Russian Grammar. Lesson 1.


Here I will give material in TWO languages as involuntary the eye aquires ” the habit” to recognize the Russian script. Besides I try to write English translation exactly under the Russian word ( in “examples” ) and in brackets I put English articles, etc as these are NOT used in Russian.

It may look as an incorrect English but my task is not the English language study but the Russian language study and ” unnecessary” parts of English language make it harder for a foreigner to understand  Russian sentence. Rissian is a difficult language and it cannot afford to have ” unnecesary” parts such as  articles, verb-link ” to be” or a help with verbs ” to do”, ” to have”, etc.  =)

Russian is a difficult language but its times forms are very simple and it has one great advantage, as one kisaan told me in India,  ” Vi sey hau it iz ritten”.

We also speak exactly ” how it is written” =) If the stress is there at each word and you know how to pronounce the letters of the Alphabet – you can read aloud ANYTHING in Russian even if you do not understand a single word. Which is totally impossible in English. I am silent here on the French language when they write 8 letters but only 4 of them are prononced. NO ! ” Vi sey hau it iz riten” !  =)

  1. Имена существительные
  2. Nouns

(Grammatical notes)

1.1.Одушевлённые и неодушевлённые существительные

1.1.Animated and Inanimate Nouns ( in Russian ” having ” soul” or withot ” soul” )

 Русские существительные обозначающие  людей и животных называются

одушевлёнными существительными

Они отвечают на вопрос

Кто это ?

Все остальные существительные называются неодушевлёнными

и отвечают на вопрос Что это ?

Russian nouns denoting people or animals (so-called animate nouns) answer the

question  Кто            это ? –

                WHO ( is ) this ?

All the other nouns (so-called inanimate nouns) answer the question

Что            это ?  –

What (is)  this ?

The questions  Кто это ? and  Что это ? – These  are asked about nouns  either in the singular or the plural. Matlab… irrespective of plural or sigular the question is the sameКто это ? or  Что это ?



Слушайте    и       повторяйте       за               преподавателем

Listen       and       repeat            after        (the) teacher.

Сравните                     перевод

: Compare    (the)   translation:

     Кто        это ? –     Это               студент.


– Who (is)  this? –  This  (is a )     student.

       Кто это ? – Это             студенты

Yeh koun ( hai )                                        Yeh              vidyaarthi  ( hain )


Who (are) these ( they) ? –        (They) These ( are) students.

   Что  это ? –      Это              газета

Yeh kya ( hai ) ?       Yeh  patrika  (hai)


What  ( is) this? –  This   (is) ( a)  newspaper.

Что          это ? –             Это                    газеты ( fem/ pl)


What (are)  these ?   These ( They are) newspapers. ( fem. pl)

We can see here that like in Hindi we may ask

Yeh kya ( что) hai and yeh koun (кто ) hai ?

One cannot ask about a man ” yeh kya hai ” ?

One cannot ask about a table ” yeh koun hai ” ?

The same is in Russian. But in Russian we also ask  ( koun)

even if it is a ” billa”or a ” cutta”, because they are “animated”.

They are not THINGS to ask ” Yeh kya hai ?” but they are LIVE creatures

with God given soul… Such is the ancient logic of Russian language.

      Кто      это ? –              Это                   кошка ( fem/ sing)


What (is) this? –       This  (  is a)    cat.

     Кто                               это ? –                             Это    кошки ( fem. pl )


– What (are these) this ? –   (They )(are)  Thiscats.

In English they also have questions WHO and WHAT ,

but they cannot ask about a cat ” Who is this?” as a cat is not a gentleman but an animal =) In Russian a cat and a gentleman are ” equal” –   ” Он “- “He

ГДЕ                     КОТ ?    ОН                           ПОД         СТОЛОМ.

Where ( is the ) cat ?It ( not “he”)( is)   under ( the) table.

