Russian language basics are the foundation of Russian itself. You may want to learn Russian words quickly because you're planning a trip in the near future, or you may just want to begin to familiarize yourself with the language so that you can begin a more formal education soon. Whatever the case may be, picking up on the differences between Russian and most Western languages is a good way to start. To learn Russian basics, you'll first need to understand that Russian uses the Cyrillic character set. Originating in Greece, Cyrillic is markedly different from the Roman alphabet used in Romance languages, and although it may at first seem alien, it is actually quite intuitive once you learn the pronunciations of the letters themselves. For example, д is pronounced as a hard “d” sound. If you look closely, it even slightly resembles the letter you're already familiar with. For the basics of the language itself, we'll cover a few of the basic words and phrases that are commonly used.
Basic Russian Words and Phrases
- Да (Yes, or “da”) contains the aformentioned “д” character. As you can see, the letter following it is the familiar а.
- Нет (No, or “nyet”) contains the character Н, which in this case is pronounced as an “n”.
- До свидания (Goodbye, or “das-ve-dan-ye”) has more characters than previously mentioned, but you can already see that the “д” makes an appearance at the beginning to mark the use of the “da” sound.
- Доброе утро (Good morning, or “do-bray-oo-tro”) is a common greeting that you can use to say hello. Keep in mind that as with other languages, there are neutral, familiar, and formal ways to say all kinds of greetings.
- Спасибо (Thank you, or “spa-see-bah”) is a good word to learn as well. Whenever you learn a new language, it's best to learn how to be polite as well, especially if you are visiting a new country for the first time.
Learn Russian Basics Online
The Russian language basics are just the first step toward learning the language itself. When you want to practice Russian for the best results, ECHO Eastern European Language Centre has a wealth of online resources that will have you saying «Я говорю по-русски!» Find out more about ECHO's online courses, Russian summer language camps, and private tutors that can help students at every level of language.