When speaking to a guest do Russians typically use ты? As in if you are a guest, you are on familiar terms?
No, there is no such assumption. You might use either «ты» or «Вы» with guests, depending on what you usually use. I personally use «Вы» with everyone by default, and explicitly ask people if they are OK with us using «ты» for each other.
Do Russian hotels refer to their customers as guests?
Yes. Obviously, hotel personnel uses «Вы» when addressing customers (and customers normally answer in the same way).
following on this theme of familiarity, As a russian speaker, how do you reconcile one of the statements on Duo where it say Ты меня не мой друг TO me, I see Ты as friendly and this seems to be contradictory. I would have thought вы меня не мой друг
Sorry that this is off topic but if I don't mention it now, then I will forget it. (new russian words keep pushing out other thoughts ha ha )
Well, the phrase "You're not my friend" sounds pretty rude to me.
We use "Вы" as a polite and official form, a form of respect to someone. "Ты" is a neutral form without any shown respect to companion. We use it for informal talks with friends, close relatives, girlfriends, etc.
If you use "ты" to someone "bigger" than you (like teacher), or to someone you don't really know, or to a stranger then he will probably feel that you're being rude and disrecpectful. (it won't really be a problem for a foreigner, but native speakers will definitely notice that you're using "ты" instead of "вы").
If i've ever heard the phrase "Вы мне не друг", i would immediately imagine some 19th century's noblemen's duel or a conversation like "Sorry, mister, we don't know each other", but not 21th century. The phrase with "ты" sounds like "Woah, woah, stop there, you're not my friend". Even "Мы не друзья" ("We're not friends") sounds more polite. "Ты мне не друг" feels more like "Hey, you're not good enough for me, i don't count you as a friend" or like "I thought we were friends, but you've made the bad thing and broke my heart, you're not a friend to me anymore". You might even use "Ты" if you want to offend someone.
But it is still not wrong to use "вы" intead of "ты". Actually, i would recommend you to use "вы" almost every time and "ты" only when you're talking to friends, because otherwise they will feel uncomfortable, just like they're having an official conversation.
It’s difficult to describe, but the difference is certainly there!
In Ы, the main sound /ɨ/. However, in speech it can be pronounced with a semi-vowel [ɰ] (basically, an short unrounded version of /u/) before it, so it can sound as a diphtongoid. Most Russian speakers treat [ɰɨ] and [ɨ] as the variants of the same vowel /ɨ/ and don’t even notice the distinction.
In ОЙ, there is /o/ (or a neutral vowel /ə/ that is closer to A, if O is unstressed) followed by a semi-vowel /j/.
- in мы, the second part of the [ɰɨ] is prominent, and the first is shorter (and not strictly required),
- in мой, the first part of the [oj] is prominent, and the second part is shorter.
The vowel quality is also different, but it’s hard to describe it.