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History of the Russian Language: Everything You Need to Know

Are you planning to move to Russia, interested to learn this language or want to expand your business to the Russian market? Knowing the history of the Russian language may work wonders.

Russia boasts more than 258 million native speakers. This is an East Slavic language of the broad Indo-European family.

There are a lot of things about this language you may be unaware of.

Thus, we come up with this great guide that will introduce you to the history of the Russian language. This may also help you in ensuring successful Russian translation.

History of the Russian Language

Russian is part of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic language family, along with Ukrainian and Belarusian. Like other European languages, it has its origins in the wider Indo-European family.

Roots and Origins

In 880, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia get unified into the Kyivan Rus’ as well as the East Slavs, who had earlier spoken in different related dialects, declared Old East Slavic as a widely spoken language for the region.

Russia started to differentiate itself as a language after the breakup of Kyivan Rus in around 1100.

It turned into a different language in the 13th century. The growth of this language was strongly affected by Church Slavonic, which remained the official language in Moscow.

Knowing the roots of the language may help you a lot in the cost-effective Russian document translation that would be culturally relevant.

Reform of the language

Tsar Peter the Great (1682–1725) introduced reforms with an aim to secularize the language as well as reverse the influence of the Church Slavonic.

Till the time Napoleonic Wars keep going in the early 19th century, the Russian aristocracy chooses to speak French, along with Russian being the main language of the common people.

Till date, the Russian language has a large number of French loanwords.

Evolution of Russian

Development of the Russian language reaches its peak after the Bolshevik Revolution, with the spelling reforms of 1918.

Reforms are just introduced by the new Soviet government which basically aimed to modify Russian writing.

Russian Pronunciation And Phonology

The alphabet used in the Russian language is a variation of Cyrillic script. It comprises 33 letters, such as 10 vowels, 20 consonants, one semivowel as well as two unvoiced modifiers, or “signs”.

This is important to know for the proper Russian website translation.

The five letters of this language – three consonants («к», «м», and «т») and two vowels («а» and «о») – look the same as their English equivalents. Others match with the letter in Latin script but are pronounced quite differently.

Russian Grammar

In Russian, each noun is either feminine, masculine, or neuter. Adjectives and verbs have distinct endings based on the case, gender, and singular/plural. Unlike German and English, the Russian language has even no formal word order.

The object(s), subject, and so on are identifiable through case endings, instead of through their position within a sentence. Russian comprises six cases:

Nominative – shows the subject of the action.
Prepositional – shows the location where the action happens.
Accusative – shows the action’s direct object.
Dative – shows the action’s indirect object.
Genitive – refers to possession, and is mainly used in negation.
Instrumental – shows the process of action.

Did you know that Russian is one the of popular top 9 languages to learn in upcoming years? This language is ranked 8th in terms of usage.

Russian Dialects

There is a shockingly small variation in how Russian is spoken, regardless of the country’s size. Russians prefer to speak more in standard Russian, with just quite minor regional variations.

There is great variation among different Russian-speaking peoples. Ukrainians, for instance, tend to articulate the Russian letter “g” as an “h” sound, which is likewise how the letter generally sounds in the Ukrainian language.

Countries Where the Russian language is Widely Spoken

There are three countries which have Russian as their official language besides Russia: Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Our reliable translation company in Mumbai is getting requirements for website translation or translating marketing material, from clients whose target market is one of them.

1- Belarus

Russian is among the two official languages of Belarus, besides Belarusian. According to the 2019 census, 38.1% of Belarusians declared Russian as their native language.

2- Kazakhstan

Like Belarus, Kazakhstan also named Russian their official language and approximately 3.8 million Russian speakers are living in the former Soviet republic.

3- Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan considered Russian a co-official language according to article 5 of the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan. Based on the 2009 census, 482,200 people use Russian for communication or 8.99% of the population.

Also, 1,854,700 residents of Kyrgyzstan of age 15 and more perfectly speak Russian as a 2nd language or 49.6% of the population in the particular age group.

Wrapping Up

If you thrive in the Russian market, make sure the native Russian translation expert you hire should have good knowledge of this language.

This brief guide may not just help you understand the Russian language but also show you the path to appeal to Russian consumers.

Want to connect with Russian speakers? Get professional translation solutions by connecting with us at +91-8527599523 or quickly send us a instant quote.

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