Let’s Talk About Phones

Posted on November 4th, 2012

Phone vocabulary in RussianI have a question for you! Have you ever freaked out because you forgot your cell phone at home? I sure have!

The minute you realize you forgot your precious handset on the night stand, you get this weird feeling that you are missing something. Something very essential and crucial. Of course, one of the reasons is that our modern cell phones are our clock/calendar/notepad/messenger/camera/connection to the Internet/GPS navigator/other cool apps and tools/phone. They allow us to check our emails, use social networks, take pictures, find places, text, take notes for later, have a nice friendly chat with Siri, and, of course, make phone calls… Seriously, how did our ancestors live without cell phones?

In today’s lesson we will talk about phones. Let’s start with a few key phone terms in Russian:

Мобильный телефон [ma-BEEL’-niy tye-lye-FON] mobile/cell phone
Mobile or cell phone in Russian is also:
Мобилка [ma-BEEL-ka] spoken Russian for mobile, cell
Мобила [ma-BEE-la] spoken Russian for mobile, cell

Дисплей [dees-PLEY] display
Кнопка [KNO-pka] button
Нажимать [na-zhee-MAT’] cpress, push
Номер телефона [NO-myer tye-lye-FO-na] phone number

You can also use just “номер” for the “phone number”
For example:
– Я тебе позвоню попозже. Какой у тебя номер?

Набирать номер [na-bee-RAT’ NO-myer] dial a number

You can also use “набирать” without “номер”, for example:
– Я тебя попозже набeру. (I’ll call you later)

Звонить [zva-NEET’] call
Звякнуть [ZVYAK-noot’] very informal, spoken Russian for “call”, for example:
– Я тебе звякну попозже.

Контакты [kan-TAK-ti] contacts

Now, this word below could mean either “text message”, a “voicemail”, or just a “message” in a phone conversation:
Сообщение [sa-ap-SHCHYE-nee-ye] text message, voicemail

You can spot the difference in meaning by looking the verb used with word “сообщение”:
Посылать [pa-si-LAT’] сообщение = send a text message
Отправлять [at-prav-LYAT’] сообщение = send a text message
Оставлять [as-tav-LYAT’] сообщение = leave a voicemail, leave a message for someone

For example:
Я только что отправил тебе сообщение.
I just sent you a text message.

Я только, что оставил тебе сообщение (на автоответчике).
I just left you a voicemail (on your answering machine)

Other words you can use for a “text message” are (they are very informal):
Sms [e-se-MES] text message
Эсэмэс [e-se-MES] text message
Эсэмэска [e-se-MES-ka] text message

Аппликация [ap-lee-KA-tsee-ya] app, application
Электронная почта [e-leek-TRO-na-ya POCH-ta] email
Электронка [e-lyek-TRON-ka] email
Мыло [MI-la] literally word “Мыло” means “soap”, but in Russian slang it’s also used as “email”. ( Learn Russian computer slang. )
Проверять почту [pra-vee-RYAT’ POCH-too] check emails
Посылать по почте [pa-si-LAT’ pa POCH-tye] send by email, it also means to send by mail (snail mail)

Навороченный [na-va-RO-chye-niy] it’s a Russian slang word for “sophisticated” or “fancy”
Функция [FOON-ktsee-ya] feature
У Маши навороченный телефон. В нём столько функций!
Masha has a very fancy phone. It has so many features!

Автоответчик [af-ta-at-VYET-cheek] answering machine

Связь [SVYAS’] connection
Хорошая связь = good connection
Плохая связь = bad connection
Есть связь = to have connection
Нет связи = no connection
For example:
Здесь нет связи.
There is no connection here.

Смартфон [SMART-fon] smartphone
Разговаривать по телефону [raz-ga-VA-ree-vat’ pa tye-lee-FO-noo] talk on the phone
Висеть на телефоне [vee-SYET’ na tye-lye-FO-nye] this is informal for “talk on the phone”

Аккумулятор [a-koo-moo-LYA-tar] phone battery

You can also call your phone battery:
Батарейка [ba-ta-RYEY-ka] battery
Here is a great spoken expression that you will hear often in Russian:
Батарейка села на телефоне = my phone died

Заряжать телефон [za-rya-ZHAT’ tye-lye-FON] charge a phone
На сколько тебе зарядки хватает? = how long does your cell phone battery last?

Тарифный план [ta-REEF-niy PLAN] cell phone plan

Мне нужно позвонить (кому-то) = I need to call someone

Let’s have a look at a few examples of conversations using the words above:

– Привет, ты моё сообщение получила?
– Привет. Какое сообщение?
– Я тебе час назад эсэмэску отправил.
– Сейчас проверю, подожди. У меня батарейка на телефоне садится, я его выключила, и пропустила твоё сообщение.

– У тебя такой навароченный смартфон!
– Спасибо. Это – айфон. Смотри, в нём столько функций! Я могу на нём и электронку проверять, и в интернет выходить. Вот моя любимая аппликация. Я постоянно ей пользуюсь.
– Круто! И я такой хочу!

– Подожди, дай мне звякнуть Маринке. Может, она согласится с нами пойти.
– Хорошо.
– Что-то я не могу найти её номер в контактах. У тебя случайно его нет?
– Есть! Запиши – 222 2222.
– Спасибо.

This is all of the vocabulary I wanted to share with you today. And now, a little something funny I found online. While doing some research on YouTube, I’ve come across this funny episode of Вечерний Квартал 95. I was laughing to tears watching it, it really made my day. Hope it will make yours too! Don’t worry if you cannot understand everything at first. Keep listening again and again – it’s a good Russian language listening exercise.

Tomorrow, I’ll share useful phone conversation expressions with you and will invite you to participate in a little contest. Stay tuned! In the meantime don’t forget to sign up for Russian4real newsletter, and subscribe to Russian4real YouTube Channel to not miss a single free Russian language video lesson!

Have fun learning Russian!


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