Speak Russian in 5 words (3/5): Please and thank you.
How to speak Russian in 5 words (3/5)
If you’re pressed for time and you want to make yourself understood in Russia, here is our basic survival course – Russian in 5 words.
Word 3: Say Please and Thank you in Russian
The third (and fourth) words I choose come as a pair: SPASIBA and PUZHALSTA.
Spasiba means ‘thank you’, and there is no harm in sprinkling it liberally through any conversation with a Russian.
Puzhalsta – the u as in the English up, is a little more tricky. Its basic meaning is ‘please’, to be used when making requests. It does, however, have two other uses.
- First, you say puzhalsta when you are offering something to someone (a sort ‘Here you are’ or ‘Have one of these’).
- Secondly, you should say puzhalsta after someone has said spasiba to you: a kind of ‘not at all’.
All of which can lead to the perfectly respectable Russian exchange of “Puzhalsta – spasiba – puzhalsta.” ‘Here you are – Thanks – You’re welcome’.