Question is about using вы instead of ты. I already know Serbian, so I know when you use one and when the other (Vi i Ti), what I'm interested in is, how is this form of address called in Russian?

In Serbian it's called "Persiranje" or as a verb "Persirati", but despite all Serbian/Russian similarities, the only word sounding like that I found was "пересирать" which is one step away from meaning the complete opposite :P

  • The word "пересирать" sounds like an indefinite form of "пересрать", a colloquial invective meaning either "to be scared a lot" or "to make a mess of (something)" depending on the context. Sep 5, 2012 at 16:45
  • I guess "to be scared a lot" makes some sense
    – mimosveta
    Sep 5, 2012 at 17:20
  • 1
    @dasblinkenlight: both are indefinite forms, the words differ in aspect (пересирать is imperfective, пересрать is perfective).
    – Quassnoi
    Sep 5, 2012 at 18:39
  • I believe there's no direct Russian equivalent. However, the verb you're looking for also exists in other languages, for instance, in French, it's "tutoyer". Nov 7, 2012 at 13:34

4 Answers 4


In a very formal way, formal address is called

  1. формальная форма обращения, as opposed to
  2. фамильярная форма обращения.

Colloquially these forms are known as

  1. на вы and
  2. на ты.

Persirati apparently originates from German per Sie, Sie being the formal addressing in German.

In Russian there is a colloquial (single) verb выкать, or more formal phrase быть на вы (с кем-либо):

Мои подчиненные привыкли к тому, что они со мной на "ты", а я с ними на "вы". [И. Э. Кио. Иллюзии без иллюзий (1995-1999)]

― Пап, ты вождь и он вождь. Почему вы с ним на «вы»? ― Потому, что не ношу смазных сапог и не хожу на охоту. [Александр Терехов. Каменный мост (1997-2008)]

  • Thank you very much, especially for stab at origin :) We also say "biti na vi" and "preći na ti"="перейти на ты"
    – mimosveta
    Sep 5, 2012 at 17:13

Well (if I get the question right), there are verbs тыкать and выкать (and, accordingly, nouns тыканье and выканье:

Что вы мне тыкаете! Я с вами на брудершафт не пила

Those words are pretty informal and can be used only in casual speech. More formal it is called обращение на ты/вы.

  • Yes, you understood the question. I also liked the example. We also refer to these forms of address as Tikanje i Vikanje, but to us that's more like a joke. Well, maybe there's no such a word, thanks for your help.
    – mimosveta
    Sep 5, 2012 at 15:09
  • 1
    @mimosveta, you're very welcome) as far as I know, персирање is quite unique word that actually have no analogues in many other languages, including Slavic )
    – shabunc
    Sep 5, 2012 at 15:14
  • Yes, I did notice it's virtually impossible to translate to any other language I thought of :S
    – mimosveta
    Sep 5, 2012 at 15:18

Обращаться на ты/вы or быть [с кем-л.] на ты/вы are complete equivalents, not necessarily colloquial. I don't think it matters a lot whether it's a verb or a verb phrase.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.