I'm no Russian expert, so correct me if I'm wrong, but "Привет" is used around friends, people you know, and the sort. Здравствуй is used to be polite to someone you don't know, to show respect.
You're halfway right. Привет is indeed more informal than здраствуй, but здраствуй is already informal. You wouldn't use it with a stranger (except a child) and it's entirely appropriate with friends. The formal greeting is здраствуйте.
Здравствуй is used to greet a single person, Здравствуйте is used towards several people.
I have to add that you only use "Здравствуй" to greet one person with whom you are on informal terms. In fact, this is most commonly used by adults greeting children.
- Здравствуйте, Наталья Александровна!
- Здравствуй, Ваня!
Children or friends usually use "привет" to greet each other, "здравствуй" is not wrong, but not common.
Здравствуй is informal and always singular and здравствуйте is formal and/or plural
It would be great if we could have the slow pronounciation as well, at least for the first few skills
I never quite figured out if the diminutive form of the name equals an informal setting and therefor requires (or allows) the informal use of the greeting, or if it's okay to use the singular version - lacking 'те' at the end of 'здравствуйте' - when you are referring to a single person anyway.
You should only say "здравствуй" to someone with whom you are on "ты" terms. If you aren't, you are unlikely to be calling them by a diminutive. I'd say the diminutive probably requires the informal greeting, but people are different so you may encounter exceptions.
Okay, спасибо! That was never quite specified in the lessons as far as I remember, although I did note that 'здравствуй' was only ever used in settings that could be seen as informal.
This is actually sounds better. Informal with informal; formal with formal.
Is there any reason why "hi, Vanya" should not be accepted as a proper translation?
Здравствуйте is a normal "hello", can be used with pretty much anyone. Привет is quite informal.
Vania implies two separate sounds, while the "ya" in Vanya is one syllable.