5 Interesting Russian Language Facts

5 Interesting Russian Language Facts
19 January 2015

Russian language facts are not something you read about every day. Nevertheless, Russian is a very mysterious language for those who do not speak it. To a beginner, it can be both exciting and overwhelming because the alphabet is very unique, words are not pronounced how they are written, and it is one of the few remaining Slavic languages. Yet learning Russian is very worthwhile! Listed below are a few interesting reasons why the language and its speakers are so impressive and intriguing.


1. If you plan on being an astronaut, learning Russian is essential.

Russian is considered to the the international language of space, and in the event of an emergency instructions are given to astronauts in Russian. Part of training to become an astronaut (really we should say cosmonaut) even includes doing a homestay in Moscow to learn local lingo.


2. There are only about 200,000 words in the Russian language.

This number has doubled since the 19th century, when only 50,000-100,000 words were recorded in dictionaries. This number is very small compared to the English language, which is comprised of over 1,000,000 words. Russians actually use very few of these words, and you will find that due to this many words have more than one meaning.


3. Native Russian speakers are better at distinguishing between different shades of the colour blue than native English speakers.

This is due to the fact that the Russian language splits the color blue into two completely different categories- синий (“seeniy” meaning dark blue) and голубой (“goluboy” meaning light blue). In a study performed on native Russian and native English speakers, it was found that native Russian speakers are significantly more successful at distinguishing and categorising different shades of blues in comparison to native English speakers. 


4. The word for “German” in Russian is “немецкий” (nemetski) which means “those who can’t speak”.

The root of the word originates in the Russian word meaning “mute”, which incidentally also means “stupid” and “inarticulate”. Hемецкий was originally the word that was used for all foreigners who could not speak Russian, however most foreigners at the time were Germans, and the name stuck with them.


5. Russian is the most widespread language over Eurasia.

Out of all European native languages it is the largest, and it is the most spoken out of all Slavic languages by a long shot. Overall, it is the 7th most spoken language in the world.


Pretty impressive! Don’t you think so? Tell us your experience about learning Russian or give us your opinion on our Facebook page .


This blog was brought to you by Alison, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz 

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