In English an animal is always “It”.  In Russian – “He” or “She”


Род имен сушествительных

The Noun  Gender


Сушествительные в русском языке делятся на три рода

  1. Мужской род
  2. Женский род
  3. Средний род

Russian nouns are grouped according to THREEgenders: ( in Hindi only TWO genders)

  1. Masculine
  2. Feminine
  3. Neuter ( it does not exist in Hindi but is present in English – ” it” is a neuter


Мужской род


Слова мужского рода   часто оканчиваются на  согласный

Masculine  words     often          end           in   consonant sound ( not in a vowel ).

As in the examples in the Introduction part :

АВТОМАТ ( assault rifle)

БАРАН       ( male sheep)

ВЗВОД      ( platoon)

ГАРЕМ     ( Harem)

ГОРОД      ( City)

ДРУГ        ( friend)

ДОМ          ( House )

ФЛОТ        (Navy)

БРАТ         ( brother)

ВРАГ         ( enemy)

ПРОТИВНИК  ( enemy in military terms)

РОСТ        ( Height )

КОТ          ( male cat)

Please note that words which end with a “ soft sound)  –  Ь

– they may belong to masc. and fem. genders

УТРОmorningBecause of “ O” in the end – it is neuter

ПОЛДЕНЬmidday , noon –       masc.

ДЕНЬ –day , daytime ––        masc


НОЧЬ        night , nighttime–    FEM.

ПОЛНОЧЬmidnight –                fem

МЫШЬ –  ( Mouse ) –                   FEM.


Женский род

. Feminine.

Слова женского рода   часто    оканчиваются   на    а , я

.Feminine words         often          end               in  –a,- я

As in the examples in the Introduction part :

АРМИЯ (army )

АРТИЛЛЕРИЯ ( artillery)

АТАКА  ( attack )

ВОДА      ( water )

ВЫСОТА   ( height )

СВИНЬЯ   ( she- pig )

СВИНИНА   ( any pig meat )

БАРАНИНА   ( any sheep meet )

КОРОВА    ( cow)

ГОВЯДИНА   ( cow or a bull meat )

КОНИНА   ( any horse meat )

ВЕРА   ( faith)

ГОРА     ( mountain)


Средний род

. Neuter.

Слова среднeго рода   часто   оканчиваются     на    о,е

.Neuter words            often        end                    in –o,-e.

МОРЕ            (   the sea )

ОКНО            (   window

ПОЛЕ              ( field)

ГОВНО                   ( shit. tatti )

КОФЕ –  This is an exception, by grammar – it is masc., as a foreign word.

But too many “uncultured” Russians use it as a neuter because of the end ‘ E


Слова ,оканчивающиеся на  мягкий знак   ь ,

могут быть мужского и женского рода


There are many nouns of both masculine and feminine gender

ending in a soft sign – ь

These are masculine :

СЛОВАР-Ь  (dictionary)

УЧИТЕЛ-Ь  ( teacher)

АПРЕЛ-Ь   ( April)

These are feminine

МАТ-Ь ( mother ) ( In fact МАТЬ is the same word as MATA )

ДОЧ-Ь (daughter)

( Voh to ajeeb lagega agar Mata ji MASCULINE ho jaegi -)

( Also feminine)

ТЕТРАД-Ь (  notepad

ЖИЗН-Ь   ( life )

I put a dash for easy reading. But all words above are written eithout dash – МАТЬ 

Некоторые слова мужского рода оканчиваются  на а, я

There are some  masculine nouns  also ending in  -a, -я

But many of these words just cannot be feminine as they often relate to persons of male sex or male personal names. Like in :

Папа ( father)

Дедушка ( grandfather)

Дядя  ( uncle)

Юноша  ( young man, “youvak” )

Саша ( male short name )

Дима  ( male short name )

(In these words in BOLD I indicate the stress in a word) )


Please note that there are some neuter nouns ending in – мя. Like in:

Имя  ( imya) – name

время ( vremya) – time

пламя  ( plamya) – open fire

знамя ( znamya) – flag “ jhanda”

