Eurovision 2018

Going to #JESC? Let’s learn some Russian! #PHRASEBOOK


We’ll teach you better than we did this guy… honest! Cartoon by James Scanlan

It’s almost time for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2018! Eurovision Ireland’s own Richard will be out in Belarus giving us all the latest goings on at the Minsk Arena, and the rest of the team will be chipping in too! So what does our resident traveller and linguist James have for you today? Of course, a Russian phrasebook to help visitors to JESC guide their way around Minsk!

Belarus has two official languages, Belarusian and Russian. While you may wonder why we’re starting with a Russian phrasebook, the last census in Belarus indicated that some 70% of the population speak Russian at home, compared to only 23% using Belarusian. It’s even been suggested that Belarusians will instinctively speak Russian to foreigners, as they are aware that Belarusian is not so widely understood. But don’t worry language fans – we’ll take a look at Belarusian later in the week too!

Spoken by some estimated 154 million native speakers (and a further 115 million non-native speakers!) Russian is the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages and one of the most widely spoken languages on earth. As well as helping you out in places like Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, Russian is also still widely understood throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics – so a little Russian can take you a long way!

Russian is written with the Cyrillic alphabet, but don’t panic – I’ve included the transliteration for each phrase, so you can get the sounds and start speaking right away!

Here are a couple of phrases to get you started on your Junior Eurovision adventures in Minsk – let’s go! Or better yet, Давай!


Hello = Привет (priv-yet)

Goodbye = До свидания (do svi-dan-nya)

Pleased to meet you = Очень приятно (oh-chen pri-yat-na)

Yes = Да (da)

No = Нет (nyet)

Thank You = Спасибо (spa-see-ba)

How much does this cost? = Сколько это стоит? (skol-ko eto sto-it)

What does that mean? = Что это значит? (shto eto zna-cheet)

Do you speak English? = Вы говорите по-английски? (vi go-vo-ree-te pa an-gliy-ski)

I (don’t) understand = Я (не) понимаю (ya ne pa-ni-ma-yoo)

Where is…? = Где? (gdye)

Do you have a flag? = У вас есть флаг? (oo vas yest flak)

Good luck! = Удачи! (oo-da-chi)

That was amazing! = Это было удивительно! (etot bi-lo udi-vee-tel-no)


My hovercraft is full of eels = Моё судно на воздушной подушке полно угрей (mo-yo sud-na na voz-dush-no pa-dush-keh palno oo-grey)

All that glitters is not gold = Не все то золото, что блестит (ne vse to zoloto, shto bles-tit)

Are you a witch?! = Вы ведьма? (vi vyed-ma)

Karl stole coral from Karla, and Karla stole a clarinet from Karl = Карл у Клaры украл кораллы, а Клaра у Карла укрaла кларнeт (karl u kla-ree oo-kral ko-ral-lee ah kla-ra u kar-la oo-krala klar-net)


Author: James Scanlan

Source: Eurovision Ireland, Omniglot

Image Source: James Scanlan,

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