Russian spoken in Ukraine vs. Russian spoken in Russia

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mateo19

Senior Member
Hello fellow forum dwellers!

I searched the forum for this topic and didn't turn anything up for it. I am very interested in finding some information on the following topic:

What are the differences between the Russian spoken in Eastern Ukraine and the Russian spoken in Russian?

I ask this question because I'm completely ignorant on the topic. For example, French is spoken in many places and a Frenchman can tell that another French speaker is Swiss or Belgian, for example, just by listening to his accent. Is the same true with Russian? Do Ukrainians who speak Russian natively ("Russian speaking Ukrainians") have an accent that gives them away to native Russian speakers from Russia? If a Ukrainian went to Moscow and spoke Russian, would the Muscovite be able to tell that he was not Russian?

I think that this is a very deep topic and a topic that probably doesn't have very clean or clear answers. I still don't understand how Russian speaking Ukrainians feel (generally speaking) about Ukraine. I know this is a question for the cultural forum, but I wonder if they identify with Ukraine or with Russia, since their native language is Russian.

My final question, as to linguistics, is what would those differences be between Ukrainian Russian and Russian Russian (pronunciation or vocabulary differences)? Thank you very much for your answers – I am intrigued to read them!
 
  • Akis

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Ukrainian Russians speak rather casually compared to certain Moscow people, who speak with a distinct 'Moscow accent' (some of them do). They speak like Russian people not from Moscow precisely.
    I can only tell you that some people pronounce a certain sound, г, in a Ukrainian way (ґ), which quite obviously gives them away. This is the only obvious apparent difference, if you ask me. From my experience they do not pronounce o but make it a short /а/ like in Russian.

    When you say Russian speaking Ukrainians, do you mean Russian people who live in Ukraine? I am from Crimea, the heavenly place. Personally I consider myself Russian and not at all Ukrainian, although from Ukraine. I even sometimes find myself saying I am from Russia when abroad, for this distinct reason.

    Again, I do not note any more specific differences in language. I may be wrong as I have only experienced knowledge.
     

    Saluton

    Banned
    Russian
    Yeah, true. I know quite a lot of Ukrainians, I come to Ukraine very often to see my relatives, but I've never met a single Ukrainian who would pronounce Г in the Russian way. Interestingly enough, the hard (Russian) Г exists in the Ukrainian language, too, although in just a few words, less than ten, I suppose.

    But you could hear the soft (Ukrainian) Г in Russia as well, in Rostov Oblast, for example, so I wouldn't say this pronunciation feature necessarily gives away a Ukrainian.

    Vocabulary? Yeah, there are dialecticisms, of course. I've heard a Ukrainian calling the @ symbol ухо (literally: ear). Or трусить in lieu of трясти (shake). [Please, Russians, let's not poke fun at Ukrainians for this, do you want them to be our enemies?]

    And all Ukrainians say что (what) in their way. As the joke goes:
    - Девушка, вы москвичка?
    - Да, а шо?

    So that's what it's like. I would be interested myself to hear more opinions.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Or трусить in lieu of трясти (shake). .
    I don't think this word has anything to do with Ukraine. This is usual Russian word exactly in thi sense; I've heard it many times in Moscow and use it myself, it seems to me much more precise than трясти when applied to a carpet, for example, or pouring something powder-like out.
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    ...
    I can only tell you that some people pronounce a certain sound, г, in a Ukrainian way (ґ), which quite obviously gives them away.
    ...
    We should not get confused about this. Ukrainian letter "ґ" (Ge with upturn or Ге з гачком) stands for the /g/ sound, pronounced like standard Russian "г". It is used with a small number of Ukrainian words and increasingly with foreign words where G is pronounced as /g/. What Akis meant is many Ukrainians and Russians living in Ukraine and south Russia pronounce "г" as a voiced /h/, not /g/, even when they speak Russian. It's far from ALL and it's not causing understanding problems.
     

    Kolan

    Banned
    Russian (CCCP)
    Do Ukrainians who speak Russian natively ("Russian speaking Ukrainians") have an accent that gives them away to native Russian speakers from Russia? If a Ukrainian went to Moscow and spoke Russian, would the Muscovite be able to tell that he was not Russian?...
    My final question, as to linguistics, is what would those differences be between Ukrainian Russian and Russian Russian (pronunciation or vocabulary differences)?
    Actually, some time ago I was thinking about how to describe properly (for linguistic purposes) people having a certain nation (country) identity, speaking different languages and living in diffrent countries ("linguosocial" environment). My first conclusion was that we have to use at least three variables to describe it, for example:
    - Russians (born in Russia with Russian national identity) speaking Russian and living in Russia - RRR
    - Ukrainian (Ukrainian national born in Ukraine) speaking Russian and living in Ukraine - URU
    - Armenians speaking Arabic and living in Lebanon - HAL
    - truly bilingual Canadians speaking both French and English and living in the USA - C(FE)A
    ...
    etc.

