Dialects in the Russian Language

Why is MOЛОКО(milk) pronounced as [malakO] not as [molokO]? Or a few words about dialects in the Russian language.


In the podcast, I speak in Moscow dialect of the Russian language.


Why is it Moscow dialect? Firstly, Moscow dialect is considered to be the model of pronunciation which is something similar to Received Pronunciation in the English language. And, secondly, I am from Moscow and this is the dialect I speak, know and studied.


Russia is a large country and people living in various parts of it speak differently, using different words, grammar and often different pronunciation.

For example, in the north people say Os [o] – окают [Okay-oo-t]. There is even a monument to the letter “O” in Vologda (Northwest Russia).                 vologda-monument-letter-o

So in Vologda the word МОЛОКО is pronounced as [molokO]. All Os.


The words can differ. For example, in the southern dialects the word for “to talk” is ГУТОРИТЬ [g-oo-tor-ee-t’] while in Moscow we say ГОВОРИТЬ [gavar-ee-t’].


Considering all these varieties of dialects, there was an economical, political and even practical necessity to have a dialect of Russian language which would be understood everywhere in Russia.


And for historical and political reasons Moscow dialect was chosen to be the one, and now it is the standard of the Russian literary language and considered to be the standard of the pronunciation. Moscow dialect became a universal language which can be understood by any person no matter in which part of Russia he lives.


And of course, Moscow dialect is the language of media; governmental and official bodies and education.ivan-the-terrible



The main characteristics of Moscow dialect are so-called:


Аканье [Akanye] – pronouncing A instead of O in an unaccented position,


Иканье [-EE-kanye] – saying И instead of E in an unaccented syllable.


Ivan the Terrible (Tsar Ivan IV) and Muscovites in the XVI century were still saying Os in the words just like their neighbours in the North.


Аканье [Akanye] developed in Moscow dialect only after the XVI century, when Moscow princedom started uniting (“collecting”) northern and southern territories around Moscow. It was then that the dialects began mixing and developing in Moscow dialect.


Due to its geographical location and political significance Moscow became a cauldron for mixing and adapting the various dialects of the Russian language. 



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