The Most Used Russian Words

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The Most Used Russian Words
This lesson will introduce the most used words in Russian in the order that they are most used. This lesson is a vocabulary lesson to help you learn a number of Russian words that you will use almost every day while you are in Russia. Many of these words you will already know from previous lessons. Visit the vocabulary page to see the words in list form.

The examples included in this lesson are quite advanced. You will not understand all of the grammar, there are some concepts that you have not been taught. The main thing is to learn the 100 words in this lesson. From this lesson and onwards we will use more complex examples to help you passively learn more Russian vocabulary. You are not expected to memorise all the new Russian words.

1: И – And
Russian’s most used word is ‘и’ (and). ‘И’ is preceded by comma when it is used as a conjuction to join phrases with different subjects. Here are some examples of it in use.

Кофе с молоком и с сахаром Coffee with milk and sugar.
Московский Кремль и Красная площадь The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square.
Она соединяет Москву и Владивосток It connects Moscow and Vladivostok.
Берите бумагу и пишите. Take some paper and write.
Дети сели на ковер и начали играть. The children sat down on the carpet and began playing.
Он прыгнул в реку и быстро поплыл к острову. He jumped into the river and quickly swam to the island.
Все пели и танцевали. Everyone was singing and dancing.
Озера и горы Шотландии очень красивые. The lakes and mountains of Scotland are very beautiful.
Она подошла к доске, взяла мел и начала писать на доске. She went up to the blackboard, took the chalk and began writing on the blackboard.
When it is used like “и … и” it can mean “both … and”.

Она и красива и умна. She’s both beautiful and clever.
2: В (Во) – In, into, to
‘В’ means ‘in’ when followed by the prepositional case. Refer to lesson 8 for more information). ‘В’ is pronounced as though it is part of the following word. Sometimes this is difficult to say so ‘Во’ is used instead. ‘Во’ usually proceeds words that start with ‘в’ or a group consonants that are difficult to pronounce.

Я живу в Москве. I live in Moscow.
Я работаю в школе. I work at (in) a school.
Вчера мы были в театре. Yesterday we were at the theatre.
Мы собрали в лесу много грибов. We gathered many mushrooms in the forest.
Он прилетел в Лондон сегодня утром. He arrived in London this morning.
В городе было очень жарко и мы решили поехать за город. In town it was very hot, we decided to go to the country.
Позавчера мы были в парке. The day before yesterday we were in the park.

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Russian Spelling Rules

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Russian Spelling Rules
Here are the so called Russian spelling rules. They are just used to make pronounciation of a word clean when soft consonants might make this difficult. Generally, you will notice that the consonants these rules apply to are the consonants that don’t exist in English.

Spelling Rule 1: Ы – И
Never write the letter “Ы” after the letters ‘Г, К, Х, Ж, Ч, Ш, Щ’ instead use “И”

Spelling Rule 2: unstressed O – E
Never write an unstressed “O” after the letters ‘Ж, Ч, Ш, Щ, Ц’ instead use “E”

Spelling Rule 3: Я – А
Never write the letter “Я” after the letters ‘Г, К, Х, Ж, Ч, Ш, Щ, Ц’ instead use “А”

Spelling Rule 4: Ю – У
Never write the letter “Ю” after the letters ‘Г, К, Х, Ж, Ч, Ш, Щ, Ц’ instead use “У”

Consonant Mutation
There are times when the last consonants of words are changed when the word’s ending is changed. Again this is to make them easier to pronounce. When consonant mutation occurs here are the consonant that change.

п – пл
б – бл
ф – фл
в – вл
м – мл
т – ч
к – ч
д – ж
з – ж
г – ж
с – ш
х – ш
ст – щ
ск – щ
Remember that the spelling rules may apply to the vowels that follow.

You will often see consonant mutation take place when conjugating verbs. In particular the 1st person singular, but there are also other times it’s used. Here are a couple of examples.

