Russian (Russian: русский язык, russkiy yazyk, pronounced [ˈruskʲɪj jɪˈzɨk]) is a Slavic language primarily spoken in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Latvia and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics of the USSR.
It is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia, the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages, and the largest native language in Europe. Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of three (or four including Rusyn) living members of the East Slavic languages. Written examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards. The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
Russian distinguishes between consonant phonemes 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. Another important aspect is the reduction of unstressed vowels, which is somewhat similar to that of English. Stress, which is unpredictable, is not normally indicated orthographically though an optional acute accent (знак ударения) may, and sometimes should, be used to mark stress (such as to distinguish between otherwise identical words or to indicate the proper pronunciation of uncommon words or names).Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_language
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