What’s the first word you use to start a conversation? It’s “hello,” of course. That’s why it’s important to learn how to say hello in Russian. In fact, the more greetings you know, the better. Knowledge of common greetings will help you choose the one that suits a situation. Let’s get started.
To achieve fluency in the Russian language, learn it with a teacher.
“Здравствуйте” (Zdravstvuite): “Hello”
The word “здравствуйте” (zdravstvuite) is universal. You can use it in nearly all situations—when you meet a person for the first time, when you go shopping, when you visit a doctor, etc.
The English translation of the word “здравствуйте” (zdravstvuite) is “hello.” Unlike in English, you don’t say “здравствуйте” (zdravstvuite) to your friends, because this word is quite formal. The literal meaning of “здравствуйте” (zdravstvuite) is “I wish you health.”
There’s also a form of this word that you can use when you meet a person you already know. “Здравствуй” (zdravstvui) is an informal but respectful greeting.
“Привет” (Privet): “Hi”
“Привет” (privet) is another common greeting in Russian that can be heard everywhere. Use it while talking to friends or peers. This is an informal greeting, and the English translation of “привет” (privet) is “hi.”
“Доброе утро” (Dobroe utro): “Good morning”
The phrase “доброе утро” (dobroe utro) means “good morning” and can be used only until 12 p.m. It’s widely used in both formal and informal situations.
“Добрый день” (Dobryi den’): “Good afternoon”
Russians say “добрый день” (dobryi den’) to each other during the day (till 6 p.m.). This is another example of formal greetings in Russian, so don’t say it to your friends. It would sound awkward. This can be translated into English as “good afternoon.”
“Добрый вечер” (Dobryi vecher): “Good evening”
Say “добрый вечер” (dobryi vecher) when you meet a person in the evening in a formal situation. The English counterpart of “добрый вечер” (dobryi vecher) is “good evening.”
You can use the word “здравствуйте” (zdravstvuite) instead of “доброе утро” (dobroe utro), “добрый день” (dobryi den’), and “добрый вечер” (dobryi vecher). Practice pronouncing these words and phrases, and pick the one that’s easier to cope with.
“Здарова” (Zdarova): “Hey”
The word “здарова” (zdarova) is a slang word, which is typically used by young people and men. It can be translated into English as “hey” or “what’s up?”
“Алло” (Allo): “Hello”
The word “алло” (allo), sometimes “алё” (alyo), is used only while answering the phone.
These are the common greetings Russians use in everyday life. Try to remember at least one formal and one informal way of saying hello. To learn more greetings, study Russian online.