How People Talk in Moscow and Saint Petersburg

How People Talk in Moscow and Saint Petersburg
11 May 2015

Как говорят в Москве и Петербурге? (kak govoryat v Moskve i Piterburge?) – Moscow and Saint Petersburg are the most important cities in Russia and the most known by foreigners. They are very different indeed in structure, architecture and atmosphere so visitors often favour one or the other.

The two capitals differ also in the way people talk in the streets. However even if there are no Russian dialects there are regional varieties, accent and words, that are typical of Moscow and Petersburg. If you pay attention while you walk on the street you can immediately notice them. So you can tell more or less precisely if some Russians are from Moscow or Saint Petersburg. It’s the same for foreigners who live and study in Russia and are affected by these regional varieties without even noticing sometimes.

Here some of the most common words.

Moscow – Saint Petersburg – (Meaning)

Белый хлеб (belyi chleb)/Батон (Baton) – Булка (Bulka) – (Loaf of bread)

Палатка (Palatka) – Ларек (Larek) – (Kiosk, stall)

Подъезд (Podesd) – Парадное (Paradnoe) – (Main Door)

Бордюр (Bordyur) – Поребрик (Porebrik) – (Side, border, edge)

Батон колбасы (Baton kolbasy) – Палка колбасы – (Palka kolbasy) – (cured sausage/salami)

Проездной (Proezdnoi) – Карточка (Kartochka) – (Season ticket)

Утятница (Utyatnitsa) – Латка (latka) – (baking pan)

Штука (Shutka) – Тонна (Tonna) – (a thousand banknotes)

Шаурма (Shaurma) – Шаверма (Shaverma) – (Kebab)

Бычок (Bychok) – Хабарик(Chabarik)/Oкурок (Okurok) – (cigarette butt)

Кремль (Kreml) – Смольный (Smolny) – (Fortress)

Барсетка (Barcetka) – Думочка (Dumochka) – (Handbag for man)

Мобильник (Mobilnik) – Труба (Truba) – (Mobile phone)

Водолазка (Bodolaska) – Бадлон (Baldon) – (Turtleneck, polo neck sweater)

Булошная (Buloshnaya) – Булочная (Bulochnaya) – (Bakery)

Талон (Talon) – Номерок (Nomerok) – (Ticket with a number correspondent to your turn)

Шпана (Shpana) – Гопники (Gopniki) – (Hooligans)

Свекла (Svekla) – Свёкла (Svyokla) – (Beetroot)

Пончик (Ponchik) – Пышка (Pyshka) – (Doughnut)

Путь (Put) – Платформа (Platforma) – (Platform)

Курица (Kuritsa) – Кура (Kura) – (Chicken)

Крайний (Krainii) – Последний (Poslednii) – (The last one, in a line)

Конешно( Koneshno) – Конечно (Konechno) – (Sure, of course)

Салочки (Salochki) – Пятнашки (Pyatnashki) – (Play tag)

Башня (Bashnya) – Точка (Tochka) – (Tower)

Ластик (Lastik) – Резинка (Resinka) – (Rubber, elastic bend)

Гречка (Grechka) – Греча (Grecha)/Крупа (Krupa) – (Buckwheat)

Женщина (Zhenshchina) – Дама (Dama) – (Lady)

Лавочка (Lavochka) – Скамейка (Skameika) – (Bench)

Do you already use these words? Well, now you know some of them, so when in the street pay attention on how people talk! There’s nothing bad in using this words in the “wrong” city, but people will recognize for sure that you aren’t a local. In addition as everywhere, there are rivalries between the two cities and people can look at you strangely if you speak like a москвич (moskvich) in Saint Petersburg or a петербуржец (peterburgez) in Moscow.

However since Russians like travelling a lot, you can easily get differences and regional varieties in both cities and then, this might be a nice game too!

This post was brought to you by Jessica, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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