A Bureaucratic Cliché A Ravno (I) and Its History

2022. № 3, 79-91

Alexander V. Zelenin

University of Tampere (Finland, Tampere)


Dmitry V. Rudnev 
The Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (Russia, St. Petersburg)



The bureaucratic cliché a ravno (i) ‘as well as’ was one of the many conjunctive units with the root -ravn- (ravno kak (i), ravno (i), ravnym obrazom (i), ravnomerno (i), etc.) that arose in the Russian language of the 18th century as a result of calquing German adverbs and adverbial expressions with the root -gleich- (gleichals, gleichfalls, gleichwie, gleicherweise, gleichergestalt, gleichermassen, etc.), capable of being used as cumulative conjunctions. New conjunctive units were signs of book speech – scientific, fictional, epistolary, including documentary texts. From 1730–1740s, they began to be used in government administrative and legislative documents. Thanks to their cumulative semantics ravno, ravno kak, ravnomerno, ravnym obrazom easily connected with the particle i and formed conjunctive constructions. In business speech, there was a fusion of new conjunctive units (both with the particle i or without it) with the cumulative conjunction a inherited from the syntax of pre-Petrine documents. New conjunctive constructions a ravno (i), a ravnomerno (i), a ravnym obrazom (i) began to spread in documents at the end of the 1760s and from the very beginning had a bureaucratic coloration. At the beginning of the 19th century, the conjunctive combination a ravno (i) became widespread not only in documentary texts, but also in other types of written texts, reflecting the increased influence of business speech on other speech systems of the Russian language. However, from the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century, the genre-stylistic differentiation of the conjunctive unit a ravno (i) began. Currently, a ravno is used in legislative texts and has a prominent bureaucratic nuance, while a ravno i, thanks to its distinct cumulative meaning due to the particle i, is used not only in business, but also in scientific, journalistic and fiction texts.

For citation:

Zelenin A. V., Rudnev D. V. A Bureaucratic Cliché A Ravno (I) and Its History. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2022. No. 3. Pp. 79–91. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170020747-0.


The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), the projects no. 20-012-00338 “The system of imperative means in the Russian offi cial language of the XVIII century”.