I will not go into the complex history of where the word itself came from.

I will not go into the complex history of where the word itself came from.

About those who are fond of this kind of inventions, it was remarkably said that these are theories of how man descended from the Russian.

In fact, the history of any language with a specific name: French, Russian, Latin, Chinese is the history of the period of time when this name exists. Moreover, we cannot draw some clear border that separates the language from the previous stage of its existence. The change of generations with small changes from one generation to another occurs continuously throughout the history of mankind in every language, and, of course, our parents and our grandfathers speak from our point of view in the same language that we do. We digress from the little things and generally believe that two hundred years ago or four hundred years ago they spoke the same language. And then some doubts already begin.

Can you say that our ancestors, who lived a thousand years ago, spoke the same language as we do? Or is it not on the same? Note that no matter how you solve this issue, these people also had their own ancestors who lived a thousand, two, three thousand years earlier. And each time, from generation to generation, the change in language was insignificant. From what moment can we say that this is already the Russian language, and not its distant ancestor, which – and this is very important – is the ancestor not only of our Russian language, but also of a number of related languages?

We all know that Ukrainian and Belarusian are closely related to the Russian language. The common ancestor of these three languages ​​existed – by the standards of history – not so long ago: only about a thousand years ago. If you take not a thousand, but three thousand years, five thousand years, and so on deep into antiquity, it turns out that the people to whom we ascend purely biologically are the ancestors of not only today’s Russians, but also a number of other peoples. Thus, it is clear that the history of the Russian language proper cannot be extended indefinitely into the depths of time. Somewhere we have to set some conditional start point.

In reality, such a point is almost always the moment when the current name of the language is fixed for the first time. That is, the time boundaries are here connected not with the essence of the language itself as a means of communication, but with the fact that people who speak it call themselves some kind of term. And in this sense, different languages ​​have very different depths of history. For example, the Armenian language has been called by the same name hai as it is now, for several thousand years. Some other languages ​​have a relatively recent history in this sense. For the Russian language, this period is approximately a little more than a thousand years, since the first mention of the word rus refers to the end of the first millennium of our era.

I will not go into the complex history of where the word itself came from. There are several theories about this. The most common and most probable of them is the Scandinavian theory, which is that the word rus itself is not Slavic in origin, but Old Scandinavian. There are, I repeat, and competing hypotheses, but in this case we are not talking about that, the important thing is that this name itself begins to be mentioned in the 9th-10th centuries. and initially clearly applied not to our ethnic ancestors, but to the Scandinavians. In any case, in the Greek tradition the word “ros” means the Normans, and it begins to denote our Slavic ancestors only from about the 10th – 11th centuries, passing to them from the names of those Varangian squads that came to Russia and from which the princes of Ancient Russia came.

Starting from about the XI century. this name applies to the Slavic-speaking population of the territory around Kiev, Chernigov and Pereslavl Yuzhny. During a certain period in the history of the Eastern Slavs, the term Rus meant a relatively small space, roughly corresponding to the present northeastern Ukraine. So, for a long time Novgorodians did not consider themselves Russians at all, did not consider that the word Rus refers to their territory. In Novgorod birch bark letters, as well as in the annals, for some time there are stories that such and such a bishop in such and such a year went to Russia from Novgorod, that is, he went south, to Kiev or Chernigov.

It is easy to trace this through the annals. This use of words is normal for the XI, XII, XIII centuries. and only in the XIV century. we see for the first time that the Novgorodians, fighting with some of their external enemies, call themselves Russians in the annals. Further, this name expands, and from about the XIV century. it already corresponds to the entire East Slavic territory. And although at this time the rudiments of three different future languages ​​already exist on this territory, they are all identically called Russian.

