Have you ever thought about how the choice of words when greeting sets the mood for the whole conversation? Hello. Howdy. What’s up. Yo. Aloha. Salute. Do you feel the difference between how these words affect the situations they’re used in? The same concept is true for the Russian language. There are a lot of different greeting words in there and you should try to understand and imagine every situation in which they could be used. That said, here are some Russian greetings for beginners.
1. Russian Greetings for Beginners
There are two basic ways to say “Hello” in Russian.
- Здравствуйте (zdravstvuyte) — This is a formal Russian greeting for “Hello.” If you ask a local: “How do you say ‘Hello’ in Russian?” he’ll teach you this word. Use it when you meet elder people, people you have a great respect for, and people you have the intention to become buddies with.
- Another version of this Russian greeting is Здравствуй (zdravstvuy)—“Hello.” Don’t confuse it with the previous one. This is a much less formal greeting and is usually addressed to younger people or people of the same age, who are not close friends. For example, a teacher could use it to greet a new student in the class.
- Привет (privet)—“Hi” in Russian. If you ask a local: “How do you say ‘Hi’ in Russian?” he’ll most definitely tell you this greeting. This is the most common Russian informal greeting. It’s great to use in every informal situation.
2. Formal Hello in Russian
- Доброе утро (dobroe utro)—this is essentially how to say “Good morning” in Russian. If you ask a local: “How do you say ‘Good morning’ in Russian?” without a doubt, he’ll tell you this translation. It could be used both in formal and informal situations—just as it can be in English. Доброе (dobroe) means “Kind,” so this is sort of like wishing a person to have “a kind morning.” But the meaning is still similar to the English greeting.
- Добрый день (dobryy den`)—“Good day” or “Good afternoon” in Russian translation. This greeting is used mostly in formal situations.
- Добрый вечер (dobryy vecher)—“Good evening” in Russian. This greeting is also used mostly in formal situations.
- Приветствую (privetstvuyu)—“Hello” in Russian. This is between formal and informal when it comes to Russian greetings. Men could address friends with this greeting in order to appear more “manly.” Feel free to use this during friendly gatherings when you take a word and address everyone. For example, “Hello comrade” in Russian is Приветствую вас, товарищи! (Privetstvuyu vas, tovarishchi!).
- Добро пожаловать! (Dobro pozhalovat`!)—“Welcome” in Russian. This is rarely used in everyday life. But it’s often used on TV shows or official events to greet guests. So, if you’re wondering “How do you say ‘Welcome to Russia’ in Russian?” then the answer is Добро пожаловать в Россию! (Dobro pozhalovat` v Rossiyu!).
- Алло (allo)—is the Russian word for “Hello” when answering the phone in Russian in both formal and informal situations. However, if you want to be even more official and respectful—e.g. to a higher-ranked person—use Да, здравствуйте (Da, zdravstvuyte) which means “Yes, hello.”
- Алё (alyo)—“Hello.” This is another way to say Алло (allo) when you answer the phone in Russian, if you’re going for a less formal approach. A lot of people use both of them.
- Але (ale)—“Hello.” This is also an option to answer a phone call. It’s used mostly by young people who want to look original.
- Доброго времени суток (dobrogo vremeni sutok)—“Good time of the day.” This phrase is popular in correspondence situations where the sender doesn’t know when the receiver opens the email and reads it. But be careful, as some people hate this greeting because it feels too original and appears to be just temporal fashion.
3. Informal “Hi” in Russian
- Приветик (privetik); приветики (privetiki)—“Hello” in Russian informal language. These greetings are formed from the basic Привет (privet)—“Hi” and are used by girls when trying to be cute. Guys rarely use them, but when they do they mean to flirt.
- Здорово (zdorovo); здарова (zdarova); здаров (zdarov); здоров (zdorov); даров (darov)—“Hi.” This popular and cool way to greet in Russian is usually used by millennials. You need to already be good friends with the person to say it.
- Дратути (dratuti)—“Hi.” This is an original greeting that comes from Internet memes and chats. This is usually used by computer geeks.
1- Phrasal Informal Greetings
- О, какие люди! (O, kakie lyudi!)—“Oh, that’s you!” This phrase is how Russians greet when they unexpectedly meet one or several friends/family members.
- Сколько лет, сколько зим! (Skol`ko let, skol`ko zim)—“Long time, no see.” Literally, it means “How many winters, how many summers (we haven’t seen each other)” and is used when you haven’t seen a person for a really long time.
- Здравия желаю! (Zdraviya zhelayu!)—“Hello” in Russian formal military style.
- С приездом! (S priezdom!)—“Welcome!” It’s used when the person just arrived somewhere.
- С прилётом! (S prilyotom!)—“Welcome!” This one is used when the person just arrived somewhere by plane.
2- Greetings from Other Languages
- Аллоха (Allokha)—“Aloha.” This is the original way to greet used by modern millennials and young bloggers.
- Салют (Salyut)—“Salute.” This is another original way to say “Hi.”
- Хэллоу (Khellou)—“Hello.” It’s usually used by people who know English and try to look modern and original. There are a lot of other greetings that were taken from the English language and mean the same:
- Хай (Khay)—“Hi” in Russian.
- Хей (Khey)—“Hey” in Russian. So, if you’re wondering how to say “Hey” in Russian, the answer is easy—Хей (Khey).
- Хэлло (Khello)—“Hello” in Russian.
