Belarusian Language on the Linguistic Map of the World

Thu, 22. June 2023  |  17:00  |  Online event

The Belarusian language is the ethnic language of Belarusians, the traditions of which date back to the 13th century. It was born at the same time and in the same language family with the Ukrainian and Russian languages. However, these 'three sisters' have different fates.

In the XVI century the Belarusian language flourished and was the official language of the influential state – the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Later, the traditions of its official use were interrupted as a result of external and internal political decisions.

Until recently, the Belarusian language remained little known, as it was in the shadow of the Russian language for almost 200 years. During the periods of Russification in the Russian Empire, the USSR, and the Republic of Belarus, the Belarusian language was unwanted and pushed out of the official sphere. However, at the same time, it became the language of resistance and national revival.

Despite its difficult fate, it remains a marker of national belonging for many Belarusians. According to the 2019 population census, the majority of Belarusians considered it as their native language.

The purpose of the lecture is to determine the place and role of the Belarusian language among other languages of the world and among European languages.

The following questions will be considered:

  • What is the Belarusian language and who speaks it?
  • What language family and language group does it belong to?
  • What is its place in the system of Slavic languages?
  • What is the genealogical tree of the Belarusian language and how is it related to other languages of the world?
  • How was the Belarusian language formed?
  • What are the varieties of the modern Belarusian language?
  • What is the language situation in the Republic of Belarus?


Maryna Antaniuk-Prouteau – PhD in Philology, specialist in Belarusian language, Belarusian language teacher.  

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