    Regarding the posted question, I think<, it owuld be important to take into consideration all 4 sociocultural environments concerned: RRR, URU, RRU, URR, and not just the first two (mentioned above by the topic starter).
     
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    Saluton

    Banned
    Russian
    We should not get confused about this. Ukrainian letter "ґ" (Ge with upturn or Ге з гачком) stands for the /g/ sound, pronounced like standard Russian "г". It is used with a small number of Ukrainian words and increasingly with foreign words where G is pronounced as /g/. What Akis meant is many Ukrainians and Russians living in Ukraine and south Russia pronounce "г" as a voiced /h/, not /g/, even when they speak Russian. It's far from ALL
    Yes, thanks for the clarification. Have you really met a Ukrainian who did not use the voiced /h/ when speaking Russian?
     

    Paparaciii

    Member
    Latvia, Latvian
    What are the differences between the Russian spoken in Eastern Ukraine and the Russian spoken in Russian?
    Somehow nobody has pointed out the most important thing about Russian.
    This language is AMAZINGLY uniform all over the Russian speaking world.
    There are some differences in pronounciation and even in vocabulary but most of them can be detected only by linguists.
    You can't compare Russian with, let's say, English or Spanish that have differences among their respective dialects/accents which are not only very detectable by average native speaker but sometimes can even make the basic comunication quite difficult.
    If the Russian speaker is native then you have to be VERY watchful to hear ANY differences at all regardless the person is from St.Peterburg, Kiyev, Vladivostok or Jerusalem.
     

    Saluton

    Banned
    Russian
    I agree that the language is amazingly uniform but still it's not too hard to see where the Russian-speaking person is from. Perhaps not to me because I'm a linguist myself.

    And perhaps you're right if we only speak about Russia, with some reservation as well, of course. I wouldn't be able to detect which of two Russian speakers is from Kaliningrad and which from Vladivostok but I could distinguish Makhachkala and St. Petersburg.
     
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    Kolan

    Banned
    Russian (CCCP)
    If the Russian speaker is native then you have to be VERY watchful to hear ANY differences at all regardless the person is from St.Peterburg, Kiyev, Vladivostok or Jerusalem.
    Well, not Jerusalem. Russian speaking people who lived in Israel for 10+ years generally acquire a distinctive accent, besides numerous Hebrew words in their speech used in conformity with Russian grammar.
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Yes, thanks for the clarification. Have you really met a Ukrainian who did not use the voiced /h/ when speaking Russian?
    Yes, of course, take me for example. I might be called a russified Ukrainian or half-Ukrainian. :)
    My Uni teachers in Kharkov (or Kharkiv - the Ukrainian way) spoke very standard Russian and some would cringe if someone used Ukrainian г but even some teachers sometimes used it, especially in informal situations. Mind you, that was a linguistic department and now the Ukrainian educational system is much more ukrainised.

    Honestly, Ukrainian г has never caused any problem in comprehension. My guess, it is spoken by at least 20% Russians, so maybe foreigners should at least be familiarised with this variety of accent, especially because the exact sound for Ukrainian г is missing in many languages.

    There are words where Ukrainian г in Russian is used more often, if not the only way: ого, ага, гав, etc.

    Some words like господи! богатый, derivatives of бог (богу, богом, etc.) are also often pronounced with Ukrainian г.

    Letter г is devoiced to /k/ in standard Russian but it is devoiced to /x/ (German ch) in Ukrainian (if it is devoiced). In some Russian words, it is mandatory to devoice г to /x/, e.g. мягкий, лёгкий and бог.
     

    mateo19

    Senior Member
    What a fascinating discussion. Thank you all for your answers! I hope that they will keep on coming. :)

    When you say Russian speaking Ukrainians, do you mean Russian people who live in Ukraine? I am from Crimea, the heavenly place. Personally I consider myself Russian and not at all Ukrainian, although from Ukraine. I even sometimes find myself saying I am from Russia when abroad, for this distinct reason.
    Hello Akis. When I said this, I meant Ukrainians -people born in Ukraine and have Ukrainian nationality, whether they embrace it or not- but who speak Russian as their native language. Your answer was really interesting to me. You are Ukrainian but feel as though you are Russian. Are there a lot of big differences between Russian and Ukrainian culture so that you could say that you identify yourself with one of the other?

