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  5. "Ты пьёшь кофе?"

"Ты пьёшь кофе?"

Translation:Do you drink coffee?

November 4, 2015



None of these types of sentences appear to accept 'You drink coffee?' (etc.) as a translation. I think they should. Every other course seems to consider this a valid English question form.


It may have something to do with the intended meaning. "You drink coffee?" would not be as common in English, unless, perhaps, the person asking the question did not expect the other person to be drinking coffee (i.e. "YOU drink COFFEE?"). Otherwise, we would normally use something like "Do you drink coffee?" or "Are you drinking coffee?" depending upon the context or setting.


That might be true in some regions, but here in Canada, the two forms ("You drink coffee?" vs "Do you drink coffee?") are both equally common, and the former does not necessarily have to entail surprise, though it can if you emphasize the words "you" and/or "coffee", but if you don't emphasize them, then it has no difference from the latter.


that is a dialectalism my friend. "you drink coffee" is certainly not the norm.


Yes, I did acknowledge that. But the point is that Duolingo tries to incorporate all dialectical variation. Well, most dialectical variation. It doesn't seem to really support AAVE, for example. lol. That's why it allows all sorts of other dialectalisms as well. I've also come across many question sentences which allow this format of translation. This is also why it does things like accept "colour" or "neighbour" and not just "color" or "neighbor". Some things would be seen as outright wrong by some people, but it still allows them because other people find it perfectly natural. There is no real one "normal" dialect. They're all normal to the people who speak them. And by that token, "you drink coffee?" is certainly normal in my dialect. And it's not like my dialect is some obscure dialect spoken by a handful of people. There are a great deal of speakers of West-Central Canadian English. It counts.


Colour and neighbour are not dialectalisms. Y'all is an example of a dialectalism, which is not considered standard anywhere outside of the Southern United States, whereas Colour is the standard spelling of the word in the rest of the world. in summary: there are standard ways to construct a sentence in english, and there are dialectal variations of such constructions, while a dialectal construction may seem perfectly natural to the speaker, it does not make it synonymous with the Standardised form of English - American or British (incl Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland) used in international, educational, media, and governmental institutions.


"You drink coffee"? is also commonly used in Michigan.


It won't let me reply to your latest comment, so I'm replying to this one. I can meet you half way and dismiss "colour" and "neighbour". If you want to make "y'all" the focus instead, then that's still fine, since Duolingo still allows "y'all", just like it allows other dialecticalisms. "Colour and neighbour" was only one example. I did say "things like", not "this one thing". I always use "y'all" for "ihr" (when it doesn't mean her or you (sg.)) in German, and it always accepts it. It doesn't matter if it's "synonymous with standardized forms of English" (which arguably don't even exist as such in the first place (keyword: arguably)). Duolingo does not demand that you limit yourself to "government English". If it did, that would be awful, since no one actually speaks like that.


@LongHenry You are a voice of reason on this matter and I am glad you took the time to post what you did. Standard English is standard English. It is independent of the government, at least here in the United States, despite some attempts to standardize the education system on a national level, but that is another issue altogether.

As for variances in answers, duolingo has an American English bent primarily because it was developed by an American university professor and its headquarters is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is in the United States where American English is spoken. While duolingo values and appreciates the international aspects of those who use and contribute to this program, it would be unfair to expect that the developers include every single standard and non-standard form of a phrase or sentence and/or every form of American English, British English, Canadian English, Australian English, et cetera.

If duolingo had been created by a professor at Oxford University, I wouldn't expect that it include American English variances.


I'm an American from Virginia and "you drink coffee?" is normal here. In most of the US and Canada it is normal to drop words like "do" and "are" For example, if I am planning something and am asking people if they are coming, the most natural way would be "Y'all coming next Tuesday?"


Remember this course is still in beta.


'You drink coffee?' is a perfectly acceptable English question. The 'do' is assumed.


Would "Ты пьёт кофе" work too?


No, " пьёт" is the form of the third person singular from the verb "пить" (to drink). Ты пьёшь - You drink. Он/Она пьёт - He/She drinks.


Does Russian verb conjugation have regular inflectional endings, or will we just have to memorize every verb's endings separately? If it does have regular inflectional endings, then is this course going to show us charts at some point? I could really go for some conjugation tables here. I'm a visual thinker, and without having a proper place to put the verb endings on a visual table in my mind, I'm kind of lost.


Yes Russian have two patterns for verb conjugation, and this course is adressed later ! ;)


Is 'ш' always a hard letter even if it's followed by a soft letter

  • 1693

Yes. Ж, Ч, Ш and Щ are pronounced the same way with or without the soft sign.


Can someone explain the difference in pronunciation between пь and б for me, please?

