Official State Language of Belarus
One of the official languages of our country is Belarusian. It is rich in nature, and there are even several variants of it.
We will tell about the features of the Belarusian language and its history, as well as talk about the second official language of the country.
History of the Belarusian language
In ancient times, the Praslavonic national and dialectal language was used in Belarus. In the 6th century, it was transformed into Old Russian, and in the 11th century - into Old Slavonic. Historians claim that the formation of the Belarusian language as an independent unit began in the 14th century. It was based on the sayings of several tribes: the ancient Radimich, Dregovichi, Smolensk and Polotsk Krivichi. The northerners, Yatviaks, Prussians and other Balts, also influenced the Belarusian language.
Picture 1 Photo by visit-belarus.com
The Belarusian Latin alphabet has been used since the 75s of the 16th century. Originally, it was built on the model of the Polish alphabet. The modern Belarusian alphabet has been in use since the first half of the 1940s and is a common Latin alphabet with the addition of č, š, ž, ć, ś, ź, ń, ŭ, Ł. Q, W and X can also be used in borrowings.
Kitabs - books written in Belarusian in Arabic script. The Tatars who settled in Belarus and Lithuania in the 14th-15th centuries created them in the 16th century.
The Kitabs contained texts explaining the Koran, descriptions of Muslim rituals and basic duties, statements by the Prophet Mohammed, as well as oriental fairy tales and adventure stories.
The Kitabs are read from right to left, and the text begins where it ends in Slavic books. Besides, the line in manuscripts is not divided into words; there are no punctuation marks and no words with capital letters. A new work begins with the word "bab" or "hackayet".
The manuscripts reflect the life, customs and traditions of Tatar migrants.
In addition to dialects, there is the so-called "Tarashkevitsa" ─ a form of spoken Belarusian language, which has a mixed morphology and word formation of the Belarusian and Russian languages. In some areas of the country, people still speak Tarashkevitsa.
Narkomovka is the official version of the Belarusian language, which is studied in Belarusian schools. In 1933, a reform was carried out, which concerned only the spelling of the Belarusian language. However, it also touched upon other areas, including grammar - there appeared participles, which are not peculiar to the Belarusian language. Dictionaries have also been changed. After the reform in the Belarusian-Russian dictionaries, the Russian variant began to be put on the first place, and the Belarusian one - on the second.
After the reform, the Belarusian language has become more russified: the originally Belarusian ones, used by people before the reform, replaced some of the borrowed Russian words.
State language of Belarus
According to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the state languages are Russian and Belarusian. However, this has not always been the case.
The history of the Belarusian language goes through three stages. The first stage ─ the period when the Belarusian lands were located in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, when the old Belarusian language was recognized as the official language. After the unification of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with Poland and the establishment of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569, the old Belarusian language lost its meaning and gave way to Polish. In 1696, Polish became the official language of the Rzeczpospolita.
The second stage of the formation and development of the Belarusian language is associated with the division of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Russian language was the official state language on the Belarusian lands at that time, but in the beginning of the 19th century the issue of the Belarusian language independence was raised.
After the October Revolution of 1917, the Belarusian language was recognized as the official state language and began to be used in official documents, court cases and educational sphere.
Picture 2 Photo by ulej.by
Foreign languages in Belarus
Today, the school curriculum in Belarus includes a compulsory study of one foreign language.
According to the Belarusian Statistical Committee, most schools in Belarus teach English and Chinese languages. The teaching of German and French has also been spread earlier. However, this trend is decreasing and English remains the leading language.
Russian language in Belarus
Today, the Russian language prevails in almost all spheres of life of Belarusians. Official documents are published in Russian, document circulation of companies is conducted in Russian, and it is also used by most mass media.
Polish language in Belarus
In Belarus, besides Russian and Belarusian, the languages of neighboring countries are also used: Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine.
Polish language is most widespread in the territories, which were part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: Grodno and Brest regions, as well as in the west of Minsk region.
Polish is not an official language, but it is used in the media and is taught in some schools. Many people in western Belarus speak Polish. The body that coordinates the development of the Polish language in Belarus is the Union of Poles of Belarus.
Popular questions on the subject
What is the national native language in Belarus?
There are two official languages in the country: Russian and Belarusian.
What language do Belarusians speak?
The population of the Republic of Belarus gives preference to the Russian language, while the minority speaks Belarusian. The Belarusian language in its pure form is used mainly in rural areas. In cities and the capital mainly the intelligentsia and patriotic part of society, use it. The Ministry of Culture also uses the Belarusian language in official documents.
How many languages is there in Belarus?
There are 5 languages in Belarus: Russian and Belarusian (main), Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian (less frequent).
Today, walking in the streets of Belarus, you will hear the Russian language from all sides. Foreign languages were rarely taught in the past, so adults in the majority of the country will not be able to maintain conversation even in English. However, today, English is the leading language and there are enough courses of English in Belarus. In addition, other languages are becoming popular in the country: Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, etc., as well.