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Russian language

The meaning of «russian language»

Russian (русский язык, tr. russkiy yazyk) is an East Slavic language native to the Russians in Eastern Europe. It is a part of the Indo-European language family, and is one of four living East Slavic languages, and also part of the larger Balto-Slavic branch. Russian is an official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and is used widely as a lingua franca throughout the Caucasus, Central Asia, and to some extent in Ukraine and the Baltic states.[26][27] It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution;[28] and is used in an official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet states.

Russian has over 258 million total speakers worldwide,[29] and is the most spoken Slavic language,[30] the most spoken native language in Europe,[31] as well as the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia.[30] Large numbers of Russian speakers are residents of other countries, such as Israel and Mongolia. It is the world's seventh-most spoken language by number of native speakers, and the world's eighth-most spoken language by total number of speakers.[32] Russian is the second-most used language on the Internet after English,[33] and is one of two official languages aboard the International Space Station,[34] as well as one of the six official languages of the United Nations.[35]

Russian is written using the Cyrillic script; it distinguishes between consonant phonemes with palatal secondary articulation 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 vowels. Stress, which is unpredictable, is not normally indicated orthographically,[36] though an optional acute accent may be used to mark stress, such as to distinguish between homographic words, e.g. замо́к (zamók – a 'lock') and за́мок (zámok – a 'castle'), or to indicate the proper pronunciation of uncommon words or names.

Russian is an East Slavic language of the wider Indo-European family. It is a descendant of the language used in Kievan Rus', a loose conglomerate of East Slavic tribes from the late 9th to the mid 13th centuries. From the point of view of spoken language, its closest relatives are Ukrainian and Belarusian, [37] the other three languages in the East Slavic branch. In many places in eastern and southern Ukraine and throughout Belarus, these languages are spoken interchangeably, and in certain areas traditional bilingualism resulted in language mixtures such as Surzhyk in eastern Ukraine and Trasianka in Belarus. An East Slavic Old Novgorod 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 influence on both languages, and because of later interaction in the 19th and 20th centuries, Bulgarian grammar differs markedly from Russian.[38] 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".

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