5 interjections Russians couldn’t live a day without

Alexander Rodchenko, Freepik
You can speak fluent enough Russian and get compliments, but you’ll never be treated like one unless you express your emotions with these indispensable Russian interjections.

1. Ага, щаз - Aga, shchas

The sarcastic phrase literally means “Aha, right away!”. For example when a person is asked to do something they really don’t want to do. They can even add “I am already running” (уже бегу - uzhebegu).

Some people even add “konechno” (certainly) after the above phrase. “It means no way in hell,” writes IT-consultant Mikhail Strogov on Quora. “Triple positive means negative.”

2. Да нет, наверное - Da net, navernoe

The phrase - literally meaning “yes, no, maybe” - is really trying to say “No, I guess.” Or “probably not, thanks.” The phrase expresses a certain level of doubt and hesitation that is very Russian: you’ve already said “no”, but you’re still unsure inside about how much stock you’re placing in your own words. In the second type of usage (probably not, thanks), some politeness is added.

In short, “da net, navernoe” may express wanting something, but knowing that you probably shouldn’t say “yes” e.g. when you’re being asked by friends to go out the fourth night in a row.

3. Давай - Davai

Literally meaning “come on”, this is a truly multi-purpose phrase. You can often see a person talking on the phone and repeating ‘davai, davai’ when they are agreeing to something. But it can also mean ‘speak soon/see you soon’. The phrase changes its form from “Ok, agreed” to “come on, let’s go!” - and depends entirely on the situation.

“Davai” is an imperative form of the verb ‘to give’ - which allows it to be used suggestively for phrases like “Let’s go home” - Давай пойдем домой (Davai poidemdomoi)”. But in most cases ‘davai’ is the Russian equivalent of ‘Ok’. “Davai, poka” (Ok, bye), or “Nu, davai!” (with “Nu” meaning “alright then”, followed by “davai” meaning “bye”).

4. Типа - Tipa

One of the main fillers in modern Russians speech is the phrase “kind of” or what the slang term “ish” means. Usually it’s used in informal speech and originally for comparison - ‘just like that’ (‘типа того’) - “tipatovo”, as well as agreeing, but with a dose of uncertainty e.g. - “Will you be home by 7?”, - “Tipa tovo” (around then, yes).

It’s also frequently used for retelling purposes, such as “like” in English e.g. “So I was, like, …”

5. Блин - Blin

Literally meaning “pancake”, the word actually implies “sh*t!” or “crap!”, with the particular food indicating a connection to an even more rude Russian word we won’t mention here!

When you’re hurting, when you’ve failed, when you’re incredibly surprised by a sports team’s sudden loss - it’s all “blin, blin, blin” or “bliiiiiiiin!”.

Let’s apply that knowledge in a complete sentence: “Blin! Kak krasivo!” means “Wow, how beautiful!” It is also used as a filler along the lines of “well, damn!”. For example: “Nu ti blin daesh!”, literally meaning various forms of “Wow, you’ve really done it!” or “Nice going!”.

Read more: 10 untranslatable Russian phrases to show off your skills

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