Russkoje tsarstvo later changed to Rossiyskoye tsarstvo.

Why is the English name of the country "Russia" not spelled "Rossia"?


And in general, the Russians pronounce their country as RAssia.

This is true, but (unlike English) they put the stress on the second syllable, so the first vowel becomes a schwa-like sound. 'rasSIa' would be a better representation for those of us (myself included) who don't regular use IPA.

English is a rather unique language in many senses, one of them being that all vowels can reduce to a schwa. In this case, the u. Also, what @Spencer says: "Why do you expect anything about English spelling to make sense?"

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  • I would argue, that this is not true. In the word "RAssia" in English the "A" would sound like in "Ramsey" etc. If one wanted to closely mimic the pronunciation it should be something like "Russeeya" – user907860 Dec 25 '19 at 20:35
  • That's the point, they're not calling it RAssia, but rasSIa. – Glorfindel Dec 25 '19 at 20:36
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    Is that "RA" as in "RAn", "RAmen" or "RAke"? But in any case, note that a description for English speakers on how to pronounce "Rossiya" gives ruh-syee-yuh . – Gort the Robot Dec 26 '19 at 0:54
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    Also, what @Spencer says: "Why do you expect anything about English spelling to make sense?" - this is a myth. Very few English words have illogical spellings. It just seems that way because most of the 'culprits' are among the most commonly used words, and because unusual patterns tend to stand out / be more noticed. – Lars Bosteen Dec 26 '19 at 1:09
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    Not sure any English feature is the reason. We have Russland, Rusko, Russie. Spellings with o or a do exist, but they are the minority. – Vladimir F Dec 26 '19 at 8:50

What you have here is one instance of a larger question: why do English speakers (and I presume speakers of other languages*) often use different names for foreign countries than the inhabitants of those countries do? For instance: Spain/España, Germany/Deutschland, Finland/Suomi, Japan/Nihon…

"Russia" is in fact exactly how (most) English speakers pronounce the name of the country.

  • Just for curiosity, what do Russians call England?
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  • It just seems that in English there is a country of Rus (Russia, why not Rossia), which has not existed for about three centuries. And officially for about 30 years, as there are three separate independent countries Ukraine, Belarus and Rossia. I am a little familiar with English and that is why I am interested in this question about English. – Andriy Ivanchenko Dec 26 '19 at 19:45
  • I'd suggest "Germany/Deutschland"; and to kill your cat: either Англия (Anglija) or a fitting poison from Британские острова for the greater conundrum… – LаngLаngС Dec 26 '19 at 20:20
  • @LаngLаngС: So we can turn right around and ask the OP why the Russians don't spell Anglija however you would spell England in Cyrillic :-) – jamesqf Dec 27 '19 at 4:39
  • @jamesqf Just Rus and Rossia are historically different countries. And England is all the same country, isn't it? It has not disappeared from the historical maps during its existence? While Rus disappeared and Rossia appeared with another center of country. – Andriy Ivanchenko Dec 27 '19 at 8:24
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    Ukraine is situated in "Bloodlands" and as a young and artificial entity that strives for a nationalist definition of itself (is it partly settled with Russians, partly Russian itself etc). The Russian Wikipedia entry on etymology notes the distinction in Russian language that shines through in this question — one distinction hardly anyone else makes. -> From a nationalist interpretation it may look like 'the West' spells Russia to mean Uk is part of it? – LаngLаngС Dec 28 '19 at 8:36

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