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Russianism, Russism, or Russicism is an influence of Russian language on other languages. In particular, Russianisms are Russian orrussified words, expressions, or grammar constructs used in Slavic languages, languages of CIS states and languages of the Russian Federation.

However, the scope of the Russian language influence is wider. For example, in Italian language Russisms rank fifth and sixth afterAnglicisms, Gallicisms, Germanisms, Hispanisms, and Arabisms. The difference between russianisms (russisms) in, say, the Italian language and the Ukrainian language is that in Italian Russisms stay for original Russian notions which did not exist in Italian and thus, Italian had to loan such words to describe Russian reality, whilst Ukrainian uses Russianisms to replace existing Ukrainian words, which describe Ukrainian reality.

In his own researches Jovan Ajduković reinterpret and innovate the "theory of transfer" of lexical borrowing (е.g., Rudolf Filipović 1986, 1990) and introduce the "theory of approximate copying and activation" of contact-lexemes.

In the "theory of transfer", the concept of Russianism (Russism) in lexicographical sources in the broader sense means (1) an unmotivated or motivated word of Russian origin which has kept a strong formal-semantic connection with the corresponding word in Russian (e.g. Serb.baćuška, votka, dača, samizdat, sputnjik, uravnilovka), (2) an unmotivated or motivated word of Russian origin which has partially or completely lost its formal-semantic connection with the original Russian word owing to adaptation (e.g. Serb. blagovremen, iskrenost, istina, pravda, ljubimac, ljubimica, predostrožan, predostrožnost), (3) an unmotivated or motivated word of non-Russian origin borrowed through Russian (e.g. Serb. agitprop, agitpropovski, almaz, bandura, aul, kilka, tajga, čaj, korsak, jantar, kumis, kaftan, aršin) and (4) an unmotivated or motivated of Russian or non-Russian origin borrowed into the receiving language through a transmitter language (e.g. Maced.boljar, kolhoz, sovhoz, kolhozovština). For example, the transmitter language in Russian-Macedonian language contacts is Bulgarian or Serbian (Ajdukovic 2004: 94; 340).

In the "theory of approximate copying and activation" (so-called "Ajdukovic's Theory of Contacteme"), the concept of Russianism (Russism) means a word having one or more "independent contactemes", which have arisen under the dominant influence of Russian (e.g. Serb. vostok, nervčik, knjiška, bedstvo, krjak). Jovan Ajduković introduce the term "contacteme" for the basic unit of contact on each separate level of language. He distinguish "contact-phoneme", "contact-grapheme", "contacteme in distribution of sounds", "prosodic contacteme", "derivational contacteme", "morphological contacteme", "semantic contacteme", "syntactic contacteme", "stylistic contacteme", "contact-lexeme" and "contact-phraseme" (e.g. Serb. čovek u futroli, Baba Jaga, pali borac, planska privreda, široke narodne mase, Sve srećne porodice liče jedna na drugu, svaka nesrećna porodica nesrećna je na svoj način) (Ajdukovic 2004: 99; 340) (see also Ajdukovic's Homepage).

Russianisms and Russification

In countries that have long been under the influence of Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and modern Russia, Russianism is a direct result of "russification", when native words and expressions were replaced with Russian ones. Russianisms are especially frequent in Ukrainian andBelarusian, as the languages linguistically close to Russian.

Examples of russianisms in Ukrainian would be "часи" (časy, "clock") instead of "годинник" (hodynnyk), "ковьор" (kov'or "carpet") instead of "килим" (kylym), "празнувати" (praznuvaty, "to celebrate") instead of "святкувати" (svjatkuvaty), and many others. Examples from Moldavianinclude "odecolon" and "subotnic".

Depending on speaker's region and social status, his/her use of russianisms may be as high as 50 per cent,as happened in Moldovan dialect of Romanian language (the closer to Russia the higher). Use of russianisms results in creation of Russian-Ukrainian or Russian-Belarusianpidgins (called surzhyk and trasianka accordingly).

Even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, russianisms are still penetrating into national languages due to Russia's cultural and linguistical influence in post-Soviet states (via media, trade, politics etc.).


  1. Russian language
  2. Russian alphabet
  3. Russian orthography
  4. Russian phonology
  5. Russian grammar
  6. IPA for Russian
  7. Russian-Cyrillic alphabet
  8. Informal romanizations of Russian
  9. Languages of Russia
  10. List of countries where Russian is an official language
  11. List of English words of Russian origin
  12. List of languages of Russia
  13. Spelling rule
  14. Romanization of Russian
  15. Russian language-History of the Russian language
  16. List of Russian language television channels
  17. Reduplication in the Russian language
  18. Reforms of Russian orthography
  19. Rules of Russian Orthography and Punctuation
  20. Russian language-Runglish
  21. Russian exonyms
  22. Russian Morse code
  23. Russian sayings
  24. Russianism
  25. Russophone
  26. Slavic languages
  27. Test of Russian as a Foreign Language
  28. The differences of Moscovian and St.-Petersburg's speech
  29. Vowel reduction in Russian
  30. Russian proverbs
  31. Russian proverbs:USSR
  32. ALA-LC romanization for Russian
  33. Great Russian language
  34. Olympiada of Spoken Russian
  35. Russian cursive
  36. Russian jokes
  37. Russian National Corpus


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