    Actually, some time ago I was thinking about how to describe properly (for linguistic purposes) people having a certain nation (country) identity, speaking different languages and living in diffrent countries ("linguosocial" environment).

    Regarding the posted question, I think it would be important to take into consideration all 4 sociocultural environments concerned: RRR, URU, RRU, URR, and not just the first two (mentioned above by the topic starter).
    Wow, Kolan, this is a very scientific way to look at the question and I love it! I just want to write out in long hand the four combinations that we have before us, to make sure that I understood them correctly:

    RRR – Russian, born in Russia, speaks Russian, lives in Russia
    URU – Ukrainian, born in Ukraine, speaks Russian, lives in Ukraine
    RRU – Russian, born in Russia, speaks Russian, lives in Ukraine
    URR – Ukrainian, born in Ukraine, speaks Russian, lives in Russia

    I agree that it is important to consider all the combinations, although some may be more relevant than others.

    Somehow nobody has pointed out the most important thing about Russian.
    This language is AMAZINGLY uniform all over the Russian speaking world.
    There are some differences in pronunciation and even in vocabulary but most of them can be detected only by linguists.
    You can't compare Russian with, let's say, English or Spanish that have differences among their respective dialects/accents which are not only very detectable by average native speaker but sometimes can even make the basic comunication quite difficult.
    If the Russian speaker is native then you have to be VERY watchful to hear ANY differences at all regardless the person is from St.Peterburg, Kiyev, Vladivostok or Jerusalem.
    I had no idea, Paparaciii, that the Russian language was so uniform across the Russian speaking world! That almost sounds too good to be true. ;-) There is a big difference between mutual intelligibility and across the board uniformity. It is just like you said with Spanish – I studied in Argentina for a year and have many Mexican, Colombian and Spanish (Barcelonan) friends. When they have a neutral conversation, they understand each other extremely well and only have to ask what a certain word means from time to time. But their accents are as different as day and night. An Argentine can be distinguished after just a few words, possibly after one or two words!

    And so it is much more difficult to determine a Russian speaker’s native city or region just basing one’s assessment on their accent?
     

    Kolan

    Banned
    Russian (CCCP)
    I had no idea, Paparaciii, that the Russian language was so uniform across the Russian speaking world!
    Now, with growing Russian speaking diaspora all over the world, it is getting less and less uniform, not talking about only accent issue. While a huge Brooklyn (NY) community ARA traditonally speaks Russian with a clear Odessa flavor, the Russian vocabulary is being substituted with a fair amount of the most common borrowings and calques from AmE, like шопить, слайсить, чекить, брать метро, положить на улицу, etc. Sometimes it's hard to understand what are two people talkng about in their dialogue.

    A similar thing happens to Russian-speaking Montreal, RRC and CRC, heavily influenced by both French and English. Children bring from school French words, which they use to substitute their poor Russian vocabulary (since Russian for them is from now on a foreign language), so that their parents have to compose with that and continue to talk in the same way further and between them. Особенно, это касается глаголов движения ("блуждающий нерв РЯ", как я их называю), с которыми сплошная путаница у всех, брать/взять, открывать/закрывать, and of an universe of russified terms, that describe precisely the local socio-cultural environment (авторут, камьён, эссанс, чом, блонда, пьясс, импо и т.д.). Still, by the accent, a trained ear can tell that who among the adult population came recently from Kazakhstan, who - from Ukraine, who - from Moscow or St-Petersburg, who - from Moldova (those are most populous Montreal Russian-speaking subcommunities).
     
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    Paparaciii

    Member
    Latvia, Latvian
    Now, with growing Russian speaking diaspora all over the world, it is getting less and less uniform, not talking about only accent issue. While a huge Brooklyn (NY) community traditonally speaks Russian with a clear Odessa flavor, the Russian vocabulary is being substituted with a fair amount of the most common borrowings and calques from AmE, like шопить, слайсить, чекить, брать метро, положить на улицу, etc. Sometimes it's hard to understand what are two people talkng about in their dialogue.
    You're right but it happens only in countries where Russians and/or Russian speakers are small minority, where Russian children get their education in another language.
    I don't think this is the case in the former USSR.

