Greetings in Russian that You Will Not Find in Textbooks!

Posted on August 10th, 2011

Greetings in RussianJust when you thought you knew how to greet someone in Russian… As it appears, there is more than just “Здравствуйте” to Russian greetings. This is why I thought I would share the most common Russian greetings with you today.

The Most Common Greetings in Russian

Здравствуй [ZDRAST-vooy] – hello
Здравствуйте [ZDRAST-vooy-tye] – hello

“Здравствуйте” is a formal greeting and you would use it when speaking to someone you don’t know very well, or someone whom you would usually address in “вы” in Russian. You can also use “здравствуйте” when addressing multiple people.

If you are speaking with your friends you can say “Привет” to greet them in Russian. There are variations of the “Привет” that are very popular in Russian:

Привет [pree-VYET] hi
Приветик [pree-VYE-teek] this is a diminutive form of “привет” and it means “hi”
Приветики [pree-VYE-tee-kee] also a diminutive form, and also means “hi”

During the different times of the day, you would use different greetings:
Доброе утро [dob-ra-ye OOT-ra] good morning
Добрый день [dob-riy DYEN’] good afternoon
Добрый вечер [dob-reey VYE-chyer] good evening

And this is how you can wish “good night” in Russian:
Доброй ночи [dob-roy NO-chee] good night
Спокойной ночи [spa-KOY-nay NO-chee] good night

Here is a video summarizing the Russian greeting you have learned above:

Simple Conversation Starters in Russian

Now that you know how to say “hi” and “good-bye” in Russian, you are ready to start a conversation. Below are a few most popular conversation starters in Russian:

Как дела? [KAK di-LA] How are you?
Как делишки? [KAK dye-LEESH-kee] How are you?
“Делишки” is a diminutive form of “дела” and is used in informal speech only.

“Как делишки, как детишки?”

You might hear this  question-joke in Russian: “Как делишки, как детишки?” When translated literally it means “How are you? How are your kids?” However, if someone asks you in Russian “Как делишки, как детишки?” it doesn’t mean that they think you have children. It’s just another fun way of asking “how are you?”. Why “детишки” you might think? Because it rhymes with “делишки” in Russian!

Как ты? [KAK tee] is another way to ask “how are you?”
Как поживаешь? [KAK pa-zhee-VA-yesh] How’s life?
Как жизнь молодая? [KAK ZHIZN’ ma-la-DA-ya] How’s young life?
Как настроение?[KAK nas-tra-YE-nee-ye]  How are you feeling?
Literally it means – “are you in a good mood?” Usually, when we ask someone if he or she is in a good mood, we risk to put them in a bad mood with our question…  :-)) So, don’t worry, this question actually means “are you in good spirits?” or “How are you feeling?”

Here are some of the answers to the questions above:
Отлично! [at-LEECH-na] perfect!
Прекрасно! [prik-RAS-na] excellent!
Супер! [SOO-pyer] super!
Замечательно! [za-mi-CHA-tyel’-na] remarkable
Чудесно! [choo-DYES-na] wonderful
Чудненько! [CHOOD-nin’-ka] comes from “” and means “very good”
Превосходно! [pri-vas-HOD-na]
Лучше всех! [LOOCH-she VSEH]  Better than everyone else
Хорошо! [ha-ra-SHO] Good!
Нормально [nar-MAL’-na] Ok
Неплохо [nip-LO-ha] not bad
Всё отлично! [FSYO at-LEECH-na] Everything is fine
Всё хорошо! [FSYO ha-ra-SHO] Everything is fine

Below are a few example conversations to help you to understand how greeting can be used in Russian speech:

Scenario One: Formal Conversation

– Добрый вечер!
– Здравствуйте!
– Как у вас дела?
– Хорошо, спасибо. А у вас?
– Неплохо.
– До свидания, увидимся в субботу!
– До встречи!

Scenario Two: Informal Conversation

– Привет! Как делишки?
– Приветик! Супер. А у тебя?
– Чудненько!
– Ну давай, увидимся!
– Хорошо, пока!

These are all of the greetings I have in store for you today. How do you usually say “Hi” and start a conversation in Russian?  I’d love to hear from you! So, please leave a comment below and share your Russian speaking experience!

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Have fun learning Russian!


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