July 06, 2020

Russian Grammar Strikes Again


Russian Grammar Strikes Again
Of course, had the grammar been correct, we would have voted differently. Yaromir Romanov, Znak.com

Russia's linguists have been frazzled this week by the wording of constitutional amendment ballots used in the recent referendum.

Olga Severskaya, of the Vinogradov Russian Language Institute, noted that the wording of the ballot violated language conventions.

The ballot reads "Вы одобряете изменения в Конституцию Российской Федерации?"— "Do you approve of the changes to the Constitution of the Russian Federation?" The phrase uses the preposition "в," followed by the accusative case, typically used for direct objects, the receptors of actions, and destinations. Instead, "в" should be followed by the prepositional case, used for the main nouns of the prepositional case.

"Frankly, it's sad, strange, and funny to me that, in fixing the status of the Russian language as the state language and the need to protect it, as amended by our Constitution, we are offered to vote for this with a document in which this rule is, in essence, grossly violated," Severskaya told Znak.com. Other linguists concurred, noting the gross grammatical error on official documentation.

If that makes your head spin, don't worry: you are not alone.

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