    And so it is much more difficult to determine a Russian speaker’s native city or region just basing one’s assessment on their accent?
    Well, there are people who will always claim that they can detect diffrences but I think that the only easy detectable difference is the pronounciation of letter 'г' which is pronounced as 'h' by some Ukrainians and South Russians. But they are minority and young people usually avoid to speak that way because it is considered somehow old-fashioned.
    My Russian(especially passive skills) is much better than my English but my ability to distinguish accents somehow is superior exactly in English, even if we take only AmE.
     
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    Kolan

    Banned
    Russian (CCCP)
    I don't think this is the case in the former USSR.
    In some ex-USSR republics Russian is now being extincted on purpose, so that the same scenario is going to happen (if not already happenning) there as well.

    By the way, in Brooklyn, NY, the Russian-speaking population (ARA) may be considered majority. but still children from Russian-speaking families learn Russian naturally as foreign language. I do not know whether they are taught Russian in Russian school in the same way.
     
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    Akis

    Senior Member
    Russian
    What a fascinating discussion. Thank you all for your answers! I hope that they will keep on coming. :)



    Hello Akis. When I said this, I meant Ukrainians -people born in Ukraine and have Ukrainian nationality, whether they embrace it or not- but who speak Russian as their native language. Your answer was really interesting to me. You are Ukrainian but feel as though you are Russian. Are there a lot of big differences between Russian and Ukrainian culture so that you could say that you identify yourself with one of the other?
    Hello Mateo,
    Soon after posting I realised I might not be fit for this discussion, seeing that my position in Ukraine is probably quite different than everyone else's, quite secluded. I will explain it anyway.
    I don't know if are aware of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine, where I am from. Historically that area have been an area of Russia, than during the soviet union was officially a part Ukraine, but gained a status of an autonomous area with its fall. Unlike the Ukrainian mainland this area has virtually no people with Ukrainian mother toungue(officially it does, but no that I have seen). Despite this Ukraine media is everywhere, mixed with Russian, and one way or another I, as everyone, understand Ukrainian quite well naturally, without much effort and having never spoken it.
    The people of the region casually associates itself with Ukraine, being under its government. The culture, I cannot quite tell, because I have not been to nor Russian, neither Ukraine :)
    I, as I moved abroad, associate with Russia more, because I am no longer under Ukrainian government and generally nothing ties me to it but the thin strip of land connecting it to my beautiful homeland of Crimea, which is separate in itself.

    In attempt to contribute to actually erudite discussion of this subject, I Russian spreading is an addition to Ukrainian is fading away. Do not forget that Ukrainians are/have been emmigrating as well, in large numbers, to places like Canada (4% of Canadians are one way or another from Ukraine). Plus, the population of Ukrainians before the Soviet Union was greater than after, for government oppression. Many patriotic Ukrainians are bothered by the fact that their language is less than primary in their country. Ukraine is even considered bi-lingual. Here you can see the distribution of languages in Ukraine. I remembered you mentioned eastern-ukraine in your post, which is where Ukrainian is spoken most, but becoming more and more populated with Russians. For this, they had recently made the education in Crimea officially Ukrainian. This had hurt the education there badly.
    I am going off topic, I will stop here.
     

    MarX

    Banned
    Indonesian, Indonesia
    Well, there are people who will always claim that they can detect diffrences but I think that the only easy detectable difference is the pronounciation of letter 'г' which is pronounced as 'h' by some Ukrainians and South Russians. But they are minority and young people usually avoid to speak that way because it is considered somehow old-fashioned.
    So are young Ukrainians abandoning this pronunciation (of г as h) when speaking Russian?

    Salam
     

    Overrider

    Member
    Russian
    So are young Ukrainians abandoning this pronunciation (of г as h) when speaking Russian?

    Salam
    It depends on assimilation level.

    My grandparents lived in countryside in Southern Russia where you can feel substantial influence of the Ukranian language. For example, they used to say бачишь instead of видишь. The thing I could never understand was they said пойти до дома instead of пойти к дому или пойти в дом (actually they said пойти до хаты. :)) For all the plants and other agricultural stuff they used Ukrainian terms (буряк, цебуля).
     

