Talk:Russian language/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Where is Russian spoken in the Czech Republic?

I am from the Czech Republic and have travelled around the country extensively. I assure you that I didn't meet any Russian speaking people. My mother and gradparents learnt Russian because they were forced to but have forgotten the langauge as they see it as a sign of opression.

Early discussion

Well, I would like to say something about making articles in Wikipedia using this example. As it is now -- the article about Russian is a terrible one. What can I learn from it? Mostly nothing. As Russian is probably among the oldest (or perhaps the oldest language) of Slavic languages, it is quite idiotic just to mention how the Russian language was spoken in the areas of the Warsaw Pact and such. Yes, this is a sad (or not) fact, but here politics can't take its place, because we would like to learn something about this great language. In the same manner we would also have to check how English language became the world's most popular language (but without politics, right). It shurely was detrimental for those languages which were suppressed in the Soviet Union's times -- so they were German language, Italian language and Hungarian language to my native one -- and I don't blame them for that... My many fellow citizens think that Russian language is simple, because it sounds (sometimes) like the Slovene language, but hey, try to translate something from the Russian literature, poetry or technical field. There are many words in Russian and in Slovene, which are completely the same, but there are even more which are not. I can't also figure how non-Slavic person can learn Russian language. For me it is like someone would want to learn Chinese language or Japanese language or even the hardest one (if it really exists...) Another fact is to say that in a way Russian language represents in full the whole Earth's civilization, because of the Russian successes in Space. We all remember astronauts wearing CCCP signature on their helmets, don't we? This was simply because Russian cosmonauts mostly land on a solid ground and they have to have those markings not to be confused by local inhabitants. (I think so). If you ever have seen any Russian computer programme, you would know that they are quite extraordinary. If I'll have time I'll add something more to the present article and prevent myself from criticizing all over. I am doing my best already in filling gaps regarding Russian people... We Slovenes sometimes joke that there are approx. 220 millions Slovenes and Russians together ( the others should be afraid of Slovenes... :-)) Well again, these were some of my thoughts at a glance. Any response is very wellcome. Best regards and, yes, not to forget, Happy New Year 2003 to all ya... --XJamRastafire 16:04 Jan 8, 2003 (UTC)

Well, Happy New 2004 also... --XJamRastafire 15:30, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Japanese is not hard, only writing it is hard. Russian is extremely hard, only writing is moderately easy. -- iopq

Dialect or language

Can someone give some explanation or references as to why Belarusyn and Ukrainian are portrayed as dialects? What linguist holds that theory today? Isn't the only reason to hold that political?

Well, as a Russian I can understand pretty much everything in Belarussian or Ukrainian... So yes, the reason is mostly political. --Alikhtarov 01:48, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Could you please tell us when and where you heard or read something in Belarusan? rydel 15:19, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)
[1] :-) Mind you, I can understand about 90% of what is written there. Ditto [2]. Then again, I have had somewhat "above average" exposure to the Ukrainian language for a Russian (my mother is Ukrainian), so I guess it cannot be considered a pure experiment... Alikhtarov 06:08, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Well, as Russian and Ukrianian speaker I can understand a lot of Polish; you wouldn't consider Polish as a dialect of Russian or Ukrainian language, would you? WebDome Aug.18 2004
A language is a dialect with an army and a navy. That's what linguists say (only half-jokingly). I'd say there's a dialect continuum there. --i@k5 15:45, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)
What uh... continuum? Dear, i@k5 can you please name the villages on Belarusan-Russian and Ukrainian-Russian border you have visited? -- rydel 16:05, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I speak Russian and Ukrainian. I've visited and/or talked with people from all over Ukraine, and some from Russian regions like Belgorod and Rostov. That was quite a few years ago, and those people were mostly city dwellers. Still it is my impression that there's a continuum. As for Belarusan, I used to listen to radio in that language (the standard I'd imagine) and it was mostly intelligible. Those are just my limited personal observations.Does someone have a copy of Chambers and Trudgill, or something? --i@k5 17:04, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)
I see. Well, there is very little doubt that Ukrainian and Belarusan are mutually intelligible to a high degree. I can testify that based on my own personal experience. Once we were going by bus from Bulgaria to Belarus via Ukraine and we stopped to buy some apples and pears, and I talked in Belarusan with the old Ukrainian lady, and at the end she said: "Boy, you speak Ukrainian with a very funny accent". And then I had exactly the same thing happening to me when I visited Lviv and I was talking to a waitress in Belarusan, and at the end she said: "You speak a strange dialect of Ukrainian". ;) As for the Russian - Ukrainian, and Russian - Belarusan, more often than not I heard stories that people don't really get much at all. And again my own experience proves that. When I am in a company of Russian speakers, and someone calls me up on a mobile, and I start speaking in Belarusan, after I hang up most of the time Russians say something like: "Wow, I didn't get anything." Again, just personal experience. And I also noted that Polish speakers and Belarusan speakers in Western Belarus can understand each other pretty well, there is a relatively high degree of mutual understanding. I don't know how it helps though in this discussion about "continuum". For example, Czech and Slovak are almost 100% mutually intelligible, yet they are considered different languages, not dialects. Also, I don't quite get why you mention Chambers and Trudgill. I heard it's a great theoretical text on dialectology, but I didn't know whether there was any practical information regarding East Slavic languages in that book. -- rydel 17:42, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Chambers and Trudgill is supposed to have a map of European dialects which may be of some help.
Dear Rydel, I think it's just because you talked to certain Russians, probably from Moscow or St.Petersburg. Please take in consideration that Russian Federation is a large country, and Russian language has many dialects. There is a dialect continuum, i.e. some dialects of Russian language have much more differences than some dialects of Russian and Ukrainian languages. Decision whether to call them dialects or separate languages is political. Ditto with Ukrainian vs Belorussian. You confirmed that they are very close languages (linguistically), nonetheless, we consider them as different languages (politically) Dr Bug  (Volodymyr V. Medeiko) 07:41, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Belorussian is much more close to Russian than Ukrainian.--Nixer 20:58, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Belorussian has akanye! That's a very old NORTHERN phonetic feature. It is closer to Ukrainian lexically, but not genetically. There are a lot of phonetic rules that are different from Ukrainian. Some phonetical features are more Russian than Ukrainian. But we can't say it's closer... The situation is complex and all three languages are pretty much inter-languages for communication between all the tribes which had different dialects. -Iopq 11:48, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Revision time!!!

I have revised most of the article, basically writing it anew, although I tried to preserve everything that had not been poisoned by inter-Slavonic recriminations.

A. Shetsen, June 28, 2004

My work on this is now done (for now). Looking over it, I think the following areas may require more work:

  • phonology. Especially, standardize the transcription. A note to Wiki developers: is there any way properly to generate IPA of the fly based on a custom input markup language, rather than SAMPA or something else? For Russian standardized transcription is difficult, because Slavic specialists in the West often appear to insist on a custom, vaguely Czech-based, transcription system.
  • dialectology. Since my interest is almost entirely from the point of view of the literary language and its history, it would be nice if someone who knows enough about the maze of Russian dialects could fill in this section.
  • history. I've deliberately left a lot unsaid here, including:
    • historical grammar
    • writing system (this too is not as straighforward as often supposed: черты и резы? глаголица? тайнопись? типография и орфография?)
    • LITERATURE. My main interest, actually, but since another article exists and does a good job providing a summary (a real critic could quibble with everything, but that's hardly the point), I'm not sure at this point how the two articles should relate to each other. More input would be highly appreciated.
  • pictures. Only scans of documents: books, posters, manuscripts, etc., properly illustrate the language, as opposed to its bearers or the place they inhabit. Of course, copyright violation is thus extremely difficult. At any rate, I've provided none for now.

