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In my previous question, several answers mentioned different ways здравствуйте can be shortened, namely здравствуй and здрасте. Are these special cases, or is it common to shorten words like these?

Different languages tend to deal differently with optimising for speed. In Danish, we tend to abbreviate the word, skipping certain parts, but that is not strictly correct. In Spanish, they tend to carefully pronounce the words, but then they do it at dizzying speeds. Is this something like it for Russian?

8

Здравствуй is the 2-nd person singular form of the verb, здравствуйте is the 2-nd person plural (either proper plural or honorific plural).

Здрасьте just reflects relaxed pronunciation of the word, like English "sup" instead of "what's up". Like its English counterpart, it could be considered a sign of disrespect when used towards a stranger.

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4

While I am not sure about Здрасте, I can tell that Здравствуй is simply the "singular" version of Здравствуйте:

  • Здравствуй - You (singular) or informal
  • Здравствуйте - You (plural) or formal

But, as you can see, the singular/plural distinction is not the only one: Like other languages, you use another person when the language is formal, in Russian it's Вы (you plural). In Spanish, for example, you'd use Usted/Ustedes.

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  • Ah, pluralisation, of course. It's very strange to think of a word like “good day” pluralised :) – mikl Jun 19 '12 at 14:21
  • @mikl That's the cool part about languages: they're never exactly like yours. :D I don't think I ever used Здравсте in my classes or heard it from teachers... Hopefully some native speaker can help me out. :) – Alenanno Jun 19 '12 at 14:23
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    @mikl: it's verbatim translated as "be healthy" and contains a verb. – Quassnoi Jun 19 '12 at 14:28
  • @Alenanno: I haven't ever heard a "sup, bro" from my English teacher too :) – Quassnoi Jun 19 '12 at 14:30
  • @Quassnoi Now that I know the meaning, no wonder I never heard it! :D – Alenanno Jun 19 '12 at 14:31
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I actually think its здрассте (без мягкого знака) and it's synonymous with the English term 'howdy.' the impression I've gotten is that the word здравствуйте is such a long word with such a horrible consonant cluster in the middle (on top of being such a common everyday word anyway) that it is useless to try to pronounce every letter of the word (you'll find the same to be true for words such as пожалуйста, again a common everyday word that is never fully pronounced, that is the -уй- are often spoken over) but one difference is that I don't believe there to be a meaning for the 'word' пожалста, it's just the way it is pronounced when spoken quickly.

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