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Belarusian (/bɛləˈrsiən, -ʒən, -ʃən/;[6] беларуская мова biełaruskaja mova [bʲelaˈruskaja ˈmova]) is an East Slavic language spoken by Belarusians. It is one of the two official languages in the Republic of Belarus under the current Constitution (Article 17), along with Russian. Additionally, it is spoken in some parts of Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Ukraine by Belarusian minorities in those countries.

Before Belarus gained independence in 1991, the language was only known in English as Byelorussian or Belorussian, the compound term retaining the English-language name for the Russian language in its second part, or alternatively as White Ruthenian (/rˈθniən/) or White Russian. Following independence, it has acquired the additional name, Belarusian, in English.[7][8]

The first attempt to standardise and codify the language was undertaken following the Russian Revolution in 1917. As one of the East Slavic languages, Belarusian shares many grammatical and lexical features with other members of the group. To some extent, Russian, Rusyn, Ukrainian, and Belarusian retain a degree of mutual intelligibility. Its predecessor stage is known in Western academia as Ruthenian (14th to 17th centuries), in turn descended from what is referred to in modern linguistics as Old East Slavic (10th to 13th centuries).

In the first Belarus Census of 1999, the Belarusian language was declared as a "language spoken at home" by about 3,686,000 Belarusian citizens (36.7% of the population).[9][10] About 6,984,000 (85.6%) of Belarusians declared it their "mother tongue". Other sources, such as Ethnologue, put the figure at approximately 2.5 million active speakers.[8][11]

According to a study done by the Belarusian government in 2009, 72% of Belarusians speak Russian at home, while Belarusian is actively used by only 11.9% of Belarusians. Approximately 29.4% of Belarusians can write, speak, and read Belarusian, while 52.5% can only read and speak it.

In the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, the Belarusian language is stated to be vulnerable.[12]

Phonology

Although closely related to other East Slavic languages, especially Ukrainian, Belarusian phonology is distinct in a number of ways. The phoneme inventory of the modern Belarusian language consists of 45 to 54 phonemes: 6 vowels and 39 to 48 consonants, depending on how they are counted. When the nine geminate consonants are excluded as mere variations, there are 39 consonants, and excluding rare consonants further decreases the count. The number 48 includes all consonant sounds, including variations and rare sounds, which may be semantically distinct in the modern Belarusian language.

Alphabet

The Belarusian alphabet is a variant of the Cyrillic script, which was first used as an alphabet for the Old Church Slavonic language. The modern Belarusian form was defined in 1918, and consists of thirty-two letters. Before that, Belarusian had also been written in the Belarusian Latin alphabet (Łacinka / Лацінка), the Belarusian Arabic alphabet (by Lipka Tatars) and the Hebrew alphabet (by Belarusian Jews).[13] The gained independence in 1991, the language was only known in English as Byelorussian or Belorussian, the compound term retaining the English-language name for the Russian language in its second part, or alternatively as White Ruthenian (/rˈθniən/) or White Russian. Following independence, it has acquired the additional name, Belarusian, in English.[7][8]

The first attempt to standardise and codify the language was undertaken following the Russian Revolution in 1917. As one of the East Slavic languages, Belarusian shares many grammatical and lexical features with other members of the group. To some extent, Russian, Rusyn, Ukrainian, and Belarusian retain a degree of mutual intelligibility. Its predecessor stage is known in Western academia as Ruthenian (14th to 17th centuries), in turn descended from what is referred to in modern linguistics as Old East Slavic (10th to 13th centuries).

In the first Belarus Census of 1999, the Belarusian language was declared as a "language spoken at home" by about 3,686,000 Belarusian citizens (36.7% of the population).[9][10] About 6,984,000 (85.6%) of Belarusians declared it their "mother tongue". Other sources, such as Ethnologue, put the figure at approximately 2.5 million active speakers.[8][11]

According to a study done by the Belarusian government in 2009, 72% of Belarusians speak Russian at home, while Belarusian is actively used by only 11.9% of Belarusians. Approximately 29.4% of Belarusians can write, speak, and read Belarusian, while 52.5% can only read and speak it.

