Here are some quick Russian phrases everyone should know. Write these down, and stick with my transcription of the sounds. Capitalized letters indicate where the emphasis needs to be. You *will* be understood by Russian people if you recite these clearly, and as written....
My name is _____
Min-YA za-VOOT _____ . (Rhymes with "boot".)
What's your name?
Kak vahs za-VOOT?
May I? (Used when gesturing to nearly anything you want or need. For example, if you'd like to sit down and aren't sure if the seat is available, you'd simply ask:
NOTE: Mozhnuh is the most useful word you can learn before going to Russia. Even if you are off on your pronunciation, they will understand you no problem, and it's amazing how much you can accomplish with this one word.)
This one, here. (Spoken as you point to an object you want.)
How much? (Asked as you point to the thing you'd like to buy.)
Write it down, please. (Making a writing gesture, to be certain they understand. You need this phrase as a follow-up to asking the cost.)
Where is____ ?
For example, "Where is the metro?" Would be, "Gih-DYEH mihtro?"
Or, "Where is Nevsky Avenue?" would be, "Gih-DYEH Nevsky Prospekt?"
I want ____, please.
Ya kha-CHU ____, puh-ZHAL-ueesta.
Here's a few things you might want:
Chicken = KOOR-eets-uh
Beer = PEE-vuh
Wine = vee-NOH
Salad = suh-LAHT
Water = vuh-DAH
Ticket = beel-YET
Taxi = tahk-SEE
Do you speak English?
Vwee guh-vuh-REET-yeh puh-on-GLEE-skee?
(This is the best way to ask if a business accepts credit cards. The whole phrase, "Do you accept credit cards?" is unweildy, and why bother? They'll totally understand you're question, especially if you wave your credit card, and will say either...
Yes = Da
No = Nyet
Today = sih-VOHD-nee-ya
Tomorow = ZAHF-truh
Don't be shy in using these phrases! They are utterly common, and extremely useful. Print out this article and bring it with you, or cut-and-paste the phrases into an email, if you're communicating electronically. Either way, put them to work for you. It's ok if you don't understand the answers. Many times, a Russian person will try to answer in English. And remember: They WILL understand you. Just sound these quick Russian phrases out as written. And good luck!