Видеть – Вижу (see)
Любить – Люблю (love)
Сказать – Скажу (say)

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German Vocabulary

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German Vocabulary

Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the European language family.[citation needed] However, there is a significant amount of loanwords from other languages, in particular from Latin, Greek, Italian, French[77] and most recently English.[78] In the early 19th century, Joachim Heinrich Campe estimated that one fifth of the total German vocabulary was of French or Latin origin.[79]

Latin words were already imported into the predecessor of the German language during the Roman Empire and underwent all the characteristic phonetic changes in German. Their origin is thus no longer recognizable for most speakers (e.g. Pforte, Tafel, Mauer, Käse, Köln from Latin porta, tabula, murus, caseus, Colonia). Borrowing from Latin continued after the fall of the Roman Empire during Christianization, mediated by the church and monasteries. Another important influx of Latin words can be observed during Renaissance humanism. In a scholarly context, the borrowings from Latin have continued until today, in the last few decades often indirectly through borrowings from English. During the 15th to 17th centuries, the influence of Italian was great, leading to many Italian loanwords in the fields of architecture, finance, and music. The influence of the French language in the 17th to 19th centuries resulted in an even greater import of French words. The English influence was already present in the 19th century, but it did not become dominant until the second half of the 20th century.

At the same time, the effectiveness of the German language in forming equivalents for foreign words from its inherited Germanic stem repertory is great.[citation needed] Thus, Notker Labeo was able to translate Aristotelian treatises in pure (Old High) German in the decades after the year 1000. The tradition of loan translation was revitalized in the 18th century, with linguists like Joachim Heinrich Campe, who introduced close to 300 words that are still used in modern German. Even today, there are movements that try to promote the Ersatz (substitution) of foreign words deemed unnecessary with German alternatives.[80] It is claimed that this would also help in spreading modern or scientific notions among the less educated and as well democratise public life.

As in English, there are many pairs of synonyms due to the enrichment of the Germanic vocabulary with loanwords from Latin and Latinized Greek. These words often have different connotations from their Germanic counterparts and are usually perceived as more scholarly.

Historie, historisch – “history, historical”, (Geschichte, geschichtlich)
Humanität, human – “humaneness, humane”, (Menschlichkeit, menschlich)[81]
Millennium – “millennium”, (Jahrtausend)
Perzeption – “perception”, (Wahrnehmung)
Vokabular – “vocabulary”, (Wortschatz)

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German word order

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German word order is generally with the V2 word order restriction and also with the SOV word order restriction for main clauses. For polar questions, exclamations and wishes, the finite verb always has the first position. In subordinate clauses, the verb occurs at the very end.

German requires for a verbal element (main verb or auxiliary verb) to appear second in the sentence. The verb is preceded by the topic of the sentence. The element in focus appears at the end of the sentence. For a sentence without an auxiliary, these are some possibilities:

Der alte Mann gab mir gestern das Buch. (The old man gave me yesterday the book; normal order)
Das Buch gab mir gestern der alte Mann. (The book gave [to] me yesterday the old man)
Das Buch gab der alte Mann mir gestern. (The book gave the old man [to] me yesterday)
Das Buch gab mir der alte Mann gestern. (The book gave [to] me the old man yesterday)
Gestern gab mir der alte Mann das Buch. (Yesterday gave [to] me the old man the book, normal order)
Mir gab der alte Mann das Buch gestern. ([To] me gave the old man the book yesterday (entailing: as for you, it was another date))
The position of a noun in a German sentence has no bearing on its being a subject, an object or another argument. In a declarative sentence in English, if the subject does not occur before the predicate, the sentence could well be misunderstood.

However, German’s flexibile word order allows one to emphasise specific words:

Normal word order:

Der Direktor betrat gestern um 10 Uhr mit einem Schirm in der Hand sein Büro.
The manager entered yesterday at 10 o’clock with an umbrella in the hand his office.
Object in front:

Sein Büro betrat der Direktor gestern um 10 Uhr mit einem Schirm in der Hand.
His office entered the manager yesterday at 10 o’clock with an umbrella in the hand.
The object Sein Büro (his office) is thus highlighted; it could be the topic of the next sentence.

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German dialects

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German dialects

The continental West Germanic dialects

German is a member of the West Germanic language of the Germanic family of languages, which in turn is part of the Indo-European language family. The German dialects are the traditional local varieties; many of them are hardly understandable to someone who knows only standard German, and they have great differences in lexicon, phonology and syntax. If a narrow definition of language based on mutual intelligibility is used, many German dialects are considered to be separate languages (for instance in the Ethnologue). However, such a point of view is unusual in German linguistics.

