Questions tagged [история-языка]

Questions on the history of the Russian language, its origin and changes it underwent through the centuries.

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сё or сие as a pronoun

In modern Russian you could say: Это дерево – дуб. Это – дерево. In older times you might have used сей in its neuter form for the first sentence: Сие дерево – дуб. But what was used for the ...
ghostarbeiter's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
232 views

How pleonastic is "эту работу выполним целиком и полностью"?

... до конца года мы эту работу выполним целиком и полностью ... do kontsa goda my etu rabotu vypolnim tselikom i polnost'yu I understand what this means from closed captions, google translate and a ...
vectory's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
99 views

Old orthography всѣ, все, всё and издалека vs издалёка

It's redundant to write the two dots above the е in the word все in old orthography (because when it isnt a ё sound, ѣ is written), so why do some old russian bibles do it still? Some places they ...
Lancetier's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
181 views

Old orthography grave accent vs acute accent in words like какъ, такъ, что, то, чѣмъ

I noticed in old russian bibles, the words чѣ’мъ (іудіѳь 8:26), именны’мъ (2-ая ездры) have an acute accent (ó) instead of a grave accent (ò), since if a stressed syllable is at the end of a word, a ...
Lancetier's user avatar
1 vote
5 answers
378 views

Is my understanding of the surname suffix -ов correct?

I have two questions about the suffix -ов in Russian surnames. Is the -ов surname suffix the most common one in Russia? Does the -ов surname suffix in modern Russian mean "a descendant of the ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 203
0 votes
2 answers
127 views

Was the genitive case of personal pronouns ever used to show possession?

For example, nowadays, one might say Собака женщины - большая, but not Собака меня - большая(cf. When should I use genitive personal pronouns versus possessive pronouns?). Was it ever historically ...
PrimeNumbers's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

History of /f/ sound in Russian

My wife is Russian and I am learning it. One thing I seem to see is that no "native" or "elementary" words seem to start with the letter ф (other than the name Fedor perhaps, and I ...
Oliver Williams's user avatar
19 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why are there so many Dutch words that sound similar to Russian words?

Some examples: Dutch Russian English appelsien апельсин orange broek брюки pants dam дамба dam jacht яхта yacht kajuit каюта cabin matroos матрос sailor meubel мебель furniture paprika ...
user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why has the word Жид (Jew) become a taboo in Russian?

As far as I know, it is a neutral word in some Slavic languages, and it was legal in Russian before the Russian Revolution. However, now, it's completely illegal and, thus, Russians utter it only to ...
Zhyd's user avatar
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4 votes
5 answers
339 views

How to explain two almost opposite meanings of "лихой"

I am puzzled by the fact that while most earlier usage of лихой have distinctly negative connotations (лиходей, лихой человек is most certainly a villain, лихие времена - bad times, лихоимство - deeds ...
მამუკა ჯიბლაძე's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
92 views

The history of which case to follow after a number in the nominative case

In the nominative case, if we are counting something of size that ends with 1 (literally in Russian), then the object being counted is in the genitive singular case, e.g., тридцать один час. if we ...
FFjet's user avatar
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-3 votes
1 answer
646 views

Why do so many Russian words sound similar to the ones in English and Sanskrit? [closed]

I have been trying to learn Russian and have come across many words that sound very similar to English words. This is particularly surprising because, unlike other European languages (which would ...
Schwarz Kugelblitz's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
220 views

When was the expression "фунт презрения" introduced?

I am wondering when the expression фунт презрения was introduced. On Google Books, the oldest occurrence of фунт презрения seems to be in Slezkin's Козел в огороде (1923): Но только в силу моего ...
Rodrigo de Azevedo's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
156 views

Is there an ancient language related to Russian that can be easily studied? [closed]

I am a native American English speaker. To improve my SAT verbal score, I studied Latin. Is there an analogous ancient language for Russian?
sourcebug's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why is this Russian expression an idiomatic example of mutually exclusive things?

The Russian idiom "и рыбку съесть, и на хуй сесть", whose literal meaning is "to eat fish and sit down onto a dick too," is an idiomatic way to say that your interlocutor is ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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23 votes
6 answers
9k views

Why do Russians call a joke a stake (прикол)?

In modern Russian, прикол is a very frequently used word and means a joke, a funny incident, or just anything funny, but the original meaning of this word is very different: a stake to which a ship, a ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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7 votes
7 answers
1k views

Why are German soldiers of WWII commonly referred to in the Russian language as fascists (фашисты)?

