Interesting Facts about the “Great Russian” Language

Did you know that Russian, which is also called Great Russian, is the official language of more than 38 countries, de facto independent nation-states, autonomous regions, and regions? Russian is spoken by about 170 million people as a first language.

As the official language of countries like Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; and other republics of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine), the Russian language is the most geographically widespread language in all of Eurasia. In fact, it is also the most widely spoken of all the Slavic languages.

Origin of the Russian Language

The Russian language is one of the four living members of the East Slavic languages. The said language belongs to the family of Indo-European languages. According to language experts, Indo-European languages originated from a single prehistoric language, reconstructed as Proto-Indo-European, which is spoken sometime in the Neolithic era (also known as New Stone Age).

Quick Facts About the Russian Language

  • Russian is the largest native language in all of Europe.
  • Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus alone have 144 million native Russian speakers.
  • In terms of the most spoken languages in the world by number of native speakers, Russian is on the eight spot.
  • In the list of languages with the most number of speakers, Russian is on number seven.
  • There are only six official languages of the United Nations, Russian is one of those.
  • Compared to the English language, which comprises more than 1,000,000 words, there are only about 200,000 Russian words recorded in dictionaries.
  • About 10% of the Russian language is internationalisms; meaning those words bear a resemblance to their English translations. Examples are проблема (problem), кофе (coffee), and кафе (café).
  • The word for “German” in Russian is “немецкий” (nemetski) which is defined as mute or “those who can’t speak”. The word немецкий was used for all foreigners who were unable to speak or understand Russian. During that time, most foreigners were Germans.
  • The Russian language doesn’t include a word for the articles ‘the’ or ‘a’.

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