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Russian
Русский язык (russkij jazyk)
Pronunciation ˈruskʲɪj jɪˈzɨk
Native to Russia, other post-Soviet states
Native speakers 155 million  (2010)
110 million second speakers
Language family
Indo-European
  • Balto-Slavic
    • Slavic
      • East Slavic
        • Russian
Early forms:
Old East Slavic
  • Russian
Writing system Cyrillic
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1 ru
ISO 639-2 rus
ISO 639-3 rus

Russian (ру́сский язы́к, russkij jazyk, pronounced ˈruskʲɪj jɪˈzɨk is a Slavic language spoken primarily in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics of the USSR. Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of three living members of the East Slavic languages. Written examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards.

It is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. It is also the largest native language in Europe, with 144 million native speakers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Russian is the 8th most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the 5th by total number of speakers. The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Russian distinguishes between consonant phoneme's 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.

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