A. Shetsen 04:07, 2 Jul 2004 (UTC)=

NB Since writing the above, I've tried to convert all the transcriptions to SAMPA and added a few notes on the writing system, split between the "Notes on the alphabet" and "History". I've also provided a few notes about pre-eighteenth century literature under "History", but in such a way that this article's should remain on the language. A. Shetsen 07:33, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

One last kick at the can on the Russian/Ukrainian thing. Nothing whatever has convinced me that the national, as opposed to dialectal, distinction existed until the Muscovite period. In times of the Russian Empire there appear to have been more than a few хохлы (no disrespect intended!) who functioned well among the москали (no disrespect intended!): Gogol comes to mind. I would never quarrel with a modern Ukrainian's emotional attachment to the term Русь, and I would hope that the same Ukrainian would not contest the equivalent Russian's feelings. A. Shetsen 07:42, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

hI'm a Russian too and I understand Ukrainian and Belarussian very well too. But I don't understand Polish. And I think them dialects, you know speakers of some Chinese DIALECTS (there are a lot of them), don't understand each other while we CAN understand, so why our languages are different languages and their dialects are dialects?' AndrewKnight

Chinese is an extreme example of mutually unintelligible dialects. There is no objective determiner for the distinction between a dialect and a language (not even mutual intelligibility) so the destinction can often be political. I think generally linguists call it a language of speakers call it a language and a dialect of speakers consider it so. AEuSoes1 20:50, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Peer review

Requested comments at Wikipedia:Peer Review

Just some random comments on what seems to be an informative article! A couple of comments from a non-linguist layperson. 1) The "Alphabet and Phonology" section is quite long and technical, but the rest of the article is quite accessible to a general reader. For this reason could I recommend moving the "Alphabet and Phonology" section either to a page of its own (perhaps, Alphabet and Phonology of the Russian language) and summarising here, or maybe just move it to the end of the article? 2) Layout-wise, in the "Alphabet and Phonology" section, the pictures don't sit too well to the left of the table; perhaps they could be interspersed later in the section? 3) Could a map be made for the "Geographic distribution" section? 4) For some of the technical sections, it might help if the technical terms were linked to the relevant article, e.g. linking the dative case, and so on. — Matt 03:45, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Pictures and maps. I do have TWO maps planned: geographic distribution and dialects. As regards the existing pictures: I have about three more candidates for history, but putting them in takes time (several more days). Vocabulary and grammar are very difficult to illustrate. The three pictures next to the alphabet are all ABC. That's why I put them there. I've rearranged the existing pictures, and now have several more candidates. Scanning will take a while.
Technical. Yes, I see what you mean. I'll think about how to simplify it. The difficulty is that to create a separate article would require a lot of work, since there is a lot I have NOT said that really should go into a separate article. I've created a sub-article for the notes, and now display only the modern alphabet and the sampa values in the main text.
Links: yes, I'll try (if you don't do it first :)!) ---I've now put in a bunch.
A. Shetsen 06:52, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I appreciate that a lot of interesting and valuable information was added to this article, but I'm not entirely certain why the Wikipedia:WikiProject Languages format has been foregone in favor of a new organizational scheme. At one point, this article conformed to the WikiProject's template, but it has since diverged substantially. Unless anyone can give a good reason why I shouldn't, I think I will reorganize so the article conforms to that format. Nohat 04:07, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

My reasoning was as follows. If you know nothing about a language, you might ask questions in the following order:
Where is is spoken?
Where is it official?
What's the alphabet?
How does it sound?
What's the grammar?
And vocabulary?
Any deviations from the norm? (i.e. dialects?)
And how did it get to be what it is?
So, how to learn it?
That's the order everything's in.
I realize that perhaps the vocabulary should precede the grammar. However, the alphabet must come before, and the sounds naturally follow. The descriptions of any deviations from the standard, i.e. dialects, really make sense only if you already know something about the language (alphabet, sounds, vocabulary, grammar).
Finally, history. I know very well Wikistyle puts history AT THE VERY FRONT. I consider that very flawed. Unless you already know the language, its history must be preceded by as full a description as possible. That's what sets the context.
Since this is a Wiki, I'm certainly not going to prevent you from doing anything. I'd like to point out, however, that since the article was arranged in such a way that every section built on the one preceding, rearranging would, I think, take more work than just cutting and pasting, and might require a fairly good knowledge of the language. If you feel you're up to the task, enjoy!
A. Shetsen 06:52, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I hadn't heard before that putting history first is a bad idea. I haven't really thought about it. Perhaps it should be moved to a later part of the template. Other than that, the order of the questions you come up with seems just as arbitrary as any other order. However, we already have a set order for describing languages, so unless there is a compelling reason for deviating from it I figure we should stick with it. Nohat 07:57, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I appreciate the changes to remove "technical" words from the headings. However, the alphabet should come before the sounds, since the sounds are given in Cyrillic, and the history after grammar and vocabulary, since that's what gives the context. Remember that phonetic symbols are absolute in their pronunciation; letters of an alphabet are not. That's the main advantage to using the native alphabet. I've changed it back. Templates are templates, not cages. A. Shetsen 17:07, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

ж or жж...

Quick comment about readability. Two quotes from the consonants section. I don't know enough (read, any) russian to properly fix this, so if someone wouldn't mind, please try your hand at it. -- 16:44, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)

"The ж/Z/ is similar to the English [s] in pleasure, but considerably harder."

"The consonant ж is palatalized if doubled in writing, e.g. жжёшь/Z'oS/, "you (sg) burn", and in the single word жюри/Z'uri´/ "jury". A palatalized жж is similar to the English [s] in pleasure. A soft sign ь is written after the ж/Z/ as historical tradition in feminine nouns and in some inflexional forms, but the sound remains hard."

I dont know anybody who speaks like this. In Moscow, ж is always hard (i.e. not palatized).--Nixer 21:01, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I've revised the entire consonants section, defining ccarefully the distinction between hard and soft consonants, and going from there. Does that make it easier to follow? A. Shetsen 19:05, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)

article size

This article is rather huge as it is but it set up in a such a way that this could be minimized. For example Russian grammar is a stub, yet the ==Russian grammar== section in this article is really complete - with perhaps too much detail for a survey article. Moving that detail to the separate article and leaving a good summary of that article here (several paragraphs or maybe a few short sub-sections), would serve users who just want the summary and those that want the detail about that aspect. This makes the article more useful to more people. See Wikipedia:Summary style. --mav 06:53, 31 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Phenya or Fenya (Ôåíÿ)

I removed the following section.

Russian crypto language, criminal slang. Word "Phenya" delivered from name of Phoenician Language. Phoenician Merchants use special dialect to communicate with each other, that no one will understand price negotiation. Despite, that early phenya was popular among criminals, now it is consider to be a Russian dialect. Phenya consist of usual russian words, but with different meaning, and also words borrowed from different languages, for example Yiddish. Some Examples: Áàöèëëà (Batsilla) - ñàëî, âûñîêîêàëîðèéíûå ïðîäóêòû, ïåðåäà÷à (Bacon, high calories products). Áîáû (Bob'y)- ïàòðîíû(cartridges, patrons).

The topic is interesting and it deserves even a separate article, but unfortunately this text is helplessly bad. I will try to write a stub. Mikkalai 23:21, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

From Vladimir Dal's vocabulary

(Public domain now)

As a preliminary reference, to be the base of the Fenya article.

ОФЕНЯ, офенская речь, см. афеня.

