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Latin & Russian.

I have noticed a few of similarities that Latin and Russian share that are interesting to look at. First there is an absence of the definite and indefinite article words both in Russian and Latin. The second similarity the the two languages have is the masculine, feminine and neuter genders in their grammar. The third similarity is in the variety of sounds in the Latin and Russian languages. The rolled "R" is obviously the same sound in Latin and Russian, as well as some of the other consonants and vowels. Here are some examples in the vocabulary of the two. Russian is my native language so it rings a bell with me. I am using Latin letters to present the similarities and I understand it's not accurate but still I think it is interesting to look at. 1) To see- VIDERE vs VIDETb,
2) Sun- SOLIS vs SOLNTSE 3) House- DOMUS vs DOM, DOMI vs DOMA 4) To sit- SEDERE vs SEDETb

November 8, 2019



Yes, and the word "царь" comes from Caesar. What more of a connection could you want?

абдикация from abdicatio

абдомен from abdomen

абдукция from abductio

аберрация from aberratio

аблатив from ablativus

абляция from ablatio

абонемент from abonnement

абориген from aborigines

аброгация from abrogare

абсент from absinthe

абсолют from absolutus

абсорбировать and абсорбция from absorbere

абстракт from abstractus

аргентум from argentum

арендатор from arrenda

аспект from aspectus

вакуум from vacuum

валентин from valentinus

виктория from victoria

вотум from votum

вульгарный from vulgaris

генералиссимус from generalissimus

гербарий from herbarium

гомо сапиенс from homo sapiens

град and градус from gradus

гуманизм from humanus

дилемма from dilemma

дмитрий from demetrius

индивидуум from individuum

индюк from indicus

интеллигенция from intellegentia

квота from quota

клавдия from claudia

коллега from collega

коллоквиум from colloquium

компетенция from competentia

композитор from compositor

коррумпированный from corrumpere

коррупция from corruptio

котангенс from cotangens

крапула from crapula

культура from cultura

либидо from libido

либрация from libratio

лицензиат from licentiatus

минута from minuta

молибден from molybdenum

мораторий from moratorium

мрамор from marmor

номенклатура from nomenclatura

оазис from oasis

опиум from opium

пара from par

пасха from pascha

президиум from praesidium

препуций from praeputium

прерогатива from praerogativa

проблема from problema

проспект from prospectus

реклама from reclamare

саламандра from salamandra

сексуальный from sexualis

сектор from seco

сергей from sergius

сомнамбулизм from somnus

тангенс from tangens

татьяна from tatiana

традиция from traditio

туника from tunica

фабрика from fabrica

форум from forum

эксперимент from experimentum

And others. And quite a few from ancient Greek too. (some of this list was extracted from ezglot.com)


Yes I agree. What is interesting to me even some basic vocabulary is alike, and not only obvious borrowings from Latin. When words like home, mother, is, see,sun, sea, and many other words. These are simple words and not modern technical terms. Russian is not a romance language but it's similarity not only with Latin vocabulary but grammar also is very puzzling to me. I understand that both are Indo-European but it would be interesting to someday measure the percentage of how closely the two are related. Thanks for Greek link.


This is just the heritage of the Proto-Indo-European language, those words do not come from Latin and do not come from French. It is the same in most European languages. Nothing really specific to Russian.

When in doubt, consult the Vasmer's etymological dictionary.

WORD: со́лнце
GENERAL: укр. со́нце, др.-русск. сълньце, ст.-слав. слъньце ἥλιος (Остром., Супр.), болг. слъ́нце, сербохорв. су̑нце, словен. sо̑lnсе, чеш. slunce, слвц. slnce, польск. sɫоńсе, в.-луж. sɫónco, н.-луж. sɫуńсо.
ORIGIN: Праслав. *sъlnьсе -- уменьш. образование от *sъlnь, ср. по́солонь (см.), ст.-слав. бесльньнъ ἀνήλιος (Супр.), а также солнопёк, солноворо́т (Френкель, ZfslPh 13, 212). Образование аналогично се́рдце (Брандт, РФВ 24, 189). Родственно лит. sáulė "солнце", лтш. saũle, др.-прусск. saule, др.-инд. svar- ср. р., вед. súvar, род. п. sū́ras ср. р. "солнце, свет, небо", sū́ras, sū́rуаs "солнце", авест. hvarǝ, род. п. χvǝŋg ср. р. "солнце, солнечный свет", гот. sauil "солнце", кимр. haul, лат. sōl ср. р., греч. ἥλιος, гомер. ἠέλιος, дор. ἀ̄έλιος (и.-е. *sāvel), алб. hyll, уll "звезда" (*sūl-), далее сюда же гот. sunnô ж., д.-в.-н. sunnа "солнце"...