I read quite a few Russian materials about WWII and noticed that Russians commonly refer to German soldiers of WWII as фашисты (fascists). Here are some typical examples: (1) Фашисты заняли ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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24 votes
5 answers
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How come the Russian cognate for the Czech word "čerstvý" (fresh) means entirely the opposite thing (stale)?

In Russian, черствый хлеб (chorstvy khleb) is stale bread. And to my great surprise, I recently learned that in Czech, čerstvý chléb is precisely the opposite thing: fresh bread. My question is: ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
687 views

Why was it decided in 1956 to abolish the spelling чорт (devil) in favor of чёрт?

I read in Wiktionary: чорт This spelling of the word was officially abolished in 1956 in favor of чёрт and is no longer in use. Both variants are pronounced identically. (Source) I see in Ngram ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
220 views

Was "Novgorod" in 1815 one city or the other?

This question is not about grammar or syntax, but about historical toponymy. In 1815 an employee of the Russian-American Company was taken prisoner in Spanish California. An interpreter from a ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
868 views

Why do phonetically same Russian and Polish obscenities mean very different things?

Let us compare the meanings of some phonetically same Russian and Polish obscenities: Заебать (Russian): to get to, to pester. Zajebać (Polish): to beat someone up, to steal something, to brutally ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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10 votes
5 answers
1k views

Why did the frequency of the word "черт" (devil) in books increase by a few times since the October Revolution?

I see in the Google Books statistics that the frequency of the word "черт" (devil) per unit of text length in books increased by ~3 times since the October revolution: Link. I used the case-...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
307 views

What are the differences between "и" and "і" in pre-reform orthography?

In very old texts, sometimes the letter і is used, but it has been replaced by и in modern spelling. I, like many others, learned modern orthography, so I don't understand why sometimes і is used, and ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
266 views

"дочерям их не будет ни в пути, ни при Дворе никаких обид"

The ИСТОРИЧЕСКИЙ ОЧЕРК ГЛАВНЕЙШИХ СОБЫТИЙ В КАМЧАТКЕ. 1650—1855 by Sgibnev, 1869, contains this passage: Января 13-го 1758 г. прибыл в Нижнекамчатск штат-фурьер Шахтуров для выбора ко двору ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
120 views

From where does "это" come?

Sorry if this is not exactly about Russian language, but I do not know where else to ask. What is the origin of word "это" in Russian language? Is it some kind of a combination of "je co"/"jest to" ...
mathreadler's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
150 views

Mainland Russia as seen from Kamchatka circa 1800

Kamchatka is a peninsula, but overland access is so difficult that it also resembles an island. The road and rail networks of Siberia are a long sea or air voyage away. Around the year 1800, how ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 1,396
1 vote
2 answers
167 views

Origin of Валюта

I am curios about Валюта meaning currency. What is the origin of the word? Does it come from greek or latin or somewhere else?
mathreadler's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
96 views

Origin of Валюта

I am curios about Валюта meaning currency. What is the origin of the word? Does it come from greek or latin or somewhere else?
mathreadler's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
130 views

Why did the meaning of the loanword креол change?

The term креол was adopted in Russian a couple of centuries back. Just possibly, it was introduced by Nikolai Rezanov after he visited Brazil and California. The term's origin is described as the ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 1,396
1 vote
0 answers
116 views

Had any Spanish words been established in Russian by 1800? [closed]

I started wondering about long-established loanwords from the Spanish language. It's easy to find some lists of same, but not with dates of attribution. Here's a great list from Wiktionary. Had any ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 1,396
9 votes
4 answers
896 views

Any way to trace when «учёный» became a noun?

I need to know the approximate time учёный was substantivised. Dahl has no separate entry for the word as either noun or adjective, but he does use it as a noun when defining other terms (e.g. «...
Nikolay Ershov's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
239 views

common-usage term for pre-1861 Russian agriculture system?

When referring in English to the dominant agricultural system in the southern US pre-1865, one typically says something like "plantation slavery," and reasonably-educated people "know what you're ...
TomRoche's user avatar
  • 131
4 votes
1 answer
330 views

Cathedral, "Кафедральный", why is ф in there?

