Pretending to be Russian

Pretending to be Russian
10 January 2017

Living in Saint-Petersburg as a Dutch student is in my opinion more fun when you try to act like Russian people. In this way you can pretend to be Russian. In the following situations I tested this.

Enjoy you meal! – prijátnovo appetíta!

Saying prijátnovo to say ‘enjoy your meal’ instead of prijátnovo appetíta.  The difference between the two lies in the fact that the first one is a shorter way to say enjoy your meal.  The second one, is the way we as students have learned it. This is similar to saying just ‘morning’ instead of ‘good morning’. It took me a few days in a hostel, to learn that most of the Russian youngsters say prijátnovo when they see someone is going to have dinner. Two weeks later, after I moved to another, less crowded hostel, I said prijátnovo to one of my new roommates to see what would happen. She was amazed by the way I said enjoy your meal, because apparently only Russians say it in this way. So if you want to impress your Russian roommates, use prijátnovo.

The magic of a good phonetic no – nyet

Every time I go to a supermarket in Saint-Petersburg for shopping, the same conversation takes place. The following happens at the cash desk. The cashier asks me whether I want a plastic bag. I answer nyet. Then she asks me if I have a customer card. I again answer nyet. She subsequently asks me whether I would like to have a customer card. I answer nyet. So far so good, I come across as a Russian youngster. But one day a cashier asked me ­– we just had our usual nyet conversation –  whether I would like to come to their special discount Saturday. I did not understand what he was saying, so I asked. He slightly surprised answered that, because I answered nyet to all his questions so quickly and stoically, he thought I was Russian. So keep in mind that, no matter what your level of Russian language is, a good phonetic nyet will do the job.

Written by Luuk Winkelmolen, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Saint-Petersburg




Posted by Luuk Winkelmolen

Hello, my name is Luuk Winkelmolen. I am a Dutch Human Geography student from Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. I am currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Language Centre in Saint-Petersburg. Some years ago I started to get interested in Russian history and culture, and after that I started to get familiar with the Russian language. In 2015 I studied Russian at the Dutch Institute in Saint-Petersburg. This was the first time I actually lived and studied in Russia. This was a great experience, so I decided to return to Russia and especially to the city of Saint-Petersburg, in order to live there again for a few months and to feel myself a little bit Russian again.

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