Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by roseytrebles, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. roseytrebles Senior Member

    United States, English
    I was wondering if any native Russian speakers might be able to give me their thoughts on the word иностранец; I know that it means "foreigner", but I was just wondering about the connotations of it -- like whether it, like the French word étranger, could be seen to mean "stranger" as well, or if it has any other associations, or if it really is just "foreigner" in a geographical sense. Thanks in advance!
  2. Descendant

    Descendant Junior Member


    Literally иностранец means "the who is from another country" (иная страна).
    For me this word sounds rather neutral and yet with a shade of something unusual, mysterious (maybe due to some consonance with странник, странный etc.)
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  3. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    In contrast with English alien which gives associations with something weird.
  4. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    "Stranger" is чужо́й (adj. & noun), чужа́к (noun). First of all, it often means the strangers are not very welcome.

    "Иностранец" doesn't have connotations or associations in my mind, it's a perfectly neutral word, also used in newspapers & official documents. There's also "иноземец", which basically means almost the same (person from another land or soil), it's rarer and perhaps even obsolescent. The word "чужеземец" ("person from a strange land/soil") and it also means this person isn't very welcome.
  5. Maroseika Moderator

    I think иностранец in modern Russia is quite neutral (unlike the former USSR, for example).
  6. Lotto74 Junior Member

    Ekaterinburg city - Russia
    Russian - Russia
    Not always. The more and more often the word is used as an euphemism for migrants from former republics of USSR, China, Vietnam and others like that. In fact, it's slowly becoming a kind of synonym for "гастарбайтер" and "нелегал" used on television and radio.
  7. roseytrebles Senior Member

    United States, English
    Oh great, thank everybody so much for your replies; they're all really helpful!

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