Russian language

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Russian (Русский язык; Russkiy yazyk) is a Slavic language spoken in Russia and the former Soviet republics. It is spoken by over 200 million people worldwide.

It is written in the Cyrillic alphabet.

In the Russian present tense the verb "to be" is omitted, and there are no articles (a, an, the), which means that the understanding of a noun as a determinant or indeterminant noun is based on context (I.e. "This is a cat" is literally translated to "This cat"). However, "to be" is used in the past and future tenses.

Every noun and adjective can be declined in 6 cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, prepositional (locative) and instrumental; both in the singular and plural. Because of this freedom, word order is not very important to the speaker, and he or she is able to use word order to make subtle distinctions in tone, in importance, or in relevance.

Verbs are conjugated in the present, past and future tenses, in the indicative, subjunctive and imperative moods. All verbs have at least two forms (one in the imperfective aspect and another in the perfective) to reflect the perceived completion of the action; verbs of motion can have two imperfective forms, one having a habitual meaning and one having a progressive meaning. The tenses are formed as follows:

  • The present tense uses endings to represent person and number.
  • The past tense is based on a participle and therefore agrees with the subject in number and, in the singular, gender, but not person.
  • The future tense of perfective verbs uses the present-tense endings, since perfective verbs have no present tense. The future tense of imperfective verbs is formed by the future tense of "to be" (быть) with the infinitive.

Examples:

  • Здравствуйте! (zdravstvuyte) = formal, pleasure to meet you
  • Привет! (Privyet)= Hello, Hi (between friends).
  • Как поживаете? (Kahk paživayete) = formal, how are you?
  • Как вас зовут? (Kahk vas zavut) = formal, literally "how do they call you" = What's your name?
  • Меня зовут Иван. (Menya zavut Eevan) = My name is Ivan. (literally - they call me, Ivan)
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