  • 1693

I presume you are asking about the difference between "пь" and "бь"? If so, try listening to how the natives pronounce "пьёт" (drinks) and "бьёт" (beats): http://forvo.com/word/%D0%BF%D1%8C%D0%B5%D1%82/#ru and http://forvo.com/word/%D0%B1%D1%8C%D1%91%D1%82/#ru
See if you hear the difference. (To me, a native speaker, the difference is quite apparent, but I am not sure I can explain it in words.)


Hi, thanks for the reply. Yes, I meant the difference between б with the soft sign ь, and simple п. I must admit I'm struggling a bit with the whole palatalization thing in Russian, but I suppose it will come with practice. The Forvo links are very helpful, but unfortunately I can detect almost no difference between the initial consonants in those two words. Thanks again.


The one is voiced and the other is not. It should feel different in your throat. B is voiced version of P.


Thanks LH. I understand the difference between B and P, voiced and unvoiced. But my question is, when a voiced consonant like B is followed by the soft sign, how is it changed? It seems to me that B with the soft sign is simply P, but surely this isn't right?

  • 1693

I think what confuses you in this particular case is that the soft sign serves two distinct functions here: (i) it palatalises the preceding consonant, and (ii) it acts as a "reset" for the following vowel, forcing you to pronounce it as though it were the first letter (i.e., beginning with a Russian "й" = German "j" sound). So let's separate the two functions.

Before we get into the palatalisation issue, let me point out out that whenever the soft sign is used like this, its second function is far more important than the first. If you fail to palatalise the preceding consonant, everyone will still understand you and, moreover, not everyone will even hear the difference - I am not aware of any examples where a lack of palatalisation in front of "e", "ё", "я" and "ю" would turn a word into a different one. So focus on the this second, "reset" function. It's because of it that in this kind of usage the soft sign is actually referred to as "разделительный мягкий знак" - "separating soft sign".

That said, let's turn to palatalisation. Here are three words, Oбь (a river in Siberia), топь (а marsh) and стоп (stop) pronounced by natives:
Oбь: http://forvo.com/word/%D0%BE%D0%B1%D1%8C/#ru (please ignore Anna_EL's pronounciation – she actually pronounces бь as пь, but both men pronounce it well);
Tопь: http://forvo.com/word/%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BF%D1%8C/#ru ;
Стоп: http://forvo.com/word/%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BF/#uk (ignore the first Russian pronunciation by bazich – it's bad; the last sound is too muted. The second one, as well those in Ukranian, Tatar and Mari – are good, and the word sounds the same in all these languages.)

So try training your ear until you can hear the difference between the last sounds in these three words. To me they certainly sound differently.


and my point remains, palatised b does not become p, because b is only devoiced at the end of a word, thus you must remember the voicing in your pronunciation. when b undergoes patalisation, it becomes bʲ, i.e a B followed by a Y sound.

  • 1693

What's your first language? If it's English, then I think the first sounds in Russian "пьёт/бьёт" are (or can be) pronounced exactly the same way as the first sounds in English "peat/beat". (At least I feel that's how I pronounce them, and I speak both standard Russian and reasonably unaccented English.)
It's what follows the first sounds that is different in the Russian and English examples I just gave. The "ьё" сombination tells you to stop with the "soft" version of the preceding consonant (the ones that you naturally make in "peat/beat") before you voice the vowel and pronounce "ё" as though it were the first letter of a word (i.e. make a "yo" sound). Don't know if it helps, but that's the best I can do.


Yes, English. And I think I get it now! So, "пё" would sound like "pyo" - all one quick syllable. But "пьё" sounds likes "p (tiny pause) yo" - like the "p" stops before the "yo" starts. Is that it?

I was thinking that the ь "unvoiced" the preceding consonant, but this is not correct, right?

Really appreciate your taking the time to help with this.

  • 1693

Yes, that's correct. The function of both "ь" and "ъ", whenever they precede "e", "ё", "я" and "ю" (which is the only function of "ъ", but not of "ь", which can also be used to end words or in front of consonants), is to make those vowels sound as if they were at the beginning of a word - i.e., starting with a full-blown German "j" sound. E.g., in the case of "ьe", that would mean a "ye" part of English "yes" (pronounced forcefully).

Where the function of "ь" and "ъ" is different in these cases has to do with the preceding consonant: "ь" forces it to be "soft", like in the "peat/beat" example, while "ъ", would make it sound as if it were at the end of a word.


As far as I understand it, the soft sign simply palatalizes the preceding consonant, and the hard sign un-palatalizes it. A palatalized consonant is pronounced with your tongue poised in a position as if to make an English "y" sound simultaneously while you articulate the regular consonant. So пь would be pronounced like an English "p" and an English "y" at the same time. Not one after the other, but together, so that your tongue is already in the "y" position while you're pronouncing the "p".


can this be used for - coffee ? - like if im asking someone to serve him/her some coffee / or is it about asking a person if he/she drinks coffee in general

  • 1693

This would not be a standard way of offering coffee, although you will certainly be understood given the right context. Without a context, this question asks whether the person you address drinks coffee in general. A standard way to offer coffee would be "Ты хочешь кофе?" (or just "Хочешь кофе?") - "Do you want some coffee?".