АФЕНЯ, офеня об. ходебщик, кантюжник, разносчик с извозом, коробейник, щепетильник, мелочной торгаш вразноску и вразвозку по малым городам, селам, деревням, с книгами, бумагой, шелком, иглами, с сыром и колбасой, с серьгами и колечками и пр. Корень афеней влад. губ., ковровск. уезд, есть и костромские и тверские. Чтобы афеня взято было от Афин, невероятно; от г. Офен (Пешт) и венгерских ходебщиков (словаков) - также; о мнимом афенском народе VII века летописи молчат; сами офени зовут себя масыками и обзетильниками (мас - я; масы - мы; масыги - мы, свои, наши; обзетить - обмануть, сплутовать; обзетильник, плут); но офениться, знач. молиться, креститься; офест, крест; посему офеня значило бы просто крещеный, православный. Коли в языке офеней, кроме хирга, рука, нахиреги, рукавицы, и частью счета, есть греческие слова, то они искони занесены ими с Сурожья, т. е. с азовского поморья и из-за Дуная. Для беседы между собою, при торговле, офенями искони придуман свой офенский, кантюжный, ламанский, аламанский или галивонский язык; это частью переиначенные русские слова: масья, мать, мастырить, делать; или им дано иное значение: косать, бить; костер, город; или вновь составленные, по русскому складу: шерсно, сукно; скрыпы, двери; пащенок, дитя; или вовсе вымышленные: юсы, деньги; воксари, дрова; Стод, Бог и пр. Грамматика русская, склад речи также. На этом же языке австрийские (белокриницкие) раскольники переписываются с нашими. Похожий, но менее полный язык есть у костромских шерстобитов, у тверских и др. нищих, где нищенство составляет промысел; также у конских барышников, из татарских и немногих цыганских слов; у воров или мазуриков в столицах (см. бабковый язык) и пр. Счет офеней: екой, взю (кокур), кумар (стрем, стема), кисера (дщера, чивак), пинда (пенда, вычур), шонда, сезюм, вондара, девера (кивера), декан. Вот образчик офенской беседы: Ропа кимать, полумеркот, рыхло закурещат ворыханы. Пора спать, полночь; скоро запоют петухи. Да позагорбил басве слемзить: астона басвинска ухалила дряботницей. Да позабыл тебе сказать: жена твоя померла весною.

Bravo! By the way, is Fenya still alive? The last crypto-reference I know off the top of my head is the "Афонский рекрут" character in "Кондуит и Швамбрания"... Does anyone know anything more? A. Shetsen 06:38, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Please! Lets talk at Talk:Transliteration of Russian into English! Mikkalai 22:33, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)


This article appears to be appropriate for ODP Russian Language category.

Wikipedia - Russian Language - A collaboratively edited article covering classification,
geographic distribution, writing system, sounds, grammar, vocabulary and history of the language.

-- sabre23t 04:00, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)

word counts

It would be nice to have a source and/or precise details about the following, removed from the "Vocabulary" section:

  • However, if you buy a CD-ROM English-Russian or Russian-English dictionary you will be able to translate about 800,000 English words into Russian and about 1,000,000 Russian words into English. Thus, one may conclude that Russian contains at least one million words.

A. Shetsen 05:21, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Bulgarian the closest relative of Russian?

This is the first time I'm stumbling upon such a statement, and I'd like to see some sources. I reverted that. --i@k5 23:45, Oct 2, 2004 (UTC)

No. The languages are very different. However, there has been a large influence of Old Bulgarian (also known as Church Slavonic, the lithurgical language of Russian Orthodox Church, and, until Peter I, Russia's literary language) on the Russian language. Modern Bulgarian has developed from Old Bulgarian, too. Therefore they share an amount of common lexic. The grammar is very different.--Achp ru 09:22, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
No. "Old Church Slavonic" - which is also called Old Bulgarian or Old Macedonia is *not* the same thing as "Russian Church Slavonic", which is what you're referring to. OCS is a South Slavonic language, whose roots are very much related to Old Bulgarian (this is arguably the area where it originated), whereas Russian Church Slavonic is an East Slavonic dialect, and is artificial to an extent, with some influences from Old Church Slavonic. OCS was a language is its own right, now well and truly extinct. Modern-day Russian Church Slavonic is a construct, and should not be relied upon for historical development. [Ben Tavener, Slavonic linguist, University of Cambridge.]

Where spoken

Sizable Russian-speaking communities (totalling in the hundreds of thousands) also exist in North America and, to a lesser extent, in Western Europe.

Should there be extra mention of Germany? AFAIK there is a considerable number of speakers, partly due to Germany immigration policy. There are several Russian-language German newspapers, and it is not uncommon to here Russian spoken in Berlin at least. This would set the situation apart of the rest of 'Western Europe' (whatever that may be).


I've reverted the IPA back to the version that had spaces between the syllables. That is the common way syllabification is marked in phonetic dictionaries. Especially because Russian syllabification is (a) different from the English one and (b) inherits the ancient Slavonic open-syllable structure, I believe that the extra information provided by the syllables being marked should be preserved. If there are display problems with the transcriptions going across line breaks, non-breaking spaces can be used. A. Shetsen 22:10, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

It's a bit difficult to spot the word breaks in such a long string of separated syllables, but I'm not strongly opposed. Definitely use non-breaking spaces in the middle of words. But wouldn't it be better to be consistent with other IPA usage?
The IPA references say to mark syllable breaks with periods, and put a vertical line at the start of stressed syllables (high for main stress, low for secondary). But I've seen people use periods to mark word breaks, so I don't know if this is a universal convention. How does this look (with & withoutwithout and with template:IPA)? Michael Z. 22:35, 2005 Jan 12 (UTC)

/dʲə.ʌˌlʲe.ktə.lʌˈgʲi.tʲʆə.skʲəj ˈa.tləs ˈʀu.skə.və jə.zɨˈka/

/dʲə.ʌˌlʲe.ktə.lʌˈgʲi.tʲʆə.skʲəj ˈa.tləs ˈʀu.skə.və jə.zɨˈka/

OK. periods it can be. The stress marks are also sometimes put at the end of the syllable, but that can also be changed. A. Shetsen 23:23, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC) On IE the second one only is readable. A. Shetsen 23:24, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I was confused when I first saw the IPA stress marks, but you get used to it quickly—one more reason to remain consistent. Yup, I checked it in IE, but I wanted to see how the two looked in other browsers. I'm getting more convinced that an IE-specific stylesheet is a good way to deal with this. Have to get to work right now, but I'll write up a little proposal later. Michael Z. 23:45, 2005 Jan 12 (UTC)

Why is the Russian 'р' rendered as the uvular trill in the IPA transcriptions throughout the article? Alikhtarov 22:27, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Ok, since nobody responded, I am going to replace all the 'ʀ's with 'r's. Alikhtarov 03:21, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
And you're perfectly right to have done so, it should really be [r]. --Daniel Bunčić 14:51, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Another issue: why are there schwas everywhere? Who talks like that?? -Iopq 13:05, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, one should make a difference between the reduced front vowel [ɪ] and the reduced back vowel [ɐ]:
[dʲɪ.ʌˌlʲɛ.ktɐ.lʌˈgʲi.tʲʆɪ.skʲɪj ˈa.tlɐs ˈru.skɐ.vɐ jɪ.zɨˈka]
One can, however, write the reduced back vowel as [ə], too, if one likes:
[dʲɪ.ʌˌlʲɛ.ktə.lʌˈgʲi.tʲʆɪ.skʲɪj ˈa.tləs ˈru.skə.və jɪ.zɨˈka]
And one should write [ɛ], not [e], for stressed <e> if it is not followed by a palatalized consonant, because [e] represents a vowel like in French épée, German geben or in some varieties of American English made (where it is a monophthong, not the usual diphthong [ɛɪ]). The vowel in English bet is written [ɛ], so it should be {{IPA|[pʲɛɫ]} for пел, but {{IPA|[pʲelʲɪ]} for пели.
But I'm not really sure about the use of the syllable markers. What do they give a non-linguist? Isn't [dʲɪʌˌlʲɛktɐlʌˈgʲitʲʆɪskʲɪj ˈatlɐs ˈruskɐvɐ jɪzɨˈka] much easier to read?
By the way, all this is not phonemic but phonetic transcription, so it should be between [...], not /.../. --Daniel Bunčić 14:51, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Where did you read that Russian has retroflex s or z? These sounds are more at home in India! Russian does not have them. You get 'ш' and 'ж' which are a voiceless/voiced hard, post-alveolar fricatives /ш/, /ж/. The phoneme argument rears its head with what 'щ' is - it's arguably phonemically /шч/ or /ш'ч'/ at least underlyingly, but in Standard (Moscow) pronunciation is 95% of the time pronounced as a long or geminate palatalised alveolar fricative /ш':/, with some variation depending on speed and type of morpheme boundary. (The symbols don't seem to be working - forgive the Cyrillicised symbols! ' = palatalised/sharped.)


I remove the following sentence:

Some Russian historians hold that the southern Russian dialect is self-sustaining, while Ukrainian philologists assert that the southern Russian dialect results from the influence of Ukrainian or the Old language of Rus'.