or Wiktionary

From Old East Slavic сълньце (sŭlnĭce), from Proto-Slavic *sъlnьce, from Proto-Indo-European *sóh₂wl̥, whence English sun, solar and helium.


I suspect a lot of it is the French influence, but I don't know how long ago a lot of the words came into Russian. From what I know of Russian history (not much!) it was common for the "upper classes" to speak French and often Latin, and the addition or modification of older words may be relatively recent. The "Royal Families" of Europe, including Russia, were related, often second or third cousins, for several hundred years at least, I believe.

I'm not so sure about the grammar. Most of the older languages used multiple cases for nouns, and verbs that conjugated extensively depending on person, and quite a few, like Russian, have retained that. Particular peculiarities like the "at home" (locative case) of Latin and the similar oddity in Russian (although not defined as "Locative" in Russian) is far from unique - in fact, most languages have a non-standard way of saying "at home".

Also, I don't know the root or progression of Russian, whether there is an "Old Russian" that equates to Middle English or Old Norse, and where these words were in those days. A fascinating subject, if you have the time to study it.


Yes, you are right, there was an "Old Russian", well, rather Old Slavic (or should it be Old Slavonic? I'm not sure), which later evolved into Church Slavic/Slavonic (used nowadays in Eastern Ortodox Church) and a bunch of Eastern Slavic languages (including Russian).


It is more complicated. Old East Slavic developed from Common or Proto Slavic. Much later Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian developed from the Old East Slavic.

The (Old) Church Slavonic is quite different as it is a South Slavic language, much more related to Bulgarian or Serbo-Croatian than to Russian.

For example Old East Slavic vorogъ / Church Slavonic vragъ (the enemy). It was borrowed into Russian from the Church language.


Actually, lots of these Russian words are almost never spoken in real-life Russian or are considered bureaucratic cliches :) For example, silver is серебро, not аргентум (maybe a very enthusiastic chemistry teacher would say аргентум ifhe/she is really carried away), and абдомен is only used in specific word combinations like абдоминальная хирургия (abdominal surgery), while in any other case we just say живот. However, yes, we do indeed have a lot of Proto-Indo-European roots in our Slavic languages, and I enjoy discovering them so much!


I think as a native Russian I have a somewhat easier time with Latin, not because of the vocabulary (many European languages share come Latin vocabulary, after all), but because we have declensions in Russian, so this concept is not new for me, unlike it might be for native English speakers. Yes, I still have some difficulty with Latin grammar, but it probably comes easier to me.


My mom said there were lots of structural similarities in declinations and conjuation patterns and that she used her high school Latin and a Russian/English dictionary to translate a letter from her grandmother written in Russian when my mom was in university.


In Czech: dům - domus (house) se - se (reflexive pronoun) mei, mihi, me, me - mě,mi,mě,mně,mnou (other cases of I) tu - ty (you sg.) vos - vy (you pl.) noster,nostrum,nobis,nos,nobis - nás, nám, nás, nám, námi (other cases of We) violaceus - fialový (violet) postea - později (later) Romani ite domum - Římani jděte domů (Romans go home) Sedeo - sedím (I sit) Sto - stojím (I stand) Video - vidím (I see)


And Russian also kept the case system. Old Church Slavonic and Ukranian also have the Vocative case, lost in Russian. "Marce" in Eclesiastical pronunciation sound same in the Ukrainian Vocative form of "Mark" - "Марче"


Having studied Old Church Slavonic for several years, I can confirm that it helped me in understanding Ukrainian speech. It also helps me comprehend Russian a lot better, as there is a significant influence of OCS on the Russian language. I also like to read the bible in Old Church Slavonic. It seems to me that its just a more accurate translation because of the richness of the OCS language. I would recommend learning OCS to all Russian & Ukrainian speakers interested in enriching their experience of Slavic linguistic experience.

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