In the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, the Belarusian language is stated to be vulnerable.[12]

Although closely related to other East Slavic languages, especially Ukrainian, Belarusian phonology is distinct in a number of ways. The phoneme inventory of the modern Belarusian language consists of 45 to 54 phonemes: 6 vowels and 39 to 48 consonants, depending on how they are counted. When the nine geminate consonants are excluded as mere variations, there are 39 consonants, and excluding rare consonants further decreases the count. The number 48 includes all consonant sounds, including variations and rare sounds, which may be semantically distinct in the modern Belarusian language.

Alphabet

The Belarusian alphabet is a variant of the Cyrillic script, which was first used as an alphabet for the Old Church Slavonic language. The modern Belarusian form was defined in 1918, and consists of thirty-two letters. Before that, Belarusian had also been written in the Belarusian Latin alphabet (Łacinka / Лацінка), the Belarusian Arabic alphabet (by Lipka Tatars) and the Hebrew alphabet (by Belarusian Jews).[13] The Glagolitic script has been used, sporadically, until the 11th or 12th century.

There are several systems of romanizing (transliterating) written Belarusian texts; see Romanization of Belarusian. Rarely is the Belarusian Latin alphabet used.

Grammar

Standardized Belarusian grammar in its modern form was adopted in 1959, with minor amendments in 1985 and 2008. It was developed from the initial form set down by Branislaw Tarashkyevich (first printed in Vilnius, 1918), and it is mainly based on the Belarusian folk dialects of Minsk-Vilnius region. Historically, there have been several other alternative standardized forms of Belarusian grammar.

Belarusian grammar is mostly synthetic and partly analytic, and overall quite similar to Russian grammar. Belarusian orthography, however, differs significantly from Russian orthography in some respects, due to the fact that it is a phonetic orthography that closely represents the surface phonology, whereas Russian orthography represents the underlying morphophonology.

The most significant instance of this is found in the representation of vowel reduction, and in particular akanye, the merger of unstressed /a/ and /o/, which exists in both Russian and Belarusian. Belarusian always spells this merged sound as ⟨a⟩, whereas Russian uses either ⟨a⟩ or ⟨o⟩, according to what the "underlying" phoneme is (determined by identifying the related words where the vowel is being stressed or, if no such words exist, by either etymology or pronunciation in dialects that lack the merger). This means that Belarusian noun and verb paradigms, in their written form, have numerous instances of alternations between written ⟨a⟩ and ⟨o⟩, whereas no such alternations exist in the corresponding written paradigms in Russian. This can significantly complicate the foreign speakers' task of learning these paradigms; on the other hand, though, it makes spelling easier for native speakers.

An example illustrating the contrast between the treatment of akanje in Russian and Belarusian orthography is the spelling of the word for “products; produce”:

  • In Ukrainian: продукти (pronounced “produkty”)
  • In Russian: продукты (pronounced “pradukty”)
  • In Belarusian: прадукты (pronounced “pradukty”)
Ethnographic Map of Slavic and Baltic Languages

Dialects

Dialects
  North-Eastern
  Middle
  South-Western
  West Palyesian
Lines
  Area of Belarusian language[14]
  Eastern border of western group of Russian dialects (1967, Zaharova, Orlova)
  Border between Belarusian and Russian or Ukrainian (1980, Bevzenk)

Besides the standardized lect, there are two main dialects of the Belarusian language, the North-Eastern and the South-Western. In addition, there is a transitional Middle Belarusian dialect group and the separate West Palyesian[clarification needed] dialect group.

The North-Eastern and the South-Western dialects are separated by a hypothetical line AshmyanyMinskBabruyskHomyel, with the area of the Middle Belarusian dialect group placed on and along this line.

The North-Eastern dialect is chiefly characterized by the "soft sounding R" (мякка-эравы) and "strong akanye" (моцнае аканне), and the South-Western dialect is chiefly characterized by the "hard sounding R" (цвёрда-эравы) and "moderate akanye" (умеранае аканне).

