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Russian (, tr. ''russkiy yazyk'') is an
East Slavic language The East Slavic languages constitute one of the three regional subgroups of Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family native ...
native to
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
in
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
. It is a part of the
Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...
, and is one of four living East Slavic languages, and also part of the larger Balto-Slavic branch. Russian is an
official language An official language is a language given a special status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciar ...

official language
in
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
,
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
,
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan ( kk, Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan,; russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no) is a country located mainly in ...

Kazakhstan
, and
Kyrgyzstan russian: Киргизская Республика, Kirgizskaya Respublika , image_flag = Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg , image_coat = Emblem of Kyrgyzstan.svg , symbol_type = Emblem , motto = " ...

Kyrgyzstan
, and is used widely as a
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
throughout
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
,
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north, including the former Soviet Union, Soviet republics of the Sov ...

Central Asia
, and to some extent in the
Baltic states The Baltic states ( et, Balti riigid, Baltimaad; lv, Baltijas valstis; lt, Baltijos valstybės), also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic republics, Baltic nations, or simply the Baltics, is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the ...

Baltic states
. It was the ''de facto'' language of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
until its
dissolution Dissolution may refer to: Arts and entertainment Books * Dissolution (Forgotten Realms novel), ''Dissolution'' (''Forgotten Realms'' novel), a 2002 fantasy novel by Richard Lee Byers * Dissolution (Sansom novel), ''Dissolution'' (Sansom novel), a 2 ...
, Constitution and Fundamental Law of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 1977: Section II, Chapter 6, Article 36 and continues to be used in public life with varying proficiency in all of the
post-Soviet states The post-Soviet states, also known as the former Soviet Union (FSU), the former Soviet Republics and in Russia as the near abroad (russian: links=no, ближнее зарубежье, blizhneye zarubezhye), are the 15 sovereign state A sovere ...
. Russian has over 258 million total speakers worldwide, and is the most spoken
Slavic language The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with t ...

Slavic language
, the most spoken
native language A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1) is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) ...
in Europe, as well as the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia. Large numbers of Russian speakers are residents of other countries, such as
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...
and
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: '; literal translation, lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country in East Asia. It is bordered by Russia Mongolia–Russia ...

Mongolia
. It is the world's , and the world's eighth-most spoken language by total number of speakers. Russian is the second-most used language on the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
after
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
, and is one of two official languages aboard the
International Space Station The International Space Station (ISS) is a Modular design, modular space station (habitable satellite, artificial satellite) in low Earth orbit. It is a multinational collaborative project involving five participating space agencies: NASA (Uni ...

International Space Station
, as well as one of the six
official languages of the United Nations The official languages of the United Nations are the six languages that are used in UN meetings and in which all official UN documents are written. In alphabetical order, they are: * Arabic (Modern Standard Arabic) * Chinese language, Chinese (Man ...
. Russian is written using the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
; it distinguishes between
consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory phoneticians explain how humans produce speech sounds via the interaction of d ...
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s with
palatal The palate is the roof of the mouth in humans and other mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of ma ...
secondary articulation In phonetics, secondary articulation occurs when the articulation of a consonant is equivalent to the combined articulations of two or three simpler consonants, at least one of which is an approximant consonant, approximant. The secondary articulat ...
and those without—the so-called "soft" and "hard" sounds. Almost every consonant has a hard or soft counterpart, and the distinction is a prominent feature of the language. Another important aspect is the reduction of
unstressed In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

vowel
s. Stress, which is unpredictable, is not normally indicated orthographically, though an optional
acute accent The acute accent, , is a diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembl ...

acute accent
may be used to mark stress, such as to distinguish between
homograph A homograph (from the el, ὁμός, ''homós'', "same" and γράφω, ''gráphō'', "write") is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with ...
ic words, e.g. замо́к (''zamók'' – a 'lock') and за́мок (''zámok'' – a 'castle'), or to indicate the proper pronunciation of uncommon words or names.


Classification

Russian is an
East Slavic language The East Slavic languages constitute one of the three regional subgroups of Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family native ...
of the wider
Indo-European family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...
. It is a descendant of the language used in
Kievan Rus' Kievan Rus' ( orv, , Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") or Kyivan Rus', was a loose federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a ...
, a loose conglomerate of
East Slavic East Slavic may refer to: * East Slavic languages, one of three branches of the Slavic languages * East Slavs, a subgroup of Slavic peoples who speak the East Slavic languages See also

* Old East Slavic, a language used during the 10th–15th ...
tribes from the late 9th to the mid 13th centuries. From the point of view of
spoken language A spoken language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. La ...
, its closest relatives are
Ukrainian Ukrainian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Ukraine * Something relating to Ukrainians an East Slavic people from Eastern Europe * Something relating to Demographics of Ukraine, in terms of demography: population of Ukraine * Somethi ...
,
Belarusian Belarusian may refer to: * Something of, or related to Belarus * Belarusians, people from Belarus, or of Belarusian descent * A citizen of Belarus, see Demographics of Belarus * Belarusian language * Belarusian culture * Belarusian cuisine * Byeloru ...
, and Rusyn, the other three languages in the East Slavic branch. In many places in eastern and southern
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
and throughout
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
, these languages are spoken interchangeably, and in certain areas traditional bilingualism resulted in language mixtures such as
Surzhyk Surzhyk (, ) refers to a range of mixed (macaronic Macaronic language uses a mixture of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign langu ...

