Ruthenian or Old Ruthenian (also see other names) was the group of varieties of East Slavic spoken in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later in the East Slavic territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The written form is also called Chancery Slavonic by Lithuanian and Western European linguists. Scholars do not agree whether Ruthenian was a separate language, or a Western dialect or set of dialects of Old East Slavic, but it is agreed that Ruthenian has a close relationship to it. Old East Slavic was the colloquial language used in Kievan Rus' (10th–13th centuries). Dialects of Ruthenian slowly developed into modern Belarusian, Rusyn and Ukrainian languages.


and Theodor Gartner ]] from the Glorious City of Polatsk'']] In modern texts, the language in question is sometimes called "Old Ukrainian" or "Old Belarusian" () and (). As Ruthenian was always in a kind of diglossia| diglossic opposition to Church Slavonic, this vernacular language was and still is often called ''prosta(ja) mova'' (Cyrillic проста(я) мова), literally "simple speech".

Names in contemporary use

* ''Ruthenian/Rusian'' (Old Belarusian: руски езыкъ) – by the contemporaries, but, generally, not in contemporary Russia. ** (variant) ''Simple Ruthenian'' or ''simple talk'' (Old Belarusian: простый руский (язык) or простая молва, про́ста мова) – publisher Hryhorii Khodkevych (16th century). * ''Lithuanian'' (russian: Литовский язык) – possibly, exclusive reference to it in the contemporary Russia. Also by Zizaniy (end of the 16th century), Pamva Berynda (1653).

Names in modern use for Ruthenian

* ''(Old) Ruthenian'' – modern collective name, covering both Old Belarusian and Old Ukrainian languages, predominantly used by the 20th-century Lithuanian, also many Polish and English researchers. * ''(Old) West Russian'', language or dialect (russian: (Древний) западнорусский язык, russian: (Древнее) западнорусское наречие) – chiefly by the supporters of the concept of the Proto-Russian phase, especially since the end of the 19th century, e.g., by Karskiy, Shakhmatov. Russian Wikipedia uses the term ''West Russian written language'' (Западнорусский письменный язык). * ''(Old) Belarusian'' (language) – in Belarus and by some Russian researchers. Also Kryzhanich. The denotation ''Belarusian'' (language) (russian: белорусский (язык)) when referring ''both'' to the 19th-century language and to the Medieval language had been used in works of the 19th-century Russian researchers Fyodor Buslayev, Ogonovskiy, Zhitetskiy, Sobolevskiy, Nedeshev, Vladimirov and Belarusian researchers, such as Karskiy. * ''Lithuanian-Russian'' (russian: литовско-русский) – by 19th-century Russian researchers Keppen, archbishop Filaret, Sakharov, Karatayev. * ''Lithuanian-Slavonic'' (russian: литово-славянский) – by 19th-century Russian researcher Baranovskiy. * ''Chancery Slavonic'' – for the written form of Old Church Slavonic, influenced by various Ruthenian dialects and used in the chancery of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. *''Ruski'' – used by Norman Davies in ''Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe'' (2011). Daniel Bunčić suggested a periodization of the literary language into: # Early Ruthenian, dating from the separation of Lithuanian and Muscovite chancery languages (15th century) to the early 16th century # High Ruthenian, from Francysk Skaryna (fl. 1517–25), to Ivan Uzhevych (''Hramatyka slovenskaia'', 1643, 1645) # Late Ruthenian, from 1648 to the establishment of a new Ukrainian standard language at the end of the 18th century George Shevelov gives a chronology for Ukrainian based on the character of contemporary written sources, ultimately reflecting socio-historical developments: Proto-Ukrainian, up to the mid-11th century, Old Ukrainian, to the 14th c., Early Middle Ukrainian, to the mid-16th c., Middle Ukrainian, to the early 18th c., Late Middle Ukrainian, rest of the 18th c., and Modern Ukrainian. thumb|300px|Linguistic, ethnographic, and political map of Eastern Europe by Casimir Delamarre, 1868

See also

*Galicia (Eastern Europe)



* Brogi Bercoff, Giovanna: “Plurilingualism in Eastern Slavic culture of the 17th century: The case of Simeon Polockij.” In: ''Slavia: Časopis pro slovanskou filologii'', vol. 64. p. 3-14. * Danylenko, Andrii: "'Prostaja mova', 'Kitab', and Polissian Standard". In: ''Die Welt der Slaven'' LI (2006), no. 1, p. 80-115. * Danylenko, Andrii: "On the Name(s) of the prostaja mova in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth", In: Studia Slavica Hung., 51/1-2 (2006),p. 97-121 * Dingley, Jim ames “The two versions of the Gramatyka Slovenskaja of Ivan Uževič.’ In: ''The Journal of Byelorussian Studies'', 2.4 (year VIII), p. 369-384. * Frick, David A. "'Foolish Rus': On Polish civilization, Ruthenian self-hatred, and Kasijan Sakovyč." In: ''Harvard Ukrainian studies'' 18.3/4 (1994), p. 210-248. * Martel, Antoine. ''La langue polonaise dans les pays ruthènes: Ukraine et Russie Blanche 1569/1667.'' Lille 1938. * Moser, Michael: "Mittelruthenisch (Mittelweißrussisch und Mittelukrainisch): Ein Überblick." In: ''Studia Slavica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae'' 50 (2005), no. 1-2, p. 125-142. * Mozer  Moser Michaėl’. "Čto takoe 'prostaja mova'?". In: ''Studia Slavica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae'' 47.3/4 (2002), p. 221-260. * Pivtorak, Hryhorij. “Do pytannja pro ukrajins’ko-bilorus’ku vzajemodiju donacional’noho periodu (dosjahnennja, zavdannja i perspektyvy doslidžen’)”. In: ''Movoznavstvo'' 1978.3 (69), p. 31-40. * Pugh, Stefan M.: ''Testament to Ruthenian. A Linguistic Analysis of the Smotryc’kyj Variant''. Cambridge 1996 (= Harvard Series of Ukrainian Studies). * Shevelov, George Y. “Belorussian versus Ukrainian: Delimitation of texts before A.D. 1569”. In: ''The Journal of Byelorussian Studies'' 3.2 (year 10), p. 145-156. * Stang, Christian: ''Die westrussische Kanzleisprache des Grossfürstentums Litauen''. Oslo 1935 (= Skrifter utgitt av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo, Historisk-filosofisk Klasse 1935,2). * Strumins’kyj, Bohdan. “The language question in the Ukrainian lands before the nineteenth century”. In: ''Aspects of the Slavic language question.'' Ed. Riccardo Picchio, Harvey Goldblatt. New Haven 1984, vol. 2, p. 9-47.

External links

"Hrodna town books language problems in Early Modern Times" by Jury Hardziejeŭ
{{DEFAULTSORT:Ruthenian Language Category:East Slavic languages Category:Medieval languages Category:Ukrainian diaspora