Russian language

Russian (русский язык, tr. russkiy yazyk) is an East Slavic language native to Russia 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 Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and to some extent in the Baltic states.[27][28] It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution;[29] and continues to be used in public life with varying proficiency in most of the post-Soviet states.

Russian
русский язык[note 1]
russkiy yazyk
Pronunciation[ˈruskʲɪj jɪˈzɨk] (listen)
Native toRussia
RegionRussian-speaking world
EthnicityRussians
Native speakers
150 million (2012)[1]
L2 speakers: 110 million (2012)[1]
Early form
Cyrillic (Russian alphabet)
Russian Braille
Official status
Official language in

Used as inter-ethnic language but with no official status, or as official in regional level


Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byRussian Language Institute[26] at the Russian Academy of Sciences
Language codes
ISO 639-1ru
ISO 639-2rus
ISO 639-3rus
Glottologruss1263
Linguasphere53-AAA-ea < 53-AAA-e
(varieties: 53-AAA-eaa to 53-AAA-eat)
Areas where Russian is the majority language (medium blue) or a minority language (light blue)
States where Russian is an official language (dark blue) or spoken as a first or second language by 30% or more of the population (teal)

Russian has over 258 million total speakers worldwide,[30] and is the most spoken Slavic language,[31] the most spoken native language in Europe,[32] as well as the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia.[31] 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.[33] Russian is the second-most used language on the Internet after English,[34] and is one of two official languages aboard the International Space Station,[35] as well as one of the six official languages of the United Nations.[36]

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,[37] 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.


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