Talk:Belarusian language/Archive 1

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From 6birc 20:00 Dec 29, 2002 (UTC), regarding Modster's removal of my modification: The link I provided on the Belarusian language page wasn't exactly to the page itself. It was the link to a different page Belorussian -- which redirected in turn to the forementioned one. Notice however, that the redirection may be temporary. Some unique content may appear there in future. Belorussian may be a name of ethnic group in opposition to Belarusian language -- could I have been sure it wasn't? I have found that page linked from another one (List_of_ethnic_groups) but, after latest modifications, it became probably unlinked by any page. This would be unhealthy situation. So I decided that it should be linked from Belarusian language, so that someone more competent than me will notice it some day and do something constructive about it. I am not competent enough to remove the Belorussian entry myself. I believe that it's better for it to be dummy-linked by whatever page -- like this one -- than to become lost undeleted and unnoticed.

From Modster Jan 03, 2003 Before I deleted the link I checked out the history of the Belorussian page the content of the original page (before it got redirected) was about the language. But as long as theres no content on Belorussian other than redirect I see no point to link to the page from here, its just confusing. Let's hope that someone edits the Belorussian page and writes about the ethnic group. Restore the link if you want to. Im sorry for any inconvenience Ive caused.

I think that linking from Belorussian as an ethnic group to Belorussian language is not clear at all. I think part of the confusion is the spelling so I've tried to make that clear on the Belarussian page and point to other pages that deal with the Belarusian people. Alex756

Guys, you should read this - - Belarusian IS correct. Everything else is wrong. Rydel

For your info: added some stuff at U-breve --Trainspotter

Moved from Talk:Alexander Lukashenko


According to the 1999 census, about 38 percent of Belarusian residents speak in Belarusian in their every day lives, and 82 percent consider Belarusian their mother tongue. As mentioned elsewhere in this section, it is an overtly political, authoritarian decision by the current regime ruling Belarus to replace Belarusian with Russian (continuing the ignoble tradition begun in the Russian tsarist and Soviet Russian eras).
The fact that the Belarusian constitution guarantees that both Belarusian and Russian are the official languages of Belarus, does not seem to be relevant for the current Belarusian government. (They ignore the constitution as often as they follow it.)
As far as the Belarusian government is concerned, the use of the Belarusian language is a political statement in today's (post-1995) Belarus--no matter if someone prefers to use Belarusian because it happens to be the language the person grew up using. To the government, the speaker (or writer) is a member of the opposition and thus a potential criminal willing to do anything to topple the government. "Smart" Belarusians who do not want trouble with the authorities only speak Russian, and especially so in public. The following are representative reports (it is very likely that most such events are never reported):

On April 14, 1998, three youths who were speaking Belarusian as they were walking near Kamarovsky Market in central Mensk were first beaten by security guards and attacked by their dogs, then taken to a police station where they were beaten by police. (Using Belarusian identified them as "members of the opposition and troublemakers.")
In May, 1998, the newspaper, Nasha Niva, was threatened by the Belarusian government for using Taraskevitza rather than using the officially sanctioned Narkomovka.
In August, 1998, the newspaper Nasha Niva was in court, defending itself for using the "wrong" (sic) type of Belarusian (that is, Taraskevitza instead of Narkmovoka). In an irony that appears to have escaped the Belarusian bureaucrats, the proceedings were in Russian.
In August, 1999, two youths were convicted of a minor crime, even though there was no evidence to convict them. The judge ruled that the use of the Belarusian language by the youths in the courtroom was evidence enough.
In 1998: (1) The Council of Ministers issued more than 2,000 resolutions and only 30 of them were in Belarusian, and (2) The prime minister issued only one percent of his directives in Belarusian. In the first six months of 1999, 8 resolutions and one directive were issued in Belarusian and 1,000 and 190, respectively, in Russian.
On Dec. 15, 1999: A judge in Brest did not allow the defendants' request for a Belarusian language translator. (source: BelaPAN, No. 60; Wednesday, December 15, 1999; 3:00 p.m.)
Of the 250 schools in Minsk, only 11 provide instruction in Belarusian. Approximately 114,000 children went to school for the first time this year (123,000 in 1999). The number of first-year schoolchildren in Belarus' classes with instruction in the Belarusian language dropped from 726 last year to approximately 500 this year. (source: BelaPAN, No. 4; Friday, September 1, 2000; 6:20 p.m.)
The statistics require no comment. . . .

It is said that the president of Belarus is not fluent in Belarusian, and that he needs to use "crib notes" while making speeches and statements in Belarusian. (Name another country where its leader is not fluent in the language of that country!)

