Are you familiar with Belarus? How familiar are you with the country’s language, Belrusan or the Belarusian language? Our Day Translations blog is excited to tell you all about this hidden language, the history, the culture, and the people who speak it.
Let’s take a journey to Eastern Europe and discover the intricacies of the hidden language Belarusan.
Officially known as the Republic of Belarus, this country is located in Eastern Europe and is bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. With a population of 9.3 million, it is the 20th most populous and 13th largest country in Europe.
One of Belarus’ two official languages is Belarusian. The majority of people regard it as being native to the country. There are roughly 7 million people in the country who speak their native language. The Belarusian language is still in use today despite having traveled a difficult route.
The History of the Belarusian Language
The Belarusian language is just as ancient as its Slavic cousins, Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish. The dialects of distinct Slavic tribes, which first started to colonize the vast lands of Central and Eastern Europe two thousand years ago, served as the foundation for the creation and development of Slavic languages. The Dregovich, Krivich, and Radimich dialects of three Slavic tribes served as the foundation for the Belarusian language.
The very first mention of the Belarusian language dates back to the 14th-16th centuries, when the current territory of Belarus was a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In state matters, Belarusian was then employed as the official language.
Later, Belarus underwent Polonization and russification processes since it was a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Russian Empire. 5.89 million people, according to the Russian Empire Census of 1897, indicated that they could speak Belarusian.
During the Soviet era, the discrimination against the Belarusian language was caused by the desire to create a New Soviet people. Despite being forbidden from official use, many civic organizations backed the resuscitation of the languages and cultures.
The resuscitation of the language and culture received support from various citizen groups despite being forbidden from official use. The Belarusian language was identified with the opposition’s language after Lukashenka took office in 1994, focusing on the idea of Soviet nostalgia. In 1996, when Russian was made the second official language, this designation was strengthened.
Belarusian Language Dialects
The Belarusian language includes a significant amount of regional accents and dialects. Sometimes dialectal variances are documented among neighboring villages and other regions of the same village. The Northeastern, Southwestern, and Middle Belarusian transitional dialects are thought to be the primary dialects of the Belarusian language.
Modern Day Belarusian Language
About 3,686,000 Belarusian people reported using the Belarusian language as their language is spoken at home during the 1999 Belarus Census36; this represents about 36.7% percent of the population. Approximately 6,984,000 or 85.6% of Belarusians identified it as their “mother tongue.”
According to some sources, there are 6,715,000 speakers of the language in Belarus and 9,081,102 speakers worldwide. In their homes, 72% of Belarusians speak Russian, compared to only 11.9% who speak Belarusian, according to a 2009 study conducted by the government of Belarus.
Following Belarus’s independence, the government designated Belarusian and Russian as the nation’s official languages. However, no institution has ever helped Belarusan gain popularity, and Russian has remained the language of choice. Today, Belarusians have a language they refer to as “Trasyanka” that combines Belarusian and Russian.
It’s always exciting to learn about a new language, its history, and the country it is associated with. We hope you learned something new. We’d also love to hear your thoughts on Belarusian and its journey over time to be what it is today.
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