- Хаюшки (Khayushki)—cute form of “Hi” in Russian.
- Йоу (You) —“Yo” in Russian.
3- Russian Greeting Slang Words and Interesting Greetings for Advanced Learners
- Моё почтение (Moyo pochtenie); наше почтение (nashe pochtenie)—“Hello.” This is an old way to say “hello” among high society members. It can be used today to bring in the atmosphere from that time.
- Здрасти-мордасти (Zdrasti-mordasti)—“Hi.” It’s usually used by very old people, and is considered an outdated Russian greeting.
- Мир вам (Mir vam)—“Let the peace be with you.” This greeting is basically used by churchmen and religious people, and also comes from the old times.
- Наше вам почтение (Nashe vam pochtenie)—“We express our respect to you.” This is yet another Russian greeting that comes from old times. Nowadays, it may be used by old people.
- Ку! (Ku!)—“Hi” from the film “Кин-дза-дза!” (kin-dza-dza). This is usually used by people who have watched this film.
- Физкульт-привет! (Fizkul`t-privet!)—“Hi” from the film “Джентльмены удачи” (Dzhentl`meny udachi). This is how Russians greet people who are training. As the film is a Soviet one, this greeting is used mostly by older people.
4. Following Questions
Wanna know how to say “How are you?” in Russian? All these questions may follow the informal greeting, and most of them—except one—have this meaning.
- Как дела? (Kak dela?)—“How are you doing?” in Russian. This is the most common question to start a conversation. This is used by everyone.
- Как ты? (Kak ty?)—“How are you?” This one is another, more personal way to ask Как дела? (Kak dela?).
- Как оно? (Kak ono?)—“How is it? How are you doing?” This Russian greeting is very popular nowadays, especially among millennials.
- Как жизнь? (Kak zhizn`?)—“How is your life?” Essentially, this means the same as Как дела? (Kak dela?) but is used less often by older people.
- Как жизнь молодая? (Kak zhizn` molodaya?)—“How is your young life going?” This is used by older people to the younger generation when they haven’t seen each other for a long time.
- Рад тебя видеть (Rad tebya videt`)—“Glad to see you.” This is one of the more popular Russian greetings between friends, and is typically used to address good friends.
- Как поживаешь? (Kak pozhivayesh’?)—“How are you doing?” This is usually used by older people and mostly in letters and emails.
- Что нового? (Shto novogo?)—“What’s new?” This means the same as Как дела? (Kak dela?) but is less general. Ask it if you want to know what new things happened with the person during the time you were apart.
- Что новенького? (Shto noven`kogo?)—“What’s new?” This is a cuter way of saying Что нового? (Chto novogo?).
- Какие новости? (Kakie novosti?)—“What is the news?” This means the same as Как дела? (Kak dela?) but is used to greet more distant friends.
- Чем занимаешься? (Chem zanimaesh’sya?)—“What are you doing?” in Russian. For the same meaning, you can also use Что делаешь? (Chto delayesh’?).
So, if you wanna say: “Hello. How are you?” in Russian, you can say: Привет. Как ты? (Privet. Kak ty?).
5. Fun Exercise: Check Yourself and Choose the Right Greeting
Read a dialogue between two people and choose a greeting that fits.
1. Лена: _______ Что делаешь вечером? Го гулять. (Lena: ______ Chto delaesh’ vecherom? Go gulyat’.)
Антон: Сорян, занят. Давай завтра? (Anton: Soryan, zanyat. Davay zavtra?)
Лена: Ок. Спишемся тогда. (Lena: Ok. spishemsya togda.)
Choose the right answer:
2. С приездом!
Lena: “_______ Any plans for the evening? Let’s have a walk.”
Anton: “Sorry, busy. Tomorrow?”
Lena: “Sure. Let’s get in touch later then.”
2. Вадим: Здравствуйте. К сожалению, не успеваю выслать дизайн сайта на просмотр сегодня. Если вышлю завтра утром – будет нормально? (Vadim: Zdravstvuyte. K sozhaleniyu, ne uspevayu vyslat` dizayn sayta segodnya. Yesli vyshlyu zavtra utrom – budet normal`no?)
Толя: ________. Да, хорошо. Буду ждать (Tolya: ________. Da, khorosho. Budu zhdat`.)
Вадим: Благодарю. (Vadim: Blagodaryu.)
Choose the right answer:
1. Мир вам.
2. Добрый день.
Vadim: “Hello. Unfortunately, I can’t send you the website design today. Will tomorrow morning be okay?”
Tolya: “________. Sure. Will be waiting for it.”
Vadim: “Thank you.”
So, now you can say “Hi. How are you?” in Russian in many different ways and are able to choose a proper greeting according to the situation. Don’t hesitate to use some of the uncommon greetings that we described above while you’re learning. But in any important situation, just stick to the most regular ones—Привет (Privet) and Здравствуйте (Zdravstvuyte).
Official “Hello” in Russian English spelling could be tricky, as the Russian letter в (v) is quiet, so check Здравствуйте (Zdravstvuyte) several times before sending it to your Russian partner or colleague.
Keep reading RussianPod101 and learn interesting Russian words and expressions that you can start using right away. For example, learn how to say “Good night” in Russian or how to say “Goodbye” in Russian translation in our next articles!
For now, keep practicing these Russian greetings and introductions so that you can be a pro in no time! We hope this Russian greeting guide has helped you to learn all about Russian greetings. Best of luck with your continued learning!