What is a "self-sustaining" dialect? Or, conversely, one that is not? Who are the historians and the philologists? What does influence have to do with sustainability? The sentence seems meaningless, at least until explained. A. Shetsen 05:04, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I'd love to know! The southern Russian dialect is developed from the influence of the older Ukrainian language! Rusian Imperialists find this hard to take! Genyo 05:11, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Does that mean you can't explain your own sentence ("I'd love to know")? OK, out it goes... A. Shetsen 06:49, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Translation Request

I am in need of a Russian speaker to translate a quote from Cloak and Dagger. I have the quote on sound file and can send it via e-mail. Please visit my User Page if anyone is able to translate this. Thank you! -Husnock 15Jan05

"the language of abuse and invective"

Apparently, the ability to curse effectively has always been recognized as a form of art not only in certain quarters of society, but even by the more liberal-minded literati.

shouldn't that be "conservative" instead of "liberal"? conservative thought is characterized by an aversion of extremes, of which invective language is one type.

i actually think that entire sentence should be removed, unless there's a real source for it... and "conservative/liberal" has a strong political connotation today, inappropriate for use in language discussion.

Sign Language

The sign used in this region is not derived from or in any other way connected with spoken Russian so I removed it from the related languages list. Qaz 04:48, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Reading of Pushkin

Ok, we now have a sound file for pronunciation of the language!

I also recorded a snippet of Pushkin that i found at History of the Russian language and put it up there by the poem, but then I realized; why stash the only proper sample of Russian that we have right now in a subcategory. How about putting it here instead? It's a tad shameless promoting one's own reading so blatantly, but I think we should really let people become aware of the Audio Template, and this is a good way to do it.

Oh, and do let me know if I mispronounced anything. My Russian can be rusty at times, especially when it comes to word stress.

From "Winter Evening" (Зимний вечер), 1825. Modern spelling. listen

Буря мглою небо кроет,
Вихри снежные крутя;
То, как зверь, она завоет,
То заплачет, как дитя,
То по кровле обветшалой
Вдруг соломой зашумит,
То, как путник запоздалый,
К нам в окошко застучит.

Tempest covers sky in haze[s],
Twisting whirls [in driven] snow,
Like a beast begins to howl,
Like a child it wails [anew].
On the worn-out roof it clamours
Suddenly upon the thatch,
Then, as though a traveller tardy
Starts to knock upon our hatch. (lit., window)

Well, since no one has objected, I'll just put it up in the History and Examples-section. Peter Isotalo 13:33, Mar 26, 2005 (UTC)
Excellent! That's the way we are taught to read poetry at school. Although few people do it that way, it is a representative example of pronunciation except one mispronounced consonant. In the 5th line the word "обветшалой" sounded like "ответшалой".
Well, a few early years of Soviet school does the trick, I guess. The botched "б" is now fixed.
Peter Isotalo 09:37, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

IPA note


The palatalized fricatives with curly tails are no longer standard IPA. They were in previous IPA publications, but the current recommendation is that palatalization be symbolized with a [j] superscript. Perhaps you should make a note concerning this? Thats it. Peace. - Ish ishwar 07:33, 2005 Mar 10 (UTC)

Pronounciation Request

If someone can tell me how to pronounce the following text (In English phonetic thinkgs, like dictionaries have) I will be eternally grateful (I know you have a IPA guide and everything but I don't get it, yet...):
Я не знаю его имя
Thanks very much if you can tell me.

N.B. I do know what it means (well, I Babelfished it from English to Russian. It should mean: 'I do not know his name')

Roughly, it's "Yah Neh-Znayoo evo emya". It does infact mean "I do not know his name". I've recorded a small audio sample with my pronounciation. I'm a native Russian speaker, but since I've been talking mostly in English most of my life, I'm sure I have a bit of an accent now in Russian, so someone could probably do a better job: [3] Scroll down, click "Free", wait about 30 seconds, and then the download link will come up. Rc251 04:57, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Thank you very much. I'm not that bothered about it being completely accurate, just so long as it means and sounds vaguely like it. Once again, thank you very much! -- 09:51, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
"Yaw neeh 'znaw-yooh eeh-'voh 'eeh-myah" is much more accurate, assuming you speak the American dialect of English. The apostrophe denotes stress for the following syllable. That's as simple and accurate as I can explain.-- 06:50, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
The correct phrase should look like this: "Я не знаю его имени". In negative sentences direct objects are put in Genetive case, not in Accusative.
The correct phrase is "Я не знаю как его звать" because that's what you say in this situation. A literal translation is not good here. -Iopq 18:16, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Not necessarily. In some context "Я не знаю его имени" may be appropriate. Imagine a situation when someone knows a person's surname, but does not know her/his given name.--Achp ru 08:14, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Now you're just arguing for the sake of arguing since name in English doesn't mean "first name". -Iopq 05:26, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Oh, the wonderful partitive genitive. You can argue whether you need it or not here, depending on the degree of negation. Oh, and it's pronUnciation... 23:22, 24 May 2006 (UTC)


"Russian speaking" vs. "Russian" minorities in the context of classroom: Mother tongue ans ethnicity are not the same. Balarusians and Ukrainians in Lithuania, Latvia and Russia speak predominantly Russian. What is more, in Belarus in the context of classsrooms the majority of parents speak against the itroduction of Belarussian language as main language of education, sad as it is. Mikkalai 17:18, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

"Russian speaking" implies "main communication language" rather then "mother tongue", I'm not sure how this is reflected by the actual statistics. Also there aren't just Balarusians and Ukrainians in the the Russian-speaking minority, but also Poles, Lithuanians and others. The term alone can be considered (passive) Russification.

Slavicist's input required

I've started a page on The verb "to be" in Indo-European languages, which is intended to place the irregular paradigms in a historical context. Left to my own devices I will no doubt eventually get round to filling in the info on a broad range of languages, but I really can't do Slavonic. It would be good if one of you who know this field could go over there, check everything, add a table of Slavonic paradigms and make any necessary comments underneath it. And then, if and when you are happy that it is useful to you, link it from the various Slavonic language sites. (My own area of competence, and the necessesity for starting the page in the first place, lie on the Germanic side!) --Doric Loon 21:07, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Millions of speakers

Where was the number 285 million speakers obtained? This would make Russian one of the top 7 most spoken languages (it is usually reported to have more or less the same number of million speakers as Portuguese)... Paulo Oliveira 11:28, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

IPA symbol for ш

Is the proper IPA for <ш> really /ʃ/? I'm a native speaker of Swedish (and Russian, more or less) and to me it definetly sounds like the retroflex [ʂ], which is a very common assimilation of /rs/ in Swedish. I've also studied Mandarin, which also features this sound, and like the Swedish and Russian sounds, they all sound more like one another than /ʃ/, which is used for the English sound ususally spelled with <sh>. Is this some sort of compromise involving phonemic analysis or something similar?

Peter Isotalo 17:20, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)

If it's anything like its Polish equivalent, then Ladefoged would transcribe it as [s̠]. He calls this a "flat" postalveolar, laminal postalveolar, or retroflex - with the understanding that "retroflex" means any non-palatalized postalveolar, whether laminal or apical. The [ʂ] symbol would also be appropriate, if maybe a little misleading. The difference between this and English is, I believe, in the secondary artic: English sh is partially palatalized and partially labialized, while the Polish and perhaps the Russian sound is neither. I've heard specifically that the Russian consonant is not labialized. The symbol ʃ is likely just a convenience. kwami 04:59, 2005 September 12 (UTC)


Thank goodness this article has sensibly designed tables: minimalist borders or none at all. Well done. ✈ James C. 20:52, 2005 Jun 6 (UTC)

Official language of...