In a remarkable way, later, the narrowing of this term comes again: now we call Russians only a part of the East Slavic population, namely the one that can otherwise be called Great Russian. And two other languages ​​on this territory, Belarusian and Ukrainian, have already formed as independent languages, and the word Russian in a broad sense is no longer usually applied to them. (True, even about two hundred years ago, the use of words was normal that all this is the Russian population, which has a Great Russian part, a Little Russian [now Ukrainian] part and a Belarusian part.) This is how the expansion and then the narrowing of the term “Russian ".

Most of you have an idea of ​​the genealogical tree of the Russian language to one degree or another, but nevertheless I will briefly repeat this information. Now this genealogical tree in a simplified form must be derived from some reconstructed ancient language called Nostratic, to which the languages ​​of a very significant part of the world’s inhabitants go back. It has existed for a very long time; estimates vary, but apparently about twenty-five thousand years ago.

One of its branches is the Indo-European branch, which includes most of the languages ​​of Europe and India, hence the very name Indo-European languages. In Europe, they are an absolute majority, in India – a significant part, but also, in general, the majority. In the east, these are the Indian and Iranian groups; in Europe – Latin with the Romance languages ​​that arose from it: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian; and the Greek branch, which in ancient times is represented by the ancient Greek language, and now it is modern Greek. Further, the Germanic branch: this is German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, English; and the Balto-Slavic branch, combining the Baltic languages ​​and Slavic. Baltic is Latvian, Lithuanian and now extinct Old Prussian. Slavic, well known to you, is traditionally divided into three groups: South Slavic, West Slavic and East Slavic languages.

Now there are some adjustments to this traditional division of the Slavic languages, but the traditional scheme is just that. South Slavic languages ​​are Bulgarian, Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian; Western – Polish, Czech, Slovak, Lusatian. And the East Slavic languages, initially unified according to the traditional scheme, are Russian (otherwise Great Russian), Ukrainian and Belarusian.

After this general introduction, let us touch on some of the more technical aspects of the history of language. First of all, it should be understood that language is an unusually complex mechanism that includes a number of aspects, in each of which some specificity and some dynamics and instability are possible. First of all, this is the variety of styles of the same language. Within any language there is what can be called high style or good literary language, and there is the opposite pole – vernacular, vulgar speech. Between them there are different kinds of intermediate layers such as a spoken, everyday language. All this is fully observed in the Russian language, including at the present moment, as at any moment in history.

This is one side of the matter. The other side of the matter is that any language is heterogeneous in the dialectal sense, in any language there is a wide variety of local dialects, and sometimes even quite different dialects. From this point of view, languages ​​can be different, that is, more or less monolithic. There are languages ​​in which the differences are so great that mutual understanding is not at all easy. An example is modern Italy, where the dialect of the extreme south and the dialect of the north, for example Venice, differ so significantly that understanding between them, although possible, may well be difficult. And what is common to them is precisely the literary form of the language. The situation is the same in many other languages ​​of the world. It is especially strong in the Chinese language, where the northern and southern dialects in their oral incarnation actually do not allow direct mutual understanding.

In some other languages, the situation is more favorable. So, in the Russian language, the differences in dialects are small, the native speaker of the literary language has no particular problems in understanding, even when communicating with the most distant dialects. Of course, we will not understand some words, in some cases there may be individual misunderstandings, but on the whole, this distance is still relatively small.

But, I repeat, differences in dialects and dialects exist in any language. Thus, somewhat different linguistic mechanisms coexist, interacting with each other and generating various complex effects in the way the central literary form of the language develops. The literary language, as a rule, absorbs elements of different dialects to some extent. It rarely happens that a literary language exactly coincides with the dialect of, say, the capital of a state, as it sometimes seems at first glance. In the same way, for the Russian language, the situation is such that 123helpme.me although our literary language is very close to the dialects of the Moscow region, it still does not completely coincide with them. It has absorbed a number of elements farther north, south, east and west.

