Conversation Starters in Russian

Source: PhotoXpress

Source: PhotoXpress

Earlier you’ve learned some of the most common Russian greetings and goodbyes, and today we will talk about some of the most common conversation starters in Russian.

Как дела? [KAK dee-LA] How are you?

You can also say:

Как у тебя дела? [kak oo tee-BYA dee-LA] how are you? (when having a conversation with someone you would normally address by “ты”)

Как у вас дела? [kak oo VAS dee-LA] how are you? (when having a conversation with someone would normally address by “вы”)

Как делишки? [KAK dye-LEESH-kee] How are you?

“Делишки” is a diminutive form of plural noun “дела” and is used in informal speech only.

Often you might hear from native Russian speakers:

“Как делишки, как детишки?”

This is more of a joke than a question, really. If translated from Russian into English literally it means “How are you? How are your kids?” As I mentioned above, “делишки” is a diminutive form of “дела”, and “детишки” is a diminutive form of plural noun “дети”.

But if someone is asking you “Как делишки, как детишки?”, it doesn’t mean they are curious about the wellbeing of your kids (that’s if you have any, of course).  It’s just another fun way of asking “how are you?”. Why “детишки” you might think? Because it rhymes with “делишки” in Russian!


Sometimes I would jokingly ask my Mom when talking to her on the phone:

- Приветик, мамуся. Как делишки, как детишки?

This usually makes her laugh and she replies:

- Судя по их голосу, мои детишки в порядке. (Judging by their voice, my kids are great.) She is talking about my happy voice, of course.

Back to the conversation starters in Russian. Here are a few more ways to ask “how are you?” in Russian:

Как ты? [KAK ti] how are you?

Как поживаешь? [KAK pa-zhee-VA-yesh] How’s life?

Как жизнь молодая? [KAK ZHEEZN’ ma-la-DA-ya] How’s young life?

Как настроение? [KAK nas-tra-YE-nee-ye] literally, this expression can be translated as “how is your mood?”,  but when we ask this question in Russian, we really mean “how are you?”

Here are some of the answers to the questions above:

Отлично! [at-LEECH-na] perfect!

Прекрасно! [preek-RAS-na] excellent!

Супер! [SOO-pyer] super!

Замечательно! [za-mee-CHA-tyel'-na] remarkable

Чудесно! [choo-DYES-na] wonderful

Чудненько! [CHOOD-neen’-ka] diminutive form of “чудно” and it means “very good”

Лучше всех! [LOOCH-she VSEH]  better than everyone else’s!

Хорошо! [ha-ra-SHO] Good!

Нормально [nar-MAL’-na] Ok

Неплохо [neep-LO-ha] not bad

Let’s take a look at these examples below of how Russian greetings and conversation starters can be used in speech:

Example of a Formal Conversation

- Доброе утро!

- Здравствуйте!

- Как у вас дела?

- Отлично, спасибо. А у вас?

- Хорошо.

Example of an Informal Conversation

- Приветик! Как делишки?

- Привет! Супер. А у тебя?

- Чудненько!

These are all of Russian conversation starters I wanted to share with you today. How do you usually say “Hi” and start a conversation in Russian?  You can leave a comment below and share your experience of speaking in Russian. I am always happy to hear from you.

You can also watch this fun video to review Russian greetings and goodbyes – How to Say Basic Words in Russian.

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