The German dialect continuum is traditionally divided most broadly into High German and Low German, also called Low Saxon. However, historically, High German dialects and Low Saxon/Low German dialects do not belong to the same language. Nevertheless, in today’s Germany, Low Saxon/Low German is often perceived as a dialectal variation of Standard German on a functional level even by many native speakers. The same phenomenon is found in the eastern Netherlands, as the traditional dialects are not always identified with their Low Saxon/Low German origins, but with Dutch.

The variation among the German dialects is considerable, with often only neighbouring dialects being mutually intelligible. Some dialects are not intelligible to people who know only Standard German. However, all German dialects belong to the dialect continuum of High German and Low Saxon.

Low German
Main article: Low German

The Low German/Low Saxon (yellow) and Low Franconian (orange) dialects
Middle Low German was the lingua franca of the Hanseatic League. It was the predominant language in Northern Germany until the 16th century. In 1534, the Luther Bible was published. The translation is considered to be an important step towards the evolution of the Early New High German. It aimed to be understandable to a broad audience and was based mainly on Central and Upper German varieties. The Early New High German language gained more prestige than Low German and became the language of science and literature. Around the same time, the Hanseatic League, based around northern ports, lost its importance as new trade routes to Asia and the Americas were established, and the most powerful German states of that period were located in Middle and Southern Germany.

The 18th and 19th centuries were marked by mass education in Standard German in schools. Gradually, Low German came to be politically viewed as a mere dialect spoken by the uneducated. Today, Low Saxon can be divided in two groups: Low Saxon varieties with a reasonable Standard German influx[clarification needed] and varieties of Standard German with a Low Saxon influence known as Missingsch. Sometimes, Low Saxon and Low Franconian varieties are grouped together because both are unaffected by the High German consonant shift. However, the proportion of the population who can understand and speak it has decreased continuously since World War II. The largest cities in the Low German area are Hamburg and Dortmund.

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Varieties of Standard German

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Varieties of Standard German

The national and regional standard varieties of German.[74]
In German linguistics, German dialects are distinguished from varieties of standard German. The varieties of standard German refer to the different local varieties of the pluricentric standard German. They differ only slightly in lexicon and phonology. In certain regions, they have replaced the traditional German dialects, especially in Northern Germany.

German Standard German
Austrian Standard German
Swiss Standard German
In the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, mixtures of dialect and standard are very seldom used, and the use of Standard German is largely restricted to the written language, though about 10% of the Swiss residents speak High German (aka Standard German) at home, but mainly due to German immigrants.[75] This situation has been called a medial diglossia. Swiss Standard German is used in the Swiss education system, whereas Austrian Standard German is officially used in the Austrian education system.

A mixture of dialect and standard does not normally occur in Northern Germany either. The traditional varieties there are Low German, whereas Standard German is a High German “variety”. Because their linguistic distance to it is greater, they do not mesh with Standard German the way that High German dialects (such as Bavarian, Swabian, Hessian) can.

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Japanese Phonology

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Japanese phonology

Spoken Japanese
All Japanese vowels are pure—that is, there are no diphthongs, only monophthongs. The only unusual vowel is the high back vowel /ɯ/ About this sound listen (help·info), which is like /u/, but compressed instead of rounded. Japanese has five vowels, and vowel length is phonemic, with each having both a short and a long version. Elongated vowels are usually denoted with a line over the vowel (a macron) in rōmaji, a repeated vowel character in hiragana, or a chōonpu succeeding the vowel in katakana.

Some Japanese consonants have several allophones, which may give the impression of a larger inventory of sounds. However, some of these allophones have since become phonemic. For example, in the Japanese language up to and including the first half of the 20th century, the phonemic sequence /ti/ was palatalized and realized phonetically as [tɕi], approximately chi About this sound listen (help·info); however, now /ti/ and /tɕi/ are distinct, as evidenced by words like tī [tiː] “Western style tea” and chii [tɕii] “social status”.

The “r” of the Japanese language (technically a lateral apical postalveolar flap), is of particular interest, sounding to most English speakers to be something between an “l” and a retroflex “r” depending on its position in a word. The “g” is also notable; unless it starts a sentence, it is pronounced /ŋ/, like the ng in “sing,” in the Kanto prestige dialect and in other eastern dialects.