The West Polesian dialect group is a dialect of Ukrainian and is separated by the conventional line PruzhanyIvatsevichyTelekhanyCyrillic script, which was first used as an alphabet for the Old Church Slavonic language. The modern Belarusian form was defined in 1918, and consists of thirty-two letters. Before that, Belarusian had also been written in the Belarusian Latin alphabet (Łacinka / Лацінка), the Belarusian Arabic alphabet (by Lipka Tatars) and the Hebrew alphabet (by Belarusian Jews).[13] The Glagolitic script has been used, sporadically, until the 11th or 12th century.

There are several systems of romanizing (transliterating) written Belarusian texts; see Romanization of Belarusian. Rarely is the Belarusian Latin alphabet used.

GrammarThere are several systems of romanizing (transliterating) written Belarusian texts; see Romanization of Belarusian. Rarely is the Belarusian Latin alphabet used.

Standardized Belarusian grammar in its modern form was adopted in 1959, with minor amendments in 1985 and 2008. It was developed from the initial form set down by Branislaw Tarashkyevich (first printed in Vilnius, 1918), and it is mainly based on the Belarusian folk dialects of Minsk-Vilnius region. Historically, there have been several other alternative standardized forms of Belarusian grammar.

Belarusian grammar is mostly synthetic and partly analytic, and overall quite similar to Russian grammar. Belarusian orthography, however, differs significantly from Russian orthography in some respects, due to the fact that it is a phonetic orthography<

Belarusian grammar is mostly synthetic and partly analytic, and overall quite similar to Russian grammar. Belarusian orthography, however, differs significantly from Russian orthography in some respects, due to the fact that it is a phonetic orthography that closely represents the surface phonology, whereas Russian orthography represents the underlying morphophonology.

The most significant instance of this is found in the representation of vowel reduction, and in particular akanye, the merger of unstressed /a/ and /o/, which exists in both Russian and Belarusian. Belarusian always spells this merged sound as ⟨a⟩, whereas Russian uses either ⟨a⟩ or ⟨o⟩, according to what the "underlying" phoneme is (determined by identifying the related words where the vowel is being stressed or, if no such words exist, by either etymology or pronunciation in dialects that lack the merger). This means that Belarusian noun and verb paradigms, in their written form, have numerous instances of alternations between written ⟨a⟩ and ⟨o⟩, whereas no such alternations exist in the corresponding written paradigms in Russian. This can significantly complicate the foreign speakers' task of learning these paradigms; on the other hand, though, it makes spelling easier for native speakers.

An example illustrating the contrast between the treatment of akanje in Russian and Belarusian orthography is the spelling of the word for “products; produce”:

Besides the standardized lect, there are two main dialects of the Belarusian language, the North-Eastern and the South-Western. In addition, there is a transitional Middle Belarusian dialect group and the separate West Palyesian[clarification needed] dialect group.

The North-Eastern and the South-Western dialects are separated by a hypothetical line AshmyanyMinskBabruyskHomyel, with the area of the Middle Belarusian dialect group placed on and along this line.

The North-Eastern dialect is chiefly characterized by the "soft sounding R" (мякка-эравы) and "strong akanye" (моцнае аканне), and the South-Western dialect is chiefly characterized by the "hard sounding R" (цвёрда-эравы) and "moderate akanye" (умеранае аканне).

The West Polesian dialect group is a dialect of Ukrainian and is separated by the conventional line PruzhanyIvatsevichyTelekhanyLuninyetsStolin.

Classification and relationship to other languages

There is a high degree of mutual intelligibility among the Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian languages.[15] Belarusian has 80% mutual intelligibility with Ukrainian, 75% with Russian, and 41% with the Polish language.[16]

Within East Slavic, the Belarusian language is most closely related to Ukrainian.[17]

History

The first Lithuanian statute of 1529, in Belarusian

The modern Belarusian language was redeveloped on the base of the vernacular spoken remnants of the Ruthenian language, surviving in the ethnic Belarusian territories in the 19th century. The end of the 18th century (the times of the Divisions of Commonwealth) is the usual conventional borderline between the Ruthenian and Modern Belarusian stages of development.

