbye). Moreover you quickly know that you are a haole (foreigner). All in all the Haiwaiian impression is made with only a few words.

Let´s come back to the very basic approach to Russian. Start learning a few words, but learn these to perfection, so that they come to your mind without thinking. You don´t need all the possible forms of greeting, just stick to one. After having learned these you go on to basic Russian. Then you start with the words a tourist might need to go around or to book a small hotel, to buy something and so on. If you plan to stay a four star hotels you don´t need the vocabulary to book a room, learn something else. Learn numbers. And then you might start a languange course, but that´s the stird step.

Learn the Cyrillic alphabet, not only the printed letters but also the handwritten form as you will see these letters in italics. Some people think they can learn it on a two hour flight - njet, it isn´t that simple (and I have learned Chinese characters and the Greek alphabet before).

Yes - da (да)
No- njet (нет)
Thanks - spa´siba (спасиво) [´ indicates the stressed syllable]
Please / You´re welcome - pa´zhalsta (пожалуйста)
Sorry / excuse me - izvi´nitye (извините)
Greetings / Hello - zdrastvuytye (здраствуйте)
Goodbye - da svi´danya (до свидания)
How are you? - kak dila (как дела?)
Good, and you? - khara´sho, a u vas? (хорошо, а у вас?)
How much is it? - ´skolka ´stoit? (слщлъко стоит?)
Write it down, please - napi´zhitye pa´zhalsta (напишите пожалуйста)
I don´t understand - ya nje pani´mayu (я не понимаю)
Where are the toilets? - gdye zdyes tualýet (где здесъ туалет?)
I need this - mnye ´nuzhna eta (мне нужно эта)
Entrance - vkhod (вход)
Exit - vy´khod (выход)

What is your name? - kak vas za´vut (как вас зовут?)
My name is - mi´nya za´vut (меня зовут)

PS: To your health! - na zdarovye! (На здоровье!)

That will take some effort and time. But I think it´s a good start. Don´t stop here, learn more!
Soon you will decipher Владимир, Санкт Петербург, Архангельск at ease.

Here you can learn the Cyrillic alphabet and the pronunciation: 
PS. Mistakes are my mistakes!

Related links for this travel:

On changing Moldovan Lei in Odessa
Crime and Punishment (St. Petersburg)  
Hram Ilias – the hidden silence near the Red Place in Moscow  
Kishinev – the prologue of this year’s travels  

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