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Did you know this about the Russian language?
- Today, Russian is one of the great languages of the world. It is estimated to be spoken by some 300 million people in Russia and beyond. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the range of uses of Russian narrowed and continues to narrow. Today, the total population of the 14 Member States of the former Soviet Union is over 140 million (the same as the total population of Russia), with 63.6 million people actively using Russian. A further 39.5 million are passive language users.
- The dialectal breakdown is relatively small for a large area, and the literary language is based on the Middle Russian dialects of the Moscow area.
- Russian belongs to the Eastern Slavic group of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family, and is therefore most closely related to Ukrainian and Belarusian, and together with them, it evolved from dialects of the decaying Old Slavic language that were in many respects very similar. Other features of the dialects on which the Russian language is based are shared not only with other Eastern Slavic dialects, but also with other Slavic dialects or dialect groups beyond them. The history of the Russian literary language also goes back to the Kievan Rus', which was a common state of the Eastern Slavs.
- As in Hungarian and German, different pitches are used within a sentence or at the end of a sentence, depending on whether it is a declarative, interrogative or exclamatory sentence.
- Find out more about the history of the Russian language and Russian translation on Wikipedia.
Did you know about Cyrillic writing?
- The Cyrillic script. Like Latin - it comes from Greek. However, while the Latin script became independent from the 7th century BC, Cyrillic only became independent from the 10th century onwards. Comparing the Cyrillic, Greek and Latin alphabets, Cyrillic is more similar to Latin than to Greek - but not strikingly more similar to Greek than to Latin. The reason for this is Peter the Great's reform of spelling, since the new forms of letters he introduced at that time were based on the forms of Latin letters in use at the time. The Cyrillic alphabet was introduced nationwide in Russia by Tsarist decree in 1708 and was called the Russian civil script. Throughout the various reforms, the number of letters has both increased and decreased, some have been altered and some have disappeared altogether. The last reform was carried out in 1918, when the 33-letter alphabet, still in use in the Soviet Union, was created.
- Cyrillic characters. There are Cyrillic letters that look exactly the same or very similar to Latin letters, but have a completely different reading:Ёё - reading [o] or [jo], Уу - denoting the [u] sound, Вв - [v], Рр - [r], Нн - actually denoting [n], Хх - pronounced [ch], Зз - actually denoting [z].
- The gender of a noun can usually be recognised by its ending. With a few exceptions, nouns ending in а orя are feminine, while those ending in о, ё е are neuter. Nouns ending in ь can be either masculine or feminine. Nouns are conjugated in different ways, depending on whether they are masculine or feminine nouns.
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