Russian Vocabulary

Making a Phone Call

Knowing the basic vocabulary for making a phone call will put you at ease when need to reach your Russian friends, co-workers or business partners. Whether you'd like to borrow someone else's phone or you are already on the line, these three phrases will help you to get started with the phone call.

Извините, можно позвонить?                   
 [MOHZH-nah pahz-vah-NEET']
Excuse me, can I make a phone call?
Здравствуйте! А Наташа дома?
 [ZDRAHS-tvooy-tyeh ah nah-TAH-shah DOH-mah]
Hello! Is Natasha home?
Можно ее (его) к телефону?
 [MOHZH-nah ee-VOH (ee-YOH) k tee-lee-FOH-noo]
Can I talk to her (him)?

Once you are connected, you may need to talk to someone else before you finally reach the person you are calling to. You may either hear the good news (One moment!) or that the person is away or busy at the moment. Here are some phrases that you would hear in such situations.

Одну минуту!           
 [ahd-NOO mee-NOO-too]
One moment!
Перезвоните попозже.           
 [pyeh-ree-zvah-NEE-tyeh pah-POH-zhyeh]
Call back later.
Он вышел.
 [ohn VI-shyehl]
He left.
Она вышла.
 [ah-NAH VISH-lah]
She left.
Он ушел домой.
 [ohn oo-SHOHL dah-MOI]
He left home.
Извините, он сейчас занят.
 [eez-vee-NEE-tyeh ohn see-CHAS ZAH-nyaht]
I’m sorry, he’s busy now.
Перезвоните через час.
 [peh-reez-vah-NEE-tyeh CHYEH-reez chahs]
Call back in an hour.
Позвоните ему домой.
 [pahz-vah-NEE-tyeh ee-MOO dah-MOI]
Call at his home number.
Позвоните ему на работу.
 [pahz-vah-NEE-tyeh ee-MOO nah rah-BOH-too]
Call at his work phone.
Позвоните ему на сотовый.
 [pahz-vah-NEE-tyeh ee-MOO na SOH-tah-viy]
Call him on his cell phone.

If you haven't reached the desired person you may try to leave him or her a message. Here are two handy phrases to ask them to call you back depending on whether the person is male or female.

Пусть он позвонит мне, когда вернется.
 [poos't' ohn pahz-vah-NEET mnyeh kahg-DAH veer-NYOH-tsah]
Let him call me whe he is back.
Пусть она позвонит мне, когда вернется.
 [poos't' ah-NAH pahz-vah-NEET mnyeh kahg-DAH veer-NYOH-tsah]
Let her call me whe she is back.

Finally, here are a few phrases that you may use to troubleshoot the problems when the line is busy, the phone doesn't answer, or you can't get through to your destination.

Телефон занят.
 [tyeh-lee-FOHN zah-NYAHT]
The phone is busy.
Телефон не отвечает.
 [tyeh-lee-FOHN nee aht-vee-CHAH-eet]
The phone doesn't answer.
Я не могу дозвониться до Москвы.
 [yah nee mah-GOO dahz-vah-NEE-tsah dah mahs-KVI]
I can’t get through to Moscow.

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