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A Few Questions to Understand when Shopping in Russia


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I'm currently living in Moscow, and just after moving here, I realized that there were three questions that, if you understand them, facilitate much more pleasant exchanges. 

1) здез или с собой (zdez ili s suboy) = for here or to go (at fast food restaurants)

2) пакет или без пакета (packet ili bez packet) = bag or no bag (at grocery stores)

3) курешь или не курешь (kuresh ili nee kuresh) = do you smoke or don't you (at restaurants)

In the first two cases, you'd just answer with the option you want.  For the third question, you'd need to change the verb conjugation to first person and either say курю (kuryoo) or не курю (nee kuryoo).

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  • 1 month later...
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These are really useful actually. Thank you! I have found it pretty easy to communicate with russians with just basic knowledge of russian language. Just know the basic words like thank you, please and good bye. You can get really far with these.

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  • 5 months later...

Awesome!  It's a nice list, but I wish you had included a few more. It's always nice to get this kind of phrases, they're kinda hard to find on other places, it seems most language sites out there focus on more generic things Thanks for the list tho :) I like it when author include the pronunciation as well!

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I just wanted to add that you shouldn't be discouraged if Russian speakers don't understand or if the sales people in the shop seem rude. Unfortunately, that does happen sometimes. I'd say those are leftovers from the communist times when the normal way to address the customer was not "Hello, how can I help you?" but "WHAT DO YOU WANT?" :) I don't live in Russia anymore but some of my friends who went for a visit and tried to speak Russian to the shop assistants were not treated very nicely :( The good news is that it happens less and less. But if you are among the unlucky who were treated with "Well, what do you want? Can't you speak more clearly?", please do not be discouraged! There are a lot of friendly Russian people out there who would be happy to help you out.

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