Russian language

Russian (Russian: русский язык, romanized: russkij jazyk) is an East Slavic language mainly spoken across Russia. It is the native language of the Russians, and belongs to the Indo-European language family. It is one of four living East Slavic languages,[lower-alpha 10] and is also a part of the larger Balto-Slavic languages. Besides Russia itself, Russian is an official language in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and is used widely as a lingua franca throughout the Caucasus, Central Asia, and to some extent in the Baltic states.[25][26] It was the de facto language of the former Soviet Union,[27] and continues to be used in public life with varying proficiency in all of the post-Soviet states.

русский язык[lower-alpha 1]
Pronunciation[ˈruskʲɪj jɪˈzɨk] (listen)
Native toRussia and Belarus
RegionRussian-speaking world
EthnicityRussians and others
Native speakers
150 million (2012)[1]
L2 speakers: 110 million (2012)[1]
Early forms
Cyrillic script (Russian alphabet)
Russian Braille
Official status
Official language in
    • Russia (state)[2]
    • Belarus (state)[3]
    • Kazakhstan (co-official)[4]
    • Kyrgyzstan (co-official)[5]
    • Tajikistan (as inter-ethnic language designated by the constitution)[6]

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

Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byRussian Language Institute[23] at the Russian Academy of Sciences
Language codes
ISO 639-1ru
ISO 639-2rus
ISO 639-3rus
Linguasphere53-AAA-ea < 53-AAA-e
(varieties: 53-AAA-eaa to 53-AAA-eat)
Areas where Russian is the majority native language (medium blue) or spoken as a second language from the era of the Soviet Union (light blue)

Russian has over 258 million total speakers worldwide.[28] It is the most spoken Slavic language,[29] and the most spoken native language in Europe,[30] as well as the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia.[29] 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.[31] Russian is one of two official languages aboard the International Space Station,[32] as well as one of the six official languages of the United Nations.[33]

Russian is written using the Russian alphabet of 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 often unpredictable, is not normally indicated orthographically,[34] 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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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Russian language, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.