After reading this article I got curious how ф is in place of "th" in English for the word Cathedral (Кафедральный)? Sounds almost like a coffee-place. (I know it is not Café or Kafee in russian but ...
mathreadler's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
247 views

Kamchadalskii dialect

The native people of southern Kamchatka are Itelmen. The arrival of Russian men around 1700 created a mixed group called Kamchadals. By 1800, the Itelmen languages were mostly extinct and the Russian ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
204 views

Have technology changes had any effect on the usage of идти vs. ехать (and similar verb pairs)?

I've only been studying Russian for about a year (and slowly at that), so I'm probably misunderstanding a lot. From what I understand, though, идти and ехать are both unidirectional verbs of motion ...
R.B.'s user avatar
  • 41
5 votes
2 answers
380 views

Use of "да" instead of "и"

In Mussorgsky's operas Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina it strikes me how often "да" (usually meaning "yes") is used as a substitute for "и" ("and"). Is that how they normally spoke in the late 19th ...
ngn's user avatar
  • 171
1 vote
0 answers
420 views

Lomonosov's three literary styles [closed]

According to Serhii Plokhy's Lost Kingdom, at a time of linguistic-nationalist tension, Mikhail Lomonosov prescriptively defined three styles: the high style, to be used for the composition of ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
191 views

What are some Russian shibboleths? [closed]

I just read about shibboleths and I was wondering: what are some Russian shibboleths used today or in the past? A shibboleth is a phrase (or a custom/tradition) that is used to distinguish between ...
casey's user avatar
  • 1,780
4 votes
1 answer
238 views

Why is "миллиард" used instead of "биллион"?

Russia uses the short scale number-naming system. Why is, then, "миллиард" used instead of "биллион"? "Миллиард" (as opposed to "биллион") is used in the long scale number-naming system.
vomadaxela's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Church Slavonic lettering style

Church Slavonic texts often appear in a particular old style of script. The lettering is related to Glagolitic and Blackletter (Gothic) in its parallel-line construction and dense packing. It does not ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 1,396
7 votes
2 answers
613 views

What were the original half-Russian Siberians called?

What were the Imperial Russian terms for a mixed-race Siberian person? Historical background: As Russia expanded eastward, many mixed children were born to native women and Russian men. Near the end ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 1,396
5 votes
1 answer
239 views

How early is the word "животноводство" attested?

"Животноводство" (from "животные") describes animal husbandry, particularly cattle-raising. From how long ago is this word attested?
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 1,396
3 votes
2 answers
263 views

What is the correct name of the ship, Il'men or Il'mena?

About 1814 the Russian-American Company renamed an old ship, called "Il'men" or "Il'mena" in works written in English. Ильмень is of course a famous lake. Boris Dralyuk suggested to Susan Morris that ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 1,396
14 votes
1 answer
683 views

Why is there a "ц" in "Сан-Франциско"?

San Francisco, Сан-Франциско in Russian, is a Spanish name meaning "Saint Francis". The Сан in the city name is a direct phonetic adoption, but the Франциско differs from the Spanish in the inclusion ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 1,396
5 votes
2 answers
216 views

"Промышленники" working for the fur companies

The term промышленник described individuals seeking furs and the employees of 1700s and 1800s fur companies such as Shelikhov-Golikov and the Russian-American Company. Those workers were involved in a ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 1,396
8 votes
2 answers
672 views

Alternate shapes of cyrillic letters?

In the below image, the two characters underlined don't seem to have a match in the character map program I'm using: The closest matches I can find are п and д, respectively. Are these indeed the ...
pr1268's user avatar
  • 183
19 votes
1 answer
5k views

What kind of Russian orthography is this?

This is a screenshot from Tchaikovsky's Harmony textbook: (from page 5 of an 1897 edition — link to PDF) And here is a transcription: Ученіе объ интерваллахъ. Хотя предполагается, что приступающій ...
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Did Russian language brought any thing from Tamil language?

My mother language is Tamil (which considered to be a very old language). While creating Russian language did they got any words or characters from Tamil language?
soorapadman's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
710 views

Странный слог А. Дубровского

В романе Пушкина «Дубровский» повествователь, комментируя следующее письмо, написанное одним из персонажей, Государь мой премилостивый, Я до тех пор не намерен ехать в Покровское, пока не ...
СкарсоГашин's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Откуда взялось местоимение «её» и куда пропало «ея»?

Интересно было бы узнать больше об истории и этимологии личных местоимений третьего лица. Помнится, я где-то читал, что они якобы происходят от слова «оный». Как вы считаете? Может быть, все как ...
СкарсоГашин's user avatar