Surzhyk
in eastern Ukraine and Trasianka in
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
. An East Slavic
Old Novgorod dialectOld Novgorod dialect (russian: древненовгородский диалект, translit=drevnenovgorodskiy dialekt; also translated as Old Novgorodian or Ancient Novgorod dialect) is a term introduced by Andrey Zaliznyak to describe the dialect ...
, although it vanished during the 15th or 16th century, is sometimes considered to have played a significant role in the formation of modern Russian. Also Russian has notable lexical similarities with Bulgarian due to a common
Church Slavonic Church Slavonic (црькъвьнословѣньскъ ѩзыкъ, ''crĭkŭvĭnoslověnĭskŭ językŭ'', literally "Church-Slavonic language"), also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative ...
influence on both languages, but because of later interaction in the 19th and 20th centuries, Bulgarian grammar differs markedly from Russian. In the 19th century (in Russia until 1917), the language was often called " Great Russian" to distinguish it from Belarusian, then called "White Russian" and Ukrainian, then called "Little Russian". The
vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed la ...
(mainly abstract and literary words), principles of word formations, and, to some extent, inflections and literary style of Russian have been also influenced by
Church Slavonic Church Slavonic (црькъвьнословѣньскъ ѩзыкъ, ''crĭkŭvĭnoslověnĭskŭ językŭ'', literally "Church-Slavonic language"), also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative ...
, a developed and partly Russified form of the South Slavic
Old Church Slavonic Old Church Slavonic or Old Slavonic () was the first Slavic literary language A literary language is the form of a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (S ...
language used by the
Russian Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = ru , image = Moscow July 2011-7a.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = Cathedral of Christ the Saviour The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour ( rus, Храм Хр ...

Russian Orthodox Church
. However, the East Slavic forms have tended to be used exclusively in the various dialects that are experiencing a rapid decline. In some cases, both the East Slavic and the
Church Slavonic Church Slavonic (црькъвьнословѣньскъ ѩзыкъ, ''crĭkŭvĭnoslověnĭskŭ językŭ'', literally "Church-Slavonic language"), also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative ...
forms are in use, with many different meanings. ''For details, see
Russian phonology This article discusses the phonological system of standard Russian based on the Moscow Moscow (, ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the capital and largest city of Russia Russia (russian: l ...
and
History of the Russian language Russian language, Russian is a Slavic languages, Slavic language of the Indo-European Languages, Indo-European family. All Indo-European languages are descendants of a single prehistoric language, reconstructed as Proto-Indo-European language, P ...
.'' Over the course of centuries, the vocabulary and literary style of Russian have also been influenced by Western and Central European languages such as
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
,
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
,
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
,
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
, ,
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
, and
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
, and to a lesser extent the languages to the south and the east:
Uralic The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family of 38 languages spoken by approximately 25million people, predominantly in Northern Eurasia. The Uralic languages with the most native speakers are Hungarian lang ...

Uralic
,
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...

Turkic
,
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
,
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
, and
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
. According to the
Defense Language Institute The Defense Language Institute (DLI) is a United States Department of Defense (DoD) educational and research institution consisting of two separate entities which provide linguistic and cultural instruction to the Department of Defense, other fede ...
in
Monterey, California Monterey ( es, Monterrey; Ohlone The Ohlone, formerly known as Costanoans (from Spanish ''costeño'' meaning "coast dweller"), are a Native American people of the Northern California Northern California (colloquially known as NorCal) is a ...
, Russian is classified as a level III language in terms of learning difficulty for native
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
speakers, requiring approximately 1,100 hours of immersion instruction to achieve intermediate fluency. It is also regarded by the
United States Intelligence Community The United States Intelligence Community (IC) is a group of separate United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States The United Sta ...
as a "hard target" language, due to both its difficulty to master for English speakers and its critical role in U.S. world policy.


Standard Russian

Feudal divisions and conflicts, and other obstacles to the exchange of goods and ideas that ancient Russian principalities before and especially during Mongol rule, strengthened dialectical differences and for a while prevented the emergence of the standardized national language. The formation of the unified and centralized Russian state in 15th and 16th centuries and the gradual (re)emergence of a common political, economic, and cultural space have created the need for a common standard language. The initial impulse for the standardization came from the government bureaucracy for the lack of a reliable tool of communication in administrative, legal, and judicial affairs became an obvious practical problem. The earliest attempts at standardizing Russian were made based on the so-called Moscow official or chancery language, during the 15th to 17th centuries. Since then the trend of language policy in Russia has been standardization in both the restricted sense of reducing dialectical barriers between ethnic Russians, and the broader sense of expanding the use of Russian alongside or in favour of other languages. The current standard form of Russian is generally regarded as the ''modern Russian literary language'' ( – "sovremenny russky literaturny yazyk"). It arose in the beginning of the 18th century with the modernization reforms of the Russian state under the rule of
Peter the Great Peter the Great ( rus, Пётр Вели́кий, Pyotr Velíkiy, ˈpʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj), Peter I ( rus, Пётр Первый, Pyotr Pyervyy, ˈpʲɵtr ˈpʲɛrvɨj) or Pyotr Alekséyevich ( rus, Пётр Алексе́евич, p=ˈp ...

Peter the Great
, and developed from the Moscow ( Middle or Central Russian) dialect substratum under the influence of some of the previous century's Russian chancery language.
Mikhail Lomonosov Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov (; russian: Михаил (Михайло) Васильевич Ломоносов, p=mʲɪxɐˈil vɐˈsʲilʲjɪvʲɪtɕ , a=Ru-Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov.ogg; – ) was a Russian polymath A polymath ( e ...