How about adding Transnistria? Unrecognised, true. But, for example, listed in the fact box of Ukrainian... Gaidash 6 July 2005 00:02 (UTC)

But of course :)! Ok, now seriously, I think it is a good idea if we clearly say "unrecongnized" next to it. -Irpen July 6, 2005 02:45 (UTC)
Hi Irpen! Actually, it was more of a joke, but whatever goes :) There may be more cons in Wiki than pros, for example Nagorono-Karabakh is not listed in the fact box of Armenian and Somaliland is not listed in the fact box of Somali. Gaidash 6 July 2005 17:27 (UTC)
It should be stated only Region Transnistria, part of R. of Moldova. This is the truth and we must tell this to the people who read. User:Bonaparte

"Russian language is a featured article, which means it has been identified as one of the best articles"--Well this may be not true when it states several big mistakes. One is that for long time it was written the mistake: russian is language in Moldovan Republic of Transnistria. This does not exist. It is only a region part of Republic of Moldova. It is not internationally recognized as being a "state". So, for the time of speaking is just a part of Moldova. That's it. When it will be separate will say that is separate, but until then we must say the truth. -- Bonaparte talk 15:40, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

It is de-jure a part of Moldova but a de-facto situation is different and the article makes this clear. It explains that the "republic" is unrecognized. But to say it is just a region of Moldova just as any other one is witholding information. You do realize that, good or bad aside, the gov of MD has little say in what's going on in Transnistria, unlike in other "just another regions of Moldova". Maybe this should be reformulated, but to delete any mention of the hard fact is unproductive. --Irpen 15:45, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

We will support only the "official" form. Only this counts. If you change here then you have to change everywhere in any kind of article that exists in Wiki that also an "unofficial" form. You do recognize that its status is still not certain? or not?-- Bonaparte talk 16:13, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

I do recognize that there is both an uncertainly and controversy with Transnistria and this is obvious. There is no de jure uncertainly, though, as it is recognized internationally as a part of Moldova similarly to Kosovo being officially a part of Serbia. This does not change the situation of the ground that the local authorities refuse to recognize the central authority and pretty much act on their own. They made a decision to have Russian and Ukrainian as additional official languages to Moldovan/Romanian and this was possible only because the MD gov could not do anything about that. There are no "other regions of Moldova that could implement such decisions and this is notable. As I said, this could be reformulated but to leave the info out entirely is not a solution. --Irpen 17:07, 7 December 2005 (UTC)


(артистичная ругань /ə.rtʲi.'sʲtʲi.tʲʆə.skə.jə 'ru.gənʲ/)

The pronunciation given seems to be for артистическая instead of артистичная. I don't know which is the correct word. 11:15, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

russian schools

Please verify this change by anon. mikka (t) 20:21, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Scientific literature

I've once heard that one third of the world's scientific literature is (or was) written in Russian (and one third in English and one third in other languages). Any truth in that? DirkvdM 03:51, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Ц

It's given as ts. Shouldn't it be ʦ or t​͡s? Because it doesn't represent two letters, but the affricate specifically -Iopq 23:11, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

You're absolutely right.


Is Russian an official language in Crimea or not? Someone seems to have removed that information from Russification article, and I cannot find a prove that it is an official language of Crimea anywhere online. Could you give any sources proving it or proving that it is not? Burann 11:13, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes, you are right Russian is NOT official in Crimea see Constitution of Crimea

The article on Crimea says otherwise. Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 20:47, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

It says de facto - this is not mean official- dont cheat yourself and others !

Russian roots in Esperanto

I've gathered a list of Russian & Polish roots in Esperanto (here), but I suspect that many of the affixes might be Russian as well. For example, the -ar- that denotes a collective, as in vort-aro 'dictionary', which is parallel to Russian slov-arj (though it's also parallel to Greco-Latin gloss-ary). Certainly the prefix pra- and the adverbial suffix -e appear to be Russian. Would someone mind taking a look at the lists of affixes (two lists here) and point out any that appear to be Russian?

Thanks, kwami 01:24, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

Russian language is a featured article!?

"Russian language is a featured article, which means it has been identified as one of the best articles"--Well this may be not true when it states several big mistakes. One is that for long time it was written the mistake: russian is language in Moldovan Republic of Transnistria. This does not exist. It is only a region part of Republic of Moldova. It is not internationally recognized as being a "state". So, for the time of speaking is just a part of Moldova. That's it. When it will be separate will say that is separate, but until then we must say the truth. User:Bonaparte

This is a political issue which doesn't even matter. People there speak it. Let's leave it at that. -Iopq 11:36, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Language School? Oh, Goody.

Has Wikipedia turned into Wikischool? I have intrests in speaking Russian, but when did Wikipedia teach us Russian Basics? NO offense, but this is a crazy article.

Cyrillic in Wikipedia

Please see the new page at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Cyrillic), aimed at

  1. Documenting the use of Cyrillic and its transliteration in Wikipedia
  2. Discussing potential revision of current practices

Michael Z. 2005-12-9 20:40 Z

Italics in Cyrillics:
A guideline on whether or not to italicize Cyrillics (and all scripts other than Latin) is being debated at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (text formatting)#Italics in Cyrillic and Greek characters. - - Evv 16:07, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Phoneme status

I'm wondering about the status of /ɕ/ and /ʑ/ as phonemes. I have only a book on Swedish phonology with an example section consisting of a very brief Russian phonology to go on, and it doesn't recognize them. Anyone with sources or minimal pairs?

Peter Isotalo 09:57, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

The phonology article covers them, though I don't remember if they have minimal pairs. kwami 18:30, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
You guys tend to exaggerate the level of affrication in /tʲ/. The affrication is a secondary effect and nowhere near as audible as /ʦ/. The comparison of птица to пцица is quite bewildering if you happen to speak Russian natively.
Peter Isotalo 11:58, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
I speak Russian natively and I can't pronounce птица without it sounding like пцица. Other than pronouncing it letter by letter. In that word it seems to me that the consonant cluster makes it more difficult for me to pronounce it differently. In fact, I spent like 5 minutes saying птица. That's why I brought it up. Maybe because you're from a diffirent area and your pronunciation is totally different. I could post up a sound file of this if you like. -Iopq 12:53, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
As a native English speaker, a name like Катя exists in a netherworld somewhere between [katʲa] and [kaʦʲa], so the difference is clear enough for a non-native speaker to hear as well. Definitely affricated, but not fully so. kwami 19:37, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
Here's a sound sample to compare. I don't know if my pronunciation is all hyper-correct after letting my Russian fall into relative disuse for so long, but the affrication is very slight. And even if you exaggerate it more, it would rather be something like [ptçitsa] due to the palatalization.
Peter Isotalo 09:48, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Here's mine I don't know how to link from the commons. But your pronunciation IS hyper-correct as one can see from your zimniy vecher file. Just to make sure, I asked my mom to listen to it and tell me what it says. She immediately said птица and was surprised I would even ask her. So I can testify that this is a perfectly valid pronunciation. And how did I pronounce it? I actually made an effort to say EXACTLY пцица. Oh wait, it sounds the same as птица to me! The thing is that there is no palatalized ц in Russian so any palatalized ц sounds like ть to a Russian speaker anyway. -Iopq 05:44, 26 May 2006 (UTC)


I posted this elsewhere awhile ago, but does anybody know if the consonant ŋ is used in Russian with the combination of н and г? At the end of the word, I'm pretty sure that it would sound more like нк, but what if its in the middle? Would it sound like two separate letters then? BirdValiant 05:20, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

As far as I know, Russian does not assimilate /n/ into [ŋ] before velar consonants like so many other languages. Hence банк is rendered [bank] not [baŋk].
Peter Isotalo 09:26, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Oh it does, but not always, e. g. функция ['fuŋkʦəə̈]. I would say it occures before more than one consonant. — Guest.
The Phonetics of Russian by Jones and Ward back you up Peter. Although I have seen <нг> used in other languages, like Evenk, to indicate the velar nasal. AEuSoes1 22:08, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Phonology page

The Russian phonology page has a tag at the end saying that the article doesn't cite its sources. However, the Russian language page says that the sources that it has are also sources for other pages including the phonology page. I found what is very likely to be the source for much of the unsourced phonology information but I don't know if I should put it on the phonology page or the language page. AEuSoes1 22:08, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Russian-speakers world map

