20 Amazing Russian Language Facts. Russian Learners Only.

Hello Junkies,

Today we discuss one of the greatest languages in the world – Russian.

Here, you learn the top 20 Russian language facts. If you have not started learning Russian yet, now’s a good time to learn some of these facts!

Let’s go!

 Hey.. if you want to learn & speak Russian, I suggest RussianPod101. You get 1,000+ audio/video courses, lessons by Russian teachers and a whole learning systemSign up at RussianPod101 (click here) and start learning! I recommend ’em as a teacher & learner.

Lesson: Top 20 Russian Language Facts

Also, if you want an audio lesson on Russian greetings, just press the play button on the player below. Listen while you read. Cool? Cool. Lesson provided by RussianPod101.

  • Learn Russian in 3 Minutes #1 – Greetings

russian language facts

1. The Russian language is the 5th most spoken language.

Russian is the mother tongue for 147 million people, and another 113 million speak it as a second language. In terms of the prevalence (number of native speakers), Russian is the fifth language in the world (after English, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic).

A huge number of Russian immigrants throughout the world speak Russian.

And, there are many countries where people speak Russian. For example, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and so on.

2. The Russian language is considered as one of the richest and most complex languages in the world.

The grammar of the Russian language is very complex therefore it is rather difficult for outsiders to learn it. It is quite easy to master the basic level of knowledge, but it’s very difficult to reach the professional level.

Even for many Russians, the literate language is unreachable.

Which brings us to the next Russian language fact.

3. Not all Russian speakers are using words correctly today.

A huge number of people in Russia use words incorrectly . They use wrong grammatical turns, endings, speech structures and so on.

So, don’t worry, Russian natives make mistakes too.

4. The verb “to be” is used only in the past and future tense.

This fact may seem unusual, but in Russian, this verb “to be” is not used in the present tense in general.

You will not hear “is” or “am” in a Russian sentence. The subject is usually followed by an adjective, verb or noun.

For example, take the sentence, “I am a student” in Russian. Literally, it says “I student.”

  • Я студент.
  • Ya stoodent

The verb “to be” is used only to specify the time (future or past).

5. The Russian language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

The UN has six official working languages: English, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French. In addition, the German language has a special status of the “language of records management.”

6. There are no native Russian words that begin with the letter A.

All words in the Russian language that begin with A are borrowed from other languages.

7. Yellow-blue bus

In order to remember the Russian phrase “I love you” – «Я люблю Вас» [Ya lyublu Vas], just think of the phrase “Yellow-blue bus”. Actually, say it out loud right now.

This sounds very similar and to the Russian I love you and will help you remember it.

If you remember JUST one of this whole list of Russian language facts, let it be this one. Knowing how to say I love you is important!

Want to say more Russian phrases? Check out my other lesson here.

8. A word’s stress pattern can change its meaning.

For instance, “я плачу” means “I pay” and the emphasis is on the second syllable in “плачу.” It’s pronounced “plachoo.”

However, я плaчу means “I’m crying” because the emphasis is on the first syllable. The pronunciation is “plah-chu.” The “u” sound here isn’t as long as the first example.

9. Do you dream about going to space? Learn Russian!

If you want to become an astronaut, you have to know Russian. Nowadays, it’s a requirement for NASA applicants to know the Russian language.

Oh, you also need a science degree.

10. Are you a English native speaker? You will understand 10% of Russian.

About 10% of Russian words are similar to English ones.

For instance, here are some words.

  • cheesecake
    • чизкейк
    • cheez-keyk
  • music
    • музыка,
    • moozika
  • burger
    • бургер
    • boorger
  • lemon
    • лимон
    • leemon

russian language facts

11. Russian has approximately 500,000 words (it’s actually impossible to count), and only 2,500 are used frequently.

You can’t count how many words the Russian language has.

Why so many?

Almost every word of the Russian language can be changed and conjugated.  There are different forms of words and ways to express the word; for example, diminutive words.

12. In Russia, Your Middle Name is Your Father’s name.

In Russian, your first and last name are not enough. Especially when filling out forms or formally introducing yoursel.

To fill out any document, in addition, you will need the name of your father. It’s called “fathers name” – «отчество/otchestvo» . This is similar to English middle names except for the whole father part.

13. There are Russian words with 3 Es in a row.

Here is one of my favorite Russian language facts.

The Russian language has words in which there are 3 letters “e” in a row.

For example, “змееед” – it means “snake-eagle,” and “длинношеее” meaning long-necked.

14. It’s Indo-European language

The Russian language is classified in the world as an Indo-European language.

 What does that mean? It means that Russian is a relative (and in many cases, a distant one) of languages in Northern India, Iran, Western Asia and the languages of Europe.

I guess we’re all related one way or another, after all.

15. The letter E has two sounds.

The letter E may represent two sounds [йе] – ye and [йо] – yo.

For example:

  • ель[yel’]
    • Spruce
  • ежик [yozhik]
    • Hedgehog

16. Sentence structure does not matter.

The order of words does not matter in the sentence from a grammatical point of view. You can choose your own order of words in a sentence. 
 For example, take a look at the sentence below. It means “Today, the dog caught the cat” but in 8 different variations!

  • Сегодня собака поймала кота.
  • Cобака поймала кота сегодня.
  • Поймала собака кота сегодня.
  • Сегодня собака кота поймала.
  • Собака кота поймала сегодня.
  • Поймала кота собака сегодня.
  • Кота поймала собака сегодня
  • Кота собака поймала сегодня

17. The Number 1 Can Be Plural

The number one (один) has a plural (“одни” = soli) – it means only.


  • Пришли одни девушки
    • Prishli odni devooshki
  • Only girls came.

Sounds like a good party to me.

18. Words Up to 38 Letters in Length

Another one of my favorite Russian language facts.

A huge number of words in Russian have more than 10 letters, and some more than 20. There are, perhaps, even more such words than in German. Here are some examples:

  • Интернационализирующимися
  • Inter-natsi-o-nali-ziroo-yoo-shim-sya
  • Meaning: Internationalize

That one is 25 characters long.

  • сельскохозяйственно-машиностроительный
  • Sel’-sko-hozay-stvenoo-mashino-stroitel’-niy
  • Meaning: manufacturing of agricultural technology

That’s 38 characters long.

19. Russian Alphabet is Similar to The Latin Alphabet

Can you see any similarities? Click here to learn the Russian alphabet.

Russian alphabet

20. The Russian language is on the list of the richest literary languages.

This is not surprising, Russian literature is incredible and in fact, many people learn Russian for the literature. I’d say this language definitely attracts the smarter crowd for this very reason. Curious?

Russian language facts

Here are the top 5 Russian novels according to Goodreads.com.

That’s it! Now you know the top 20 Russian language facts

russian language facts

Do you know of any more?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

– The Main Junkie

P.S. If you REALLY want to learn Russian with effective Audio & Video lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at RussianPod101.com (click here) and start learning!

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