Mikhail Lomonosov
first compiled a normalizing grammar book in 1755; in 1783 the
Russian Academy The Russian Academy or Imperial Russian Academy (russian: Академия Российская, Императорская Российская академия) was established in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1783 by Empress Catherine II of Russia a ...
's first explanatory Russian dictionary appeared. During the end of the 18th and 19th centuries, a period known as the "Golden Age", the grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation of the Russian language was stabilized and standardized, and it became the nationwide literary language; meanwhile, Russia's world-famous literature flourished. Prior to the
Bolshevik Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. under the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a Federalism, federal socialist state in ...
, the spoken form of the Russian language was that of the nobility and urban bourgeoise. Russian peasants - the great majority of the population - continued to speak in their own dialects. However, the peasant's speech was never systematically studied, as it was generally regarded by philologists as simply a source of folklore, and an object of curiosity. This was acknowledged by the noted Russian dialectologist Nikolai Karinsky (1873–1935) who toward the end of his life wrote: “Scholars of Russian dialects mostly studied phonetics and morphology. Some scholars and collectors compiled local dictionaries... We have almost no studies of lexical material or the syntax of Russian dialects.” Post-1917, Marxist linguists had no interest in the multiplicity of peasant dialects, and regarded their language as a relic of the rapidly disappearing past, not worthy of scholarly attention. Nakhimovsky quotes the Soviet academicians A.M Ivanov and L.P Yakubinsky, writing in 1930:
The language of peasants has a motley diversity inherited from feudalism...On its way to becoming proletariat peasantry brings to the factory and the industrial plant their local peasant dialects with their phonetics, grammar and vocabulary... the very process of recruiting workers from peasants and the mobility of worker population generate another process: the liquidation of peasant inheritance by way of leveling the particulars of local dialects. On the ruins of peasant multilingua, in the context of developing heavy industry, a qualitatively new entity can be said to emerge—the general language of the working class... capitalism has the tendency of creating the general urban language of a given society.
By the mid-20th century, such dialects were forced out with the introduction of the compulsory education system that was established by the
Soviet government The Government of the Soviet Union ( rus, Прави́тельство СССР, p=prɐˈvʲitʲɪlʲstvə ɛs ɛs ɛs ˈɛr, r=Pravítelstvo SSSR, lang=no), formally the All-Union Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, commonly abbr ...
. Despite the formalization of Standard Russian, some nonstandard dialectal features (such as fricative in Southern Russian dialects) are still observed in colloquial speech.


Geographic distribution

In 2010, there were 259.8 million speakers of Russian in the world: in Russia – 137.5 million, in the
CIS Cis or cis- may refer to: Places * Cis, Trentino, in Italy * In Poland: ** Cis, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, south-central ** Cis, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, north Math, science and biology * cis (mathematics) is a mathematical not ...

CIS
and Baltic countries – 93.7 million, in Eastern Europe – 12.9 million, Western Europe – 7.3 million, Asia – 2.7 million, Middle East and North Africa – 1.3 million, Sub-Saharan Africa – 0.1 million, Latin America – 0.2 million, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand – 4.1 million speakers. Therefore, the Russian language is the seventh-largest in the world by number of speakers, after English, Mandarin, Hindi-Urdu, Spanish, French, Arabic and Portuguese. Russian is one of the six official languages of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
. Education in Russian is still a popular choice for both Russian as a second language (RSL) and native speakers in
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
, and in many former Soviet republics. Russian is still seen as an important language for children to learn in most of the former Soviet republics.


Europe

In
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
, Russian is a second state language alongside Belarusian per the
Constitution of Belarus The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus ( be, Канстытуцыя Рэспублікі Беларусь, russian: Конституция Республики Беларусь) is the ultimate law of Belarus. Adopted in 1994, three years aft ...

Constitution of Belarus
. 77% of the population was fluent in Russian in 2006, and 67% used it as the main language with family, friends, or at work. In
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
, Russian is spoken by 29.6% of the population according to a 2011 estimate from the World Factbook, and is officially considered a foreign language. School education in the Russian language is a very contentious point in Estonian politics, but as of 2019 promises have been given that such schools will remain open in the near future. In
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
, Russian is officially considered a foreign language. 55% of the population was fluent in Russian in 2006, and 26% used it as the main language with family, friends, or at work. On 18 February 2012, Latvia held a constitutional referendum on whether to adopt Russian as a second official language. According to the Central Election Commission, 74.8% voted against, 24.9% voted for and the voter turnout was 71.1%. Starting in 2019, instruction in
Russian language Russian (, tr. ''russkiy yazyk'') is an East Slavic language The East Slavic languages constitute one of the three regional subgroups of Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European lang ...
will be gradually discontinued in private colleges and universities in
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
, and in general instruction in Latvian public high schools. In
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
, Russian has no official or any legal status, but the use of the language has some presence in certain areas. A large part of the population, especially the older generations, can speak Russian as a foreign language. However, English has replaced Russian as ''
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
'' in Lithuania and around 80% of young people speak English as the first foreign language. In contrast to the other two Baltic states, Lithuania has a relatively small Russian-speaking minority (5.0% as of 2008). In
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
, Russian is considered to be the language of inter-ethnic communication under a Soviet-era law. 50% of the population was fluent in Russian in 2006, and 19% used it as the main language with family, friends, or at work. According to the 2010 census in Russia, Russian language skills were indicated by 138 million people (99.4% of the respondents), while according to the 2002 census – 142.6 million people (99.2% of the respondents). In
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, Russian is seen as a language of inter-ethnic communication, and a minority language, under the 1996
Constitution of Ukraine The Constitution of Ukraine ( uk, Конституція України) is the fundamental law of Ukraine. The constitution was adopted and ratified at the 5th session of the ''Verkhovna Rada The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine ( uk, Верхо́ ...

Constitution of Ukraine
. According to estimates from Demoskop Weekly, in 2004 there were 14,400,000 native speakers of Russian in the country, and 29 million active speakers. 65% of the population was fluent in Russian in 2006, and 38% used it as the main language with family, friends, or at work. On 5 September 2017, Ukraine's Parliament passed a new education law which bars primary education to all students in any language but
Ukrainian Ukrainian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Ukraine * Something relating to Ukrainians an East Slavic people from Eastern Europe * Something relating to Demographics of Ukraine, in terms of demography: population of Ukraine * Somethi ...
. The law faced criticism from officials in Russia. In the 20th century, Russian was a mandatory language taught in the schools of the members of the old Warsaw Pact and in other Communist state, countries that used to be satellites of the USSR. According to the Eurobarometer 2005 survey, fluency in Russian remains fairly high (20–40%) in some countries, in particular those where the people speak a Slavic language and thereby have an edge in learning Russian (namely, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Bulgaria). Significant Russian-speaking groups also exist in Western Europe. These have been fed by several waves of immigrants since the beginning of the 20th century, each with its own flavor of language. The United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Norway, and Austria have significant Russian-speaking communities.


