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Oftentimes to communicate in a language one only needs a limited repertoire of words. Is there a list of the most frequent Russian words - even if it's only a few hundred?

I find the book "Roots of the Russian Language" quite intriguing and useful, but a plain wordlist would also help to gauge what to learn and how quick.

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    In "12 chairs" by Ilf and Petrov there was a character (Эллочка-людоедка) that used only 30 words. :) – Artemix May 27 '14 at 12:49
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    @Artemix: well, in Кин-дза-дза! it was mostly limited to ку! ;) ... but what I'm after is more for practical use. – 0xC0000022L May 27 '14 at 12:53
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    Hmmm.. Is there any difference of words' frequency in Russian, English, German, Italian etc. ? – borisbn May 30 '14 at 5:13
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Try these from the Russian Wikipedia:

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Try here: http://dict.ruslang.ru/freq.php

General list: http://dict.ruslang.ru/freq.php?act=show&dic=freq_freq&title=%D7%E0%F1%F2%EE%F2%ED%FB%E9%20%F1%EF%E8%F1%EE%EA%20%EB%E5%EC%EC

Colloquial list: http://dict.ruslang.ru/freq.php?act=show&dic=freq_spoken&title=%D7%E0%F1%F2%EE%F2%ED%FB%E9%20%F1%EB%EE%E2%E0%F0%FC%20%E6%E8%E2%EE%E9%20%F3%F1%F2%ED%EE%E9%20%F0%E5%F7%E8 (you can copy-paste it into any spreadsheet software and then sort by frrequency).

Also there is a list here: http://www.artint.ru/projects/frqlist.php

However, I would just consult these lists and try to pinpoint words that you need. Probably, popular but formal words ("too bookish", i.e. associated with legal, political usage and bureaucracy) are not your priority. It is the same with numerous interjections, diminutives and, probably, strong language ("too colloquial" words). The rest will make a more sensible list that covers basics of the laguage: the words you are more or less equally likely to encounter in media, books and spoken language.

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  • Большое спасибо! Thorough answer, hope others will find it equally useful. I'll wait a little before accepting, not to discourage others from answering. +1 for now. – 0xC0000022L May 27 '14 at 16:00
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I think the most comprehensive research of modern Russian is Частотный словарь современного русского языка

Their work is based on Russian Corpus, where you can download the raw data and compile your own list. However, it makes a sense to look at how these lists are done by researchers.

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Вот: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists#Russian
Или вот: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists/Russian

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"Russian Learners' Dictionary: 10,000 Russian Words in Frequency Order" by Nicholas Brown. The first 600 words have translations and examples. After that just translations.

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