https://www.duolingo.com/azzipog

Russian: When to use ты vs. вы?

azzipog
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Firstly congrats on the Russian course reaching 100%. Shady_arc and his droozya are awesome.

Secondly, under what circumstances should you bust out ты? I know it's reserved for more informal conversation, however I'm just not sure to what extent. I'm assuming for fellow classmates I would use it but what about for a business colleague or a professor.

Basically any clarification you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

2 years ago

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Apahegy

"Ты" is singular, and reserved for informal usage. "Вы" is used for informal plural, (kind of like "y'all") or for both singular and plural formal conversation.

Here's a rundown- if you're talking to:

A friend/family member: Ты

More than one friend/family member: Вы

A stranger/teacher/boss: Вы

More than one stranger/teacher/boss: Вы


I see a spanish flag in your banner. "Ты" is like "tú," and "вы" is like "usted" and "outsides"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Shady_arc
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There is one detail, though: no one treats kids politely. At least, no one is expected to. So, if you are talking to a person younger than, say, 14–16 years old, you use «ты» regardless of your own age and status.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olga451165
Olga451165
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Not sure it's about "politeness", for me it's more about creating a feeling of "friendliness" or "distance". Kids are friendly and don't have a big ego (until some age).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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Do older people often extend this upper age limit, so that, say, a person in his sixties or seventies would (or might) automatically use ты to address someone younger than 40, 30 or 25? A Russian native (from Moscow, IIRC) once told me that this was so.

Congratulations to you and the rest of the course developers! We're all cheering you on over the home stretch.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/katja200123

It is about the education of the person who speaks not about his age. If he is kind and polite he will use «Вы» speaking to a stranger. I feel insulted every time when some unknown calls me "ты", except maybe if he is too old and maybe senile, sorry. It is off the topic but thank you so much for your posting about the links to audio books in Italian.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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Thank you, katja200123 for that information. I'll try to be polite. :)

(You're welcome for the Italian links. The rai.it site has plenty of good video at rai.tv)--it is more advanced than what the OP asked about, but you might want to look. It is still too difficult for me, except in small doses.)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/katja200123

And for me rai.tv is very difficult too, and I am still far away of audio books even in small doses :). I didn't mention that I am not a native Russian and don't even live in Russia. So please excuse my intrusion in this topic.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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> So please excuse my intrusion in this topic.

No excuse is necessary. Thanks for the information.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Stevie_T
Stevie_T
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Pretty much the same way one would use tu/ustedes in Spanish. My way of remembering it is actually by using French. Tu/ti, and vous/vi (both start with the same letter) (pardon my lack of cyrillic)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vytah
vytah
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"Tu/ti, and vous/vi"

This is because Russian ты, French tu, English thou, German du are cognates.

So are Russian вы, French vous, English you and German ihr, although it's less visible now, since various languages based their pronoun on a different case of the original Proto-Indo-European word – see the declension table in the article above.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UneJamKuqEZi

Ты and Вы are the equivalent of Tu and Vous in French. Ты is used for informal and singular. Never plural, never formal. Вы is used for formal or informal plural, and formal singular, but never informal singular. Since I see you're learning Spanish, Ты is the same thing as and Вы is the same thing as usted and ustedes combined. (If you're a Castilian Spanish learner, then it's usted, ustedes and vosotros.) Hope that helped! :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stephapus
stephapus
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ты is singular, informal "you" (equivalent to "Du" in German) - you would use this pronoun under informal circumstances in which you know the person very well or they have informed you that you can use ты when speaking to them.

вы is plural "you" or formal "you" (equivalent to "Sie" in German) - you would use this when talking to your "uppers" (i.e. teachers/professors, adults) to be polite and show respect or to people you don't know well. If you're not sure which to use in a certain situation you find yourself in, it's always better to stay on the safe side and use вы.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vadimfowler
vadimfowler
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To be more specific: A business colleague or a professor are by default addressed as "вы". Note that "вы" nearly always implies using the "patronymic name" when addressing the person, i.e. First name + his/her Father's name + '-ovich/-ovna' . The patronymic is what Russians are likely to use where in English one uses "Mr/Ms/professor/Mr. President/etc."

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olga451165
Olga451165
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I use Ты only for close family members, friends and people my age and status (like a new co worker my age (in twenties) I'd use it right away, because Вы would just feel weird).

All other cases are just strangers and I give them the cold Вы :P even if it's not our first meeting.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/buenotc
buenotc
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@azzipog, thanks for letting us know that about Russian. I'm surprised there isn't a boat load of posts talking about it already lol :/. I'm taking the memrise course and I've only encountered ты so far. I just learned something new :D. Thanks dude.

BTW, totally love your name.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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Alongside what's been already said, I usually work on the principle that if in doubt, use вы for individuals until you're invited to use ты. There are times when it's pretty obvious you can be familiar from the get go, but in my experience if you're not sure, using вы is unlikely to cause offense, even if the person laughs and tells you not to be so silly, of course you can call them ты.

I mean, I don't think most Russians get offended if an obvious foreigner messes up and uses ты when they shouldn't, because (again in my experience) they're pretty cool about these things and don't easily get offended, but being politer than you need to be is usually better than being less polite!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BrookeLorren
BrookeLorren
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From what I understand, you'll use вы a lot, especially when you first meet people.

I did learn a nice little phrase though: давайте обращаться на ты. Let's use ты with each other!

If there is an obvious difference in age or social standing, then it's up to the older person to suggest the use of ты. Evidently, there are verbs in Spanish and German that mean "let's speak to each other informally." I don't have those terms memorized, but I have heard them.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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I know in French it's something like tutoyer... huh, that sounds right in my head but looks very peculiar written down, which makes me wonder if I've misremembered it...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BrookeLorren
BrookeLorren
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It's probably close... in Spanish I think it's something like tuteme and in German its something like dudemir... but I'm probably not right.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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I suppose it is one of those things one hears more than sees written down!

2 years ago
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