10 Fun Facts for Russian Language Day Posted by Maria on Jun 6, 2019 in language
June 6 marks Russian Language Day (День ру́сского языка́). This date was chosen because that’s when Alexander Pushkin (Алекса́ндр Пу́шкин) was born — a writer and poet credited with shaping contemporary Russian (совреме́нный ру́сский язы́к) by blending the “high” literary genres with the vernacular. To mark this occasion, let me share ten fun facts about today’s Russian language.
- W3Techs report that, as of June 2019, Russian was the second most-used language on the web, at around 6%. As expected, English was in the first place, at close to 54%.
- At the time of writing this post, there were 1 548 000 Wikipedia articles written in Russian.
- As of 2019, 68% of Russians said they used the Internet daily, and a further 10% used it several times a week.
- According to Alexa, the most popular websites in Russia were YouTube, the search engine Yandex (Я́ндекс), and the social network Vk.com, formerly known as Vkontakte (“Вконта́кте,” which translates to “in touch”).
- As of 2012, there were 265 million speakers of Russian in the world, 110 million of who used it as their first language.
- The US Foreign Language Institute places Russian in Category III of its language difficulty ranking. That means that a typical speaker of English will need 44 weeks or 1,100 hours to reach professional working proficiency in the language.
- Despite spanning vast territories, Russian does not have significant dialectal variation due to, among other causes, mass migration (sometimes forced!), and centralized educational, publishing, and broadcasting standards. In other words, while regional vocabulary and pronunciation quirks do exist, it is much harder to pin a person speaking Russian to a specific geographic area than one might expect.
- The language is codified by the V.V. Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Институ́т ру́сского языка́ и́мени В. В. Виногра́дова РАН), based in Moscow. The institute monitors new developments in the language, provides guidance and reference, maintains the Russian National Corpus (Национа́льный ко́рпус ру́сского языка), and publishes several journals.
- Russian enjoys official status in Russia (Росси́я), Kazakhstan (Казахста́н), Belarus (Белару́сь), and Kyrgyzstan (Кыргызста́н), and is spoken in several other countries outside Russia.
- Russian is also an official language of several international organizations, including the International Criminal Court (Междунаро́дный уголо́вный суд), International Monetary Fund (Междунаро́дный валю́тный фонд), and the United Nations (Организа́ция Объединённых На́ций).
Did you learn anything new from this list? What fun fact would you add to it?
Want to hear more? Sign up for one of our newsletters!
For more language learning advice, free resources, and information about how we can help you reach your language goals, select the most relevant newsletter(s) for you and sign up below.