Memorize these lifehacks to quickly learn basic Russian expressions.
You’ve probably heard that Russian is one of the world’s most difficult languages, but do you know that some phrases in English sound similar to ones in Russian? In most cases the real ‘Russian’ pronunciation is not exactly the same; but our list is as close as you’ll get. Learn these, but don’t forget that they’ve got completely different meanings in Russian.
1. ‘Yellow blue bus’ – I love you
How to say, “I love you,” in Russian? The romantic expression, “ya lyublu vas,” sounds similar to “yellow blue bus.” “Ya lyublu vas” is the polite version, but if you address your feelings to someone dear and close, then you can say “ya lyublutebya.”
2. ‘Horror show’ - Fine
Here’s the paradox: the Russian word “khorosho” sounds like “horror show” in English.
3. ‘Coke dealer’ – How are you?
If your Russian friend asks you, “kakdela?” then he means, “how are you?” However, this phrase is easy to confuse with “coke dealer.”
4. ‘What can I do?’ – I’ll find vodka!
The Russian meaning of this phrase sounds like the answer to the English question. If you ask this question, “What can I do?” then a Russian might think you’re looking for vodka – “vodka naidu.”
5. ‘Pale man’ – Russian dumpling
Imagine you’re sitting in a restaurant in Moscow and want to eat. But how to order? Just say, “pale man.” No matter how odd this sounds, you’ll get the famous meat dumplings because these words sound like the Russian word, “pelmen.” Don’t forget to ask for mayonnaise.
6. ‘My own ass’ - Mayonnaise
Speaking of which… Yes, Russian cuisine can be fattening and full of mayo. To indulge in this ask for ‘pale man’ with ‘my own ass,’ which sounds a lot like the way Russians pronounce “mayonnaise.”
7. ‘Chess knock’ - Garlic
If you want to spice up your dinner with garlic then just say “chess knock,” which sounds a lot like the Russian “chesnook.”
8. ‘Tall chalk’ - Push
On the first glance, this phrase makes no sense, but it sounds in Russian like “tolchok.” This word has two meanings, “push,” or “breakthrough,” depending on the context. Also, “tolchok” is a slang word for “toilet.”
9. ‘True bar’ – The tube
Go to Russia, open a bar and name it ‘Truba.’ It will quickly become a main meeting point for linguistic geeks.
10. ‘Two pizzas’ – Stupid guy
Sure, “pizza” sounds the same in any language, but if you suddenly want “two pizzas,” then your Russian friend might be offended because it sounds a lot like “tupitza,” which means “a stupid guy,” or “idiot.”
11. ‘Our device is Korea’ - Get dressed soon
You’re in a hurry, but your partner can’t decide what to wear? Just tell him or her: “our device is Korea!” and she or he will hear, “odevaysyaskoree.” (We’re not sure whether this one was sponsored by Samsung or not.)
12. ‘Nasty’ – Anastasia
If a Russian woman introduces herself as “nasty,” it doesn’t mean she’s mean, or wants to get down and dirty. Anastasia, or Nastya, is one of the most popular female names in Russia.
13. ‘The chair is warm’ – Evening bell
We bet you’ve heard this old Russian song. The lyrics were adopted by Ivan Kozlov from Thomas Moore’s poem, Those evening bells, and set to music by Alexander Alyabyev in the mid-19th century. The Russian version “vechernyzvon” sounds much like “the chair is warm.”
14. ‘Serve coffee’ – Church
When traveling to Russia, you’ll see a lot of beautiful old churches. The Russian word “tserkov” (church) is easy to learn; just sat, “serve coffee,” without a pause between the words.
15. ‘Nice driver’ – Bless you! or You’re welcome!
Try to say slowly, “ni-cedri-ver.” Was it fine? Na zdorovye!