Asia

In Armenia, Russian has no official status, but it is recognized as a minority language under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. 30% of the population was fluent in Russian in 2006, and 2% used it as the main language with family, friends, or at work. In Azerbaijan, Russian has no official status, but is a ''lingua franca'' of the country. 26% of the population was fluent in Russian in 2006, and 5% used it as the main language with family, friends, or at work. In China, Russian has no official status, but it is spoken by the Russians in China, small Russian communities in the northeastern Heilongjiang province. In Georgia (country), Georgia, Russian has no official status, but it is recognized as a minority language under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Russian is the language of 9% of the population according to the World Factbook. Ethnologue cites Russian as the country's de facto working language. In
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan ( kk, Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan,; russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no) is a country located mainly in ...

Kazakhstan
, Russian is not a state language, but according to article 7 of the Constitution of Kazakhstan its usage enjoys equal status to that of the Kazakh language in state and local administration. The 2009 census reported that 10,309,500 people, or 84.8% of the population aged 15 and above, could read and write well in Russian, and understand the spoken language. In
Kyrgyzstan russian: Киргизская Республика, Kirgizskaya Respublika , image_flag = Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg , image_coat = Emblem of Kyrgyzstan.svg , symbol_type = Emblem , motto = " ...

Kyrgyzstan
, Russian is a co-official language per article 5 of the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan. The 2009 census states that 482,200 people speak Russian as a native language, or 8.99% of the population. Additionally, 1,854,700 residents of Kyrgyzstan aged 15 and above fluently speak Russian as a second language, or 49.6% of the population in the age group. In Tajikistan, Russian is the language of inter-ethnic communication under the Constitution of Tajikistan and is permitted in official documentation. 28% of the population was fluent in Russian in 2006, and 7% used it as the main language with family, friends or at work. The World Factbook notes that Russian is widely used in government and business. In Turkmenistan, Russian lost its status as the official ''lingua franca'' in 1996. Russian is spoken by 12% of the population according to an undated estimate from the World Factbook. Nevertheless, the Turkmen state press and websites regularly publish material in Russian and there is the Russian-language newspaper Neytralny Turkmenistan, the television channel Turkmenistan (TV channel), TV4, and there are schools like Joint Turkmen-Russian Secondary School. In Uzbekistan, Russian is the language of inter-ethnic communication. It has some official roles, being permitted in official documentation and is the ''lingua franca'' of the country and the language of the elite. Russian is spoken by 14.2% of the population according to an undated estimate from the World Factbook. In 2005, Russian was the most widely taught foreign language in Mongolia, and was compulsory in Year 7 onward as a second foreign language in 2006. Russian is also spoken in Israel. The number of native Russian-speaking Israelis numbers around 1.5 million Israelis, 15% of the population. The Israeli Mass media, press and websites regularly publish material in Russian and there are Russian newspapers, television stations, schools, and social media outlets based in the country. There is an Israeli TV channel mainly broadcasting in Russian with Israel Plus. See also Russian language in Israel. Russian is also spoken as a second language by a small number of people in Afghanistan. In Vietnam, Russian has been added in the elementary curriculum along with Chinese and Japanese and were named as "first foreign languages" for Vietnamese students to learn, on equal footing with English.


North America

The language was first introduced in North America when Russian explorers voyaged into Alaska and claimed it for Russia during the 18th century. Although most Russian colonists left after the United States bought the land in 1867, a handful stayed and preserved the Russian language in this region to this day, although only a few elderly speakers of this unique dialect are left. In Nikolaevsk, Alaska, Russian is more spoken than English. Sizable Russian-speaking communities also exist in North America, especially in large urban centers of the United States, U.S. and Canada, such as Russian Americans in New York City, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tennessee, Nashville, San Francisco, Seattle, Spokane, Washington, Spokane, Toronto, Calgary, History of the Russians in Baltimore, Baltimore, Miami, Chicago, Denver, and Cleveland. In a number of locations they issue their own newspapers, and live in ethnic enclaves (especially the generation of immigrants who started arriving in the early 1960s). Only about 25% of them are ethnic Russians, however. Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the overwhelming majority of Russophones in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn in New York City were Russian-speaking Jews. Afterward, the influx from the countries of the former
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
changed the statistics somewhat, with ethnic Russians and Ukrainians immigrating along with some more Russian Jews and Central Asians. According to the United States Census, in 2007 Russian was the primary language spoken in the homes of over 850,000 individuals living in the United States. In the second half of the 20th century, Russian was the most popular foreign language in Cuba. Besides being taught at universities and schools, there were also educational programs on the radio and TV. However, starting January 2019 Cuban television opened an educational program devoted to the Russian language. This project is fully entitled to be called an anticipated one, because the Russian – Cuban collaboration is a strategic direction actively developed as more and more young people are interested in the Russian language, the Education navigator informs. The Havana State University has started a bachelor's specialization called the Russian Language and the Second Foreign Language. There is also the Russian language department, where students can scrutinize e-books without internet connection. Additional courses on the Russian language are open at two schools of the Cuban capital city. An estimated 200,000 people speak the Russian language in Cuba, on the account that more than 23,000 Cubans who took higher studies in the former Soviet Union and later in Russia, and another important group of people who studied at military schools and technologists, plus the nearly 2,000 Russians residing in Cuba and their descendants.


