The rebirth of russian language culture on the internet

The russian ministry of media calls for an internet portal dedicated to the russian language, showing that the days of language standardization are finally over

Anyone who has ever studied russian knows that it is a difficult language. A language in which every name, and even every single digit in the case of high numbers, has to be deciphered is not easy, even for native speakers. Correct reading and writing, that is the meaning of the russian word "gramota" and under this web address you can find since november 2000 the internet portal "russky yasyk" (eng.Russian language) which offers information about the russian language.

Was established "russkiy yasyk" with the support of the russian ministry of media and on the recommendation of the russian commission for the russian language in mass media. This year the language portal was awarded the prize for education and science of the russian internet academy. Gramota.Ru is visited by an average of 300 users a day. That doesn’t look like much, but it’s not bad by russian standards. As the russian minister of communications and information technology leonid reiman pointed out last december at the russian business day in frankfurt. Reported, only about 2.5 million of about 147 million russians were connected to the network in 2000. Telephone density has also only reached a rate of 21.9 percent.

The information offer of "russky yasyk" is similar to what is offered in germany by the institute for german language in mannheim: links to all important universities and institutions, references to events and secondary literature, information about ongoing research projects, and essays by renowned linguists. But for one thing, the russian language portal aims to appeal to a broader audience than just specialists: it offers links to online dictionaries created specifically by "russkiy yasyk" were put on the net. In addition, anyone can test their language skills on the "narodny dictator" (dt. Dictate of the people). Secondly, it is designed to be more interactive: a "spravochnoye bjuro" (german.(information bureau) answers incoming questions – free of charge, of course – and there is a discussion club led by an editor.

So that one does not overlook who actually stands behind the portal, there is still another column "official documents", containing the state guidelines and regulations for the media. This is where one of the main concerns of the portal emerges, which is described under the item "monitoring kultury retschi" the monitoring of the language in the media. As the editor-in-chief maria bolshakova writes in her introduction, the goal of "russkiy yasyk" nothing less than the rebirth of language culture in view of the generally observable neglect of standard language. The goal is to keep the russian language clean and standardized, an ie that is well known in france and that is also boiling up in this country. Nevertheless, this ie has a different tradition in russia. It is not, as in france, borne by the ambitious claim to be a world language or by the fight against the "denglish", as the verein deutscher sprache e.V. Is fighting so valiantly.

Russians love their language because russian culture is based on the written word and literature has always determined russian cultural life. The russians are proud of the fact that the cultivation of their language has been largely based on literature and not on the church as in most other european countries. Alexander pushkin, who shaped modern russian, is still the best-known and most popular poet across all classes.

There is a long tradition in russia of debating about one’s own language. In soviet times, every newspaper had a regular column on this topic, and on television there was the program "lovers of the russian language" was a long-running hit. The fact that the russian ministry of media, in these economically bad times, is loosening up the means to present this topic on the internet is certainly also due to the topicality of the subject since the perestroika. Because in the past decade, especially in the media, the russian language has changed with tremendous dynamism.

Unlike german, russian does not have any dialects. There are regional linguistic variants, such as differences in sentence melody or intonation. The russian language system is much more socially differentiated. Particularly well known are the vulgar language "mat" and "blatnoy yasyk", the prisoner language. In soviet times, the language in and through the media was standardized, as was the content. This means that the speakers on radio and tv were trained in such a way that regional variants were omitted, colloquial and vulgar language simply did not appear in the media.

With the perestroika, which was characteristically introduced by a man (mikhail gorbachev), who was repeatedly reproached for his unsubtle sudrussian accent, this changed abruptly. The "schargon" entered the language of the media and became socially acceptable. At the same time, with the opening up of new horizons and the changing circumstances of life, many foreign words – first and foremost the much-furrowed anglicisms – entered the country. The standard language, as the editor-in-chief bolshakova complains, has been softened.

But the attempt to keep the russian language pure via the internet and to bring it back to its old or new norms shows which way this discussion has gone. The attempt to exercise control through an open system is not only impossible, it is a completely absurd undertaking. Even if, as the recent events around the moscow tv station ntw or the enforcement of a compulsory license for internet cafes have shown, there are still unabashed attempts to put the bridle on the media, this cannot be done with language. So the lovers of the russian language should confine themselves to chatting!

A special treat from "russky yasyk" are the – in good old soviet tradition – regularly organized competitions. Whoever can solve three tasks precisely and correctly wins a prize. Among them are books with promising titles such as "2000 years of the letter jo", naturally with personal dedication of the author!

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