ManGo Travel

Travels to St. Petersburg and all Russia

+7 812 916 95 94

Skype: mangorussia

Russian language

Russian language (0)

What makes Russia such an interesting country to visit is that the Russian language is based on a different alphabet. And as an English speaker, planning to go to Россия or Russia, the Cyrillic script can be daunting.

Many of the Cyrillic characters look backwards or upside down and are seemingly switched around. What looks like a “р” is really the equivalent of a Latin “r”. What looks like a “в” is really the equivalent of a Latin “v” and what looks like an “н” is really the equivalent of a Latin “n”. But, fortunately, many Russians -- though they may not be fluent in English -- are familiar with the Latin alphabet despite the quirky differences, and are able to read or sound out a European or English word anyway, so you can be sure that it’s not that difficult for you to reverse the process. 

You will feel much more comfortable and secure in a distinctly foreign region, with some background knowledge of the Cyrillic script. It won’t be difficult to remember the letters, because there are many words that are familiar to English ones - the only problem is that the characters initially look very different. For instance, the word “банк” will look a little strange the first time you see it, but gradually you’ll recognize that “н” is really the equivalent of the latin “n” and that this is almost exactly the same as the English word “bank.” And as you gradually integrate words like these into your memory, you will be able to sound out or recognize many more words, and even some that are completely unfamiliar to you. 

One of the greatest advantages of knowing the Cyrillic script is that you will be able to understand many more words than you predicted, just by their similarity to American words. “турист” being one -- which is transliterated to “tooreest” and becomes a familiar word, once you understand the Cyrillic script. “туалет” is another, which is what they might say to you if you’re looking for public restrooms and transliterates to “tooahlyet.” Now you can see that “у” in the Cyrillic script makes the sound “oo” in English, not “yuh,” and that “e” in the Cyrillic script actually makes a “yeh” sound! 

The Cyrillic script is just one of the first gates into the Russian cultural experience, and you might find your environment much more enjoyable once you’ve learned it.

The Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet has 33 letters (20 consonants, 11 vowels and 2 others that don't have their own sounds)

А Б В Г Д Е Ё Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Ъ Ы Ь Э Ю Я

And these words you’ll be sure to see many times around the cities you visit:
аптека - aptyeka -- pharmacy
музей - moozey -- museum 
банк - bank -- bank
рубль -- roobl -- ruble (Russian currency)
парк - park -- park
почта -- pochta -- post office
цветы - tsveti -- flower shop
ресторан - restoran -- restaurant
магазин - magazin -- not to be confused with magazine, it actually means a small shop or a store.
три -- tree -- and actually it’s the number three, not a tree!
царь - tsar -- sometimes transliterated as tsar or czar 
я турист - ya tooreest - which means ‘I am a tourist’

Knowing the language of the foreign country you expect to be traveling in is always valuable to make the most out of your experience.

Although in large airports and popular museums, you hardly need worry because they will probably have signs in English, you still might be surprised how little you can find an English speaker on the street when you most need it, or even in the metro or airport. Because of Russia’s political history, it has not been open to tourists for very long and has only begun developing good relationships with English-speaking countries and their tourism.

A good tip when you need directions or help is to search for someone in their youth. A group of students, for instance, will have a better chance of knowing enough English to point you in the right direction, rather than a group of adults from the Soviet Era. 

Though most Russians in big cities understand English, learning a few words of Russian will help prepare you for your trip.

Hi

PriVET

Hello (formal)

ZDRASTvstvujte

Good Morning

DObroe OOtra

Good Day

DObriy DYEN

Good Evening

DObriy VYEcher

Good Night

DObroy NOchee

Bye

Poka

See You Tomorrow

daZAftra

Please

paZHAluhsta

Thank-You

spaSEEba

Yes

DA

No

NYET

Where is...?

GDYAY...?

Do you speak English?

GavaREEtye lee VOY pah-anglEEskee?

I don't speak Russian. 

ya Ne gavarYOU pahROOskee

My name is...

meenYA zaVOOT...

What is your name?

kahk vas zaVOOT?

I have a hotel reservation here

Ya zakazal nomer

I am looking for my driver

Ya ishu moego voditelya

Where can I make a phone call

Kak mne mojno pozvonit’

Can you please call this number for me

Naberite etot nomer

It’s a pleasure to meet you

ochen’ priyatno poznakomitsya

This meal is delicious

ochen’ vkusno

How much

Skolko

This is too much

Dorogo

Learn to read the Russian Alphabet in 75 Minutes