It is peculiar that while Vietnam is included as an area where Russian is often known as a second language, Cuba and North Korea are left out! Cuba and North Korea are just as likely as Vietnam to have Russian speakers, as Russian is naturally foreign to all three countries. Perhaps someone could help fix the map, by including North Korea and Cuba. User:Le Anh-Huy

There's a discussion about the map here. I'd also like to see the justifications for some of the included countries but just because Vietnam is communist doesn't mean that that's the main reason why there are pockets of Russian speakers there. If ties to the Soviet Union were the reason for including Vietnam then we'd have to include every single country that has a Russian embassy and then the map would be meaningless. AEuSoes1 04:49, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

[ʌʌ] or [ʌʔʌ]

Another question... according to the Russian phonetics page, combinations of аа, ао, оа, and оо are pronounced like /^^/, but does this have a glottal stop between the two vowels? If not, how do you pronounce it? Additionally, is it present in combinations of ии, as in в России, в Калифорнии, etc.? Again, if it isn't, how do you pronounce this? [Sorry... I don't know how to make the IPA symbols without having a box appear where the symbol should be.] BirdValiant 19:45, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

It does indeed have a glottal stop because the only diphthongs in russian are formed with non-syllabic i. Oh, and don't forget to sign. -Iopq 05:06, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry about that. BirdValiant 19:45, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
I was under the impression that this was simply a long vowel. It is a diphthong for some speakers with the first vowel being schwa. AEuSoes1 23:02, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Hmm... I'm going to go with the guy who speaks Russian. Plus, I think that it says to pronounce it that way in a Wikibook somewhere... BirdValiant
With some things, you should n't go with native speakers. I believe that it may have a glottal stop in careful speech or in Iopg's particular dialect but I've never found anything about glottal stops for Moscow Russian in the careful detailed explanations that I've read. AEuSoes1 04:17, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm less of a native than Iopq, but I think it's more like two vowels separated by a kind of prosodic distinguisher between them. That it would actually be a glottal stop inbetween doesn't sound right to me. That aside, Aeusoes is absolutely right. Being a native speaker does not entitle you to make your own phonetic analyses. We need sound samples, proper references or both. A "Wikibook somewhere" doesn't sound like a trustworthy source to me.
Peter Isotalo 02:26, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

I has a similar discussion a while ago, and I was assured that Russian language does not have glottal stop, see, Talk:Belarusian language/Archive 1#Apostrophe. Also, as an indirect confirmation, the ru: wikiarticle for Glotal stop does not say a word about its usage in Russian language. mikka (t) 01:37, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

We, Russians, actually have no trouble in pronouncing two vowels together. Though many of them (оа, аа, etc) are very rare and normally are in loanwords only. Glottal stop is only in interjection 'a'a (="no" with first 'a' stressed and slight nasalisation) occuring in spoken speech. About not separating two or more vowels by a kind of prosodic distinguisher compare polynesian languages where in some words there are no consonants at all. Koryakov Yuri 10:28, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I think I was just wrong. Anyway, try pronouncing ea in dragostea as a diphthong and get back to me. -Iopq 11:27, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I think I found an answer: In the Phonetics of Russian by Jones and Ward (1969), it states that doubled vowels [ʌʌ] are distinct from long vowels [ʌː] by "diminishing the force of the breath in the middle of it." The difference is that "Doubled vowels constitute two syllables..." (p 213)
Thus, the (nonstandard?) speakers who pronounce ао, аа, оа, and оо as [əʌ] aren't producing a diphthong. Perhaps they are simply applying the rules about pretonic and pre-pretonic allophones of /a/ and /o/ while speakers who say [ʌʌ] assimilate the vowel height or whatever. AEuSoes1 10:52, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

number of vowels

As far as I'm concerned, in Russian there are six vowels (in phonemic terms) which occur in stressed positions: и /i/, ы /ɨ/, у /u/, э /ɛ/, о /o/, а /a/. Except for ы and у, they can be iotified (or perhaps iotyfying). Zbihniew 14:00, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, sources on Russian indicate only 5 vowels. /i/, /e/ (or /ɛ/ if you'd like), /a/, /o/, and /u/. All five have allophons depending on proximity to palatalized consonants. [ɨ] is an allophone of /i/ after non-palatalized (hard) consonants. AEuSoes1 00:26, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
[i] and [ɨ] are most definetly allophones of a common /i/-phoneme. They're one of the most obvious hard/soft pairs (as in palatalization of the preceding consonant) as far as I'm quite positive they can't be exchanged for one another in any minimal pairs. Interestingly enough, UPSID puts the number of Russian vowel phonemes to just four.
Peter Isotalo 10:09, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Not really. If [ɨ] and [i] were allophones, then Russian speakers wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them. The same way Korean and Japanese speakers can't tell the difference between English l and r - because in those languages similar sounds are allophones. But Russian speakers can in fact tell the difference between those two sounds. Give me ONE Russian speaker that will write ы when you say [i]. They have complimentary distribution, but this doesn't mean they are allophones. From phoneme - A phoneme could be thought of as a family of related phones, called allophones, that the speakers of a language think of, and hear or see, as being categorically the same. -Iopq 11:21, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Like I said, the sources back up the five-vowel analysis. I would not be surprised if, in the future development of Russian, that [ɨ] and [i] will split into two different phonemes (or less ambiguous phonemes if they are separate phonemes today) in the same way that /n/ and /ŋ/ have become phonemes but were once allophones of one phoneme. I think that speakers are more aware of the distinction because there's a different letter for a different sound. English has the opposite effect with the dental fricatives since there's only one graphemic representation ('th') for both sounds.
There is a phonological rule in Russian that has front vowels retracted after hard consonants (or advanced after soft ones, whatever you like). AEuSoes1 20:29, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Allophones are usually perceived as different in pronunciation by native speakers, Iopq, but not as something that can change the meaning of a word. The reason people usually can't tell the difference between manifestations of /r/ and /l/ (which aren't always just [r] and [l]) is because they often sound very similar. It's somewhat of a special case and not representative of other allophone patterns.
Peter Isotalo 17:05, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Japanese speakers can listen to an English r and and English l and they won't be able to tell the difference between them. But English speakers NEVER confuse the two. Russian speakers never confuse these two phonemes. -Iopq 11:52, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
The Japanese example is a poor one. Japanese has neither [l] nor [ɻ] even as allophones.
Can you tell the difference between the words peed and peat? I'm sure you can, but I wouldn't associate that with the allophonic lengthening of vowels before voiced consonants as the reason. It's the consonant. It's the same thing with Russian. Front vowels are retracted after hard consonants in Russian and /i/ is retracted enough to be be realized as [ɨ]. It may be distinct, but it's phonologically constrained. I'm sure you can also tell the difference between catch it and cat shit without claiming that English has a glottalized /tʃ/ as a phoneme.
Can you tell me any words in Russian that start with ы? AEuSoes1 21:35, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Ыттык-Кюель... anyway catch it has an affricate and cat shit has a stop fricative sequence. I really don't know how glottalized consonants sound like actually. The wikipedia article on it sucks. Try this one: ask an English speaker to write [pʰ] and ask another one to write [p]. You'll get p for both because they are allophones. Ask a russian speaker to write [i] and another one to write [ɨ]. You'll get и and ы. Is it just the writing system or do the English speakers consider [pʰ] and [p] to be 100% equivalent? Consider сит (gen. сито) and сыт. My claim is that a Russian speaker can hear the difference in VOWELS more clearly than the difference between soft and hard s. How do I test this hypothesis? I would only have to artificially construct using a sound editor [sit] and [sʲɨt] and then play all four sounds to a Russian speaker and ask which ones were сит and which were сыт. Let me do that :D -Iopq 06:40, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
In addition, a speaker might hear [p] as /b/, but your point is still valid. As for "cat shit"/"catch it", my point is that there is a distinction there that people can hear but we don't consider that distinction to be phonemic. We also don't consider Canadian English to have /əi/ and /əu/ as phonemes just because Canadian raising allows them to distinguish writer and rider.
What you propose sounds like a good test but if you can get someone to actually produce the sounds rather than artificially create it I think it would be better. I suppose then, if I understand you correctly, your predictions are:
  • [sit] сит (or съит)
  • [sʲit] сит
  • [sɨt] сыт
  • [sʲɨt] сыт (or сьыт).

my prediction would be as follows:

  • [sit] сыт or сит
  • [sʲit] сит
  • [sɨt] сыт
  • [sʲɨt] сит or сыт
I think in the first and last examples, speakers will probably get a little confused just like English speakers would if you asked them whether [p] was /pʰ/ or /b/. AEuSoes1 09:44, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I forgot to tell you to include some sort of control.