As an international language

Russian is one of the official languages (or has similar status and interpretation must be provided into Russian) of the following: *
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
* International Atomic Energy Agency * World Health Organization * International Civil Aviation Organization * UNESCO * World Intellectual Property Organization * International Telecommunication Union * World Meteorological Organization * Food and Agriculture Organization * International Fund for Agricultural Development * International Criminal Court * International Olympic Committee * Universal Postal Union * World Bank * Commonwealth of Independent States * Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe * Shanghai Cooperation Organisation * Eurasian Economic Community * Collective Security Treaty Organization * Antarctic Treaty Secretariat * International Organization for Standardization * International Mathematical Olympiad * Warsaw Pact (defunct) * Comecon, Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (defunct) The Russian language is also one of two official languages aboard the
International Space Station The International Space Station (ISS) is a Modular design, modular space station (habitable satellite, artificial satellite) in low Earth orbit. It is a multinational collaborative project involving five participating space agencies: NASA (Uni ...

International Space Station
– NASA astronauts who serve alongside Russian cosmonauts usually take Russian language courses. This practice goes back to the Apollo-Soyuz mission, which first flew in 1975. In March 2013, it was announced that Russian is now the second-most used language on the Internet after English. People use the Russian language on 5.9% of all websites, slightly ahead of German and far behind English (54.7%). Russian is used not only on 89.8% of .ru sites, but also on 88.7% of sites with the former Soviet Union domain .su. The websites of former Soviet Union nations also use high levels of Russian: 79.0% in Ukraine, 86.9% in Belarus, 84.0% in Kazakhstan, 79.6% in Uzbekistan, 75.9% in Kyrgyzstan and 81.8% in Tajikistan. However, Russian is the sixth-most used language on the top 1,000 sites, behind
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
, Chinese language, Chinese, ,
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
, and Japanese language, Japanese.


Dialects

Russian is a rather homogeneous language, in dialectal variation, due to the early political centralization under Moscow's rule, compulsory education, mass migration from rural to urban areas in the 20th century, and other factors. The standard language is used in written and spoken form almost everywhere in the country, from Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg in the West to Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the East, the enormous distance between notwithstanding. Despite Dialect levelling, leveling after 1900, especially in matters of vocabulary and phonetics, a number of dialects still exist in Russia. Some linguists divide the dialects of Russian into two primary regional groupings, "Northern" and "Southern", with Moscow lying on the zone of transition between the two. Others divide the language into three groupings, Northern Russian dialects, Northern, Central Russian dialects, Central (or Middle), and Southern Russian dialects, Southern, with Moscow lying in the Central region. All dialects are also divided into two main chronological categories: the dialects of ''primary formation'' (the territory of the Grand Duchy of Moscow roughly consists of the modern Central Federal District, Central and Northwestern Federal District, Northwestern Federal districts) and ''secondary formation'' (other territories where Russian was brought by migrants from primary formation territories or adopted by the local population). Dialectology within Russia recognizes dozens of smaller-scale variants. The dialects often show distinct and non-standard features of pronunciation and intonation, vocabulary, and grammar. Some of these are relics of ancient usage now completely discarded by the standard language. The Northern Russian dialects and those spoken along the Volga River typically pronounce unstressed clearly, a phenomenon called vowel reduction in Russian#Back vowels, okanye (). Besides the absence of vowel reduction, some dialects have high vowel, high or diphthongal in place of and in stressed closed syllables (as in Ukrainian) instead of Standard Russian and . Another Northern dialectal morphological feature is a post-posed definite article ''-to'', ''-ta'', ''-te'' similarly to that existing in Bulgarian and Macedonian. In the Southern Russian dialects, instances of unstressed and following Palatalization (phonetics), palatalized consonants and preceding a stressed syllable are not reduced to (as occurs in the Moscow dialect), being instead pronounced in such positions (e.g. is pronounced , not ) – this is called yakanye (). Consonants include a Voiced velar fricative, fricative , a semivowel, semivowel and , whereas the Standard and Northern dialects have the consonants , , and final and , respectively. The morphology features a palatalized final in 3rd person forms of verbs (this is unpalatalized in the Standard and Northern dialects). Some of these features such as akanye and yakanye, a debuccalized or lenited , a semivowel, semivowel and palatalized final in 3rd person forms of verbs are also present in modern
Belarusian Belarusian may refer to: * Something of, or related to Belarus * Belarusians, people from Belarus, or of Belarusian descent * A citizen of Belarus, see Demographics of Belarus * Belarusian language * Belarusian culture * Belarusian cuisine * Byeloru ...
and some dialects of
Ukrainian Ukrainian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Ukraine * Something relating to Ukrainians an East Slavic people from Eastern Europe * Something relating to Demographics of Ukraine, in terms of demography: population of Ukraine * Somethi ...
(Eastern Polesian), indicating a linguistic continuum. The city of Old Novgorod dialect, Veliky Novgorod has historically displayed a feature called chokanye or tsokanye ( or ), in which and were switched or merged. So, (tsaplya, 'heron') has been recorded as (chaplya). Also, the Slavic second palatalization, second palatalization of Velar consonant, velars did not occur there, so the so-called ě² (from the Proto-Slavic diphthong *ai) did not cause to shift to ; therefore, where Standard Russian has ('chain'), the form is attested in earlier texts. Among the first to study Russian dialects was Mikhail Lomonosov, Lomonosov in the 18th century. In the 19th, Vladimir Dal compiled the first dictionary that included dialectal vocabulary. Detailed mapping of Russian dialects began at the turn of the 20th century. In modern times, the monumental ''Dialectological Atlas of the Russian Language'' ( – ''Dialektologichesky atlas russkogo yazyka''), was published in three folio volumes 1986–1989, after four decades of preparatory work.