By the end of the 18th century, (Old) Belarusian was still common among the minor nobility in eastern part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (in the territory of present-day Belarus). Jan Czeczot in the 1840s had mentioned that even his generation's grandfathers preferred speaking (Old) Belarusian.[18]

The North-Eastern and the South-Western dialects are separated by a hypothetical line AshmyanyMinskBabruyskHomyel, with the area of the Middle Belarusian dialect group placed on and along this line.

The North-Eastern dialect is chiefly characterized by the "soft sounding R" (мякка-эравы) and "strong akanye" (моцнае аканне), and the South-Western dialect is chiefly characterized by the "hard sounding R" (цвёрда-эравы) and "moderate akanye" (умеранае аканне).

The West Polesian dialect group is a dialect of Ukrainian and is separated by the conventional line PruzhanyIvatsevichyTelekhanyLuninyetsStolin.

There is a high degree of mutual intelligibility among the Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian languages.[15] Belarusian has 80% mutual intelligibility with Ukrainian, 75% with Russian, and 41% with the Polish language.[16]

Within East Slavic, the Belarusian language is most closely related to Ukrainian.[17]

History

The rising influence of Socialist ideas advanced the emancipation of the Belarusian language still further (see also: Belarusian Socialist Assembly, Circle of Belarusian People's Education and Belarusian Culture, Belarusian Socialist Lot, Socialist Party "White Russia", Alaiza Pashkievich, Nasha Dolya). The fundamental works of Yefim Karskiy marked a turning point in the scientific perception of Belarusian. The ban on publishing books and papers in Belarusian was officially removed (25 December 1904). The unprecedented surge of national feeling in the 20th century, especially among the workers and peasants, particularly after the events of 1905,[27] gave momentum to the intensive development of Belarusian literature and press (See also: Belarusian Socialist Assembly, Circle of Belarusian People's Education and Belarusian Culture, Belarusian Socialist Lot, Socialist Party "White Russia", Alaiza Pashkievich, Nasha Dolya). The fundamental works of Yefim Karskiy marked a turning point in the scientific perception of Belarusian. The ban on publishing books and papers in Belarusian was officially removed (25 December 1904). The unprecedented surge of national feeling in the 20th century, especially among the workers and peasants, particularly after the events of 1905,[27] gave momentum to the intensive development of Belarusian literature and press (See also: Naša niva, Yanka Kupala, Yakub Kolas).

Grammar

During the 19th and early 20th century, there was n

During the 19th and early 20th century, there was no normative Belarusian grammar. Authors wrote as they saw fit, usually representing the particularities of different Belarusian dialects. The scientific groundwork for the introduction of a truly scientific and modern grammar of the Belarusian language was laid down by the linguist Yefim Karskiy.

By the early 1910s, the continuing lack of a codified Belarusian grammar was becoming intolerably obstructive in the opinion of uniformitarian prescriptivists. Then Russian academician Shakhmatov, chair of the Russian language and literatur

By the early 1910s, the continuing lack of a codified Belarusian grammar was becoming intolerably obstructive in the opinion of uniformitarian prescriptivists. Then Russian academician Shakhmatov, chair of the Russian language and literature department of St. Petersburg University, approached the board of the Belarusian newspaper Naša niva with a proposal that a Belarusian linguist be trained under his supervision in order to be able to create documentation of the grammar. Initially, the famous Belarusian poet Maksim Bahdanovich was to be entrusted with this work. However, Bahdanovich's poor health (tuberculosis) precluded his living in the climate of St. Petersburg, so Branislaw Tarashkyevich, a fresh graduate of the Vilnya Liceum No. 2, was selected for the task.

In the Belarusian community, great interest was vested in this enterprise. The already famous Belarusian poet Yanka Kupala, in his letter to Tarashkyevich, urged him to "hurry with his much-needed work". Tarashkyevich had been working on the preparation of the grammar during 1912–1917, with the help and supervision of Shakhmatov and Karskiy. Tarashkyevich had completed the work by the autumn of 1917, even moving from the tumultuous Petrograd of 1917 to the relative calm of Finland in order to be able to complete it uninterrupted.

