Basic Russian for beginners
Lesson 1: HELLO, HOW ARE YOU?In this lesson you will learn:
- how to say hello to a friend.
- basic rules of the verb “to be” in the Present tense..
- basic rules about the gender of nouns..
Welcome to our online course of Russian language. We have created 14 lessons for you to discover this wonderful language, so you can have a basic first contact. In other words, here you won’t find long lessons with never-ending grammar explanations. We want you to see many different details of the Russian language in the least possible time. By doing so, you’ll have a general understanding in a short period of time. Russian has grammatical concepts which might be non-existent in your own language. That’s why we’ll see most of them briefly, so you get to know them, without having to read long explanations.
Useful phrase in Russian
Listen and repeat the following sentence:
- ПРИВЕТ, КАК ДЕЛА?
(pri-vyét, kak dye-Lá?)
- HI, HOW ARE YOU?
“Привет” is an informal greeting equivalent of our “hi”. It is used when meeting friends.
“Как дела?” is the short form of “как твои дела?” (literally “how (are) your things?”). It’s an informal question used with friends.
Read, listen and repeat the basic Russian vocabulary of this lesson:
In every lesson you’ll find a short list with new words. You don’t need to memorize them now, because later in the lesson you are going to listen to dialogues which contain this new vocabulary. At the end of the this course you’ll have learnt more than 200 Russian words, which is enough to have a basic conversation. Listen carefully to the pronunciation and repeat each word.
Dialogues in Rusian
These Russian dialogues will help you memorise this lesson’s vocabulary:
Я – Елена, а ты?
Ya ye-lyé-na, a ty?
А ты? Ты русский?
A ty? Ty rús-kij?
Read the following grammar explanations for this lesson:
The verb “to be” in present
The verb “to be” is expressed in Russian by the verb “быть” (pronunciation: [byt’]). In the dialogues above you have seen that the verb “to be” only appears in the English translation (I am, you are, he is,…).
That is because in modern Russian, the verb “быть” is not written when used in present tense (but it is in the past and future). Look at the following examples:
– Ivan is an actor. Иван – актёр.
– You are Peter. Ты Педро.
– I am Helen. Я Елена.
In the first phrase (Иван – актёр you can see that in the punctuation mark “-” is used instead of the verb to be.
You will see this mark often in books and it is useful to know how to use it. Just remember that the meaning of a sentence is the same with or without this mark.
The three genders
Russian nouns, adjectives and pronouns have genders:
In English nouns have no gender, so this can be a confusing concept. It is difficult to say why a table in Russian (стол) is masculine and a bed (кровать) is feminine. There is no logic in the elections of genders and you simply must learn it.
The ending of a word can help us to identify its gender. Look for example at the endings we have seen in the dialogues:
– “русский” (masculine)
– “русская” (feminine)
The word “Russian” is an adjective. In the dialogues we have seen that “ий” is a masculine ending for adjectives and “ая“, is a feminine ending for adjectives. There are many other endings which you will be learning little by little during this course.
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The word русский is of … gender.
The word русская is of …gender.
How do you say “hi” in Russian?
How many genders are there in Russian?
In Russian the verb “быть” is always omitted.