facts about Russian language
What countries Russian
is spoken in?
How hard is Russian?
Basic facts about Russian language
Russian belongs to the Slavic group of Indo-European
language family. The Slavic group of languages is divided
into West Slavic (Czech, Slovak, Polish, and Sorbian), South
Slavic (Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Slovenian),
and East Slavic (Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian).
Russian is one of the five official languages
of the United Nations, and ranks with Chinese, English, Spanish,
and Hindi as a major world language. It is the native language
of 145 million citizens of the Russian Federation, the world's
Russia on the World Map
What is more, Russian is still spoken or at
least understood in many countries of the former USSR and
it remains a key language across all of the Caucasus and Central
Asia. Altogether about 240 million people around the world
speak Russian today.
Russian has proven to be a popular language
of study both because of its international prominence and
its famous literature works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin,
Gogol, Chekhov, etc.
Library for collection of works in original and English
What countries Russian is spoken in?
Naturally, Russian is spoken in the Russian
Federation. The 14 other countries from the former Soviet
Union (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Estonia, Georgia,
Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine) also speak Russian one
way or another. And Russian was taught to at least some people
in Eastern Europe in the Warsaw Pact countries, i.e. in Bulgaria,
Hungary, the GDR, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia.
How hard is Russian?
Russian has the reputation of being a very difficult
language to learn, and it is indeed somewhat more difficult
for a native English speaker than the Western European languages.
Nevertheless, Russian is still easier than Chinese, Japanese,
alphabet may initially seem intimidating because of the
it contains.The alphabet originated from the 9th century.
Its creators were two missionaries from Greece, the brothers
Cyril and Methodius, who based it largely on the Greek.
Apprehension about the Cyrillic alphabet is, in fact, one
of the most frequently given reasons for not studying Russian.
Of course, the Russian alphabet differs from the English one
a lot, but it is not at all difficult to learn. By the way,
a number of letters are written and pronounced approximately
as in English. The alphabet can be mastered in under a week
or less. Besides, Russian spelling system is far simpler than
that of English. It represents the spoken language more accurately
than does English spelling.
As an Indo-European language, Russian has many
Greek and Latin bases, it's easy to recognize them behind
the Cyrillic disguise:
There are also hundreds of modern words that
are borrowed directly from English, the majority of them are
connected with computing, e.g.
You probably know that there also exist English
words of Russian origin, such as vodka, tsar, samovar, troika,
tundra, sputnik, etc.
grammar is not simple because of the synthetic nature
of the language. Russian uses a lot of prefixes, suffixes,
endings, and vowel alternations. On the other hand, thanks
to its synthetic nature, Russian has a huge number of rhymes
which are impossible in other languages; it has an astonishing
flexibility and variety. It is no wonder that translations
of Shakespeare, Goethe, Moliere or Boccaccio sound so good
Inflection has persisted as the main method of differentiating
grammatical meanings in Russian. Most words change with their
function, genus, number, etc. The relations between words
are clear from the words themselves, so you get a lot of freedom
with syntax. Nice, but on the other hand, if your knowledge
of the case system is less than perfect, you can have a hard
time telling if it is Anton who gave the book to Nina or the
other way around.
In addition to tense and mood, Russian verbs possess a feature
called "aspect". There are two aspects, each represented
by a separate infinitive - the imperfective to indicate a
continuing action, and the perfective to indicate an action
already completed or to be completed.
stress is also a matter of some difficulty. The stress
is free; that is, it can be placed on any syllable. Thus,
there being no set rules for stress, the accent of each word
has to be learned separately.
Yet despite these difficulties, Russian is being
mastered by an increasing number of people world over. They
have found it worth the effort for many reasons, not the least
of which is the great body of Russian literature which ranks
among the most brilliant in the world.
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