Comparison with other Slavic languages

There is a high degree of mutual intelligibility between Russian,
Belarusian Belarusian may refer to: * Something of, or related to Belarus * Belarusians, people from Belarus, or of Belarusian descent * A citizen of Belarus, see Demographics of Belarus * Belarusian language * Belarusian culture * Belarusian cuisine * Byeloru ...
and
Ukrainian Ukrainian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Ukraine * Something relating to Ukrainians an East Slavic people from Eastern Europe * Something relating to Demographics of Ukraine, in terms of demography: population of Ukraine * Somethi ...
, and a moderate degree of it across all modern Slavic languages, at least at the conversational level.


Derived languages

* Balachka, a dialect spoken in Krasnodar region, Don, Kuban, and Terek River, Terek, brought by relocated Cossacks in 1793 and is based on the southwest Ukrainian dialect. During the Russification of the aforementioned regions in the 1920s to 1950s, it was replaced by the Russian language. * Fenya, a criminal argot of ancient origin, with Russian grammar, but with distinct vocabulary * Medny Aleut language, an extinct mixed language that was spoken on Bering Island and is characterized by its Aleut nouns and Russian verbs * Padonkaffsky jargon, a slang language developed by padonki of Runet * Quelia, a macaronic language with Russian-derived basic structure and part of the lexicon (mainly nouns and verbs) borrowed from German * Runglish, a Russian-English pidgin. This word is also used by English speakers to describe the way in which Russians attempt to speak English using Russian morphology and/or syntax. * Russenorsk language, Russenorsk, an extinct pidgin language with mostly Russian vocabulary and mostly Norwegian language, Norwegian grammar, used for communication between Russians and Norway, Norwegian traders in the Pomor trade in Finnmark and the Kola Peninsula *
Surzhyk Surzhyk (, ) refers to a range of mixed (macaronic Macaronic language uses a mixture of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign langu ...

Surzhyk
, a range of mixed (macaronic) sociolects of Ukrainian and Russian languages used in certain regions of Ukraine and adjacent lands. * Trasianka, a heavily russified variety of
Belarusian Belarusian may refer to: * Something of, or related to Belarus * Belarusians, people from Belarus, or of Belarusian descent * A citizen of Belarus, see Demographics of Belarus * Belarusian language * Belarusian culture * Belarusian cuisine * Byeloru ...
used by a large portion of the rural population in
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
* Taimyr Pidgin Russian, spoken by the Nganasan people, Nganasan on the Taymyr Peninsula, Taimyr Peninsula


Alphabet

Russian is written using a Cyrillic script, Cyrillic alphabet. The Russian alphabet consists of 33 letters. The following table gives their upper case forms, along with help:IPA, IPA values for each letter's typical sound: Older letters of the Russian alphabet include , which merged to ( or ); and , which both merged to (); , which merged to (); , which merged to (); , which merged to ( or ); and and , which later were graphically reshaped into and merged phonetically to or . While these older letters have been abandoned at one time or another, they may be used in this and related articles. The yers and originally indicated the pronunciation of ''ultra-short'' or ''reduced'' , .


Transliteration

Because of many technical restrictions in computing and also because of the unavailability of Cyrillic keyboards abroad, Russian is often transliterated using the Latin alphabet. For example, ('frost') is transliterated ''moroz'', and ('mouse'), ''mysh'' or ''myš. Once commonly used by the majority of those living outside Russia, transliteration is being used less frequently by Russian-speaking typists in favor of the extension of Unicode character encoding, which fully incorporates the Russian alphabet. Free programs are available offering this Unicode extension, which allow users to type Russian characters, even on Western 'QWERTY' keyboards.


Computing

The Russian alphabet has many systems of character encoding. KOI8-R was designed by the Soviet government and was intended to serve as the standard encoding. This encoding was and still is widely used in UNIX-like operating systems. Nevertheless, the spread of MS-DOS and OS/2 (Code page 866, IBM866), traditional Macintosh (ISO/IEC 8859-5) and Microsoft Windows (CP1251) meant the proliferation of many different encodings as de facto standards, with Windows-1251 becoming a de facto standard in Russian Internet and e-mail communication during the period of roughly 1995–2005. All the obsolete 8-bit encodings are rarely used in the communication protocols and text-exchange data formats, having been mostly replaced with UTF-8. A number of encoding conversion applications were developed. "iconv" is an example that is supported by most versions of Linux, Macintosh and some other operating systems; but converters are rarely needed unless accessing texts created more than a few years ago. In addition to the modern Russian alphabet, Unicode (and thus UTF-8) encodes the Early Cyrillic alphabet (which is very similar to the Greek alphabet), and all other Slavic and non-Slavic but Cyrillic-based alphabets.


Orthography

The current spelling follows the major reform of 1918, and the final codification of 1956. An update proposed in the late 1990s has met a hostile reception, and has not been formally adopted. The punctuation, originally based on Byzantine Greek, was in the 17th and 18th centuries reformulated on the French and German models. According to the Institute of Russian Language of the Russian Academy of Sciences, an optional
acute accent The acute accent, , is a diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembl ...

acute accent
() may, and sometimes should, be used to mark stress (linguistics), stress. For example, it is used to distinguish between otherwise identical words, especially when context does not make it obvious: (''zamók'' – "lock") – (''zámok'' – "castle"), (''stóyashchy'' – "worthwhile") – (''stoyáshchy'' – "standing"), (''chudnó'' – "this is odd") – (''chúdno'' – "this is marvellous"), (''molodéts'' – "well done!") – (''mólodets'' – "fine young man"), (''uznáyu'' – "I shall learn it") – (''uznayú'' – "I recognize it"), (''otrezát'' – "to be cutting") – (''otrézat'' – "to have cut"); to indicate the proper pronunciation of uncommon words, especially personal and family names, like (''aféra'', "scandal, affair"), (''gúru'', "guru"), (''García''), (''Olésha''), (''Fermi''), and to show which is the stressed word in a sentence, for example (''Tý syel pechenye?'' – "Was it ''you'' who ate the cookie?") – (''Ty syél pechenye?'' – "Did you ''eat'' the cookie?) – (''Ty syel pechénye?'' "Was it the ''cookie'' you ate?"). Stress marks are mandatory in lexical dictionaries and books for children or Russian learners.