Further. The complexity of the mechanisms of functioning of any language is determined by the fact that no language exists in complete isolation from its neighbors. Even in such extreme cases as, for example, Iceland – an island country where, it would seem, there are no contacts with neighbors – there are still some connections. Someone travels from Iceland to the outside world, someone comes to Iceland and brings with them some elements of foreign speech. So even the Icelandic language, although it is more than any other protected from foreign influences, still perceived these influences to some extent.

As for the languages ​​that closely communicate with each other in neighboring territories, then mutual influence and mutual penetration can be very active. It is especially active where there is a two-part, three-part or multi-part population in the same territory. But even if state and ethnic boundaries are relatively clear-cut, contacts are still quite intense. This is expressed, first of all, in the penetration into any of the languages ​​of a certain number of foreign words. A deeper influence lies in the penetration of some elements of the grammatical structure of neighboring languages.

In particular, the Russian language, not separated from its immediate neighbors by any seas, has always been in intense contact with them both in the direction of the west and in the direction of the east, partly in the direction of the south and even to some extent in the direction of the north, although the population there is no longer so dense … So in the modern Russian language there are traces of influences from almost all four cardinal directions.

In general, the degree of foreign influences at different moments in the life of a linguistic community or a given state can be very different. It is clear that these influences become especially intense during times, for example, foreign occupation or with the massive introduction of a new population into some part of the old territory, etc. And in quiet periods of poor communication, they will be less intense. In addition, it often happens that more or less foreign influence can be strongly promoted or opposed by purely internal events in the history of a given community. It is quite obvious that over the past twenty years or so, the Russian language has been in a state of unusually active absorption of foreign elements, primarily English, with an intensity many times greater than what was only half a century ago. This is happening in connection with major social changes, the opening of international contacts on a scale that was unthinkable two or three decades ago. The introduction of new technology, new elements of a foreign civilization, etc. is taking place. We all feel this on ourselves.

There have been such periods in the past. There was, say, in the history of the Russian language a period of intensive penetration of elements of the French language, in an earlier era – an intensive penetration of elements of German, and even earlier – an intensive penetration of elements of Polish.

Here are some illustrations of how the modern Russian language was diversified by words from other neighboring languages. Of course, influences concern not only words, but it is more difficult to talk about it, and words are just a very visual thing.

This story can be started from any point – in fact, from the Russian language, or, going further into the past, from the Proto-Slavic language. It is possible, generally speaking, to consider even the borrowings of the Proto-Indo-European time, but this will be too far for us. If we start with Proto-Slavic, then it is essential to point out that there is a significant layer of Germanic borrowings in it, which later survived not only in Russian, but also in all Slavic languages. They took root and became part of the Slavic lexicon proper.

Now about some of them it is even difficult for us to believe that these are not originally Russian words; but historical linguistics inexorably shows that many words have precisely this origin. For example, the word prince, surprisingly, is exactly the same word as the German König or the English king. Its ancient form kuningaz, which was borrowed, eventually gave the Russian word prince. Or, say, the word bread is the same word as the English loaf "bun." This borrowing, most likely, should be attributed to the period of wide expansion of the Goths, when these active Germanic tribes owned vast territories of almost all of modern Ukraine, a significant part of the Balkans , Italy, Spain, part of France, etc. So it is not surprising that in all the languages ​​of these countries there are some traces of ancient Gothic dominion.

Crimea is worth mentioning specifically, since in the Crimea the Goths lived until the 16th century. Dutch diplomat of the 16th century. Busbek was amazed to discover that he understood some words in the speech of a Crimean resident speaking an unknown language. It turned out to be the Crimean Gothic language, the latest remnant of the Gothic language extinct in all other places.

Germanic borrowings in Slavic are also, for example, the word regiment or the verb buy; in modern German, the corresponding Old Germanic words gave the Volk "people" and kaufen "to buy".

Here it is necessary to point out that if the word is borrowed from Germanic, then the Germanic word in Germanic itself was not necessarily original. Often it was itself a borrowing from somewhere else. So, the Germanic word that gave the German kaufen is a borrowing from Latin.

Editor