Which Languages Are Similar To Russian?

Most Similar Languages to Russian
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The Russian language is not just the literary language of Russia. It is also an official language in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and is also widely spoken in Central Asian regions and in many Baltic states. It belongs to the Indo-European family’s sub-branch East Slavic languages. And just like other mutually intelligible Slavic languages, there are many other Slavic and Baltic languages similar to Russian in terms of vocabulary, words, and pronunciation.

With more than 250 million native speakers, it is one of the largest European languages. Taught in schools, used in offices, and all other institutions, this is one native tongue that millions speak. It is also still used in all Soviet Nations in an official capacity. When it comes to spoken dialects, we’ve all hear thick accents, thanks to the movies. However, stress falls rather unpredictably than phonetically. Russian is written using the Cyrillic Script.


How Do You Determine The Similarities Between Two Languages?

When it comes to saying that a certain tongue sounds similar to the other, it’s not just the sound. Most of the time, languages emerge in a different form and evolve into a rather completely different version. However, languages belonging to the same sub-branch of a language family either have similar roots, common words, terminologies, alphabets, and sometimes even dialect. However, among important aspects of the similarity between two linguistics is mutual intelligibility. Another feature that’s associated with similarities is the writing pattern or alphabet.

If a native speaker of one national language is able to understand a different, even if it’s a minority language, from another native speaker, this understanding is called mutual intelligibility. Apart from that, vocabulary and grammar are also the determinants for similarities. Tone and accents also play a role. Now, a bigger question arises here, should we consider all these factors before putting the similar languages list in order or should we rely on mutual intelligibility.

Which Languages Are Similar To Russian?

So here’s what we are going to do for you. We are listing below the topmost foreign languages similar to Russia’s native tongue. Standard Russian is the lingua franca of Russia. With some extent of variation in Northern dialects, it is spoken all around the country except for the Southern region.

The version spoken in the Southern region is known as the Southern Russian dialect and it is quite similar to the Standard Russian. The only difference between the two is that the letter g is pronounced differently in both versions. However, it doesn’t affect the understanding of either.

Surzhyk And Trasyanka

If you have never been to Ukraine or Belarus, these words would sound made up to you. But these are primary languages with Slavic vocabulary.

Most areas of Ukraine including the Central and Eastern region and some areas of Belarus speak an amalgamation of Standard Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian. In Ukraine, it is known as Surzhyk, and in Belarus, it is known as Trasyanka.

This one containing both the Russian and Ukrainian alphabet is the closest and most similar to Russian. Any Russian speaker can easily understand anyone speaking Surzhyk or Trasyanka because of the similar central dialects. There are some expressions and words which are different, however, they are very few.

Standard Ukrainian And Belarusian

The next on the list is Standard Belarusian and Ukrainian languages. Not only are these Slavic languages very similar to Russian in written form, but they are also around 70% mutually intelligible.

Russians can understand Belarusian better than Ukrainian. Interestingly, Ukrainians can understand the Russian language better than the Russians would understand the Ukrainian.


Which Languages Are Similar To Russian?


Bulgaria is situated at the junction of the Persian and Slavic influence. After Ukrainian and Belarusian, Bulgarian is the closest to Russian.

Written Bulgarian is pretty close to the Russian alphabet and Russians can easily read it. The vocabulary is quite similar whereas Russian grammar is different from Bulgarian.

When it comes to spoken Bulgarian, Russians can understand Bulgarian to an extent that they can assess what’s under discussion.

Rusine And Latvian

Grammatically, the closest to Russian are Rusine and Latvian. Even though Rusine was initially a dialect that developed into a native language over time, it is a blend of Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian.

Latvian may not be as similar in grammatical cases but in terms of Russian vocabulary and intricacies, both sound pretty similar. The English dialects prevailing both in Russia and Latvia are almost the same. Phonetically, Rusine is the closest to Russian, the pronunciations are pretty similar in both. If you’re looking for Latvian Translation services, check this out.

Latvian, on the other hand, is pronounced very differently from Russian. The vocabulary, however, is pretty similar with the same archaic words still being used in Russian and Latvian.


Russian and Polish are both Slavic languages. Due to the same roots, they sound similar and also have many words that are common in both linguistics.

When it comes to the written form, Russian is written by using the Cyrillic alphabet whereas Polish is written using the Latin alphabet. However, when it comes to mutual intelligibility, it’s not as high as that of Belarusian and Ukrainian.

Which Languages Are Similar To Russian?

Czech And Slovak

Czech and Slovak, the lingua franca of the Czech Republic and Slovakia respectively, also have common words found in Russian. But on average, a Russian person can only understand a sentence or two from a Czech or Slovak speaker.

Serbian And Croatian

Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian speakers sound very similar to Russian speakers. But it doesn’t mean that they are all the same.
There are few words that are used in all three of them and from there, a Russian native can get the gist of the sentence and understand a couple of things.

Is It Easier For People To Learn Russian?

In terms of grammar, Russian dialects, history, and meanings of the words, modern-day Russian is quite different from the one that was used in the USSR in the16th Century. In fact, even in the 19th Century, the medieval Russians often conversed in German and French. The famous novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy had paragraphs written in French. There were no additional meanings provided in the novel which indicates that it was read and understood by the people at the time.


Is It Easier For People To Learn Russian?

Now, times have changed and Russian is revived into one of the most distinct languages of all times. It has reached maximum exposure through the entertainment world, a huge reason why foreigners want to learn to speak it. They want to share their Russian skills with the rest of the world.

For English speakers, it may be difficult to learn the standard form of Russian but for Bulgarians, East Europeans, Belarusians, Latvians, Bosnians, and Polish, it is easier. Linguists suggest that due to similar roots, articles, vowels, alphabets, phonetics, nouns, spellings, and pronouns, the difficulty level for learning a new yet similar linguistic can drop considerably. It becomes easier for the student to get ahold of the content. They can perfect their speaking and listening skills in weeks instead of months. All they need to do is start their practice as soon as possible.


Anyone planning to visit Russia should definitely learn the basics of Russians to get passed by. Without doing that, communication won’t be easy as you may not found many English speakers there. The Russian Empire is far and wide. It has been standing tall for centuries. With a history as old as the 10th century, this place is home to millions today. Moscow became its capital in the early 20th Century. It is a great tourist attraction with different historical monuments. Whenever you get a chance to visit this city, don’t forget to look for old heritage sites.

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