Phonology

The phonological system of Russian is inherited from Common Slavonic; it underwent considerable modification in the early historical period before being largely settled around the year 1400. The language possesses five vowels (or six, under the St.Petersburg Phonological School), which are written with different letters depending on whether the preceding consonant is Palatalization (phonetics), palatalized. The consonants typically come in plain vs. palatalized pairs, which are traditionally called ''hard'' and ''soft.'' The hard consonants are often velarization, velarized, especially before front vowels, as in Irish phonology#Consonants, Irish and Marshallese language#Phonology, Marshallese. The standard language, based on the Moscow dialect, possesses heavy stress and moderate variation in pitch. Stressed vowels are somewhat lengthened, while unstressed vowels tend to be reduced to near-close vowels or an unclear schwa. (See also: vowel reduction in Russian.) The Russian syllable structure can be quite complex, with both initial and final consonant clusters of up to four consecutive sounds. Using a formula with V standing for the nucleus (vowel) and C for each consonant, the maximal structure can be described as follows: (C)(C)(C)(C)V(C)(C)(C)(C) However, Russian has a constraint on syllabification such that syllables cannot span multiple morphemes. Clusters of four consonants are not very common, especially within a morpheme. Some examples are: ( ''vzglyad'', 'glance'), ( ''gosudarstv'', 'of the states'), ( ''stroitelstv'', 'of the constructions').


Consonants

Russian is notable for its distinction based on Palatalization (phonetics), palatalization of most of its consonants. While do have palatalized allophones , only might be considered a phoneme, though it is marginal and generally not considered distinctive. The only native minimal pair that argues for being a separate phoneme is ( ''eto tkyot'' – "it weaves") (, ''etot kot'' – "this cat"). Palatalization means that the center of the tongue is raised during and after the articulation of the consonant. In the case of and , the tongue is raised enough to produce slight frication (affricate sounds; cf. Belarusian ць, дзь, or Polish ć, dź). The sounds are dental consonant, dental, that is, pronounced with the tip of the tongue against the teeth rather than against the alveolar ridge.


Vowels

Russian has five or six vowels in stressed syllables, and in some analyses , but in most cases these vowels have merged to only two to four vowels when unstressed: (or ) after hard consonants and after soft ones.


Grammar

Russian has preserved an Indo-European languages, Indo-European Synthetic language, synthetic-inflectional structure, although considerable Morphological levelling, levelling has occurred. Russian grammar encompasses: * a highly Fusional language, fusional morphology * a syntax that, for the literary language, is the conscious fusion of three elements: ** a polished vernacular foundation; ** a
Church Slavonic Church Slavonic (црькъвьнословѣньскъ ѩзыкъ, ''crĭkŭvĭnoslověnĭskŭ językŭ'', literally "Church-Slavonic language"), also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative ...
inheritance; ** a Western European style. The spoken language has been influenced by the literary one but continues to preserve characteristic forms. The dialects show various non-standard grammatical features, some of which are archaisms or descendants of old forms since discarded by the literary language. In terms of actual grammar, there are three tenses in Russian past, present, and future and each verb has two Grammatical aspect in Slavic languages, aspects (perfective and imperfective). Russian nouns each have a gender either feminine, masculine, or neuter, indicated by spelling at the end of the word. Words change depending on both their gender and function in the sentence. Russian has six Grammatical case, cases: Nominative (for the subject of the sentence), Accusative (for direct objects), Dative (for indirect objects), Genitive (to indicate possession), Instrumental (to indicate 'with' or 'by means of'), and Prepositional (used after a preposition). Verbs of motion in Russian such as 'go', 'walk', 'run', 'swim', and 'fly' use the imperfective or perfective form to indicate a single or return trip, and also use a multitude of prefixes to add more meaning to the verb.


Vocabulary

See
History of the Russian language Russian language, Russian is a Slavic languages, Slavic language of the Indo-European Languages, Indo-European family. All Indo-European languages are descendants of a single prehistoric language, reconstructed as Proto-Indo-European language, P ...
for an account of the successive foreign influences on Russian. The number of listed words or entries in some of the major dictionaries published during the past two centuries, are as follows:


History and examples

The history of the Russian language may be divided into the following periods: * History of the Russian language#Kievan period and feudal breakup, Kievan period and feudal breakup * Early Modern Russian, The Moscow period (15th–17th centuries) * Standard national language Judging by the historical records, by approximately 1000 AD the predominant ethnic group over much of modern European
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, and
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
was the Eastern branch of the Slavic peoples, Slavs, speaking a closely related group of dialects. The political unification of this region into
Kievan Rus' Kievan Rus' ( orv, , Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") or Kyivan Rus', was a loose federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a ...
in about 880, from which modern Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus trace their origins, established Old East Slavic as a literary and commercial language. It was soon followed by the adoption of Christianity in 988 and the introduction of the South Slavic
Old Church Slavonic Old Church Slavonic or Old Slavonic () was the first Slavic literary language A literary language is the form of a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (S ...
as the liturgical and official language. Borrowings and calques from Byzantine Greek began to enter the Old East Slavic and spoken dialects at this time, which in their turn modified the Old Church Slavonic as well. Dialectal differentiation accelerated after the breakup of Kievan Rus' in approximately 1100. On the territories of modern Belarus and Ukraine emerged Ruthenian language, Ruthenian and in modern Russia History of the Russian language, medieval Russian. They became distinct since the 13th century, i.e. following the division of the land between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland (1025–1385), Poland in the west and independent Novgorod Republic, Novgorod and Pskov Republic, Pskov feudal republics plus numerous small duchies (which came to be vassals of the Tatars) in the east. The official language in Moscow and Novgorod, and later, in the growing Muscovy, was
Church Slavonic Church Slavonic (црькъвьнословѣньскъ ѩзыкъ, ''crĭkŭvĭnoslověnĭskŭ językŭ'', literally "Church-Slavonic language"), also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative ...
, which evolved from Old Church Slavonic and remained Diglossia, the literary language for centuries, until the Peter I of Russia#Early reign, Petrine age, when its usage became limited to biblical and liturgical texts. Russian developed under a strong influence of Church Slavonic until the close of the 17th century; afterward the influence reversed, leading to corruption of liturgical texts. The political reforms of Peter I of Russia, Peter the Great (Пётр Вели́кий, ''Pyótr Velíky'') were accompanied by a reform of the alphabet, and achieved their goal of secularization and Westernization. Blocks of specialized vocabulary were adopted from the languages of Western Europe. By 1800, a significant portion of the gentry spoke daily, and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
sometimes. Many Russian novels of the 19th century, e.g. Leo Tolstoy's (Лев Толсто́й) ''War and Peace'', contain entire paragraphs and even pages in French with no translation given, with an assumption that educated readers would not need one. The modern literary language is usually considered to date from the time of Alexander Pushkin () in the first third of the 19th century. Pushkin revolutionized Russian literature by rejecting archaic grammar and vocabulary (so-called — "high style") in favor of grammar and vocabulary found in the spoken language of the time. Even modern readers of younger age may only experience slight difficulties understanding some words in Pushkin's texts, since relatively few words used by Pushkin have become archaic or changed meaning. In fact, many expressions used by Russian writers of the early 19th century, in particular Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov (), Nikolai Gogol (), Aleksander Griboyedov (), became proverbs or sayings which can be frequently found even in modern Russian colloquial speech. The political upheavals of the early 20th century and the wholesale changes of political ideology gave written Russian its modern appearance after the Reforms of Russian orthography, spelling reform of 1918. Political circumstances and Soviet accomplishments in military, scientific, and technological matters (especially cosmonautics), gave Russian a worldwide prestige, especially during the mid-20th century. During the Soviet Union, Soviet period, the policy toward the languages of the various other ethnic groups fluctuated in practice. Though each of the constituent republics had its own official language, the unifying role and superior status was reserved for Russian, although it was declared the
official language An official language is a language given a special status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciar ...

official language
only in 1990. Following the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, break-up of the USSR in 1991, several of the newly independent states have encouraged their native languages, which has partly reversed the privileged status of Russian, though its role as the language of post-Soviet national discourse throughout the region has continued. The Russian language in the world declined after 1991 due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and decrease in the number of Russians in the world and diminution of the total population in
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
(where Russian is an official language), however this has since been reversed. According to figures published in 2006 in the journal ":ru:Демоскоп Weekly, Demoskop Weekly" research deputy director of Research Center for Sociological Research of the Ministry of Education and Science (Russia) Arefyev A. L., the Russian language is gradually losing its position in the world in general, and in Russia in particular. In 2012, A. L. Arefyev published a new study "Russian language at the turn of the 20th-21st centuries", in which he confirmed his conclusion about the trend of weakening of the Russian language after the Soviet Union's collapse in various regions of the world (findings published in 2013 in the journal ":ru:Демоскоп Weekly, Demoskop Weekly").Русский язык на рубеже XX-XXI веков
— М.: Центр социального прогнозирования и маркетинга, 2012. — 482 стр.
In the countries of the former
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
the Russian language was being replaced or used in conjunction with local languages. Currently, the number of speakers of Russian in the world depends on the number of Russians in the world and total population in
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
.


See also

* List of English words of Russian origin * List of Russian language topics * List of territorial entities where Russian is an official language * Computer Russification


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

; In English * M.A. O'Brien, New English–Russian and Russian–English Dictionary (New Orthography), New York, The Language Library 1944, Dover Publications. * * *
Iliev, Iv. The Russian Genitive of Negation and Its Japanese Counterpart. International Journal of Russian Stidies. 1, 2018 (In Print)
* * * * ; In Russian
журнал «Демоскоп Weekly» № 571 – 572 14 – 31 октября 2013. А. Арефьев. Тема номера: сжимающееся русскоязычие. Демографические изменения - не на пользу русскому языку

Русский язык на рубеже XX-XXI веков
— М.: Центр социального прогнозирования и маркетинга, 2012. — 482 стр. Аннотация книги
РУССКИЙ ЯЗЫК НА РУБЕЖЕ XX-XXI ВЕКОВ

журнал «Демоскоп Weekly» № 329 – 330 14 – 27 апреля 2008. К. Гаврилов. Е. Козиевская. Е. Яценко. Тема номера: русский язык на постсоветских просторах. Где есть потребность в изучении русского языка

журнал «Демоскоп Weekly» № 251 – 252 19 июня – 20 августа 2006. А. Арефьев. Тема номера: сколько людей говорят и будут говорить по-русски? Будет ли русский в числе мировых языков в будущем?
* Жуковская Л. П. (отв. ред.) Древнерусский литературный язык и его отношение к старославянскому. — М.: «Наука», 1987. * Иванов В. В. Историческая грамматика русского языка. — М.: «Просвещение», 1990. * Новиков Л. А. Современный русский язык: для высшей школы. — М.: Лань, 2003. * Филин Ф. П

// Вопросы языкознания. — М., 1982, No. 5. — С. 18—28


External links

* * Oxford Dictionarie
Russian Dictionary
*
USA Foreign Service Institute Russian basic course

Национальный корпус русского языка
National Corpus of the Russian Language
Russian Language Institute
Language regulator of the Russian language {{Authority control Russian language, East Slavic languages Soviet culture Languages of Russia Stress-timed languages Subject–verb–object languages Languages written in Cyrillic script