By the summer of 1918, it became obvious that there were insurmountable problems with the printing of Tarashkyevich's grammar in Petrograd: a lack of paper, type and qualified personnel. Meanwhile, his grammar had apparently been planned to be adopted in the workers' and peasants' schools of Belarus that were to be set up, so Tarashkyevich was permitted to print his book abroad. In June 1918, he arrived in Vilnius, via Finland. The Belarusian Committee petitioned the administration to allow the book to be printed. Finally, the first edition of the "Belarusian grammar for schools" was printed (Vil'nya, 1918).

There existed at least two other contemporary attempts at codifying the Belarusian grammar. In 1915, Rev. Balyaslaw Pachopka had prepared a Belarusian grammar using the Latin script. Belarusian linguist S. M. Nyekrashevich considered Pachopka's grammar unscientific and ignorant of the principles of the language. But Pachopka's grammar was reportedly taught in an unidentified number of schools, from 1918 for an unspecified period. Another grammar was supposedly jointly prepared by A. Lutskyevich and Ya. Stankyevich, and differed from Tarashkyevich's grammar somewhat in the resolution of some key aspects.

On 22 December 1915, Paul von Hindenburg issued an order on schooling in German Army-occupied territories in the Russian Empire (Ober Ost), banning schooling in Russian and including the Belarusian language in an exclusive list of four languages made mandatory in the respective native schooling systems (Belarusian, Lithuanian, Polish, Yiddish). School attendance was not made mandatory, though. Passports at this time were bilingual, in German and in one of the "native languages".[28] Also at this time, Belarusian preparatory schools, printing houses, press organs were opened (see also: Homan (1916)).

1917–1920

After the 1917 February Revolution in Russia, the Belarusian language became an important factor in political activities in the Belarusian lands (see also: Central Council of Belarusian Organisations, Great Belarusian Council, First All-Belarusian Congress, Belnatskom). In the Belarusian People's Republic, Belarusian was used as the only official language (decreed by Belarusian People's Secretariat on 28 April 1918). Subsequently, in the Belarusian SSR, Belarusian was decreed to be one of the four (Belarusian, Polish, Russian, and Yiddish) official languages (decreed by Central Executive Committee of BSSR in February 1921).

1920–1930

A decree of 15 July 1924 confirmed that the Belarusian, Russian, Yiddish and Polish languages had equal status in Soviet Belarus.[29]

In the BSSR, Tarashkyevich's grammar had been officially accepted for use in state schooling after its re-publication in unchanged form, first in 1922 by Yazep Lyosik under his own name as Practical grammar. Part I, then in 1923 by the Belarusian State Publishing House under the title Belarusian language. Grammar. Ed. I. 1923, also by "Ya. Lyosik".

In 1925, Lyosik added two new chapters, addressing the orthography of compound words and partly modifying the orthography of assimilated words. From this point on, Belarusian gra

In the BSSR, Tarashkyevich's grammar had been officially accepted for use in state schooling after its re-publication in unchanged form, first in 1922 by Yazep Lyosik under his own name as Practical grammar. Part I, then in 1923 by the Belarusian State Publishing House under the title Belarusian language. Grammar. Ed. I. 1923, also by "Ya. Lyosik".

In 1925, Lyosik added two new chapters, addressing the orthography of compound words and partly modifying the orthography of assimilated words. From this point on, Belarusian grammar had been popularized and taught in the educational system in that form. The ambiguous and insufficient development of several components of Tarashkyevich's grammar was perceived to be the cause of some problems in practical usage, and this led to discontent with the grammar.

In 1924–25, Lyosik and his brother Anton Lyosik prepared and published their project of orthographic reform, proposing a number of radical changes. A fully phonetic orthography was introduced. One of the most distinctive changes brought in was the principle of akanye (Belarusian: ́аканне), wherein unstressed "o", pronounced in both Russian and Belarusian as /a/, is written as "а".

