How many languages ​​are there in Russia

Countries where Russian is spoken

Russian is considered a world language and is spoken by around 60 million people as a second language in addition to native speakers. Russian is one of the East Slavic languages ​​of the Indo-European language family. It is widespread in all countries of the former Soviet Union and numerous neighboring regions. In Germany it is the second most widely spoken language, ahead of Turkish, with around 3 million native speakers.

Spread over time

The Russian language comes from Old East Slavonic and was initially used by a few intellectuals in the area of ​​today's western Russia, Ukraine and Belarus from around the 9th century. In the centuries that followed, different dialects and variations developed in the area of ​​the ancient Russian empire.

Russian did not experience a significant increase in its spread until the Second World War, in which the Soviet Union expanded its power to other areas and subsequently also gained greater political importance internationally. Until the late 1970s, Russian was taught as a first language in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries it influenced. With the later dissolution of the USSR, interest in the language decreased and the number of native speakers outside of Russia has been steadily decreasing since then. However, Russian has become increasingly popular as a second language over the past two decades.

At 5.9%, Russian was the second most widely used language on the entire Internet in 2011. German only followed a little behind in third place.

Cyrillic alphabet

Based on the Glagolitic or Old Cyrillic alphabet that originated in Bulgaria in the 9th century, the Cyrillic alphabet (also called "Cyrilliza") was designed in the 10th century. The original letters were taken from Glagolitic and Greek. Cyrillic characters are used in many East and South Slavic languages, which are mainly used in Eastern Europe and Asia. The most widely spoken languages ​​with the Cyrillic alphabet today are Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Macedonian.

A simplification took place in 1708 by Peter the Great, in the course of which several characters were discarded and the letters were adapted to the Latin script. Another reduction took place in 1918 with the Russian spelling reform.

Today's Cyrillic alphabet has 33 letters. Of these, 10 are vowels and 21 are consonants. Another 2 letters are used for emphasis. While the length of a spoken vowel in Russian does not change the meaning of a word, there is a significant difference when the emphasis on individual syllables is different.