/e/ has two allophones before hard consonants: [e̞] occurs after soft consonants and [ɛ] after hard consonants. The phonetic conditions are similar to that of [i] and [ɨ].

If these two were actually phonemes, the results would be like this:

  • [se̞t] сет (or съет)
  • [sʲe̞t] сет
  • [sɛt] сэт
  • [sʲɛt] сэт (or сьэт).

Since they are simply allophones, the results should be more like this:

  • [se̞t] сэт or сет
  • [sʲe̞t] сет
  • [sɛt] сэт
  • [sʲɛt] сет or сэт
AEuSoes1 04:02, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Ыттык-Кюель (like several other names) is a little-known toponym borrowed from a Turkic language. Most Russians would pronounce it as if it were "Иттык-Кюель".--Achp ru 08:21, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Really we have 2 minimal pairs among native words (though both are at some periphery) for stressed и & ы: letter-names и | ы and verbs икать | ыкать (1st syllable stressed) meaning 'to pronounce и | ы'. And lot of words start with unstressed ы (all are spelled with э): экскаватор, эмблема, экран, etc. But for example native speaker can't distinguish between иммигрант (immigrant) & эмигрант (emigrant) with last syllable stressed. Koryakov Yuri 13:49, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Unstressed и & ы probably don't count since they (supposedly) are the same phonetic vowel when unstressed. The /e/ phoneme also has the same unstressed allophone as /i/. Your immigrant/emigrant example isn't a good enough minimal pair since (I'm assuming) that the double м indicates gemination. I'm using an online dictionary and can't find ыкать. What does it mean? AEuSoes1 17:28, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, unstressed и & ы are much closer to each other than stressed ones. The /e/ phoneme can normally be only stressed in Russian. In an unstressed position it is replaced with /i/. Gemination in immigrant/emigrant is purely orthographic, there is only one /m/ in pronounciation. As I wrote ыкать means 'to pronounce (or to repeat) ы' analoguous to verbs акать (аканье), окать (оканье), etc. Koryakov Yuri 11:19, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Unstressed vowels are not fair game! In my dialect unstressed o and unstressed a sound exactly the same! Doesn't mean they are the same phoneme... Also, English speakers always identify [p] in isolation as /b/ and almost never as /pʰ/. The same way as Russian speakers tell between быть and бить using the vowel and not the semi-palatalization. I'll try to find time for my experiment. I'll try to record the samples and post them here first. -Iopq 13:09, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, unstressed o and unstressed a are the same phoneme in Russian, but different morphonemes. The same as in German final consonants in Rat and Bad are the same phoneme.
Same thing in Russian, actually. -Iopq 21:49, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
Why is it that Russian speakers can tell between a palatalized consonant 90%+ of the time when it's the FIRST consonant in the syllable, but only around 50% if it's the last? The vowel tells them! -Iopq 21:36, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it is normal and what to treat as phonemes and what as allophones depend on system reasons. There are North Russian dialects with 10 vowel phonemes and no phonemic distinction between palatalized/non-palatalized consonants. Koryakov Yuri 08:36, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

One thing though, if you come up to a Russian speaker and say "ы" and tell him or her to write it down, will any Russian speaker write "и"? NO! -Iopq 21:49, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
My only qualification for this discussion is that I'm a native Russian speaker. At the risk of sounding like an idiot among experts, I'll say what I think - if it's redundant or stupid, please feel free to delete. "и" and "ы" are very different and distinguishable sounds in Russian - I believe that this is due to the fact that they are pretty much always pronounced in the same way when they are written in a word (although "и" is sometimes pronounced "ы" if it's unstressed). Perhaps the reason that some English-speakers cannot tell the difference (and speak of there being only 5 or 4 vowels in Russian - which seems a bit ridiculous) is that the English equivalent, "i", can be pronounced in so many different ways depending on its placement in the word that the English language has a large grey area in between "и" and "ы" (although the exact pronounciation of "ы" doesn not exist in English, there is something close). In Russian, however, it's either one or the other - there is no in-between. So I think that they definitely count as two different vowels. There's even a Russian film called Oпepaция "Ы" (Operation "Ы"), and it is NOT pronounced the same as Oпepaция "И". Esn 06:00, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Sorry to join this long-running discussion so late; I only just noticed it. In my Introduction to linguistics classes I always use the question how many vowel phonemes there are in Russian as an example to show that our conception of the phoneme is nothing more than a model. In short:

  • According mainly to the Moscow School of Phonology and American structuralists (e.g. Jan Baudouin de Courtenay, R. I. Avanesov, A. A. Reformatskij, M. V. Panov, i.e. those with a more abstract, more morphological phoneme concept), [i] and [ɨ] are allophones of one phoneme, because [ɨ] never occurs in initial position or after a palatalized consonant; consequently the two phones are in complementary distribution. Apart from that, they can rhyme (e.g. zabylo - kosilo).
  • According mainly to the Petersburg School of Phonology and phonologists in the tradition of Daniel Jones (e.g. L. V. Shcherba, A. N. Gvozdev, L. R. Zinder, i.e. those with a more concrete, more phonetic phoneme concept), /i/ and /ɨ/ are two different phonemes, because /ɨ/ does occur in initial position (e.g. the verb ykat’ or the famous film title "Operacija Y").

What follows from this is that there are strong and weak oppositions. Take English /θ/ and /ð/: There are one or two minimal pairs like thigh - thy, but this opposition is exploited very, very rarely, if you compare it to something like /t/ and /s/ (cf. tie - sigh, tin - sin, toe - so, take - sake, tend - send, tickle - sickle etc. etc.). Consequently, one might say about [i] and [ɨ] that they are either very weak phonemes or very strong allophones. --Daniel Bunčić 14:24, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Since you've brought sources into the discussion, I'd say that we can reasonably elaborate on the dispute in the article somehow. AEuSoes1 17:08, 10 June 2006 (UTC)


Something is really wring here. Category:Languages of the Czech Republic, are you kidding? Why not Category:Languages of the United States? Russians live even in Zimbabwe. IMO it can be "language of..." if its status somehow officially recognized by the correponding state, e.g., as a state language or the language if officialy recognized minority, or at least of significant minority. I suggest to trim the categories mercilessly. mikka (t) 01:26, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

can anyone here talk russian?

i can talk but i cant wright it down so i'll try to talk to you in english letters BUT in russian. (also here are some meanings)

zdrāstrotre= formal version of hello

prēvet= hi

kak dēla= how are you?

those are just some words i'll add some more later

I'm not sure if your word lists will be of any value if they're not in Cyrillic, IPA, or some established transcription system. I know that what you've written as prēvet is привет in Cyrillic. Considering that you know how to speak Russian, I doubt that learning how to use Cyrillic and using a dictionary for ambiguous spelling will be too difficult for you. AEuSoes1 20:21, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Comments about the map

Just some questions about the map:

  • Did the map include every country that has a very very small russian community?
  • Did the map take in consideration the number or the percentage of speakers?
  • Verify the accuracy of these facts: Is Russian spoken frequently in south and central asia and in caucasia? Does it even exist in Turkey and Lebanon?
  • The United State, Canada and Western Europe, have been known to have attracted a lot of immigrants and have formed a lot of communities, so every language is represented and every language map would include them. In order to be accurate you should only color the relevant regions were Russian is known to be spoken widely.

