I was going to title this node, "How Russians Answer The Phone," but I realized that my experience was far too limited to really know how all -- or even most Russians answer the phone.

I do, however, know more than my share of Moscow teenagers, and how they answer the phone in American households.

They answer the phone like this:

Moscow Teenager: Yes?

Nonplussed Caller:Uh... I might have the wrong number... I'm looking for so-and-so.

Moscow Teenager:Wait.

(So-and-so gets on line)
Nonplussed Caller, relieved:Oh, I thought I had dialed wrong.

Let me assure you that any attempt to teach the Moscow Teenager to answer the telephone with "Hello? / Who is this please? / One moment, I'll get her" will utterly fail.

I believe this to be more of a cultural difference than a language difference, because, even in Russian, Moscow Teenagers seem to get started on the phone with "Da?" (Yes) rather than "Zdraste" (informal Hello).

I happen to be a Moscow teenager as well.


I happen to live in a ...different Moscow than you may be thinking of. It's small, about 25,000 people. It's a college town. It's in Idaho. When I answer the phone, it usually goes something like this:

Moscow Teenager: Hello?

Rude-ass caller: Let me talk to so-and-so

Moscow Teenager: Just a moment. (under breath: Yeah, fuck you too, rude-ass sonofabitch.) She'll be right here.

Rude-ass caller: Good.

Let me assure you that any attempt to instill some idea that teenagers are more than secretaries and things that push lawn-mowers in these people will utterly fail. I believe I will start to answer the phone in this manner, though it's a tad too respectful, given the treatment I get, it's much more indicative of my opinion of the caller.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.