Whether your aim is to sound like a native of St Petersburg or the opposite – to keep your Russian clear and region neutral – here are some words you should know about…
I was always told that Russian, especially in comparison to British English, was a language of very few regional diferences. Even if we ignore accents for a second, in Britain you only need to travel between two big cities before you start encountering long and heated debates about the proper word to use for a bread roll (or bun, barm, bap, teacake, cob or whatever else you want to call it). Russian, so I was told, had no such petty lexical squabbles. Imagine my surprise then when I found out that in St Petersburg there is no such thing as white bread, or at least, they don`t use those words to describe it.
There are in fact many differences between the words used in St Petersburg Russian and Moscow Russian. Here are some of the more common examples of this, starting off with…
По-английски: White Bread
Elsewhere in Russia булка means loaf, as in булка хлеба – a loaf of bread
Easy to remember, just drop the к.
Apparently people from St Pete`s hate saying full names when it comes to things that can be eaten.
I`ll be honest, I`ve seen so many signs for пышки while I`ve been here that I don`t think I`ll ever be able to remember any other name for them.
No matter how you say it it tastes the same.
Why does Saint Petersburg need it`s own word for something as specific as a Turtleneck? I think they just want to avoid saying anything that reminds them of the weather.
This is like the difference between the American Eraser and British rubber.
This one`s a little more tricky, if they sell newspapers, books or souvenirs you should still call them киоски but if they only sell snacks, drinks or fruit then better to call them ларьки
Normally Парадная is reserved for entrances with a red carpet, but when you look at the buildings in St Petersburg it`s easy to see why this gets used for every building.
This must be very confusing for Russians born in other parts of the country who end up taking driving lessons in St Pete`s.
One word sounds Spanish, the other comes from latin, but both of them describe one of the most boring, grey and unromantic types of structure in existence.