Learn Russian online: I'm the CEO!

I'm the CEO!

When starting a conversation in Russian it's not enough to know someone's name: You also have to address a person properly and politely. Our lesson will help you to avoid some possible faux-pas in dealing with intricate Russian politeness rules.

In today's Grammar, we'll encounter formal personal pronouns and the so-called patronymics: A uniquely Russian form of a polite address.


Дэн: Мо´жно?
Dan: May I?
Директор: Угу.
CEO: Mhm.
Дэн: Здра´вствуйте, меня зову´т Дэн, компа´ния "Смит и Смит".
Dan: Hello, my name is Dan, "Smith & Smith" company.
Директор: Здра´вствуйте.
CEO: Hello.
Дэн: А тебя´ зову´т Вера, да? У нас встре´ча.
Dan: And your name is Vera, isn't it? We've got an appointment.
Директор: Не "тебя´", а "вас". И не "Ве´ра", а "Ве´ра Петро´вна".
CEO: Not "your", but "Your". And not "Vera", but "Vera Petrovna".
Дэн: О´чень прия´тно, Ве´ра...
Dan: Nice to meet you, Vera…
Директор: Петровна. Хм. "Тебя"! Кошма´р. Я дире´ктор!
CEO: …Petrovna. Hm. "Your"! My gosh. I'm the CEO!


el_guero2000 24.10.2015
Nikita, Unless you are me, and you were named a Patronymic name at birth. You do not have to be 'Russian.' Wayne
el_guero2000 24.10.2015
Nikita, Unless you are me, and you were named a Patronymic name at birth. You do not have to be 'Russian.' Wayne
Nikita Petrov 30.09.2013
@celengazi why, thank you!
celengazi 30.09.2013
All uniq...Great work and dialogs. Thanks a lot.
Nikita Petrov 26.08.2013
Thank you so much!
blessedinva 25.08.2013
Great lesson and great explanation of cultural rules.
steve 17.07.2013
Thanks, good lesson
Nikita Petrov 20.07.2012
@Austwix, 1) You can do that just for fun, but it will probably be of no use in real life. Patronymics are used in formal settings, and according to the formal rules, foreigners don't have patronymics. Say, if you fill in some Russian form, you'll just put "---" in the "Patronymic" field. 2) It's up to the mother or whoever is in charge of the baby (say, if mother died in labour) right after it's born. The common thing is to pick a patronymic after a grandfather, or uncle, or any other male father figure that is present in a child's life.
Austwix 19.07.2012
2 Questions (you can laugh but I am serious!) 1: When I visit Russia, would it be a good idea to create my own patronymic name? 2: In the rare case where a Russian person doesn't know their father, how would their patronymic name be chosen?
Daria Pimenova 27.06.2012
Hi - and sorry for the late response! Neither the English "mhm" nor the Russian "угу" describe the pronunciation of this sound properly, they are just сonventional words for this interjection of agreement (pronounced with mouth shut).
jzguest 18.06.2012
Why do we hear "Mhm" with Угу, which I would think is not a proper pronunciation? Confused here...

Log in to leave a comment

You have to be registered to view this lesson. Register now and get a free 7-day trial!