Back to lessons

Lesson 3: Dialogue

Dialogue Words Analysis
Read the following dialogues.

Dialogue 1:

Маша: Что это?
Masha : What is this?
Иван: Это фотография.
Ivan : This is a photograph.
Маша: Кто это?
Masha : Who is this?
Иван: Это моя семья. Это мой отец, моя мать, моя сестра и мой брат.
Ivan : This is a my family. This is my father, my mother, my sister and my brother.
Маша: Это твоя собака?
Masha : Is this your dog?
Иван: Да, это моя собака – Рекс.
Ivan : Yes, this is my dog - Rex.

Dialogue 2:

Юлия: Это твоя книга?
Julia : Is this your book?
Олег: Нет. Это не моя книга.
Oleg: No, this is not my book.
Юлия: Это твой тетрадь? И карандаш?
Julia : Is this your notebook? and pencil.
Олег: Конечно, они мои. Но, ручка не моя.
Oleg : Of course, they are mine. But the pen is not mine.

Dialogue 3:

Мери: Привет! Как тебя зовут?
Mary : Hi! What is your name?
Лжон: Привет! Меня зовут Джон. А как тебя зовут?
John: Hi! My name is John. And what is your name?
Мери: Меня зовут Мери.
Mary : My name is Mary.
Лжон: Ты не из России?
John : You are not from Russia?
Мери: Нет, я из Англии. А ты?
Mary: No, I am from England and you?
Лжон: Я из С.Ш.А.
John: I am from the USA.
Мери: А как его зовут?
Mary : And what is his name?
Ханс: Привет! Меня зовут Ханс. Я из Германии.
Hans: Hi! My name is Hans. I am from Germany.
Что это?:What is this?
кто это?:who is this?
мой, моя, мое:my
Как тебя/вас зовут?:What is your name?
звать:to call
(Соединённые Штаты Америки)
(United States of America)
You can see that in first two dialogues the word 'это' is often used. In Russian this is a demonstrative pronoun that changes in cases, gender and number. For now just translate it as "this".

Also you can see how to ask questions using the iterrogative pronouns 'Что'(what) and 'Кто'(who). Note that the verb "to be" is not used in questions posed in dialogues so the questions litteraly translated are "What this?" and "Who this?". The responses also lack the verb 'to be', so a litteral translation of the first response in Dialogue 1 is "This photography."

In this dialogue you can see two ways of asking questions in Russian. Both should be familiar to the English speaking person. First way is with question words at the begining of the question and the second one is a normal sentence with accent slightly raised toward the end of the sentence.

     Что это?   What is this?

     Это твоя книга?   This (is) your book?

Pay attention on negation in this dialogue. When you want to say "No" as a single sentence that contains a single word use 'Нет'. But when you negate a statement in a sentence use "не". 'Нет' in a sentence would indicate more the absence of something or someone than a negation.

Second thing to notice is the change in the country names used in dialogues from their original version. The changes are listed below:

     Россия => России
     Англия => Англии
     Германия => Германии

The „original“ version, the version listed in dictionaries, is the Nominative version of the noun. Perhaps single most important aspect of Russian language is noun declination. That means that according to the role of the noun in the sentance, the form of the noun changes. The role of the noun in the sentance is indicated by the „case“ of the noun. Each „case“ represents different role of noun in a sentence and different transformation applied to the noun.

Unfortunatly there is more... Not only do nouns change, but pronouns and adjectives are also declined. Learning declensition of nouns, ajdectives and pronouns is not easy, but is vital if you want to master Russian language. And that's not all. Nouns, adjectives and pronouns change not only according to case, but also according to gender and number. So for example, adjective that is used with a noun that has neuter gender is changed in a different way, than the same adjective used with a masculine noun. Also, there is a different version for singular and plural.

As a demonstration of different forms of pronoun for different gender, take a look at the different versions of pronoun „mine“:

мой отец
моя мать

All versions of the possesive pronoun „mine“ are:

мой for masculine nouns
моя for feminine nouns
мое for neuter nouns
мои for plural

These different version of possesive pronoun „mine“ are if the noun is used in Nominative form. For other cases, there are different forms.

In this dialogue the focus is on learning some phrases often used when introducing yourself. Also, Genitive case is introduced when characters in dialogues are saying where are they from. Some words are in Accusative case. The word „его“ for example is Accusative version of a personal pronoun „he“. Accusative will be discussed in following lessons so just learn the phrases and for now forget about Accusative case.

Case system in Russian is complex and learning the transformation rules represents a major obstacle to overcome in learning Russian language. We are just starting to explore these rules and at this moment this may look a little confusing. Don't be discouraged. This is normal. For now, from the grammar aspect pay attention to the Genitive case used in transforming country names in dialogues. Declensions of pronouns and adjective will be covered later. For now just learn the entire sentences as phrases. Later all the pieces of Russian declension puzzle will fit nicely in their places.

Lesson 3
Genitive drill
Family and friends

This site is tested on MS IE 7.0 and Firefox 3.0. If some features don't work before contacting me please update your browser. is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.