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Thread: How many native/fully fluent Russian speakers are there?

  1. #1

    How many native/fully fluent Russian speakers are there?

    The figures for this vary so much. I have seen everything from 140 million to 350 million.

    In an English paper I saw a very low figure, 140mil I think. I got suspicous and checked it. The figure corresponded with Wikipedias entry for the population of Russia... But according to that definition, Iti-Ogo, Zaya and many others on this forum are not even included.... Sloppy and poorly informed journalism!

    On the other hand, last year the Swedish ministry of education wanted more kids to choose Russian as foreign language in secondary school. So the "Guide to selecting foreign languages in secondary school" cited the very unrealistic-sounding figure of 300 million... That figure must include everyone who lives in any ex-USSR country. This broschure also claimed that "Russian is widely spoken in the other Slavic-speaking countries such as Poland (...etc)". I don't know how true this is really but I've met a few Bulgarians and Serbs who definitely could speak fluent Russian.

    What's your opnion on this?

  2. #2
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    May 2006
    Москва, Зеленоград.
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    Re: How many native/fully fluent Russian speakers are there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Sloppy and poorly informed journalism!
    Журналистам на заметку : ... 1%80%D0%B5

  3. #3
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    Nov 2008
    Mississauga, Canada
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    Re: How many native/fully fluent Russian speakers are there?

    I think it would be impossible to pinpoint an exact figure, but 140 is certainly too low, and 350 million would have to include people like me who know a bit but aren't fluent.

    It's easy to break down using official numbers though. Russian is the main language of communication in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. That right there is well over 200 million fluent speakers (even those who don't use it as their main language in those countries are probably still perfectly fluent). In the rest of the former Soviet Union it's widespread but less common in Central Asia and the Caucasus, and more likely to be used as a second language. Then there are the millions of immigrants living in the west, Israel and elsewhere that speak it...Overall I would guess somewhere between 250-300 million are fluent to some degree, while around 170-190 use it as their first language.

    I just found an interesting website while writing this post that tries to calculate the world's most influential languages. According to it, there are 285 million primary and secondary speakers (4th most widely spoken in the world, and 4th most influential according to their criteria).

  4. #4
    Administrator MasterAdmin's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
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    Re: How many native/fully fluent Russian speakers are there?

    Русский язык является официальным в части США (штат Нью-Йорк).

    What is the source of this information?
    ~ Мастерадминов Мастерадмин Мастерадминович ~

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