    Aquatarkus

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I was born nearby Russia's Nizhniy Novgorod and lived most of my life in Kharkov, Ukraine. My grandfather was from Kiev region and spoke Ukrainian (though I doubt if it's correct to define a person's nationality based on his/her place of birth, as is customary in United States). You may consider that I speak Russian in everyday life mostly because of statistics, since in large eastern ukrainian cities native speakers of Ukrainian are very sparse. When in Russian cities of Belgorod or Rostov, I can hear no distinctions from Kharkov pronunciation, but in Voronezh and farther to the north-east, the accent becomes perceptible, though still very subtle. The most evident difference lies not in softness of "g or г", but in pronunciation of "а" and "о". People from the south of Russia and Ukraine would pronounce the verb "говорить" as "гаварить", while Russians from Kazan or Nizhniy Novgorod would rather accentuate the "o" and say exactly the way it's written, "говорить". But I doubt this difference is easily discernible by non-native speakers of Russian. As mentioned above, the Russian is amazingly uniform everywhere it can reach :)
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    I can often identify Ukrainians speaking Russian by the way they pronounce т and д before vowels like и or е - even if their Russian is otherwise accent-free. It is difficult to expain but my impression is that the air is not quite released during producing the sound. Does anyone know what I am talking about? :eek:
     

    MarX

    Banned
    Indonesian, Indonesia
    It depends on assimilation level.
    I was born nearby Russia's Nizhniy Novgorod and lived most of my life in Kharkov, Ukraine. My grandfather was from Kiev region and spoke Ukrainian (though I doubt if it's correct to define a person's nationality based on his/her place of birth, as is customary in United States). You may consider that I speak Russian in everyday life mostly because of statistics, since in large eastern ukrainian cities native speakers of Ukrainian are very sparse. When in Russian cities of Belgorod or Rostov, I can hear no distinctions from Kharkov pronunciation, but in Voronezh and farther to the north-east, the accent becomes perceptible, though still very subtle. The most evident difference lies not in softness of "g or г", but in pronunciation of "а" and "о". People from the south of Russia and Ukraine would pronounce the verb "говорить" as "гаварить", while Russians from Kazan or Nizhniy Novgorod would rather accentuate the "o" and say exactly the way it's written, "говорить". But I doubt this difference is easily discernible by non-native speakers of Russian. As mentioned above, the Russian is amazingly uniform everywhere it can reach :)
    Thanks guys!

    Aquatarkus, are you saying that there are just as many southern Russians who pronounce г as h just like Belarusians and Ukrainians?

    I can often identify Ukrainians speaking Russian by the way they pronounce т and д before vowels like и or е - even if their Russian is otherwise accent-free. It is difficult to expain but my impression is that the air is not quite released during producing the sound. Does anyone know what I am talking about? :eek:
    I don't, unfortunately. I already have a hard time distinguishing various phenemes in Russian. :(
     

    callahan

    New Member
    n/a
    Aquatarkus, I thought that the standard pronunciation of the unstressed 'o' was 'a'? Can you clarify this, please?
     

    Aquatarkus

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Aquatarkus, I thought that the standard pronunciation of the unstressed 'o' was 'a'? Can you clarify this, please?
    Historically, there was a difference in the old russian pronunciation of unstressed 'o' and 'a'. This practice is now usually called 'оканье', as opposed to 'аканье', when unstressed 'o' is pronounced as 'a'. Оканье has preserved in some regions of Russia, mainly in its central and northern european areas. On the contrary, аканье became widespread among Russians who lived in southern Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (that does not apply to ukrainian and belarussian languages, though). In my opinion, it cannot be called more 'standard' pronunciation than оканье, only because it is used by majority of russian-speaking people nowadays. However, the existence of this nuance allows you to determine what part of russian-speaking territory you happen to be in :)
     
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    MarX

    Banned
    Indonesian, Indonesia
    Historically, there was a difference in the old russian pronunciation of unstressed 'o' and 'a'. This practice is now usually called 'оканье', as opposed to 'аканье', when unstressed 'o' is pronounced as 'a'. Оканье has preserved in some regions of Russia, mainly in its central and northern european areas. On the contrary, аканье became widespread among Russians who lived in southern Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (that does not apply to ukrainian and belarussian languages, though). In my opinion, it cannot be called more 'standard' pronunciation than оканье, only because it is used by majority of russian-speaking people nowadays. However, the existence of this nuance allows you to determine what part of russian-speaking territory you happen to be in :)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but AFAIK аканье does exist in Belarusian, but unlike Russian, the Belarusian spelling follows the change from o to a.
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but AFAIK аканье does exist in Belarusian, but unlike Russian, the Belarusian spelling follows the change from o to a.
    You've got it exactly right, MarX. :) But we are somewhat steering off-topic. ;)
     