The syllabic structure and the phonotactics are very simple: the only consonant clusters allowed within a syllable consist of one of a subset of the consonants plus /j/. This type of cluster only occurs in onsets. However, consonant clusters across syllables are allowed as long as the two consonants are a nasal followed by a homorganic consonant. Consonant length (gemination) is also phonemic.

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Japanese Grammar

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Sentence structure
Japanese word order is classified as subject–object–verb. Unlike many Indo-European languages, the only strict rule of word order is that the verb must be placed at the end of a sentence (possibly followed by sentence-end particles). This is because Japanese sentence elements are marked with particles that identify their grammatical functions.

The basic sentence structure is topic–comment. For example, Kochira wa Tanaka-san desu (こちらは田中さんです). kochira (“this”) is the topic of the sentence, indicated by the particle wa. The verb de aru (desu is a contraction of its polite form de arimasu) is a copula, commonly translated as “to be” or “it is” (though there are other verbs that can be translated as “to be”), though technically it holds no meaning and is used to give a sentence ‘politeness’. As a phrase, Tanaka-san desu is the comment. This sentence literally translates to “As for this person, (it) is Mr./Ms. Tanaka.” Thus Japanese, like many other Asian languages, is often called a topic-prominent language, which means it has a strong tendency to indicate the topic separately from the subject, and that the two do not always coincide. The sentence Zō wa hana ga nagai (象は鼻が長い) literally means, “As for elephant(s), (the) nose(s) (is/are) long”. The topic is zō “elephant”, and the subject is hana “nose”.

In Japanese, the subject or object of a sentence need not be stated if it is obvious from context. As a result of this grammatical permissiveness, there is a tendency to gravitate towards brevity; Japanese speakers tend to omit pronouns on the theory they are inferred from the previous sentence, and are therefore understood. In the context of the above example, hana-ga nagai would mean “[their] noses are long,” while nagai by itself would mean “[they] are long.” A single verb can be a complete sentence: Yatta! (やった!)”[I / we / they / etc] did [it]!”. In addition, since adjectives can form the predicate in a Japanese sentence (below), a single adjective can be a complete sentence: Urayamashii! (羨ましい!)”[I’m] jealous [of it]!”.

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The Japanese Alphabet

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Hiragana – ひらがな
The first step to learning the Japanese language is to learn the alphabet. Or, at least, to learn the sounds that exist in the language. There are absolutely no “tones” in Japanese like in many other asian languages and there are only 2 exceptions within the alphabet which will be explained later. The Japanese alphabet does not contain letters but, instead, contains characters and, technically, they are not alphabets but character sets. The characters in the chart below are called Hiragana. Hiragana is the main alphabet or character set for Japanese. Japanese also consists of two other character sets – Kanji (Chinese characters), which we will get into later, and another alphabet/character set, Katakana, which is mainly used for foreign words. Katakana will be covered in Lesson 2. Don’t wait to move on until you have all Hiragana characters memorized – learn them as you continue to go through the other lessons.

There are 5 vowels in Japanese. (a), pronounced “ahh”, (i), pronounced like “e” in “eat”, (u), pronounced like “oo” in “soon”, (e), pronounced like “e” in “elk”, and (o), pronounced “oh”. All Hiragana characters end with one of these vowels, with the exception of (n). The only “consonant” that does not resemble that of English is the Japanese “r”. It is slightly “rolled” as if it were a combination of a “d”, “r”, and “l”.

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What is my name in Japanese?

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What is my name in Japanese?

You might be wondering “what is my name in Japanese?” or “how do I say my name in Japanese?”. If so, this lesson should be able to help. Once you know your name in Japanese, we will also teach you how to introduce yourself in Japanese.

There aren’t direct equivalents of foreign names in Japanese but foreign names can be sounded out using the sounds in the Japanese language creating a “closest pronunciation equivalent”. It doesn’t matter how the name is spelled but only how it is pronounced. Below are a number of common names sounded out in Japanese. Foreign names are written out in Katakana which is covered in Lesson 2. The ー character (called a “bou” ) elongates the vowel sound of the character in front of it. Remember, these are not actual Japanese names. Please don’t name your son “ma-ku” because you love Japan and the name “Mark”.

Note: You may notice certain combinations (such as シェ (she) or ティ (ti)) that aren’t part of the standard Katakana character set. These are special exceptions for foreign names only.

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