семя   ( semya) – seed

(In these words in BOLD I also indicate the stress in a word)


Упражнения Exersices

Determine the gender of the following nouns by their endings and group them

according to the model:

Он “he”            Она   “ she“       Оно   “it”

карандаш             книга                   письмо

(pencil)              ( book )              ( a letter in envelope)

ручка ( pen )

газета (newspaper )

урок ( lesson)

слово  ( word)

предложение  ( sentence)

комната   ( room )

стол   ( table)

стул  ( chair )

шкаф   (“ almeerah “)

лампа  ( lamp )

телефон ( telephone )

радио  ( radio )

полка  ( shelf )

город   ( city )

улица  ( street )

машина  ( car or machine )

море  ( sea )

река  ( river )

мост   ( bridge )

магазин   ( shop for shopping )

дом  ( house, building )

родина ( Motherland)

Москва  ( Moscow )

Турция   ( Turkey )

Америка  ( the USA )

Стамбул ( Istanbul city )

Лондон  ( London)

месяц  ( month )

неделя  ( week )

год   (year )

костюм  ( suit )

плащ   ( raincoat)

пальто  ( overcoat )

рубашка   ( shirt, “ kameez”)

платье  ( dress )

сумка  ( bag )

хлеб  ( bread)

чай  ( tea )

молоко   ( milk )

кофе  ( coffee) – remember about the “ uncultured” Russians =)

яблоко    ( apple )

яйцо  ( egg, “ anda” )

but in plural –яйца ( eggs) – the stress at the first vowel  =)


понедельник   ( Monday )

вторник ( Tuesday )

среда  ( Wednesday)

четверг   ( Thursday )

пятница   ( Friday )

суббота  ( Saturday )

воскресенье   ( Sunday )

нож (knife)

вилка  ( fork)

ложка  (spoon )

тарелка  ( plate )

стакан  ( glass, “ gilas” )

мужчина  ( man )

женщина  ( woman )

мать  ( mother )

отец  ( father  )

дочь   ( daughter )

сын ( son )

муж  ( husband )

жена  ( wife )

сестра  ( sister )

брат  ( brother )

семья   ( family )

Please, when you determine the gender, do not forget to say a word ALOUD so that the STRESS could be automatically remembered by your brain. As I said earlier in the Introduction STRESS is very important as another stress may change the meaning of the word or you will be pronouncing NON EXISTANT words.

Stress in Russian is not just a pronunciation but it has the meaning. In any case you will speak with a heavy Indian accent but most of Indians speak English with Indian accent ( me including =)  but that does not prevent from understanding.

I still remember when I spoke to a kisaan from CPI or CPM and he said “ RSS iz de mauthpis ov de rait reakshn”… He could not pronounce English “th” and he replaced it with “ tha” ( Try to say “ mothpiece” with “ tha” =) But I understood him  =)

So if you speak English well – than there is no problem as stress is also there in English ( though sometimes in the long combined words they have TWO stresses – “ weak” and “strong” as in the word INTERNATIONAL as if it were two words Inter with a weak stress and National with a strong stress).Usually they have one stress in a word like in Russian.

But if it is easier to remember the stress by making a stressed vowel as it should be – try to replace stress with a “long Hindi sound” as it sounds almost the same if one does not overdo with the longevity of the stressed sound =)

As there is no long and short vowels in Russian,  when I studied Hindi in University I, in a way,  “replaced” the long Hindi vowel with a Russian stress on this vowel and that did help in the beginning. When you start speaking more or less well – you will forget about this trick and you will speak as should be. I tested it on myself =)

I think that is enough for the first lesson. In the next lesson we shall know how PLURALS of nouns are formed as it is more difficult than in English.

In a separate text we shall continue with the Russian Alphabet. After letter Д

P.S. At the photo one of the heros of my first Russian language text –  КОТ

Bilkul zabardast billa hai =)

( To be continued )