Hi 'monica67'! Yes I can understand now that I know Vanya is short for Ivan but as 'berice' says, how do we know those short-forms if we are not Russian or mixing with Russians unless that is explained to us :) I did not understand why I was wrong until I read all these posts... I suppose it could be said that we should not be all so animated about getting things wrong and more appreciative of these whimsical little 'trip-ups' that make us check in to the discussions where we all get to meet each other, help each other and learn, learn, learn!! Thanks for posting :D
The use of алло/алё is relatively straightforward.
- It is used by itself by the answering party. In a formal situation the name of the answering party may follow. Алло, Тараскин слушает.
- It may be used by the calling party when it is more or less expected who answers the phone. In this case it is used with the name of the person who is expected to answer the phone in the form of a question. Алло, Ваня?
- It may be used when the quality of the line gets bad to reestablish the communication. Алё! Алё!!! Проклятый Пчелайн!
I was given the exercise: Translate the phrase "Hello, Vanya." Just to be a little rebel, I picked "алло, Ваня", because, theoretically, a phone call can also be answered with "hello?", and thus there is no distinction in the English phrase. I kind of thought it wouldn't be accepted, but, at the same time, I don't see - why not?
Sasha/Саша is a diminutive of Alexander/Александр (masc.) or Alexandra (fem.).
We don't have a fem version of the name Иван in Russian (like Johanne/Joanne/Johanna/Joan).
The Russians did not like long complex names. And they did not like borrowed non-Slavic names ending in a consonant (maybe except Олег, Игорь, Борис). The name Ivan is not long enough to become shorter after adding a diminutive suffix.
Александр (masc.)/Александра (fem.) -> (Алексаня) -> Саня; Алексаша -> Саша -> (Сашура) -> Шура. Thus the extreme form of the diminutive may not save almost anything from the original name. But this is a rare case, usually the central or initial part of the name is always preserved.
If здравствуйте, здравствуй, алло, and привет can all be used for hello, and we aren't given any context on formality or familiarity, how are we supposed to know which one to use? Without any context, any of the options should be accepted. If there is a preferred answer, that can be added as a suggestion for future reference after the answer is submitted.
Does anybody know if there are any plans to introduce the "tips" to mobile? Or at the very least mention that they exist? I didn't find out that was even a thing until I was already well beyond the first checkpoint... and even then I only happened to come across mention of it in somebody's comment. Without those tips it's nearly impossible to know things like "Vanya is informal for Ivan". Like, how are mobile users supposed to know that?
Also, if the link provided by guidoz. doesn't work for you (for some reason my Windows 10 doesn't offer the options listed in that link) you can always use free online Russian keyboard like www.branah.com/russian it shows you the keyboard on the screen, you can type, then copy and paste into Duo. Not as convenient, BUT it does help you learn where the Russian letters are on the keyboard so you can get used to typing in Russian in the meantime until you either 1) find Russian stickers to put on your keyboard and figure out how to switch your settings or 2) buy a physical Russian keyboard.
If you use mobile, it is quite easy to download a free Russian/English keyboard app that allows you to switch back and forth between the two input languages.
Yeah, something like that. For example I use it when talking to people about my age or younger who are not my close acquaintances. Using "привет" might sound too familiar (unceremonious) while "здравствуйте" would be too formal in unofficial situation.
BTW, "здравствуй" is used strictly with one person ("привет" and "здравствуйте" can be used with a group of people) and it requires ты-forms of verbs ("Здравствуй, как тебя зовут?").