    callahan

    New Member
    n/a
    Historically, there was a difference in the old russian pronunciation of unstressed 'o' and 'a'. This practice is now usually called 'оканье', as opposed to 'аканье', when unstressed 'o' is pronounced as 'a'. Оканье has preserved in some regions of Russia, mainly in its central and northern european areas. On the contrary, аканье became widespread among Russians who lived in southern Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (that does not apply to ukrainian and belarussian languages, though). In my opinion, it cannot be called more 'standard' pronunciation than оканье, only because it is used by majority of russian-speaking people nowadays. However, the existence of this nuance allows you to determine what part of russian-speaking territory you happen to be in :)
    Aquaturkus, thanks a lot for your interesting explanation!
     

    Struna

    New Member
    Russian
    If the Russian speaker is native then you have to be VERY watchful to hear ANY differences at all regardless the person is from St.Peterburg, Kiyev, Vladivostok or Jerusalem.
    I'm sorry, but that's not true! you can say if person is from Moscow or St. Petersburg. (I'm not talking about teens)
    pronunciation:
    Moscow: [конешно], [скушно], [дощь]
    St. Petersburg: конечно, скучно, дождь
    vocabulary:
    хлеб, булка, курица, кура и тд..

    My opinion is that Russian speaking person from Ukraine pronounce Russian a bit more softer, plus !!melody!! of the language. it's different. my friends from Kiev, teacher from Kharkov, they speak Russian as a native language, BUT with Ukrainian accent!
     

    WSMIR

    New Member
    Russian, Ukrainian - Ukraine
    Hi!
    I agree with what has already been said, but I would like to add one example. We sometimes say транвай instead of трамвай.
    I can't think out other examples on the spot, but we often mix in our speech consonants 'м' and 'н'.
     

    ExMax

    Senior Member
    ...are you saying that there are just as many southern Russians who pronounce г as h just like Belarusians and Ukrainians?
    Actually, a wide-spreading practice indeed. The regions of Krasnodar, Rostov, Stavropol, Belgorod, Kursk, Voronezh. A huge territory indeed.

    I thought that the standard pronunciation of the unstressed 'o' was 'a'?
    I wrote my humble opinion regarding "standard pronunciation" here. Maybe the only example of the standard pronunciation is TV news reading.
     
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    MarX

    Banned
    Indonesian, Indonesia
    Actually, a wide-spreading practice indeed. The regions of Krasnodar, Rostov, Stavropol, Belgorod, Kursk, Voronezh. A huge territory indeed.


    I wrote my humble opinion regarding "standard pronunciation" here. Maybe the only example of the standard pronunciation is TV news reading.
    Thanks ExMax! And also thanks for the tip! It's quiote frustrating indeed not knowing how to pronounce Russian words just because you're not sure where the stress is. The experience gave me an idea of how it's like for someone trying to learn English without prior exposure ever. You learned the alphabet, yet you often are not sure how to pronounce the written words.
    there is a good way to avoid your doubt. I express my personal, but really strong opinion based on my experience in communications with first steppers in Russian. Don’t try to follow the rules of so called “standard Russian pronunciation” in accordance with IPA phonetic description of a word sounding. You can study these rules later. Moreover, what about me, I don’t know, what is that “standard Russian pronunciation”. :)
    I am sure that there is a good idea for beginners to utter Russian words letter by letter, accordingly to the rules of pronunciation of letters, but not words. Don’t pronounce unstressed “o” as “a”, and “e” as “и”, for example. Your speech will be absolutely correct and understandable. By the way, a considerable part of native Russians speak so.
    On the other hand, if you try to follow the rules of “standard pronunciation”, your mistake in correct accent of syllables can be a ground of a big confusion (and you know, of course, the word stress in Russian is mostly unpredictable).
    I repeat it again, this is my personal humble opinion :) .
    Salam


    MarX
     

    vasko705

    Senior Member
    Somehow nobody has pointed out the most important thing about Russian.
    This language is AMAZINGLY uniform all over the Russian speaking world.
    ...
    I wouldn't be agree:
    The traces of "Krivitch" (commonly named, "Pskov's", "Novgorod's", "Volga's" or "Pomors") dialect with "O"- dominating
    and
    became as officially literature etalone with "A"-dominating "Moscow's" dialect still are existing.
    And that are really dialects if to compare with realy different languages Russian and Ukranian.
     

    angela_priori

    New Member
    Español - España
    Hola

    I think that one question has been left out in the discussion which is one of the most important when we talk about languages.
    It is important to talk about ethnic groups at first.

