Russian is an East Slavic language and an official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and to a lesser extent, the other countries that were onceconstituent republics of the Soviet Union and former participants of the Eastern Bloc.Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of the three living members of the East Slavic languages. Written examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards. It is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. It is also the largest native language in Europe, with 144 million native speakers in Russia, Ukraineand Belarus. Russian is the eighth most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the seventh by total number of speakers. The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Russian distinguishes between consonant phonemes with palatal secondary articulation and those without, the so-called soft and hard sounds. This distinction is found between pairs of almost all consonants and is one of the most distinguishing features of the language. Another important aspect is the reduction of unstressed vowels. Stress, which is unpredictable, is not normally indicated orthographically though an optional acute accent may be used to mark stress, such as to distinguish between homographicwords, for example (zamok, meaning lock) and (zamok, meaning castle), or to indicate the proper pronunciation of uncommon words or names.

Classification

Russian is a Slavic language of the Indo-European family. It is a lineal descendant of the language used in Kievan Rus '. From the point of view of the spoken language, its closest relatives are Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Rusyn, the other three languages in the East Slavic group.

Official Status

Russian is the official language of Russia, although it shares the official status at regional level with other languages in the numerous ethnic autonomies within Russia, such as Chuvashia, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, and Yakutia. It is also a co-official language of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and a co-official language of the unrecognized country of Transnistria and partially recognized countries of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Constitution of Ukraine guarantees free development, use and protection of the Russian language. Russian is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Education in Russian is still a popular choice for both Russian as a second language (RSL) and native speakers in Russia as well as many of the former Soviet republics. Russian is still seen as an important language for children to learn in most of the former Soviet republics. While 94% of school students in Russia receive their education primarily in Russian, this number is lower in other countries: 75% in Belarus, 41% in Kazakhstanand Uzbekistan, 20% in Ukraine, 23% in Kyrgyzstan, 21% in Moldova, 7% in Azerbaijan, 5% in Georgia, and 2% in Armenia and Tajikistan. The percentage of ethnic Russians is 80% in Russia, 10% in Belarus, 36% in Kazakhstan, 17% in Ukraine, 9% in Kyrgyzstan, 6% in Moldova, 2% in Azerbaijan, 1.5% in Georgia and less than 1% in both Armenia and Tajikistan. The Russian language is also one of two official languages aboard the 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.

Russian As An International Language

Russian is one of the official languages (or has similar status and interpretation must be provided into Russian) of the 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 Monetary Fund, 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, GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, International Mathematical Olympiad. 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, Chinese, French,German and Japanese.[68]

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Dialects

Russian is a rather homogeneous language, in terms of dialectal variation, due to the early political centralization under the Moscow rule, compulsory education, mass migration from rural to urban areas in the 20th century, as well as 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, notwithstanding the enormous distance in between.> Despite 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, Central (or Middle) and Southern, with Moscow lying in the Central region. All dialects also divided in two main chronological categories: the dialects of primary formation (the territory of the EasternRus ' or Muscovy, roughly consists of the modern Central and Northwestern Federal districts); and secondary formation (other territory). 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.

Dialects

Russian is a rather homogeneous language, in terms of dialectal variation, due to the early political centralization under the Moscow rule, compulsory education, mass migration from rural to urban areas in the 20th century, as well as 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, notwithstanding the enormous distance in between.> Despite 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, Central (or Middle) and Southern, with Moscow lying in the Central region. All dialects also divided in two main chronological categories: the dialects of primary formation (the territory of the EasternRus ' or Muscovy, roughly consists of the modern Central and Northwestern Federal districts); and secondary formation (other territory). 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.

Grammar

Russian has preserved an Indo-European synthetic-inflectional structure, although considerable levelling has taken place. Russian grammar encompasses: a highly fusional morphology. a syntax that, for the literary language, is the conscious fusion of three elements: a polished vernacular foundation; a Church Slavonic 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.

Vocabulary

Number of words in Russian The total number of words in Russian is difficult to ascertain because of the ability to agglutinate and create manifold compounds, diminutives, etc. Proverbs and sayings The Russian language is replete with many hundreds of proverbs (пословица [pɐˈslovʲɪtsə]) and sayings (поговоркa [pəɡɐˈvorkə]). These were already tabulated by the 17th century and collected and studied in the 19th and 20th centuries, with folk tales being especially fertile sources.

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