Finally I prefer that the map would be more accurate and precise (see the maps in French language and German language for examples. CG 20:07, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I've brought up some of those issues in the map's talk page. I don't think the entire United States should be colored in if it's only spoken in a few communities on the east coast. AEuSoes1 17:09, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Warsaw pact states

The article say that Russian is spoken in former Warsaw pact member states. Why? If so, we can say Russian is spoken in the USA - that is much more true.--Nixer 11:29, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

The great language learning link war

OK, I dropped in a couple of nice links the other day to language learning sites on the net that I thought were very useful. It seems for some reason, this article no longer like links to pages dedicated to learning or describing the language. I just can't see why. Especially in comparisin to some of the topics that are fine. IMO a large number of people reading this article will be learning the language, and find these links especially useful and relevant. The detail discussed on some of these pages is will outside the scope of this article, or even the "Russian grammar" article, but they are whole websites dedicated entirly to this exact topic. (I'm not talking about commercial sites, rather sites where the content is there and free for all). Often these arn't so easy to find by searching the net either. Perhaps someone needs to decide what the guidlines for links are. But IMO all high-quality, on-topic links where all content is free should be acceptable. It should be catagorised so it can be found. This is an internet encyclopedia, links to information are a good thing....

a bug

Also cf. Moscow pronunciation of "-чн-", e.g. "булошная" (buloshnaya - bakery) instead of "булочная" (bulochnaya).

This extract is no longer correct. It seems to be old-fashioned Moscow pronunciation or alternatively St. Petersburg pronunciation. I dunno what to write instead. Sorry. =)

no it's not. -- tasc talkdeeds 16:59, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

I've just found out that it's both old-fashioned Moscow (aka "мхатовское произношение") and St. Peresburg pronunciation (let St. Petersburg inhabitants correct me if I'm wrong). Nowadays in Moscow its not easy to find someone saying "булошная" or "коришневый". And "дашный" seems to be quiet nonsense. =) However pronunciation of "скворечник" is always "скворешник". Also not long ago it was common to say "дощщь", "дожжя" instead of "дождь" and "дождя". "Дожьжи" is still relatively popular (except weather forecast =).

Moscow pronunciation? We still say it that way all the way in Zaporizhzhya! -Iopq 21:51, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
To clarify, I meant "дощщь" and "дожжя." -Iopq 06:57, 5 May 2006 (UTC)


The article claims that the letter Ч represents the [ʨ] sound. I think it's a mistake. [ʨ] is a voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate like Polish or Serbian ć, which sounds alien to Russian. Ч is much closer to the English []. If no objection follows, I'll fix it later. --Yms 15:13, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

The German article de:Russische Sprache uses [tʲʃʲ]. It's yet more accurate. --Yms 15:26, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
I have objection. There's no reason to think that a sound in one slavic language is alien to another. Do you have a source? From my understanding, [tʲʃʲ] is the same thing as [ʨ]. AEuSoes1 04:33, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
My source is simply my ear :) When I hear a Polish word with ć, I hear it's different from ч (OK, not quite alien, but distinctly different). When I hear an English word cheese, it's much closer to Russian... --Yms 11:17, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
First of all, the Polish ć is just more palatalized than the Russian counter-part. IPA is NOT a complete phonetic transcription, it's more along the lines of phonemic. You might say that the Polish sound is dorsal palatalization while the Russian is coronal and speak of phonetics or whatnot. Second of all, ch in cheese is palatalized because of the ee sound. The same thing in the word peas or leap. Those consonants are palatalized! It's just that we don't write it in IPA because palatalized English consonants are just allophones... and again, the degree of palatalization might be slight. Also, [] could be argued to be slightly palatalized while having a retroflex unpalatalized counterpart. So, my conclusion is: whatever. -Iopq 01:50, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Thank you, this explanation seems to be satisfactory. But this phonemic stuff also explains why I feel that the Polish ć is not like Russian ч - it's because it usually corresponds to Russian -ть or Belarusian -ць, and what corresponds to ч is Polish cz... --Yms 04:30, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
True, but the Russian ч is palatalized so the Polish cz is pretty much the same sound as the Ukrainian "ч". So if you wrote "чь" in Ukrainian that would be the Russian sound. -Iopq 05:18, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't know what to tell you. They sound exactly alike to me, but I don't speak either language. I let the linguists with the papers and the books tell me. AEuSoes1 02:24, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, they're definitely distinct sounds. To my Anglophone ear, "ć" sounds more like a very palatized "t" (as is sometimes the case with Russian -ть) whereas "Ч" sounds like a slightly palatized affricate "ch". I would say Yms transliteration is closer. My Serbian girlfriend seems to agree. --Yossarian 22:53, 12 May 2006 (UTC)


An anonymous user added a pidgin language, supposedly a German-Russian one, called "Qwela" in this edit [4]. Now, as much as it would delight me if there really WERE such a language (and named with that Q that's so un German or Russian...Khvela anybody?) I suspect it was a joke/vandalism...or at least a typo (Wela? The Q and W are pretty close pals), but you never know. I tried looking it up on the net, but there doesn't seem to be any reference to it. I put a citation note up, and until someone can confirm its existence or nonexistence that's how it shall remain. Anybody heard of this? --Yossarian 22:38, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

I went ahead and deleted the entire line. If someone comes up with a source they can put it back in. AEuSoes1 03:25, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
It's really misspelling and sould be "Quelia" in German (rus. квeля, Quelia: Qweля). It's not a real pidgin language, but some sort of German-Russian mixed speech. See de:Deutschrussisch or ru:Язык русских эмигрантов в Германии for more. So I think we'd put it back. Koryakov Yuri 08:01, 15 May 2006 (UTC)


Why are the palatalized consonants considered separate phonemes? Is there any difference between a palatalized consonant and a consonant + y? i.e. is "ty" a palatalized t? If so, isn't this just a cluster? 19:10, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Palatalization marks a difference in the manner in which a consonant is pronounced. A consonant + y would take longer to produce and would have separate articulatory gestures during the utterance. AEuSoes1 20:27, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Palatalized consonants, in other words, are consonants pronounced differently. In English, s in seat is palatalized, while s in sit is not. Russian has those as separate phonemes. Plus, clusters are written differently as in съёмка. -Iopq 12:53, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

1.5% of the US Population?

The article contains this:

According to the United States 2000 Census, Russian was reported as language spoken at home by 1.50% of population, or about 4.2 million, placing it as the 10th most widely spoken language in the United StatesAccording to the United States 2000 Census, Russian was reported as language spoken at home by 1.50% of population, or about 4.2 million, placing it as the 10th most widely spoken language in the United States

But according to the page on the United States 2000 Census, it says that 1.5% of those who speak a language other than English at home speak Russian. This would bring the number to 704,274 speakers, not the listed 4.2 million.


1) Russernorsk was a trade pidgin used in Norways northernmost county Finnmark and on the Kola peninsula for the so-called pomor trade between norwegian and russian. It is documented in norwegian scientific publications.

2) I have never heard, nor read, that Russernorsk was ever used in Svalbard (Spitzbergen).

Nor does it fit with Svalbard history, or with Pomor trade history.

In Svalbard, Norway used to have hunters (especially of Ice Bear during the latest period, altso seals, whales etc. Permanent population started with the coal-mining town Longyearbyen during the early 1900s.

Russian (Soviet) permanent population came after the Versailles treaty made Svalbard "open door", though administrated by Norway. This lead to the establishment of the soviet coalmining townlet of Barentsburg (still existing).

There never was very much trading between the Soviet and Norwegian towns in Svalbard. The distances between Longyearbyen and Barentsburg are several hours on a snow scooter. During prewar times this would be even longer, as traveling was dependent on many hours in a snow scooter in winter, and boat in summer.

The populations up there were coal miners and bureaucrats, not traders. Pomor traders were never active up there, as far as I know. The boys who were miners up there and the bureaucrats leading the mines and towns didnt have a background in the border districts where the pomor trade was usual (especially before the first world war). So where could they have picked up Russernorsk, anyway?

During the 1920s at least, the norwegian mining leadership tried to forbid Longyear miners to visit Barentsburg.

So I have cut the reference to Svalbard when it comes to Russernorsk.

Togrim, user of the Norwegian Wikipedia, 2006-10-01


When we say "most widely spoken", do we mean wide geographically?--ppm 22:51, 22 November 2006 (UTC)