Should we allow questions like...

  • Do Russian native speakers understand language XXX?
  • Is Russian language widely used in XXX?

I think it's offtopic.

  • I think the real question is whether the site is about "everything about the Russian language and usage, about "only for the Russian equivalent of Strunk & White style and usage questions" or "questions about difficulties in learning and using Russian for speakers of other languages". – hippietrail Jun 19 '12 at 6:13

I think they should be put as off topic too.

  • The first one doesn't have a definite answer. It depends on the speaker, its background, knowledge, culture, etc.

  • The second one is easily searchable in Google and Wikipedia, I think.

  • 2
    I think the first one does have a definite answer, you're confusing that with not having a simple yes/no answer. For instance English speakers don't understand Dutch even slightly even though they are pretty closely related, but Russian speakers will know what Ukrainian speakers are talking about even if they miss some fine points. It seems to have good answer here and I can't think of any downsides to having it. We might eventually get the same question about each Slavic language but that's still not so many questions. – hippietrail Jun 19 '12 at 6:10
  • Good point! But the question about understanding Ukrainian language in Russia is not about Russian language at all, isn't it? – Roman Yankovsky Jun 19 '12 at 7:48
  • @hippietrail I wasn't referring to a yes/no answer, but rather a "it depends" answer. Italian speakers sometimes understand Spanish speakers, sometimes not, but what info do you gain from it? It might be interesting for Linguists (in Linguistics SE) but here I think it loses some importance. – Alenanno Jun 19 '12 at 8:11
  • I read the question as not literally understanding Ukrainian in Russia but as understanding Ukrainian by Russian native speakers. It's just that most of them do live in Russia so that's kind of a logical way to phrase the same thought. – hippietrail Jun 19 '12 at 15:32
  • Stack Overflow and all of Stack Exchange is full of "it depends" answers. In fact some of them are the most educational and enlightening answers on the whole site/network of sites. But of course answers that only say "It depends" without explaining any further are definitely terrible answers. – hippietrail Jun 19 '12 at 15:34
  • By the way I think whether Italian and Spanish speakers understand each other is a pretty dull question for linguists, but it's an interesting question for people interested in one of the two languages who starts wondering. I don't think it's an important question, but there are tons of relatively unimportant questions on the SE network that have accumulated plenty of views and votes by people interested in them. – hippietrail Jun 19 '12 at 15:36
  • @hippietrail Why is it dull? It's not that obvious. We share a lot, but that's true for Czech/Russian too I suppose. – Alenanno Jun 19 '12 at 15:37
  • @Alenanno: Specific linguistic details about the similarities between Czech and Russian or Spanish and Romanian are interesting to linguists, but not "Do Czech and Russians understand much of what each other is saying?" In fact the detailed questions linguists would find interesting can be pretty dull for non linguists too. – hippietrail Jun 19 '12 at 15:41
  • 1
    @hippietrail Ok, I agree. Anyways it is never too late to make them off-topic :) – Roman Yankovsky Jun 20 '12 at 11:34

I also think that question is offtopic.

It seems to me that this sort of questions:

  • Do native speakers of language X understand language Y?
  • Is language X widely used in country Y?

are definitely not related to Russian language and usage.

These questions are fully in the scope of Travel.SE.

  • 3
    "What is the usage of the Russian in country X" seems to be about Russian language and usage ... – hippietrail Jun 19 '12 at 6:05
  • @hippietrail Good point. I thought usage in the title means problem with usage and not usage itself. Anyway I still think it's in the scope of Travel.SE – default locale Jun 19 '12 at 6:08
  • 1
    It probably is within the scope of travel.SE too. But it's more and more common that sites have some degree of overlap with other sites. On travel.SE we overlap with photography.SE, bicycles.SE, webapps.SE, and great-outdoors.SE pretty often and others too but less often. – hippietrail Jun 19 '12 at 6:16
  • If we really want the site to be about that sense of usage it might make more sense to call it "Russian language correct usage and style" or something to that effect. Just the phrasing "Russian language and ..." makes it seem to cover any question about the language at all. – hippietrail Jun 19 '12 at 6:18
  • @hippietrail that seems a bit long-winded. – kotekzot Jun 23 '12 at 18:34
  • @kotekzot: Prose isn't my strong point - those are just suggestions if that's the direction you want to focus the site on. I'm sure somebody else could do better. – hippietrail Jun 23 '12 at 20:02

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