4 May 2018
Origination of the Russian language
Things don’t just appear, they are created. When it comes to learning about any language in the world, you should know that they all had to be created first somewhere or by someone. If you are ever curious about the history of the Russian language and how it came to be, you might be wondering: Where did the language originate from? Has the language changed over the years? Or Where else in the world is the language spoken/useful? You probably have other questions in mind too, but these are the questions you will find out in my research paper.
From where did the language originate?
Way back in history there was an era called the 6th century CE. Around this time was when there were people known as the “Slavs” who migrated from Poland to Russia. They traveled to a place called the Adriatic Sea. The population took place around the West, South, and Eastern regions where they all decided to create their own Slavonic language groups.”Sometime between this separation of the three branches of Slavs and the present day, the Eastern Slavic or Old Russian language divided into three additional major dialect groups, known today as Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian” (Tarasine A. Buck). The only thing that stayed the same was their written language which they called the Old Church Slavonic. In the 14th century also known as the Kievan period, the modern Russian ancestors spoke Old Church Slavonic. Which is also known as the Old East Slavic language. This stayed with them as their main language until the Petrine age. This was when the language was based off of bible and public worship texts. Also this reflected spoken Russian in the pre-Perine Muscovy time.
Then, when it came to the 18th century, the Russian language borrowed vocabulary from the Polish, German, and other Western Eastern languages. They called this the High Style Church Slavonic and it became officially modified in the 19th century. It was used mainly to write poetry and discuss theology. This was the era of “Peter the Great” who committed to a reforming of the alphabet. He used vocabulary of Western Europe such as Latin, French, and German under the category of the Age of Enlightenment. In the 20th century, also known as the Soviet period,”The Middle Style, a language which shared aspects from the East Slavonic and the Church Slavonic, is the language which eventually developed into the modern Russian language” (The Translation Company).
2. Has the language changed over the years? If so, how?
In the 9th century was when the Cyrillic alphabet was created. It all began when an emperor known as “Emperor Michael III” the ruler of the Slavic state, sent missionaries to Christianize. That is when he nominated two brothers named Cyril and Methodius to spread Christianity among the Slavic people of Central and Southeast Europe. The reason that Cyril and Methodius were chosen was because they spoke Slavic. “Cyril devised a first alphabet, now known as Glagolitic, based on this dialect, and the brothers used it to translate sections of the Bible, prayers and other texts used in Church services from Greek into a Slavic dialect that could be broadly understood in Central Europe” (Adrienne Landry). At first this writing system became developed around the time of 862 AD.
There were two brothers named Cyril and Methodius who were the Thessalonian Monks who were the official creators of the Cyrillic alphabet. They wanted everyone to understand this sso, “Cyril prepared for the mission by developing a written script for the Slavs…he tried to provide a letter for each speech sound in Slavonic.* Some researchers believe that he had already spent years laying the groundwork for such an alphabet” (The Watchtower). This was his plan while developing the written language. After that,”Cyril launched a quick program of Bible translation. According to tradition, he began by translating from Greek into Slavonic the first phrase of the Gospel of John, using the newly developed alphabet: Cyril went on to translate the four Gospels, the letters of Paul, and the book of Psalms” (The Watchtower). This was was helpful to everyone, but, “Despite the unrelenting resistance, Methodius, with the help of several shorthand writers, finished translating the remainder of the Bible into Slavonic. According to tradition, he accomplished this huge task in just eight months” (The Watchtower). As the language developed, “Many words in Russian have been borrowed from various other languages at different stages in history” (LONWEB.ORG). When it came to the Cyrillic alphabet, it had similar sounds and consonants of the Glagolitic language. After nine centuries past, the Cyrillic alphabet drifted over different nations to be the most used and common written language. Not only Russian using the Cyrillic alphabet but also other countries such as Europe and Asia.
3. Where else in the world is the language spoken/ useful?
The Russian language in today’s society is spoken in a place that’s called the Russian Federation. The countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, which is today known as Eastern Europe, had mainly just the older people that spoke the language. “The Russian language is the largest native language in Europe, it is the primary language of 175 million people living in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and is unofficially spoken in most of the countries that were once republics of the USSR, making it the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia” (Adrienne Landry). According to the 2010 census, there were 137 million speakers of Russian in the Russian Federation, and 166 million worldwide (Ethnologue).
There was a study shown that Russian is one of the ten most spoken languages in the world (Irene Thompson). A list of places that Russian is spoken today in the world include: U.S.A, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Canada, and China. In the 20th century, “Russian was widely taught in the schools of countries that used to be satellites of the USSR, e.g, Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Albania, former East Germany and Cuba” (Irene Thompson). Compared to today no one is really familiar to the language because it was not a required class to take anymore. So instead of taking Russian to study as a language in Eastern Europe, the students prefered to take English or German because it was more common.
All things considered, the origination of the Russian language and how it all came to be, happened way back in history. From the language first being called the Old Church Slavonic, to the language developing more by borrowing vocabulary from other languages. Also the language becoming more modern for use in today’s society. Cyril and Methodius being the creators of the Russian alphabet also known as the Cyrillic alphabet today, made it useful for other countries as well. In today’s society the Russian language, not only being spoken in Russia, but in other European countries around the world, makes the language a more unique and language overall.