The Belarusian Academic Conference on Reform of the Orthography and Alphabet was convened in 1926. After discussions on the project, the Conference made resolutions on some of the problems. However, the Lyosik brothers' project had not addressed all the problematic issues, so the Conference was not able to address all of those.

As the outcome of the conference, the Orthographic Commission was created to prepare the project of the actual reform. This was instigated on 1 October 1927, headed by S. Nyekrashevich, with the following principal guidelines of its work adopted:

During its work in 1927–29, the Commission had actually prepared the project for spelling reform. The resulting project had included both completely new rules and existing rules in unchanged and changed forms, some of the changes being the work of the Commission itself, and others resulting from the resolutions of the Belarusian Academic Conference (1926), re-approved by the Commission.

Notably, the use of the Ь (soft sign) before the combinations "consonant+iotified vowel" ("softened consonants"), which had been previously denounced as highly redundant (e.g., in the proceedings of the Belarusian Academic Conference (1926)), was cancelled. However, the complete resolution of the highly important issue of the orthography of unstressed Е (IE) was not achieved.

Notably, the use of the Ь (soft sign) before the combinations "consonant+iotified vowel" ("softened consonants"), which had been previously denounced as highly redundant (e.g., in the proceedings of the Belarusian Academic Conference (1926)), was cancelled. However, the complete resolution of the highly important issue of the orthography of unstressed Е (IE) was not achieved.

Both the resolutions of the Belarusian Academic Conference (1926) and the project of the Orthographic Commission (1930) caused much disagreement in the Belarusian academic environment. Several elements of the project were to be put under appeal in the "higher (political) bodies of power".

In West Belarus, under Polish rule, the Belarusian language was at a disadvantage. Schooling in the Belarusian language was obstructed, and printing in Belarusian experienced political oppression.[30]

The prestige of the Belarusian language in the Western Belarus during the period hinged significantly on the image of the BSSR being the "true Belarusian home".[31][<

The prestige of the Belarusian language in the Western Belarus during the period hinged significantly on the image of the BSSR being the "true Belarusian home".[31][verification needed] This image, however, was strongly disrupted by the "purges" of "national-democrats" in BSSR (1929–30) and by the subsequent grammar reform (1933).

Tarashkyevich's grammar was re-published five times in Western Belarus. However, the 5th edition (1929) (reprinted verbatim in Belarus in 1991 and often referred to) was the version diverging from the previously published one, which Tarashkyevich had prepared disregarding the Belarusian Academic Conference (1926) resolutions. (Тарашкевіч 1991, Foreword)

In 1929–30, the Communist authorities of Soviet Belarus made a series of drastic crackdowns against the supposed "national-democratic counter-revolution" (informally "nats-dems" (Belarusian: нац-дэмы)). Effectively, entire generations of Socialist Belarusian national activists in the first quarter of the 20th century were wiped out of political, scientific and social existence. Only the most famous cult figures (e.g. Yanka Kupala) were spared.

However, a new power group in Belarusian science quickly formed during these power shifts, under the virtual leadership of the Head of the Philosophy Institute of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, academician S. Ya. Vol’fson (С. Я. Вольфсон). The book published under his editorship, Science in Service of Nats-Dems’ Counter-Revolution (1931), represented the new spirit of political life in Soviet Belarus.

1933 reform of Belarusian grammarHowever, a new power group in Belarusian science quickly formed during these power shifts, under the virtual leadership of the Head of the Philosophy Institute of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, academician S. Ya. Vol’fson (С. Я. Вольфсон). The book published under his editorship, Science in Service of Nats-Dems’ Counter-Revolution (1931), represented the new spirit of political life in Soviet Belarus.

The Reform of Belarusian Grammar (1933) had been brought out quite unexpectedly, supposedly [Stank 1936], with the project published in the central newspaper of the Belarusian Communist Party (Zviazda) on 1933-06-28 and the decree of the Council of People's Commissars (Council of Ministers) of BSSR issued on 1933-08-28, to gain the status of law on 1933-09-16.

