Origin of the Russian literary language

The literary Russian language began to take shape many centuries ago. Till now in a science there are disputes about its basis, about a role of the Church Slavic language in its origin. Russian language belongs to the Indo-European family. Its origins date back to the time of the existence and disintegration of the all-European (pre-Slavic) language. From this Slavonic unity (VI-VII centuries), several groups are distinguished: the eastern, the western and the southern. It is in the East Slavic group that later the Russian language will be distinguished (the 15th century).

In the Kiev state, a mixed language was used, which was called the Church Slavonic. All liturgical literature, being written off from the Old Slavic Byzantine and Bulgarian sources, reflected the norms of the Old Slavonic language. However, words and elements of Old Russian language penetrated into this literature. Parallel to this style of language, there was also secular and business literature. If the examples of Church Slavic language are “Psalter”, “Gospel” and so on, then the example of secular and business language of Ancient Rus is “The Lay of Igor’s Host”, “The Tale of Bygone Years”, “Russian Truth”.

This literature (secular and business) reflects the linguistic norms of the living colloquial language of the Slavs, their oral folk art. Proceeding from the fact that in ancient Russia there was such a complex double system of language, it is difficult for scientists to explain the origin of the modern literary Russian language. Their opinions diverge, but the most widespread theory is Academician VV Vinogradov. According to this theory, there were two types of literary language functioning in Ancient Rus:

1) the book Slavic literary language, based on the Old Slavonic language and used primarily in the church literature;

2) a folk-literary language, based on the living Old Russian language and used in secular literature.

According to V. Vinogradov, these are two types of language, and not two special languages, that is, there...was no bilingualism in Kievan Rus. These two types of language interacted with each other for a long time. Gradually they became friends, and on their basis in the XVIII century. a single literary Russian language was formed.

XIX century. can be considered the first period of development of the modern literary Russian language.

The beginning of the development stage of the Russian literary language is considered to be the time of the creation of the great Russian poet Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin, who is sometimes called the creator of the modern Russian literary language.

AS Pushkin ordered the artistic means of the Russian literary language, substantially enriched it. He managed, based on various manifestations of the national language, to create in his works a language that was perceived by society as a literary language.

Pushkin’s work is really a definite milestone in the history of the literary Russian language. His creations we still read easily and with pleasure, whereas the works of his predecessors and even many contemporaries – with some difficulty. it feels that they have now written an outdated language. Of course, a lot of time has passed since the time of AS Pushkin and a lot has changed, including the Russian language: some of it went away, a lot of new words appeared. Although the great poet did not leave grammars for us, he was the author of not only artistic but also historical, journalistic works, clearly delineating the author’s speech and characters, that is, he practically laid the foundations of the modern functional-style classification of the literary Russian language.

Further development of the literary language continued in the work of the great Russian writers, publicists, in the diverse activities of the Russian people. The end of XIX century. up to now – the second period of development of the modern literary Russian language. This period is characterized by well-established language norms, however these norms are being improved over time.

Origin of the Russian literary language