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The proper usage of greetings

Probably, the first word that we learn in a foreign language is a greeting.
Actually, it is very important because any dialogue and generally the first contact with a person begins with a greeting. Let's learn how to use it in a proper way.

For example, there is a difference when you greet a person whom you meet for the first time and whom you know for a long time. We demonstrate this difference through formal and informal speech.

We use informal language when we speak with our friends, close people and relatives – with people who are "on the same level" with you. In this case the first greeting may be "привет" [privet] and at parting you can say "пока" [paka].

The variations of informal greetings:
  • привет [privet] – hi
  • приветик [privetik], приветики* [privetiki] – is mainly used by girls, slang – hi there
  • здорово [zdarova], дарова [darova]* – is mainly used by boys, slang – what's up?

The examples of saying "goodbye":
  • до скорого [do skoava] – catch you later
  • увидимся [uvidims'a] – see you
  • спишемся [spishyms'a] – созвонимся [sazvanims'a] – talk to you later
  • покедова* [pakedava] – slang
  • пока [paka] – bye

A formal language is used in a situation, when you don't know a person close enough, as well as in relationship at work between an executive and an employee, a doctor and a patient, a teacher and a student; speaking with seniors or older people – so in all situations when you want to show your respect and there is a difference in a status between you two. In this case the first greeting may be "здравствуйте" [zdrastvujte] and at parting you can say "до свидания" [da svidaniya].

Let's look at some formal greetings:
  • Здравствуйте [zdrastvujte] – How do you do
  • Приветствую [privetstvuyu] – Greetings
  • Добрый день [dobryj den'] – Good afternoon
  • Доброе утро [dobrae utra] – Good morning
  • Добрый вечер [dobryj vecher] – Good evening

The examples of formal words saying at parties:
  • До свидания [da svidaniya] – Good bye
  • До встречи [da fstrechi] – See you next time
  • Всего доброго [fsivo dobrava] – Wish you well
  • Всего наилучшего [fsivo nailuchshivo] – All the best

Of course, you can use such formal phrases like "добрый вечер" (good evening) and "до свидания" (goodbye) when you speak with your friend or relative. The greetings where there are no formal terms are appropriate everywhere.

Foreigners, who practice the Russian language, often avoid saying one very important and universal form of greeting – "здравствуйте" [zdrastvujte], "здравствуй" [zdrastvuj]. It is connected with the difficulties in pronunciation and a great number of consonants. I would like to convince you that, firstly, if you train to pronounce this word, it will be not so difficult and secondly, the word "здравствуйте" has a strong semantic meaning – it's not only a form of greeting but also a wish of health for another person. Thirdly, when you learn how to pronounce this word, you make your teaching of Russian easier because there are so many words with a great number of consonants, e.g. the word "встречаться" [vstrechatsa] - meet.

Goodbye and good luck!

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