Russian (Russkij yazyk, Русский язык) is the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages.
It is primarily spoken in Russia and other nations of the former Soviet Union, and was also widely taught in schools in member countries of the Warsaw Pact and in former Yugoslavia. In Soviet times, Russian was often strongly promoted to the detriment of other local languages. While many of the countries of the former Soviet Union are now promoting their local languages rather than Russian, Russian remains widely spoken in these areas and is often used for intercommunication between these countries.
Russian is one of the official languages of the United Nations.
Russian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet.
See also: Common phrases in different languages
|Capital||Small||Name||Sound||Typical SAMPA Value;|
|Ъ||ъ||Tvyordyy znak||N/A||See Notes Below|
|Ы||ы||Ui||ui||(IPA i with stroke)|
|Ь||ь||Myagkyy znak||N/A||See Notes Below|
Notes on the Alphabet and Pronunciation of Russian
1. While Russian has a mostly phonetic orthography, there are exceptions. Below are a few of the most common.
- The letter "г" between the letters "e" and "o" is pronunced as /v/, e.g. "его" (his, him) is pronunced /jevo/. This rule only applies when "его" is at the end of the word.
- Voiced consonants with voiceless counterparts lose their voicing at the end of a word, e.g. "строганов" (stroganoff) is pronunced /stroganof/.
- Voiced consonants with voiceless counterparts become unvoiced before voiceless consonants, e.g. "футбол" (soccer/football) is pronunced /fudbol/. -Similarly, voiceless consonants with voiced counterparts become voiced before voiced consonants, e.g. "водка" (vodka) is pronunced /votka/.
-Vowel is only fully pronounced when it is under accent. In the non-accented (weak) position, vowel is "reduced" to the neutral sound. Spelling, on the other hand, doesn't depend on whether position is accented or not.
2. The letter Ё/ё is "optional": it is formally correct to consistently use E/e to represent both /je/ and /jo/.
3. The hard sign (Ъ/ъ)indicates that the preceding consonant is not palatized.
4. The soft sign (Ь/ь)indicates that the preceding consonant is palatized.
5. The vowels Е/е, Ё/ё, И/и, Ю/ю, Я/я make the consonants before them palatal consonant. This means that one pronunces the consonant with the middle of the tongue raised, pressing against the hard palate.