(russkiy yazyk) is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia,
the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages, and the largest native
language in Europe. Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages
and is one of three living members of the East Slavic languages, the
others being Belarusian and Ukrainian.
examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards.
Today Russian is widely used outside Russia. Over a quarter of the world's
scientific literature is published in Russian. Russian is also a necessary
accessory of world communications systems (broadcasts, air- and space
communication, etc). Due to the status of the Soviet Union as a superpower,
Russian had great political importance in the 20th century. Hence, the
language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
distinguishes between consonant phonemes with palatal secondary articulation
and those without, the so-called soft and hard sounds. This distinction
is found between pairs of almost all consonants and is one of the most
distinguishing features of the language. Another important aspect is
the reduction of unstressed vowels, which is somewhat similar to that
of English. Stress, which is unpredictable, is not normally indicated
orthographically though, according to the Institute of Russian Language
of the Russian Academy of Sciences, an optional acute accent may, and
sometimes should, be used to mark stress (such as to distinguish between
otherwise identical words or to indicate the proper pronunciation of
uncommon words or names).