Russian is complicated and phonetically beautiful all at the same time.

Language of the Month: Russian

Thursday 16 January, 2014

Russian is one of the most widely spoken languages across the world. It is complicated and phonetically beautiful all at the same time, and has a massive impact on the way the world communicates, deliberates and comes together.

Russian’s History

The most basic form of Russian began to emerge just before 1000 AD. Dialects of Old East Slavic languages were used throughout the Kievan Rus to communicate across regions.

These dialects morphed into a distinct language by the 16th Century. While more and more people started using it, the official language of Russia remained Church Slavonic until late 18th Century.

This being said, Russian literature is thought to have begun by the 17th Century with the autobiography of Avvakum and a body of short stories from Moscow. However, some believe that Russian writing could date way back to the 11th Century. In 2000 historians discovered a wooden book from that time with only four wax pages used to record religious texts in basic Russian.

The Russian Empire emerged in the 1800s and the reforms of Peter the Great led to a change in the alphabet, to the modern Russian letters we know today. Finally, Russian began to be used secularly as it became the official language of Russian state, and has been ever since.

Written and Spoken Russian

The most well known and widely used form of Russian is known as modern Russian literary language. Still, there are many different dialects of Russian spoken throughout Europe today. They are generally divided into two major regional groups, ‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’, with Moscow lying in the middle.

To native English speakers, Russian can seem like a very complicated language. It has a completely different, Cyrillic alphabet with 33 letters as opposed to 26. Some characters are the same as the Latin alphabet, some look the same but sound different, and some represent no sound at all.

Russian also has three genders, masculine, feminine and neuter. This, among many other grammatical and phonetic specifics, makes learning and translating the language tricky. To ensure that you get an accurate translation when using Russian in business or for documentations, it is important to use the services of a language translations agency.

On the other hand, Russian has a flexibility that most other languages don’t have. It has a huge number of rhymes which are impossible in other languages which is why it sounds so beautiful.

Russian’s Place in World Language

Along with Ukrainian and Belarusian, Russian is one of the last three remaining East Slavic languages. It is the official language of the Russian Federation which consists of more than 140 million people, and is also spoken in other countries around the globe of the former USSR. Russian is the largest native language in Europe and the 8th most spoken first language in the world.

While it has taken many loan words from European languages, these may seem somewhat old fashioned to native speakers as they were adapted so long ago. For example, the Russian word for hairdresser is adapted from the old German word for ‘wig maker’, which was much more common back then.

Russian in the Modern World

Because Russian is so widely used across the globe, it has become an important language in the modern world. It is one of the official languages of many international state run groups including the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Health Organisation.

Russian is also popular among the public, ranking in 2013 as the second-most used language on the internet after English.

These facts just go to show the massive impact and importance of Russian in communicating in world society.

If you ever find yourself in a situation in which you need certified translations services in Russian, Romo Translations provides superior translation and interpretation by mother-tongue translators who are trained in a range of professional areas. Contact us to learn more about our services and what we can offer you.

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