Interesting Facts About Russian Language


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Every nation's greatest treasure is its language. One of the most common, most expressive languages in the world is Russian. It reflects the customs, traditions, life of the people, their intelligence, experience, beauty, and strength of soul. The richest literature has been written in Russian, reflecting the achievements of all mankind. But do you know all about it?

Even if you know many facts about Russia, have read Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, or have ever been on Russia tours, you may be missing some fascinating details about great and powerful language. Even though Russian is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn, with over 170 million native speakers, it’s the eighth most-spoken language in the world. It is deeply emotional and descriptive that lets people express the nuances of each idea, feeling, or emotion. As with other languages, there are many interesting facts about Russian that you probably didn't know, so read on to learn more! Or choose a trip to Russia - it's also a great way to learn the language. There is also a super convenient way to travel by train, for example, Trans-Siberian Railway Tours.

Cosmic language

If you suddenly want to become a cosmonaut, you should start learning Russian right away. Due to Russia’s presence in space innovation and technology, and particularly within the International Space Station, it’s now a basic requirement for foreign astronauts to have a working knowledge of Russian.

The Cosmonaut

More specifically, the control panels and documentation are Russian-made, which means that everyone on board must know Russian to understand how to use these instruments.

Lots of Anglicisms

Remember how we said that Russian is one of the most difficult languages to learn?  Well, you can exhale with relief! About 10% of Russian words bear resemblance to English ones.


For example, проблема (pronounced “problema”) means “problem”, and компьютер (pronounced “komp’yuter”) is “computer”.

The most significant part of the words borrowed from the English language are borrowings in the professional sphere.

Surnames vary by gender

These are Russian language basics: names consists of a first name, a family name, and a patronymic name, which is the father’s name plus either the ending -ovich for a son, or -ovna for a daughter.

Russian name

So, if a father named Alexander has a son and a daughter, his son’s patronymic name will be Alexandrovich and his daughter’s will be Alexandrovna.

A limited number of words used

Before the 19th century, there were only 200,000 words in Russian, which soon after increased to 500,000 words.

English word

This number is very small compared to the English language, which includes over 1,000,000 words. This is why many Russian words have multiple meanings.

The average educated person's vocabulary is considered to be about 10,000 words, with only about 2,000 words in active use. Professionals who use special vocabulary may have about 2 thousand more such words in use.

Quite an interesting alphabet

The Russian alphabet contains 33 letters that are divided into 10 vowels, 21 consonants, and 2 letters that don’t have sounds. Each letter can be either capital or lowercase.

Russian letters

They can be printed or handwritten. Initially, there were 49 letters in the Cyrillic alphabet. Gradually the number decreased to 32 and then increased due to the addition of "ё".

Stress is important

In Russian, the location of the emphasis is very important. The stress can fall within a word, as well as within a sentence. Changing the stress can change the meaning of the sentence.


While in Russia be precise talking about blue

Compared to native English speakers, native Russian speakers are better at distinguishing different shades of blue. In the Russian language, the color blue is divided into two completely different categories: "blue" (“goluboy”, meaning light blue) and "blue" (“seeniy”, meaning dark blue).

Blue bird

A study comparing native Russian speakers and native English speakers found that native Russian speakers were significantly better at distinguishing and categorizing different shades of blue than native English speakers.

Used in the UN and throughout Europe

The United Nations uses Russian as one of its six official languages. The others are Chinese, Spanish, French, Arabic, and English. Many Europeans also know Russian, even though it may not be their native language.

United Nations

On June 6, Alexander Pushkin's birthday, the UN celebrates Russian Language Day. The same special days have been established for the other official UN languages - Arabic, Chinese, English, French, and Spanish.

Quite sweet

A characteristic feature of the Russian language is the presence of numerous diminutives. In Russian, the diminutive form is most often created with the help of special suffixes. It helps to express kindness, care, love, and affection for the world and people around us.


Virtually any word in the Russian language can be formed into a diminutive form with the desired suffix.

The Unpredictable

The origin of some Russian words may seem very predictable, but things may not be what you think. For instance, one of the most common misconceptions stems from the name Red Square in Moscow, which has nothing to do with communism, but rather derives from the word "krasinyi", which once meant "beautiful".

Red Square in Moscow

All in all, the Russian language has become increasingly important internationally. It has become the lingua franca of international conventions and conferences, playing an integral role in agreements that affect a lot of people. It has been and remains one of the world languages.