Da, Nyet, and Spasibo

I did a lot of research prior to my trip to Paris several years ago, and the overwhelming theme was that the French would treat you a lot better if you made an attempt to speak their language. Having spent time living in Puerto Rico, I observed that everyone there spoke both Spanish and English. I know that fluency in English—or some other second language—is common throughout the world, so knowing that the command of a second language is not the norm in the United States is embarrassing.

While Spanish is spoken as a second language more frequently than any other language in this country, I would like to suggest that now is the time for our citizens to consider learning to speak Russian—just in case we become a Russian colony or you want to boost your resume for employment in the Intelligence job market.

Thanks to my father, I already got a head start as a child. Sadly, I know just a few words and phrases, but I am certain that what I learned as a little girl places me at a distinct advantage over most Americans. I would like to share what I learned so many years ago.

  • Hello                                                    Zdrvstvuyte (zdrah-stvooy-tyeh)
  • Good Night                                        Spokoynoy nochi   (Spah-koy-nay-noh-chee)
  • Goodbye                                             Do Svidanya (Do-svi-don-ya)
  • I love you                                            Ya lyublyu tebya (Ya loo-bloo te-bya)
  • I want to eat                                       Ya khochu kushat (Ya-ha-choo-koo-shat)
  • Tea                                                       Chai
  • Milk                                                     Moloko (Mol-uh-kaw)
  • I want to go for a walk                     Ya khachu gulyat (Ya-ha-choo-gool-yat)
  • Good                                                    khorosho (hah-rah-shoh)
  • Thank you                                           Spasibo (Spa-see-bah)
  • Yes                                                        Da
  • No                                                         Nyet

So once you learn these few words and phrases, which will become useful if we become a Putin colony or you decide to seek employment in the espionage world, you know enough to survive. You can won’t be dehydrated because you can ask for milk and tea. You can ask express your desire for food (Ya khochu kushat), and then give that meal a positive review (khorosho). You can go outside for some fresh air (Ya khachu gulyat), participate in a meet and greet (Zdrvstvuyte/do Svidanya), and express your feelings to your true love (Ya lyublyu tebya) before kissing them Spokoynoy nochi.

It’s just the beginning, but with a little work, you are all set. Thanks Dad.


About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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2 Responses to Da, Nyet, and Spasibo

  1. Being a Brit and loving a nice cup of tea I was interested to see the Russian for tea is chai. I can remember my Mum often saying ‘Shall we have a nice cup of chaay’ She told me it was the Indian word for tea and she had grown up hearing it in her home because her grandfather had served in the British Army in India and his children, including my Mum’s Mum routinely used various Indian words in every day life. I am guessing the root of the word for both the Russian and Indian versions probably traces back to China originally. Fascinating stuff! Now off to put the kettle on 😊

  2. kjw616 says:

    Etymology is fascinating. Now, I know not to ask for a cup of chai tea. That’s like saying “tea tea.”

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