Russian Vocabulary and Phrases

Russian Vocabulary and Phrases

Russian Phrases

The symbol [‘] denotes stress on that syllable. Knowing where stress should lie makes words much easier to pronounce.


[u] = “oo” sound as in boot              [i] = “ee” sound as in see

[ai] = “i” as in “hi”                             [ui] = as in weed (or French “pfui”)

[“]  = “softens” preceding consonant. It helps to smile as you pronounce it.


English –                                              Transliteration 

  • Hello                                               Zdravst’vuitye
  • Hi                                                    Pree’vyet
  • Goodbye                                        Do’svedan’ya
  • Good morning                               Do’broe U’tro
  • Good afternoon                            Do’bryi Den
  • Good evening                                Do’bryi Ve’cher
  • Thank you                                      Spasee’ba
  • You’re welcome                             Pozhal’uysta
  • How are you?                                Kak dela’
  • Good                                               Horosho’
  • May I?                                             Mozh’no
  • I am from California.                     Ya iz Kalifor’nii
  • Yes                                                 Da
  • No                                             Nyet
  • This, This is                                     E’to
  • Peace                                              Mir
  • Friendship                                      Druzh’ba
  • My friend                                         Moi drug (male), Moya’ podrug’a (female)
  • Happy Birthday!                             S dnom rozhden’ia
  • Bless You!                                        Bud’zdorov’
  • One, two, three, four                      Adin’, dva, tri, chetyr’e
  • Five, six, seven                                 Pyat, shyest” syehm”
  • Eight, nine, ten                                 Vosyem”, dyehvyat”, dyehsyat
  • Mature woman/grandmother       Ba’bushka
  • Mouse                                       Mysh’ka
  • Pen                                           Rooch’ ka
  • Ear                                            U’kho
  • Pancakes           Blee nee’
  • Soup with beets     Borscht
  • Potatoes         Kar tosh’ka
  • Milk              Moloko’
  • Rice                Ris
  • Soup: cabbage, potatoes, meat      Shchee
  • Water          Voda’
  • Breakfast            Zav’trak
  • Lunch           Obyed’
  • Evening meal   Oo’zhen
  • Rice              Ris
  • Soup             Soup  (sounds the same)
  • Coffee         Kof’ee
  • Wine              Veeno’
  • Beer             Peev’a
  • Salt           Sol
  • Pepper                         Per’yets
  • Sugar           Sa’khar (k is soft sound)   
  • Sandwich            Booter brod’ (from German butter on bread)
  • Bread          Hleb
  • Meat           Mya’so
  • Fish             Reeb’a
  • Juice        Sok
  • Tea                         Chai (i is a long sound)
  • Cake            Tort


Phrases by situation 

  • Very Pleased                                O’chen Priyat’no
  • Thank you very much                    Bolsho’ye Spasee’bo
  • I don’t understand                          Ya ne pohnima’yu


  • To peace!                                      Zah mir’!
  • To health!                                       Na zdor ovi’e
  • To peace and friendship!             Zah mir’ i druzh’bu
  • Live in Peace and Harmony        Budem Zhit Mir’no


Key Question words 

  • Where?                                           Gdye’?
  • What?                                             Chto?
  • Who?                                              Kto



  • I am an American                          Ya amerikan’yets
  • And I am a Russian                       A ya rus’skii
  • What is your name?                      Kak vass zohvut’?
  • My name is Mary                           Myenya’ zohvut’ Mer’i
  • This is my friend, John                  Eto moi droog, John
  • Please come                                   Poidyem’tye pozhal’uista
  • We’ll shoot the cannon                 Mui vui’strelim iz pu’shki
  • This is a Charleyville musket        Eto mushket’ Char ‘livill
  • That is a cannon                            Eto poosh’ka
  • The Russians lived here               Zdyes jhi’li russ’kiye tri’dtsat lyet

for thirty years                         

  • Here they hunted                           Zdyes oni’ okhot’ilis

   sea otters                                         na mor’skuu vy’dru (sea otter – mor’skaya vy’dra)

  • I came here from Alaska               Ya priex’al suda’ iz Alya’ski
  • What’s for dinner?                         Shto na u’zhin?
  • When do we eat?                          Kogda’ mi bu’dem est’


