Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Great Russian language
By the 19th-century standards, most scholars didn't distinguish between Eastern Slavic languages, as all three tongues of that group were spoken within the borders of the Russian Empire and were considered mutually intelligible. It was accepted that within the Russian language there are three main dialects - Great Russian, Little Russian (i.e., Ukrainian), and White Russian (e.g., Belarusian).
The name itself comes from the word Velikorossiya, or Russia Major, the term used in the Byzantine Empire and Russian Empire to distinguish the Russia proper from Malorossiya (Russia Minor or Ukraine) and Byelorussia (White Russia or Belarus).
The Great Russian, or just Russian, language was formed in late Middle Ages in the northern Russian principalities under heavy influence of Church Slavonic language. As compared to the Great Russian, other Eastern Slavonic languages were termed one-dimensional, because they lacked the stratum of high speech, derived from the Church Slavonic. For political reasons, the literary Russian language evolved under the significant influence of the Moscow dialect . See the Russian language for more detailed information.
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