Learn Russian via reading signs

On this page we’ll learn to read Russian signs. We’ll start with the Russian language…literally.

Russian language

русский язык = (the) Russian language and is sounded as “Roo-ski Ye-zeek.”

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Now, more signs:

Марио кафе (Cafe Mario)

According to the sign, the Марио кафе (M-a-r-i-o K-a-f-e, or Cafe Mario) serves стейки, Пицца, суши. That would be…

стейки: s-t-e-i-k-i(s) or in English, steaks.
Пицца: p-i-ts-ts-a or in English, pizza.
суши: S-u-sh-i, sushi.

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Moscow Metro (underground subway system)

Many large cities in Russia have underground subway systems called the метро or M-e-t-r-o. This is the logo of the Moscow Metro and anytime you see this on a sign or building, you’ll know that the entrance to the Metro is at that location.

There are many signs inside the Metro system. This one is inside the Kievskaya station and the middle line with black letters tells you that the Kievskaya Russian railway station can be accessed by exiting to the right.

The bottom sections of the sign point to the brown #5 line to the LEFT platform and the blue #4 platform is the the RIGHT.

(photo: Wikipedia/A.Savin)

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Not feeling well? Perhaps a trip to the pharmacy/drugstore is in order.

аптека = ‘aph tye ka” = pharmacy/drugstore.

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Now let’s identify the word for MILK.

молоко = milk. Spoken as “ma-lah-KO.”

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One of the very first American consumer products sold inside the Soviet Union was Pepsi.

пепси кола = Pepsi Cola.

Photo #2 reveals that today there are other popular American brands of soda in Russia. One of the most popular brands is Fanta, because of the variety of fruit flavours. All of these are bottled inside Russia.

Pepsi 2 286

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The word used for “post office” is literally the word for “mail” which is почта: p-o-ch-t-a, or “PO-tcha.”

Post office on Moscow's Arbat Street by A Savin.jpg
Post office on Moscow’s Arbat Street by A Savin.jpg

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Did you know that there is a day to celebrate chocolate in Russia? It is each 11 July and called день шоколада, the Day of Chocolate.

chocolate cake tort
Last time we checked a piece of chocolate cake as shown was around 99 rubles, about $3 dollars.

More talkin’ bout chocolate:

шоколад = chocolate [sha-ka-laht]

сладкий = sweet [slad-key]

горький = bitter [gor-key]

горячий шоколад = hot chocolate [gar-yach-key sha-ka-laht]

молочный шоколад = milk chocolate [ma-lowch-kne sha-ka-laht]

плитка шоколада = chocolate bar [pleat-ka sha-ka-lada]

шоколадный торт = chocolate cake [sha-ka-laud-ni tort]

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Russians like natural products and whenever Mrs. Mendeleyeva is in the USA she constantly reads labels, tossing aside just about any product with ingredients she can’t read or pronounce. So to keep my face clear for those times I’m facing a camera (usually the camera breaks so it doesn’t matter), I’ve discovered this product:

Facial cream St John's wort height=559
чистая линия = pure line (organic)

фитотерапия здоровая кожа = herbal for healthy skin

крем для лица  = cream for the face (facial cream)

зверобой дикорастущий = Saint John’s wort grown in the wild/forest

Cost: 50 рублей (50 rubles, under $2)

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It is that time of the year again, бабье лето (Indian summer), and that means we’re frequently reaching for a зонт (umbrella), spoken as “zont” in Russian. Autumn is осень, pronounced “O-sin” in Russian and with it comes the need for protection from rain and light snows on latter autumn days.

Umbrella vending. Photo: Anna Shikunova height=490
It isn’t too often in the West that one finds a vending machine for umbrellas (зонты) but we do have them in Eastern Europe. This one can be found in Saint Petersburg and offers three varying styles. The term for such a vending machine is Зонтомат (“ZON-ta-maht”) and from this machine we are offered:

лёгкий (“lyo-kee”) is a lightweight umbrella for just 100 rubles ($3).

антиветер (“ahn-ti ve-ter”) is a more sturdy windbreaker umbrella for 200 rubles ($6).

сувенирный (“su-ve-nyer-nee”) is an umbrella with a city logo and thus sold as a souvenir. Priced at 300 rubles ($9).

So, you’re almost ready for autumn weather in Russia. Oh, what is the term for weather, you ask? Weather is погода, spoken as “pa-GO-da.”

Now you are ready for autumn.

(Umbrella vending photo: Anna Shikunova)

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More coming soon.

2 thoughts on “Learn Russian via reading signs

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