    It is also often forgotten and may potentially bring some confusion. The word "Russian" in English may mean two different things: a. it may mean any person from any ethnic group who has Russian citizenship. In this case a person may belong to any local minority group from Russia but this person would still be called ´Russian´in English meaning that the person´s citizenship is Russian and he/she belongs to Russian nation. But that person may be an ethnic Kalmyk and his/her native language would be Kalmyk. Also, that would mean a lot of different things like different culture, food habits, prevalent religion... b. it may mean an ethnic group of Russian people - people whose ancestors spoke Russian, whose native culture is Russian and whose genetic tree is at least partially Russian. So, when we talk about an ethnic group we mean all ethnic Russian people regardless of their citizenship. For example, a few million of ethnic Russian people currently reside in Kazakhstan as well as have lived in Northern provinces of that country for the last two centuries. Another example would be ethnic Russians from Crimea, where Russians have lived for more than two centuries.

    So, when we talk about Ukraine and its languages and ethnicities we can quickly find that there are three major groups:
    1. Ethnic Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian as a native language - it was the first language that came from their parents... before the kids were exposed to the language of instruction at kindergartens or schools, those kids speak Ukrainian naturally as the first language, their thoughts are in Ukrainian... This group is generally more prevalent in Western Ukraine as well as in rural areas of the majority of Ukrainian provinces
    2. Ethnic Ukrainians who speak Russian as a native language - it was the first language that came from their parents before the kids were exposed to the language of instruction at kindergartens or schools. This people can be found all over Ukraine but the numbers are higher in larger cities and in the provinces that are more to the East and South.
    3. Ethnic Russians who speak Russian as their native language (census 2001 gives us 8 million people), they are the majority in Crimea and represent about 40% of the population in Lughansk province and Donetsk province. Also, there are significant numbers of ethnic Russians in other Eastern and Southern provinces.

    So, I would propose the following classification:

    RRK - R1, ethnic Russian; R2, Speaks Russian; K3 Kazakhstan citizen
    RRR - R1, ethnic Russian; R2, Speaks Russian; R3 Russian citizen
    RRU - R1, ethnic Russian; R2, Speaks Russian; U3 Ukrainian citizen
    URU - U1, ethnic Ukrainian; R2, Speaks Russian; U3 Ukrainian citizen
    UUU - U1, ethnic Ukrainian; U2, Speaks Ukrainian; U3 Ukrainian citizen


    So, in our case we have 4 different groups of people (RRK, RRR, RRU, URU), who de facto speak Russian as a native language. Will there be differences?

    Since Russian and Kazakh languages belong to different unrelated language families the influence of one language over another language is more limited. RRR and RRK would basically speak same language.

    Since Russian and Ukrainian are closely related there may be an influence. As per my research a Russian speaker may be using some Ukrainian words but the vocabulary is mostly the same. The profound difference may be found in sounds phonetics - like "g" will be softer.
    The higher percentage of RRU in a given province the more likely it is to come across a person whose way of pronouncing words will be close to that of RRR. For example, Crimea has the highest percentage of RRU historically and there one may find RRUs whose "g" is clearly hard. On the other hand an RRU person born in Kiev is very unlikely to have a hard "g". But in the end Russian spoken in Eastern Ukraine, for example, is very similar to that spoken in Russia.

