Russian

Authored by: Bernard Comrie

The World’s Major Languages

Print publication date:  November  2008
Online publication date:  January  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415353397
eBook ISBN: 9780203301524
Adobe ISBN: 9781134261567

10.4324/9780203301524.ch15

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Abstract

Russian, together with Ukrainian and Belarusian (Belorussian), is a member of the East Slavonic group within the Slavonic branch of Indo-European. Although the three languages are now considered distinct literary languages, they are very close to one another, with a high degree of mutual intelligibility. At the time of the emergence of writing in East Slavonic, around the year 1000, there was just a single language, conventionally called Old Russian. In terms of the development of Russian as a modern literary language and of the separation of Ukrainian and Belarusian, there are two strands that must continually be borne in mind: the relation between native East Slavonic forms and forms borrowed from South Slavonic, and the relations among regional variations within East Slavonic.

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