Hello in Russian
How many ways can you say "hello" in Russian? After this lesson you’ll know more than just a simple привет!
Listen to the audio and follow the pronunciation. And don't be shy - go ahead and practice each Russian word aloud!
The most common way to greet anyone in Russian is Здравствуйте (zdrastvuite). It is safe to use in all occasions and addressing all people. The origin of this greeting goes back to the verb ‘to be healthy and well’. So, by saying Здравствуйте! (zdrastvuite) to people you do not just greet them but also wish them to be healthy and well!
Depending on the time of the day people might also say Доброе утро (dobrae ootra) in the morning, Добрый день (dobryi den’) during the day, or Добрый вечер (dobryi vechir) in the evening.
Привет! (privet) is a well-known phrase for greeting a friend, but Russians might also use Здравствуй! (zdrastvui), which is a shorter and informal version of Здравствуйте, or even Здорово! (zdarova) - a greeting normally used between male friends.
Shaking hands is only common between people who know each other very well or during very formal occasions. Kissing on the cheeks or hugging is not customary and is reserved for your close family. (The former Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev was often seen in the media kissing and hugging, but even Russian people used to make jokes about it because it was so unusual – we strongly advise against this practice!)
Pronouncing Hello in Russian
Спокойной ночи is only said when people are going to bed. It means ‘have a quiet night’ or ‘sleep well’. It is not used as a general greeting like the English ‘Good night!’ when parting after a night out.
Saying Hello in Russian
Using different greetings will make you sound more fluent, so try to remember as many as you can. That’s it for today’s lesson.