Russian Language Facts

Interesting Russian Language Facts

If you’re thinking about learning Russian it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting Russian language facts:

1. Russian is derived from the Old East Slavic

Russian shares strong similarities with Belorussian and Ukrainian. With the adoption of Christianity, a new alphabet was developed – the Cyrillic alphabet. Russian was standardised during the 18th century, and then simplified after the Russian Revolution of 1917.

2. Russian is the 6th most natively spoken language in the world

Russian is spoken by 260 million people worldwide, including 137 million in Russian. It is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and a recognised regional language in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Russian is also a significant minority language in the Baltic countries and Central Asia, and is still used as a lingua franca in the former Soviet countries.

3. Russian jokes often reflect the realities of everyday life

The Russian are known to be sarcastic at times. Examples include:

  • У одного ученого родились близнецы. Одного он окрестил в храме, а другого оставил в качестве контрольного образца. – The scientist has two twins. The first of them was baptised, and the second was kept as reference specimen.
  • Самым большим доказательством существования разумной жизни во вселенной является тот факт, что с нами до сих пор никто не попытался связаться. – The most important evidence of existence of intelligent life in the universe is the fact that nobody has tried to contact with us.

4. A few English words are of Russian origin

Interesting examples include bolshevik, cosmonaut, mammoth, pogrom, samovar, sputnik, taiga, tsar, ushanka and vodka.

5. Along with English, Russian is the language of space

Astronauts have to learn Russian as part of their training and the computer system of the ISS uses both English and Russian. During the Space Race, Russian also influenced English. For example, the suffix -nik, used in “sputnik” (“fellow traveller”), was borrowed from Russian and is commonly used in words such as beatnik, peacenik and refusenik.

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Russian Courses

An excellent way to improve your Russian language skills is by taking a group Russian language course with Cactus. We offer Russian languages courses online and face-to-face in over 10 locations across the UK.

Private Tuition

Cactus offers a range of options for Russian private tuition. You can choose one-to-one classes if you prefer online and tailored Russian lessons that suit your schedule and location. For more information please visit our private tuition and corporate language training division.

Russian Immersion Courses

An excellent way to improve your language skills is by taking a Russian immersive language course in the country where the language is spoken. Cactus offers courses in many locations in Latvia and Russia.

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