Perhaps using Russian only is a POV decision, because if 82% of Belarusians think Belarusian is their mother tongue and the so-called President of Belarus can't speak one of the official languages of that country (by the way do you know that no one can all themselves a president in Belarus such as the president of a corporation because it is against an edict of Lukashenka?). Even if one says that Belarusian is a minority language, other countries, Canada (French/English) and Belgium (Waloon/Dutch) are examples of bilingual states where conflicting linguistic groups attempt to operate together under the rule of law in a free and democratic society. Clearly Lukashenka's policy in Byelorus show that he is not that interested in international human rights and civil society norms. Should we encourage him? I think not, that is not very NPOV. I restate my opinion, both languages are relevant to the Belarusian nation-state unless Wikipedia wants to help extinguish the Belarusian tongue. — Alex756 [ talk] 07:10, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)


  1. In Belarusian writing the apostrophe can replace both Russian "hard sign" (ъ) and "soft sign" (ь).  Compare: Russian семья — Belarusian сям'я.
  2. "voice stop" is nonsense.  There is no "voice stop", but simply the phoneme /j/ is inserted in pronunciation.  I.e. с'я is pronounced as [sja], whereas ся is pronounced as [śa].  So you are wrong. — Monedula 20:33, 14 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. It is a common foreigner mistake to "insert" a phoneme "j". 'ja' is not the same as 'я'; 'я' is a single phoneme, just like 'dž' is a single phoneme, despite two letters and one diacritic.
  2. 'Voice stop' is not nonsence, it is a phonetic term. And there is no difference in pronunciation of "сям'я" and "tam-сям я hadziw".
  3. Russian soft sign is not replaced by ' everywhere. It is replaced only where "soft" replaced by "hard", like in сям'я, but there are plenty of words in a similar position, like каньяк (cognac) where the soft junction (one more nonsense word for you) remains soft.

Mikkalai 21:29, 14 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  1. Are you a foreigner?  "Я" may be a single phoneme /a/ (while additionally indicating softness of the preceding consonant), or it may me be two phonems /j/+/a/.  The apostrophe exactly serves to distinguish this two ways of pronunciation.
  2. Slavic languages have no "voice stop" other than at the boundary of phonetic words. And in "там-сям я хадзіў;" there is a space between "м" and "я", which makes apostrophe unnecessary, so "я" is read as /ja/ anyway.
  3. Here you are right — indeed the Russian soft sign (ь) in some cases corresponds to Belarusian apostrophe, but in some cases is retained as is.

Monedula 18:32, 15 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Even Russian language has voice stops (or had it in the previous century). As I see, New Russians are coming... Resistance is useless. ...By the way, how many cases to you have in Russian lately? Mikkalai 01:38, 16 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can understand that a simplified grammar is taught at school (have you seen any full book of Russian grammar?), but when you write into a 'pedia, you better know a bit more besides a school textbook. Mikkalai 01:41, 16 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. What do you mean by "voice stop"? If you mean something like the German Knacklaut, then Russian language has no such thing, and has never had. Of cource, there may be pauses between words and phrases, but not inside a word. And, btw, the Belarusian apostrophe does not start a new sillable.
  2. As to the number of Russian cases: some say there are 6 cases, others say there are 7 cases, still other say there are 8 cases. At least one linguist (Andrey Zaliznyak) has said that there are 14 cases. So you have something to choose from.
  3. There are no full books of Russian (or any other) grammar. Natural languages are not that simple. And, btw, I have studied theoretical linguistics at Moscow University (MGU). — Monedula 18:47, 16 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Voice stop: when I was young and silly an believed what I was taught, I knew the difference between "подарочный набор" and "подарочный (под-арочный) пролет". How do you pronounce them today? In the same way or in different? Mikkalai 01:52, 17 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Exactly in the same way.  They may be pronounced differently only if you explicitly want to show the difference between these two word.  In normal speech, there is no difference.  Btw, how do you pronounce such words as "подоконник" or "подосиновик"? — Monedula 22:10, 17 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I no longer remember clearly, but I feel an urge to split the second one. Anyway, your word only above suggests that the rudiments of the stop still exist, but no longer in regular usage. I agree that simplification is a normal process in the language, especially under the influence of the written form. Mikkalai 00:09, 18 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your pronunciation is really unusual.  Couldn't it be the influence of the German Knacklaut (glottal stop)?  In German, prefixes are indeed pronounced separately (e.g. aus'ein'ander).&nbsp But in Russian, the only word with glottal stop is the childish 'a-'a (meaning that the child wants to defecate). — Monedula 00:41, 18 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

about what is now a "Vilnius University"

The school was founded in Vilnius by Jesuit order in 1570, was announced a university by a popes bull in 1579. Pope Gregory XIII by the way. So i corrected it.vytautas

How should we pronounce the word 'Belarusian' in English?

I cannot find this exact form in the dictionaries, maybe they are too old. If somebody finds this new word in modern English dictionaries please let me know (just write it here, preferably in IPA). It seems to me the pronunciation should be non-standard (it does not rhyme with 'Russian' or 'fusion', does it?)

Native speakers who don't know much about Belarus tend to say "Belarusian" in such a way that it rhymes with "Russian", but the new trend, especially among the people who know something about Belarus, is to pronounce it like [Beh-lah-roo-s-ee-a-n]. You can also read this article - -- rydel 23:28, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I see - English consonants and Italian vowels, so to speak. Maybe you should add some pronunciation hints on the main page.

Ruthenian language

There is a discussion going on at Talk:Old Ruthenian language whether to rename that page to Old Russian language or not. If a consensus to move the page is reached at Wikipedia:Requested moves, the page will be moved to the new location. Please take part in the ongoing discussion. [[User:Halibutt|Halibutt]] 14:03, Dec 23, 2004 (UTC)