    I hope the info above helps.
    Truly Yours,
    A
     

    VadimTheDream

    New Member
    Russian and English
    I am a Russian-speaking Soviet immigrant from Kiev to the U.S.A. Nobody in my family is ethnic Ukrainian, and I am not fluent in the Ukrainian language. I grew up speaking Russian with family and friends, never Ukrainian. However when Russian nationals hear me speak, apart from my American accent, they instantly detect a Ukrainian version of the Russian language--the one I grew up hearing and speaking at home. They say that I "тараторю [tarratorryu]" meaning that my Russian sounds rough and staccato compared to the smooth and melodic Russian language that they're used to.
    Living in America for a long time, my "g's" have become like Russian г not like soft Ukrainian г, but my dad still pronounces them soft like Ukrainian.
    Another difference is the accent on the syllable. "They are calling." Они звонят. Russian nationals tend to pronounce it /zva-'NYAT/, but the Ukrainian dialects tend to pronounce it /'ZVO-nyat/. This applies to many words.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It is kind of necroposting, but oh well.
    What are the differences between the Russian spoken in Eastern Ukraine and the Russian spoken in Russian?
    In short - negligible. Mostly that difference limits itself to phonetics, but its level greatly (!) depends on if the person also speaks Ukrainian as the mother language and how much he is surrounded by Ukrainian natives. The difference in vocabulary is too small to even talk about.
    The most "pure" variants of Russian in Ukraine are different only in minor, often unnoticeable features (like, for instance, more frontal /ы/ sound, closer to Ukrainian [ɪ]). Often they just don't have some typical features of Moscow colloquial pronunciation, like elision and lenition of some consonants in quick speech (тогда -> тада, будет -> буйт etc.). The closer is the speaker to the Ukrainian-speaking communities, the stronger will be the features associated with Ukrainian accents (often dialectal). Possibly the main giveaway in that case will be the different rhythm of speech and weak reduction of unstressed vowels. The fricative [ɦ] mentioned above is, in fact, very often absent even in cases of otherwise strong Ukrainian accent (mind you, standard Ukrainian has [g] sound as well).
     

    Q-cumber

    Senior Member
    My Russian cousin, after she had been living 5 or so years in Ukraine, suddenly started speaking Russian with noticeable Ukrainian accent. I think there's unique linguistic situation in the country. The 'problem' (if this can be called a problem) that our two Slavic languages are extremely close and similar to each other, which makes impossible to separate them in daily life and they are being permanently mixed.
     

    Vovan

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Firstly, Ukrainian Russian sounds a bit different. See the other posters' comments above.

    Secondly, there are some lexicogrammatical features (such as скучать за кем-то, смеяться с кого-то instead of скучать по кому-то или о ком-то, смеяться над кем-то).

    Also, it should be mentioned that many of those language features also exist in some Russian regions that lie next to Ukraine.

    I had a friend from Kiev when I was a university student. And I never ever thought that his pronunciation was unusual or anything. He only had a slight accent. As for vocabulary and grammar, his were standard. But it all depends: Ukraine is (still) a big country with regional language variations, etc. etc.

    Update: there's a Wikipedia article on the subject (RU).
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    And I've always thought it to have been inspired by speakers of some southern variants of Russian (Ukrainian Russian, or whatever) via mass media.
    I must stress that proper South Russian dialects don't have anything to do with Ukrainian, except scattered loanwords (some of which have come into the Standard Russian as well, like "за шкирку"). Ukrainian is widely spoken in the Kuban area (although most of its speakers don't identify it as such, even though it's very close to the standard variety), plus some areas in the Voronezh and Rostov regions. But I doubt it has anything to do with "смеяться с кого-л."; it's a pretty logical development of "угорать с кого-л.", which is definitely older and Ukrainian origin of which doesn't seem likely (Ukrainian doesn't have such verb in the first place).
     
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    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Moderatorial:

    Dear foreros, let me remind you the subject of this thread: what are the differences between variants of Russian language spoken in Russia and Ukraine (pronunciation or vocabulary differences)?
     

    Rosett

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Принципиально то, что человека с Украины легко распознать издалека по характерному гыканью, доминирующему в речи. Региональные особенности не так уж и выражены.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Принципиально то, что человека с Украины легко распознать издалека по характерному гыканью, доминирующему в речи. Региональные особенности не так уж и выражены.
    Я уже писал черным по белому, что гхэканье может отсутствовать в львиной доле случаев даже у украиноговорящих в их русской речи, не говоря уже про русских монолингвов Украины. В стандартном украинском присутствует взрывной [г] (хотя он по факту отсутствует во многих диалектах), и люди достаточно легко приучаются использовать в русском именно его - а вот с другими произносительными особенностями дела обстоят гораздо хуже.
    Если модераторы позволят, могу выложить линки youtube на некоторые наиболее яркие случаи украинского акцента у блоггеров.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I've heard this in Russia from russian
    Yes, but
    1. In Russian fricative "г" is dialectal (and children learn from school not to use such pronounced dialectal features in their speech, mind you, so the probablility to actually hear it is quite low).
    2. Russian fricative "г" is actually different from Ukrainian "г" (the first is velar, the second is glottal)*;

    * - however, as mentioned, ethnic Russians in the Kuban area and in some regions along the Ukrainian border actually speak Ukrainian dialects - and they even do not consider them as such, of course.
     
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