Moscow University Professor Speaks Out Against Planned Language Reform

Professor Yasen Zasursky, Dean of the Moscow University Department of Journalism, has spoken out against plans to reform the Russian language. At a press conference to mark Russian Press Day, he said such a reform would be a waste. The architects of the reform suggest simplifying Russian orthographic rules. Zasursky, a philologist renowned both at home and abroad, does not think this is a good idea, as Russia is a "very literate nation" and it is no problem for a contemporary Russian to remember that the word "Їа®дҐбб®а" ("professor") is spelled with two o's. Also, any language reform may change the original meaning of words, which is a rather dangerous prospect, he warned. Zasursky reminded his audience that the Russian word "¬Ёа" in its modern spelling has two senses-"peace" and "world." In the title of Leo Tolstoy's famous novel "‚®©­  Ё ¬Ёа" (known in translation as "War and Peace"), the word "¬Ёа" was originally spelled with the letter "i," reserved for the latter sense. But the language reform of 1917 abolished the letter "i" in the Russian alphabet. As a result, nowadays the novel's title is often misinterpreted as "War and Peace" whereas its true meaning is "War and World." "I have to explain it to my students," he complained.

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