As something of an addendum to recent posts, I’ve decided to add the Russian “YES”and “NO” to the mix. A revelation. With hindsight they are pretty obvious and essential inclusions to the minimal foreign-language tool kit that I have constantly referred to. So let’s dive straight in, it’s very simple.
The Russian “YES” is of course “DA”.
It is very likely that you know this already, but it’s here for completeness. The ‘A’ is quite soft and is drawn longer than in ‘CAT’ but shorter than in ‘CAR’ – if you see what I mean. The emphasis is on the sharp ‘D’ at the start. OK, Referring to part #3 of A Few Choice Words, you should now be able to say:
This of course means “YES PLEASE”. Very polite. Remember that there is no hard ‘J’ to the ‘JAL’ sound in the middle of ‘PLEASE’, it’s the softer, (buzzier?) ‘ZH’. ‘ZHAL’ is emphasised, as is ‘STAH’ where the ‘STA’ sounds like the start of the English: ‘STAMP’.
The Russian “NO” is only slightly trickier than “YES”. Again you probably know it, and will have come across it countless times through film and TV media. It is:
OK, the meter matches the English name “NEIL”, which also sounds coincidentally close to the correct pronunciation of “NO”. Think ‘KNEE-YET’ not ‘N-EYE-ET’. So, the emphasis is on ‘NI’ and the ‘ET’ is short and clipped, as demonstrated in this video. Referring back to part #4 of A Few Choice Words, it therefore follows that you can say:
This of course means “NO, THANKS” or “NO, THANK YOU”. Again very polite. The way it should be, naturally! Remember that the ‘SPA’ and ‘BA’ are short and clipped with sharp ‘A’ sounds, and you should have it. Now go away and practice.
Next time: A few choice words #6 – Apologising
(Photo by Ana Paula Hirama)