Twelve Days of Christmas - How to Count in the Russian Language
Count and Laugh Along With Us In Russian
In middle schools some of us learned to count from 1 to 10 in Russian and we had a good time learning the language and the history and culture of Russia, especially the arts and the music.
In high school Russian Class, we learned to sing the Russian lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas.
This means that we at least learned to count from one through twelve in this great language. Actually, we learned to count to a thousand and higher in Russian, and I will show you some of the numbers below.
We had a lot of fun with Russian language numbers and even held a bingo game for an entire class hour one day. Another time, we translated old TV shows into Russian - I did an old episode of The Honeymooners.
In addition, I have provided some fun videos that let you hear the language in numbers and also a Russian group singing the Twelve Days of Christmas in English.
I hope you enjoy these displays and wish them to bring you a smile or a laugh.
Click here for the entire lyric for the Russian Language version of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
"With Christmas" = Merry Christmas!
Russian Numbers 1 to 10
1 - один ("uh-deen")
2 - два ("dva"): The "a" is like that in "Ah."
3 - три ("tree")
4 - четыре ("chye-tir-ye"): The first "e" is like our "short e" or "eh" sounds and the last "e" is almost "ee."
5 - пять ("pyat' "): "A' like "Ah." The (') means a soft-sign (ь) is in place, meaning to cut off the last letter partially by lifting your tongue to behind your front teeth.
6 - шесть ("shest' "): The "e" is like the American "short e" or "eh."
7 - семь ("syem' "): Same type of American "short e." Don't spend much time on the "m", because it has a soft-sign after it.
8 - восемь ("vo-syem' ") : The "o" should have umlauts ( ¨ ) over it and be pronounced like the o in oracle. There are no "long o" sounds in Russian. Remember the soft-sign at the end.
9 - девять ("dyev-yat' "): The "a" sounds like that in "Ah".
10 -десять ("dyes-yat' "): again, "a" like "Ah."
Matryoshka Dolls Counting To 10
Russian Numbers 11 to 20
Try to guess these pronunciations before you reach the video below!
Give up? -- Do not feel bad.
The video tells you how to say each number in Russian, with a human demonstrator pronouncing each word clearly, for your enjoyment.
11 - одиннадцать: один-над-цать. The first syllable is the same as for "1" above. The second syllable is like "n - Ah - d". The last syllable "tsaht'." The rest of the words this list work in a very similar manner of pronunciation.
11 - о-дин-над-цать
12 - две-над-цать
13 - три-над-цать
14 - че-тыр-над-цать
15 - пят-над-цать
16 - шест-над-цать
17 - сем-надцать
18 - восем-надцать
19 - девятнадцать
20 - двад-цать
Moscow Boys Choir - 12 Days of Christmas
How Hard are the Russian Numbers?
Which set of numbers was more difficult for you to learn?
Russian Icon: King Solomon, Well Known for Counting
Helpful Russian Language Resources
Pravda (Truth) is a newspaper in Russian, English and other languages. It was fun to read 1960's editions of this paper in high school classes in the 1970s and 1980s.
Russian in the 1960s: "The 1960s" in Russian is written as "1960-е годы", meaning roughly "the one thousandth, nine hundredth, 60th through 69th years."
- Russian Online
This site offers the alphabet, numbers, and how to pronounce all of them in seven sections of the website total. You can even learn to read street signs. Videos too!
An Interactive Reference Grammar, this site is very helpful, packed with information and help.
Soviet October Country
In 1960s America, it was illegal to have items written in the Russian language within our borders, particularly Soviet newspapers. However, in an experimental language class for youth, we saw Pravda in Russian and a copy of Oktabriana.
Oktyabrina or Octyobriana Is a female Russian name, which is in use since the 1920s is related to the month name (Oktyabr = October), symbolizing the Great October Revolution. There is much legend surrounding the original comics of the same name.
A cult following has grown up around the newer version created in the 1980s and a live film version has been done.
You might find a rare copy of the 1950s-1960s comic at a comics convention, or even a science fiction convention, by a slim chance.
Bonus: Twelve Months In Russian
January: январь = yahn-vahr’
February: февраль = feh-vrahl (Bold indicates stress or emphasis)
March: март = mahrt’
April: апрель = ah-prehl’
May: май = mai (As in the drink "Mai Tai")
June: июнь = eeyun’
July: июль = eeyul’
August: август = ahv-goost or ahf-goost
September: сентябрь = sehn-tyah-br’
October: октябрь ok-tyah-br’
November: ноябрь no-yah-br’
December: декабрь de-kah-br’
The video below is a Russian cartoon about the 12 months of the year, in the Russian language.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2007 Patty Inglish MS