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Cycle of educational sightseeing tours reviewing a content of “The Russian language” collection of the Presidential Library

3 November 2017

The Presidential Library is launching a new project — a cycle of educational excursions on the “Russian language.” The cycle’s of the events objective is to draw attention of the listeners to the Russian language as a state language of Russian Federation. In addressing to specific book rarities and documents, the task of upbringing a deep interest in the Russian language and, more broadly — to the Russian culture in general, is fulfilling among the audience and.

Educational excursions are designed for senior school, colleges and university students. Chronologically, the cycle is divided into several periods: “The Moscow reign,” “Language reform of Peter the Great,” “The Post-Reform Russian Language,” “The Soviet Period.”

During these classes, students will learn the unique history of their native language, imprinted in the documents of the electronic collection ” of the Presidential Library on “The Russian language. This primary collection became available on the library website on June 6, 2013, on the Day of the Russian language, which, according to the Decree of the President of Russian Federation, is being celebrated on the birthday of Alexander Pushkin, the great Russian poet, the founder of the modern Russian literary language.

The collection today includes about 650 materials, including manuscripts and publications of Russian written monuments, legislative acts, scientific works, dictionaries, handbooks and manuals. All of them reflect the main stages of the historical development of the Russian language from the moment of its inception to the present day, as well as research works in the field of the Russian language and the state policy in the language sphere.

The treasures of Russian culture, such as the Laurentian Chronicle, The Testament of Vladimir Monomakh to His Children, The Song of Igor's Campaign in the Old Russian language and other works are widely represented in the collection. The specialists of the Presidential Library will open their meaning in an accessible figurative form.

One of the rare publications of the collection is published in 1710 Civil alphabet with moralizing. This copy of the book is of particular interest, since it is the first official Russian civil alphabet and it contains corrections that Peter the Great personally rendered to improve the composition and ligatures of the letterforms. Defining the alphabet, Tsar brought the inscription of Russian letters closer to the Latin alphabet, introduced in the alphabet the letter “э” [e], which in fact was already used, but yet not “legally,” removed several “extra” letters, which have gotten into the Russian alphabet for pronouncing of Greek sounds. As a result of the edits made by Peter I, the number of letters in the Russian alphabet was reduced to 38, and their inscription became simpler; in addition, Arabic numerals appeared instead of letter numbers.

The goal of reforming and introducing a new civil typeface was to give the Russian book, which was previously set in half-running hand or semi-uncial font (this font was used from the middle of the XVI century, when printing first appeared in Russia), a typical for the European book of that time image. As the Russian people after the European trips of Peter I had to wear European outfits, so the Russian alphabet was supposed to acquire European outlines. According to M. V. Lomonosov, “under Peter the Great, apart from boyars and nobles, the letters also slipped out of their wide fur coats and dressed up in summer outfit.”

Church Slavonic became the language of exclusively spiritual books. Based on the Russian civil font and using the same type of letters (with necessary changes), in the XVIII and XIX centuries the written language of other nations, using the Cyrillic alphabet, was reorganized as well: — Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian.

Dictionaries are of great interest in the collection. One of the rare editions is the six-volume Dictionary of the Russian Academy, published at the end of the XVIII century. This is the first explanatory and normative dictionary. D. I. Fonvizin, G. R. Derzhavin, I. N. Boltin, I. I. Lepyokhin and others have participated in compiling this. The famous Explanatory dictionary of the living great Russian language by V. I. Dal could be also found and browsed through on the library website. This volume is a real encyclopedia of the native Russian life, a storehouse of national nature and Russian character, which testifies to the exceptional wealth of the Russian language, its flexibility and expressiveness.

The peculiarities of the use of Russian names in fascinating form are told in the book of A. I. Sokolov entitled The Russian Names and Nicknames in the 17th Century, published at the end of the XIX century. The collection presents Russian “secular” names and nicknames from scribal and allotment books, various letters, petitions, court cases of the XVII century. As can be seen from the documents, all listed in there names and nicknames belong to peasants and townspeople. As a rule, the name, patronymic and surname or nickname were indicated, for example: Potekha Ivanov, a son of Oparin (lit. pre-dough), Ivan Ivanov, a son Ermolin with a nickname Rogozha (lit. hessian canvas), Ivashka Tyazhelovy-shuby (lit. heavy fur coats), etc.

In addition to the rare monuments of Old Russian language, works on the history of the Russian language of well-known linguists, the collection contains public video lecturing of modern scientists. A familiarity with the collection will be conducted in an accessible, fascinating form and will allow students to get a general idea of the history of Russian writing: monuments, genres, graphic, language lexical and stylistic features. The excursion will be wrapped up with an acquaintance with the multimedia exhibition and with electronic content of the collection of the reading room.

Such educational sightseeing trips, apart from a promoting and a popularization of knowledge on the history of the Russian language, stimulate school students to analyze, actively interact with linguistic forms and greatly motivate to the creative development of the individual.

Feel free to call as for detailed information about the project and a registering routine of applying for participation in educational excursions 8 (812) 305 1651 or emailing us at