History of belarusian language
Belarusian is one of the languages of the eastern Slavs. Today it is one of the two official languages of Belarus (the second one is Russian). During the period of our land affiliation with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Belarusian language began to segregate from the Old Russian language, the ‘father’ of modern Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian languages. The Belarusian alphabet is majorly a Cyrillic alphabet with the presence of an apostrophe and its spelling is based on the principle “write how you hear” which greatly simplifies the rules of Belarusian orthography.
There are two official languages in the country, but more than half of the population consider their native language Belarusian today. Much less people living in Belarus can say that they talk on it with their relatives or friends. In total, about 7 million people speak their native language. Nevertheless, having a difficult, controversial and dramatic way, the Belarusian language still remains alive in today’s actual. There are schools and the other child institutions with Belarusian language-oriented education in Belarus. Travelling all along the roads of Belarus you can see signs written in Belarusian, though sometimes there are some in Russian and English.
The variety of dialects of belarusian language
Perhaps some people will be surprised but the Belarusian language is very rich. If literal language counts approximately 250-500 thousand of words, dialect language counts for about 2 millions. The significant component of the Belarusian language is a local dialect. An interesting fact is that sometimes the dialects of not only neighboring villages but also ones of the same villages may vary. The northeast, southwest and Middle Belarussian transition dialects of the Belarusian language are considered to be the major ones.
They differ in pronunciation of certain letter types. For example, letters “a” or “d” and “t”. Linguists call these particularities of pronunciation as ‘akanie’, ‘dzekanie’ and ‘tsekanie’. However, despite of the fact that there are a lot of dialects in our country, they do not violate the unity and integrity of the national language.
The history and value of Belarusian language
There are several stages in the Belarusian language history. During the period of Belarusian lands in Grand Duchy of Lithuania the official language was old Belarusian. At that time there was official and private correspondence in that language, legal processes, people used it in their communication and translated pieces of literature. At the same time Francysc Skaryna founded book printing in old Belarusian.
After uniting Grand Duchy of Lithuania with Poland and founding of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569) old Belarusian language lost its importance and was replaced by Polish. In 1696 Polish was recognized to be the official language of Rzecz Pospolita. Old Belarusian at that time was mostly used among peasants.
After the break up of Rzecz Pospolita there was started the second stage of Belarusian language formation. At that time Russian was the official state language on Belarusian lands but in early XIX century there was raised a question of Belarusian language independence. At the origin of the literary language there are Belarusian intellectuals: У истоков развития литературного языка стоит белорусская интеллигенция: Vincent Dunin-Martinkevich, Alexander Rypinsky, J. Chachot. Late in XIX century there started a real bloom of the national language. Famous poets and writers, such as F. Bogushevich, M. Bogdanovich, J. Kolas, Y. Kupala wrote their compositions in Belorusian.
After the October Revolution of 1917 Belarusian was recognized as the state language and it was used in the official documents, legal cases, education sphere.
The population of our country is proud of its native language but it is spoken by few people. This is the reason why Belarusian is in UNESCO Atlas of Languages.
According to the world public opinion our language is at the initial stage of extinction. However, according to the melodic sound it recognized as the second language after Italian.
Belarusian language is one of the most active languages. Its pronunciation appeals with its attractive sound. This is the main means of national culture of Belarus offering each of us a great and magic world of euphony and identity.
This is the spiritual acquisition of our nation living within everyone. Our national language is filled with the variety of adjectives and characteristics. Perhaps there is no Belarusian writer who has not expressed their fascination with the native language. A major role in the formation of Belarusian literary language was played by Yanka Kupala, Yakub Kolas, Maxim Bogdanovich, Vasil Bykov, Vladimir Karatkevich and many other Belarusian writers.
These authors told many sincere words about the beauty and richness of Belarusian language. Love and worries for its destiny penetrated into all their works, they describe all the charm and beauty of its nature, very subtly convey shades of human emotions.
Belarusian language has preserved multiple Slavic elements, and therefore is rightly considered to be the key to understand other Slavic languages. It has a huge number of words that cannot be translated, and this is its uniqueness, originality and meaning of existence.