I know this isnt specifically related to this question but the small "b's".. what are they here for? I keep asking myself what is their use, punctuation, change letter pronunciation but I really don't know. Also are they always silent? They seem to be.


The soft sign makes the consonant that is directly BEFORE it softer.


So what is "i drink" "я ..."?

  • 1693

I drink - Я пью


What is the difference between пьёт and пьёшь?

  • 1693

Second person (you) vs. third person (he/she/it). Both are singular.


Пьёшь is "you (one person) drink", пьёт is "he/she drinks"


To anyone that English is not your first language, "you drink coffee?" is poor English. Nearly any question is understandable in statement form with proper inflection, but there are more eloquent ways to phrase an inquiry.


Does anyone know any good websites to practice declining and conjugating for russian


A waitress at Waffle House will come to your table and ask "Drinks?" or "Coffee?". I imagine in a St Petersburg restaurant at breakfast will be just as brief.


Does the шь sound similar a ж?

Also, here's a good site for Russian conjugations: http://masterrussian.com/verbs/conjugations.htm


No. The "softening" denoted by the Russian soft sign does not denote that the consonant is voiced, but rather that it is palatalised, which is something more like the addition of a "y" sound after it, as in "yellow" (not as in "fry"). It's one of the more challenging aspects of Russian phonology for those without Slavic first languages and I'm here in the first place because my Russian isn't what it used to be, so I'd recommend you look at zirkul's comments further up the page (particularly the long one with the forvo links) for a more complete explanation.


why can't it be written piesh?


I understand this to be asking if the person is a coffee-drinker in general, as opposed to the other possible translation "are you drinking coffee" (right now)? Can it mean both, or is there a different way to say it to clarify which question is being asked?

  • 1693

The Russian question can mean either, but in real life you would vocally stress the word that is being questioned here:
"Ты пьёшь кофе?"="Do you drink coffee?", it would be understood as a question about whether or not you are a coffee drinker.
"Ты пьёшь кофе?"="Are you drinking coffee?" would be a question about the substance in your mug/cup.
And, naturally, the context is important, so even when written this would unlikely cause any misunderstanding.


What effect does the "b" have on a word? (I know it isn't't a b but i havnt got the keyboard)


When do I use вы? Is Вы пьете сок correct and why?


I am trying to guess how to write drink with the english keyboard. I tried piesh pish pesh but the answer says wrong


I guess the "ь" after "ш" is there for historical reasons, since "ш" is always hard. But why is there a soft sign after the "п"? Does "ё" not make it soft already?

  • 1693

But why is there a soft sign after the "п"? Does "ё" not make it soft already?

Please read my earlier posts in this tread. In short, you need it to make sure that "ё" is pronounced as if it were the first letter (or were preceded by another vowel), i.e. with a leading "й" sound ("y" in "yes"). Otherwise the "й" sound would disappear: compare the pronunciations of Лёша vs льёшь & льёт on Forvo.


i tried several ways to write "pbeshb" but it was always wrong. i don't have the e with umlaut. what is the right letter?


How exactly do you pronounce ты? In the audio it sounds like the german word Tee, is that correct?


What is the difference between "и" and "ы" ? They have the same sound, right ?

  • 1693

They have the same sound, right ?

No, certainly not. The only instances where "и" sounds like "ы" is after "ж", "ш" & "ц". Otherwise "и" sounds like English "ee" (or "e" in "me") while the "ы" sound does not have a direct analogue in English, although "i" in "dig" comes close (except you shift the sound even further down your throat).
Perhaps this discussion will be of help:


да, я пью кофе.


пить (pitʹ) "to drink": From Old East Slavic пити (piti), from Proto-Slavic piti (“to drink”). From Proto-Indo-European (see peh₃-), cognates include Lithuanian puotà (“drinking spree, wassail”), Old Prussian pōuton (“to drink”), poieiti (“drink (imperative)”), Sanskrit पाति (pāti, “he drinks”), पाययति (pāyayati, “to give to drink”), Ancient Greek πόσις (pósis, “the act of drinking”), πίνω (pínō, “I drink”), πώνω (pṓnō, “I drink”), Latin pōtus (“drunk, having been drunk”), and (from reduplicated present stem) Sanskrit पिबति (pibati, “he drinks”), पीत (pīta, “drunk”), Latin bibō (“I drink”) (< *pibō), Albanian pi (“I drink”), Old Irish ibim (“I drink”), Welsh yfed.

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