Ру́сская неде́ля [Russian week] begins on a Monday and ends on a Sunday. Дни неде́ли [days of the week] are not capitalized in Russian language. First, let’s take a look at the literal meaning of each day of the week in Russian:
Понеде́льник (по + неде́ля + ник): The prefix по means “after” and the word неде́ля means “week.” So понеде́льник can be interpreted today as the day that comes after the week is over. However, the word неде́ля [week] in other Slavic languages (and used to in Russian as well) actually means “Sunday,” so понеде́льник [Monday] is literally the day that comes after Sunday.
Вто́рник (второ́й): Derives from the Russian ordinal number второ́й [second]. Вто́рник [Tuesday] is the second day of the week.
Среда́ (середи́на; сре́дний): Gets its meaning from a Russian word середи́на [middle]. Среда́ [Wednesday] is сре́дний [the middle] day of the week.
Четве́рг (четыре; четвёрый): If you know Russian numbers, then you can easily figure out where Четве́рг [Thursday] gets its meaning, from the number четы́ре [four] of course! Четве́рг [Thursday] is четвёртый [the fourth] day of the week.
Пя́тница (пять; пя́тый): This day of the week follows the same pattern as вто́рник [Tuesday] and четве́рг [Thursday]. Friday’s meaning in Russian has to do with the number пять [five]. So пя́тница [Friday] becomes пя́тый [the fifth] day of the week.
Суббо́та (шабба́т): If you look closely at its spelling, you’ll see that the word суббо́та [Saturday] in Russian comes from the Hebrew word “Sabbath.”
Воскресе́нье (воскресе́ние): Comes from a Russian word воскресе́ние [resurrection]. Obviously, the name of the seventh day of the week in Russian language has been influenced by the Christian tradition.
Now that we’ve learned from where Russian days of the week originate, let’s try learning them! Click on the audio player below, listen, and repeat after me.
Below are some упражне́ния [exercises] that will help you memorize дни неде́ли [days of the week] in Russian language quicker:
Упражне́ние оди́н [Exercise 1]: Try writing or typing дни неде́ли [the days of the week] по-ру́сски [in Russian] in your calendar each week. The more times you practice spelling them по-ру́сски [in Russian], the faster you will learn them!
Упражне́ние два [Exercise 2]: Once you feel you have memorized дни неде́ли [the days of the week] in Russian, try saying them backwards (Sunday, Saturday, Friday, etc.) по-ру́сски [in Russian]. It is harder than it seems!
For more practice, watch our video and practice дни неде́ли [the days of the week] in Russian with us!