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Submitted on
February 7, 2011
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APH: Learning Russian Part 0 by TarasTompkin APH: Learning Russian Part 0 by TarasTompkin
This is for all of you Hetalia fans who want to learn Russian (and see some derptastic doodles of mine).

Next Lesson

Straight up, it's not an easy second language to learn. We've got it batshit insane when it comes to doing anything with nouns, tenses, formality, and gender- stuff that even Google Translator can't possibly cope with.

I think it's totally awesome when you people use Russian in fanfictions and fanart, so I hope that you guys enjoy some basic lessons in saying stuff.


This is part 0, because I believe that reading Cyrillic is kind of essential. I'll still provide Romanized pronunciations of things in subsequent tutorials, though, because anyone who tells you that Russian is pronounced exactly as it's read is probably messing with you.

NEXT: Addressing People, Greetings, Formality and Informality [probably]

EDIT: Oh my god. Did you guys spot my lack of English grammar there? I swear, after 11 years of using this language... *fixed magically*
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northsaare Nov 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
If there was a consonant with a "y" sound pronounced after it, would you put the soft sign before or after the consonant?
lol there is a letter of that is said yo xD
just compare Russian to Arabic -.-"
i'v always wanted to know about the Russian language and learn a few words besides 'Da' and 'kolkolkol'
adlez-vaatixmidna Apr 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
((I-I'm going back to my online Japanese lessons...))
Cocytus-cave Jun 30, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm trying to teach my self Russian the best I can. It's hard and these tips are more then I could of asked for. If there is anything else that would be out of the scope of a French/English speaker tell me. Please, this was a an honor to read.

I speak French so I'm used to ridiculously conjured words and words that explain if a word where to mean a female form or an English at random (although may you explain this 'batshit insane' part). Is Russian like this? Do they use the words I, me, they, we, he, she? Or is it understood beforehand? What is the sentence structure? Oh, I'm over my head and I've only started to set this ludicrous goal yesterday. Next year I'm supposed to (against my will) learn Spanish, so I decided if I'm going to learn a language, make Spanish my forth because I darn right will learn something I want first!

Russian is something I've always looked over as impossible, that's why I'm trying. An extreme sport for the mind and something I've come to appreciate greatly.
Oh my goodness, you have no idea how much your long comment excites me! :"D I am a nerd when it comes to discussing language matters...

First off, the batshit insane part refers to the amount of rules there are for properly conjugating verbs, where you need to take gender into account in a way you don't in most languages, but only in specific tenses. Then there are these bizarre outliers, like "I am."

There is a word for "am" in Russian, but it's never used, so there really is no phrase that translates to "I am". Instead, all you have is the word for "I", which you then apply to the proper adjective. "I am joyful" becomes "Ya rad", which is literally just "I joyful." I'll cover more of that if/when I get around to making the tutorial for the verb 'to be'.

We do use I/me/they/etc. sometimes, but not always, and sometimes they are necessary and sometimes they aren't. Because Russian conjugates verbs for every single pronoun and every single tense in their own special way, you can avoid using them. But they can usually be omitted and the sentence will still make sense.

The sentence structure is pretty fluid, actually. You can rearrange a sentence several ways and still have it make sense. For example: "The cat ate the fish" can be written as:

"Kot s'yel ruibu." - The cat ate the fish, or
"Kot ruibu s'yel." - The cat [the fish] ate, or
"Ruibu kot s'yel." - The fish the cat ate, or
"Ruibu s'yel kot." - [The fish] ate the cat

They all mean the same thing, and none of them actually mean "The fish was eaten by the cat", which would be "Ruiba buila s'yedena kotom."

As for tips, this may sound bizarre but Spanish is actually very helpful with Russian, and vice versa! Both languages have the soft and the rolling r's, and some grammar rules are easier to explain in the context of Spanish than in English.

For example: the phrase "I like." Neither Russian nor Spanish use a phrase that literally means "I like." Russian uses "Mne nravitsa" and Spanish uses "Me gusta," which are grammatically identical to each other. Their literal meaning is very hard to understand in English, but the closest thing that makes sense is "To me it is enjoyable."

I hope that clears some things up! If you have any more questions, ask away.
Cocytus-cave Jul 1, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've never had so much help from a stranger in my life! Merci, merci merci!

The very fact that Russian will help Spanish and Spanish will help Russian is ILLIMUNATING, it's marvelous maxumus.

In French we conjugate verbs to their time (if you hear someone say how fun French grammar, mostly verbs, is there's bound to be glares through the room). Like the verb 'être' (to be) in first person singular:

Said in the present- Je suis (I am)
In the past- J'ai été (I have been)
Imperfect- J'étais (I was)
More-then-perfect- J'avais été (I had been)
Imeratif present- soyons (let's be)
Simple past- Je fus (I was) *this ones weird and is used only in literature because it sounds like old French.*

And so on, this is only one verb you have to memorise completely by memory and only the 'me' not any of the others that come after it--- Je, Tu, il/elle, nous, vous, elles/ils (I, you, him/her, us, them, her and him [more then one of them, so with an 's' like saying those hims and hers. If it's a group of people you would say 'ils' even if theirs girls in the group].

French also is usually a little longer to say then English so if the sentance is

I want to learn a diffrent language.


Je veux apprendre une nouvelle langue.

(notice that for some reason the word language is feminine even if it doesn't make sense to be. When you say in English 'a ghost' it's 'un fantôme' in French, making the 'un' masculin and the 'une' feminine. Even if the ghost is a female it's 'un' fantôme. I'm starting to notice just how weird the french languge is. But by ear you know if something doesn't make sense, that's what other languages have a hard time with because they can't always make out the diffrence because their is no cuse. You just have to know it.

Is Russian more complicated?

The 'am' part makes sense about what my dad was trying to explain to me, only he couldn't quite remember what was the word that Russian left out.

Omitting words from a sentance like that is really great (I mean French puts too many words to explain a situation compared to English. It's like they enjoy the fact that they are able to stick un-useful explanations. It must of made sense at some point in history but now it just complicates things).

Spanish and French 'r' rolls are similar except it depends on the person. I can roll my "r's" in two diffrent ways and they sound nearly exackly the same. One on the tip of my tongue and one in the back of my throat. I usually use the latter.

Now that I think about it, French uses 'J'aime' which is 'I like' except it's also 'I love'. It's not easily explained because I've never really looked into it diffrenetly. Again, a knee jerk reaction.
I'm glad you're finding this helpful. :D /rants on about linguistics

Russian is the same way as French, Spanish, and other languages when it comes to giving objects gender. Most objects are male or female, but there are a few words that are gender-neutral. Usually if it ends with the letter "a" in Russian, it's feminine and if it ends with a consonant, it's masculine. If it ends with "o" or "e", it's neutral. that I think of it, this is probably how I'm going to phrase that tutorial when I finally get back to making it.

Spoiler alert! :D We also don't have a word for "the", "a" or "an", so sentences can be pretty succinct. Hence, why people make fun of how simplistic Russian-speakers sound when they try to speak English.

Yup, with Russian you have to roll your R's with the tip of your tongue. It comes easier to some people than others. Actually, my parents used to tease me about "saying my R's like a French person" because it took me so long to learn how to properly roll them.

There are some other pronunciation quirks in Russian, like the letter H (written like an X). In English, you sort of exhale softly to say H. In Russian, it sounds more like you're coughing up phlegm. You also have to get used to pronouncing hard consonants one after the other.

It's funny that you mentioned "I like" versus "I loved," I'd been thinking about that earlier. I already mentioned that the phrase for "I like" in Russian literally means "To me it is pleasing," And yet, the phrase for "I love" is literally just what it says. No explanation is given for the reasons behind this. XD
Wildqueenofspirals Mar 10, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Awesome! :D I like the way Cyrilic looks, all mystical and runic. :) I hope I can get the hang of this. Learning Russian looks like a lot of work but it'd be so cool to know. :heart:
NiaNook33 Feb 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This answers a few confusions I had on the language :3 Love it~
=w= I've gotten a head start on the next one~ and then I think I want to get into the good stuff. I'll probably start off with terms of endearment (excuse for gratutious Russia/Lithuania shipping, da?).

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