There had been some post-facto speculations, too, that the 1930 project of the reform (as prepared by people who were no longer seen as politically "clean"), had been given for the "purification" to the "nats-dems" competition in the Academy of Sciences, which would explain the "block" nature of the differences between the 1930 and 1933 versions. Peculiarly, Yan Stankyevich in his notable critique of the reform [Stank 1936] failed to mention the 1930 project, dating the reform project to 1932. The reform resulted in the grammar officially used, with further amendments, in Byelorussian SSR and modern Belarus. Sometimes this grammar is called the official grammar of the Belarusian language, to distinguish it from the pre-reform grammar, known as the classic grammar or Taraškievica (Tarashkevitsa). It is also known as narkamauka, after the word narkamat, a Belarusian abbreviation for People's Commissariat (ministry). The latter term bears a derogatory connotation.

The officially announced causes for the reform were:

The reform had been accompanied by a fervent press campaign directed against the "nats-dems not yet giving up."

The decree had been named On Changing and Simplifying Belarusian Spelling («Аб зменах і спрашчэнні беларускага правапісу»), but the bulk of the changes had been introduced into the grammar. Yan Stankyevich in his critique of the reform talked about 25 changes, with one of them being strictly orthographical and 24 relating to both orth

The decree had been named On Changing and Simplifying Belarusian Spelling («Аб зменах і спрашчэнні беларускага правапісу»), but the bulk of the changes had been introduced into the grammar. Yan Stankyevich in his critique of the reform talked about 25 changes, with one of them being strictly orthographical and 24 relating to both orthography and grammar. [Stank 1936]

Many of the changes in the orthography proper ("stronger principle of AH-ing," "no redundant soft sign," "uniform nye and byez") were, in fact, simply implementations of earlier proposals made by people who had subsequently suffered political suppression (e.g., Yazep Lyosik, Lastowski, Nyekrashevich, 1930 project).[32][33] [Padluzhny 2004]

The morphological principle in the orthography had been strengthened, which also had been proposed in 1920s.[32]

The "removal of the influences of the Polonisation" had been represented, effectively, by the:

The "removing of the artificial barriers between the Russian and Belarusian languages" (virtually the often-quoted "Russification of the Belarusian language", which may well happen to be a term coined by Yan Stankyevich) had, according to Stankyevich, moved the normative Belarusian morphology and syntax closer to their Russian counterparts, often removing from use the indigenous features of the Belarusian language. [Stank 1936]

Stankyevich also observed that some components of the reform had moved the Belarusian grammar to the grammars of other Slavonic languages, which would hardly be its goal. [Stank 1936]

West Belarus

In Stankyevich also observed that some components of the reform had moved the Belarusian grammar to the grammars of other Slavonic languages, which would hardly be its goal. [Stank 1936]

In West Belarus, there had been some voices raised against the reform, chiefly by the non-Communist/non-socialist wing of the Belarusian national scene. Yan Stankyevich was named to the Belarusian Scientific Society, Belarusian National Committee and Society of the Friends of Belarusian Linguistics at Wilno University. Certain political and scientific groups and figures went on using the pre-reform orthography and grammar, however, thus multiplying and differing versions.

However, the reformed grammar and orthography had been used, too, for example during the process of Siarhei Prytytski in 1936.

Second World WarSiarhei Prytytski in 1936.

During the Occupation of Belarus by Nazi Germany (1941–1944), the Belarusian collaborationists influenced newspapers and schools to use the Belarusian language. This variant did not use any of the post-1933 changes in vocabulary, orthography and grammar. Much publishing in Belarusian Latin script was done. In general, in the publications of the Soviet partisan movement in Belarus, the normative 1934 grammar was used.

Post Second World War

There are a number of names under which the Belarusian language has been known, both contemporary and historical. Some of the most dissimilar are from the Old Belarusian period.

Official, romanised

Notes

  1. ^ a b "Population classified by knowledge of the Belarusian and Russian languages by region and Minsk City". Belstat.gov.by. Retrieved 2 December 2018.