Russian American Company Vocabulary –

  • Albion, New Albion – Term used by Russians to refer to Northern California
  • Americans – When used by Russians, refers to American natives
  • Arroba –  Spanish measure, equivalent to 1/4 quintal, 25.3 pounds
  • Artel’ – Russian. A party of men organized under a leader on cooperative lines for work, hunting,    harvesting, fishing, etc
  • Arshin – Russian linear measure, 28 inches
  • Ba’bushka – older woman or grandmother
  • Baidara –  A large boat
  • Baidarka – A kayak. Smaller than a baidara, enclosed, with open hatches for one, two or three persons. The Russian American Company  generally used the two-hatch baidarka for hunting, and the three-hatch for transport and exploration. Both are very light and maneuverable craft, easily righted if overturned, propelled with paddles
  • Baidarshchik – Has various meanings, baidara construction supervisors, baidara crew overseer, baidara crew, steersman or owner
  • Borscht – soup with beets
  • Charka – Glassful, cupful. 10 charka = 2.16 pints
  • Chernozem – Black soil
  • Chervonets – Russian currency; a 10-ruble banknote or gold piece
  • Chetvert’ – Russian measure for dry goods; one chetvert of wheat equalled 49 pounds
  • Chief Manager – In Russian, glavnyi pravi’tel
  • Condorina – Spanish; small gold coin
  • Creole – Term used by Russians to refer to a person of mixed Russian and native blood. They were often educated, trained and employed by the Russian American Company in various capacities
  • Doro’ga – road
  • Desiatina – Russian land measure, 2.7 acres
  • Fanega – Spanish grain measure,  0.9 pound; 0.41 kilogram
  • Funt – Russian measure, 0.9 pound, 0.41 kilogram
  • Governing Board – In Russian, glavnoe pravlenie
  • Iukola – Siberian term for dried fish, generally salmon, used as a staple in the diet
  • Kaiur – A native worker hired or drafted for service by the Russians
  • Kalga – Kolosh (Tlingit) term for slave
  • Kamleik’a – A circular waterproof garment made of cured sea mammal gut. Worn in cold or rainy weather, and when hunting at sea. Worn alone or over other garments
  • Kartosh’ka – potatoes
  • Kazhim – Communal living quarters; men’s barracks for Aleuts, Eskimos or Indians
  • Kekur – Siberian term for a cliff or headland jutting out into the sea; in Alaska, a perpendicular cliff just off shore
  • Kolosh – Russian term for Tlingit Indians
  • Kopeika – 1/100 ruble; about 1/2 cent U.S. in 19th century
  • Kot – (with a long ‘o’) Male cat
  • Kosh’ka – Female cat
  • Lavtak – Cured and processed seal or walrus hide, used to make baidaras and baidarkas
  • Malako’ – Milk 
  • Mar’ki – Russian colonial currency, scrip
  • Mednovtsi – Russian term for Copper River Indians
  • Mor’skaya Vy’dra – Sea Otter
  • Office Administrator – In Russian, pravitel kontory
  • P.A.K. – Rossiisko-Amerikanskaia Komoaniia (Russian American Company) R.A.C.)
  • Phratry – Clan divisions, also the animal or other sign under which such a clan is recognized, such as wolf phrarty, raven phrarty, etc. Here applied to Kolosh
  • Platok’ – cloth worn on a woman’s head, tied under the chin
  • Prika’shchik – In medieval Russian, Muscovy and later in Siberia, an official of the prikaz, i.e., administrative department. In Alaska, a special agent employed by the Russian American Company, or the supercargo on a ship
  • Promysh’lennik – Russian term for fur trapper and trader, especially in Siberia and subsequently in Russia’s American colonies
  • Pud – Russian measure of weight, 36.11 pounds; 16.38 kilograms
  • Quintal – Spanish measure, four arrobas, 101.2 pounds
  • Russian-American Company. – Rossiiski-Amerikanskaia Kompaniia
  • Real – Spanish coin, silver
  • Reaumur thermometer – A thermometer used in the 18th century; 80 degrees indicates the freezing point of water and 80 degrees the boiling point
  • Rovduga – Siberian term for a reindeer hide used for barter. See zamshcha
  • Ruble – Russian coin or banknote. In the early 19th century, one ruble equalled U.S. $0.50
  • Santim – Centime
  • Saran’a – The Kamchatka lily bulb, used for food
  • Sazhen – Russian linear measure, 7 feet, 2.13 meters
  • Shchee – a soup made of cabbage, potatoes, and meat
  • Sitka – In the context of this book, refers to the island then known as Sitka, presently named Baranov Island
  • Toion – A Yakut word meaning “leader.” The Russians applied the term to Siberian tribal elders of large Koriak, Chukchee and Kamchadal tribes, and similarly to Aleuts and American Indians. The word is not native to any of these peoples
  • Tolkushka – Food prepared by natives of Siberia and Alaska consisting of dried meat or fish, fat and dried berries or roots; pemmican
  • Voda’ – water
  • Vara – Spanish measure, 33 inches
  • Vedro’ – Russian liquid or grain measure
  • Vershok – Russian measure, 1.75 inches
  • Zima’ – winter