Questions “What is that?”, “Who is that?”. A1 level class

Hey guys, welcome to the new class for A1 level. It’s time to learn how to ask some easiest questions in Russian and to answer them. So today topic is “Кто это?” (“Who is that?”) and “Что это?” (“What is that?”). Let’s go!


Кто это?

(Who is that/it?)

Что это?

(What is that/it?)

First of all, let’s try to understand why the pronunciation is so weird here. If you’ve already learnt the Russian alphabet you might wonder why “Это” is pronounced as “Eta” and “Что” as “Shto”. There is not so much to explain about the pronunciation of “Что”, that’s just an exception (actually try to get used to a fact, that the exeptions are a huge part of Russian language). However, “Eta” part is much more interesting. The explanation is simple: Russian language has the accents. The accented vowels are pronounced with more intensity and do not change their sound in pronunciation. But the vowels with no accent can change their sound drastically. Especially the letter “o”. If it’s not accented it’s read like the sound “ah”.

Remember! Letter “o” with no accent is pronounced as sound “a”!


In Russian language there is no equivalent for English verb “to be” in the present tense. We just skip it. That’s why if to translate the question “Кто это?” literally it will look like “Who it?”.

Let’s take a look at another example to make it more clear. The phrase “I’m a student” will look just like “Я студент” – literally “I student” (Yeah yeah, there are no such things as articles in Russian as well 🙂 )


Look, listen and try to read:

Аптека – pharmacy
Дом – house, building

And now answer the questions: