How to Introduce Yourself in Russian (Meeting New People)

Introductions and Meeting Someone New in Russian

When you meet new people you usually have to say something to represent an idea of who you are. Let's learn some basic phrases you can say or ask when you meet someone new.

Давайте знакомиться (Let's get to know each other)!

This is a good phrase for starting conversation in a group. For example, there are some people who don't know each other and they need to get acquainted. One of them can simply say давайте знакомиться or давайте познакомимся (means the same thing).

If you meet someone new, you don't need to use this phrase. It sounds a little officially. You can just say:

Привет! Меня зовут Джон. А тебя? (Hi! My name is John. And yours?)
or
Привет! Я Джон. А тебя как зовут? (Hi! I'm John. And what's your name?)

These basic phrases are suitable for informal situations. Which phrases do we use in formal situations? Here they are:

Здравствуйте. Меня зовут Джон. А Вас?

Don't forget to add приятно познакомиться or очень приятно (nice to meet you) to show that you are really glad to meet this person.

Now let's get into the details.

Introductions in Russian: how to say your name, age and place

How to Introduce Your Name

We normally begin with our name. In Russia, as in any other country, people want to know your name at first. You have to remember only two words:

Меня зовут (your name)[mee-nya zah-voot]

Literally this phrase means "they call me". We don't really use the construction "my name is", we have it too though - моё имя. However, I don't recommend that you use this phrase, because it doesn't sound natural in speeking. Just меня зовут will be enough for any situaion. The good point of using this construction is that you don't have to change your name in any way (no strange endings, etc.). You just put your name after these words. That's all you have to do.

Меня зовут Ольга. - My name is Olga.

Меня зовут Джон. - My name is John.

Меня зовут Александр. - My name is Alexander.

Меня зовут Наташа. - My name is Natasha.

To ask a name, just say:

Как тебя зовут? (informal)

or

Как вас зовут? (formal)

How to Introduce Your Age

Sometimes we need to ask the age of the person we are talking to. There are two ways of asking someone's age in Russian:

Сколько тебе лет? (informal)

Сколько Вам лет? (formal)

It seems even easier to say your age in Russian, than your name, because we start with only one word - мне (the dative case of the pronoun "я" [I]). BUT there are two points which can make you angry when trying to say your age in Russian. First, our numerals are quite difficult to pronunce. Second, the phrase with wich you indicate your age has different words at the end of it - год, года or лет (years).

So, the general construction for telling your age looks like this:

Мне (number) лет/год(а). - I'm... years old.

So, which of them (лет, год or года) should I choose? There's a rule.

1) If you are 10, 20, 30 or any age that ends in zero, you use лет:

Мне 20 лет. - I'm 20 years old.

Мне 50 лет. - I'm 50 years old.

Also we use лет for numbers ending in 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. In other words, all the ages from 5 to 10 (including 10) and also ending in 5-9 and zero are used with the word лет.

Мне 18 лет. - I'm 18 years old.

Мне 25 лет. - I'm 25 years old.

2) If you are one year old, 21, 31, 41 and so on (any number with 1), you should use год. "Год" means "year" in Russian. Just one year. It will help you remember this rule.

Мне 41 год. - I'm 41 yers old.

Мне 61 год. - I'm 61 years old.

3) All the other numbers are used with года - 2, 3, 4, 22, 23, 24, 32, 33, 34, etc.

BUT: all the numbers from 11 to 20 are used with лет.

11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 лет.

This rule is very important in the Russian language. This way you should talk about years in any situation.

How to Introduce Your Country and City

The question Откуда ты (вы)? (Where are you from?/ Where do you come from?) is very popular if you're talking to a person from another country or city.

To answer this, just start with three letters:

Я из... (I'm from...)

Examples:

Я из России. - I'm from Russia,

Я из Англии. - I'm from England.

Я из Америки. - I'm from America.

Я из Соединённых Штатов. - I'm from the US. 

Я из Канады. - I'm from Canada.

Я из Австралии. - I'm from Australia.

It also works with city names, states, villages, etc.:

Я из Москвы. - I'm from Moscow.

Я из Московской области. - I'm from Moscow region.

Я из Лондона. - I'm from London.

Я из Калифорнии. - I'm from California.

Questions like Где ты родился? or Где вы родились? (Where were you born?) are also very popular when you try to know a person better.

Я родился в Москве. - I was born in Moscow

Я родилась в Москве (if you're a female).

Я родился в Англии. - I was born in England.

Я родилась в Англии. (f)

How to Introduce Your Job

Another important part of an introduction is telling what you do in your life. There are some variations of phrases:

Я врач (Я работаю врачом). - I'm a doctor (I work as a doctor).

Я учитель (Я работаю учителем в школе). - I'm a teacher (I work as a teacher at school).

Я домохозяйка. - I'm a housewife.

Я студент (at the university). - I'm a student.

Я учусь в школе. - I study at school.

Я безработный. - I’m unemployed.

Notice that when we use the word студент, we mean only the student at the university, not at school.

Watch this video if you want to know how to pronounce the phrases used for introductions we've learnt in this lesson.

How People Get to Know Each Other in Russian: Example

Well, I think that's enough for the basic introduction in Russian. In conclusion, I'd like to give you a good example of how people get acquainted in Russia. There is a dialogue below:

Привет! Ты теперь будешь учиться с нами? (Hi! Are you going to study with us?)

Привет. Да. (Hey. Yes, I am.)

Меня Ира зовут. А тебя? (My name is Ira. And yours?)

Меня - Оксана. (Mine is Oksana.)

Очень приятно. (Nice to meet you.)

Мне тоже. (Mee too.)

А откуда ты? (And where are you from?)

Из Челябинска. (From Chelyabinsk.)

Let's get acquainted in the comment section. What's your name? Where are you from? I'll be glad to meet new people here.

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