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Добры дзень! [Dobry dzen'] or Good afternoon!

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Veronika Veronika | 10:47 UK time, Monday, 20 December 2010

I'm often asked if Russian and Belarusian languages differ anyhow. Yes! Russian and Belarusian languages are different, though they have a lot in common. But I think Russian people won't understand well good Belarusian speech. So today I'll tell you a bit about my native language.

Belarusian language comes from Indo-European family and its Slavic group. As a written language it was formed by XV cent. from Church Slavonic, as was Russian and Ukrainian. Both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets were used in ancient times. The XVII cent. was the golden age of Belarusian, but soon it had been officially not allowed till the beginning of the XIX, because of Polish (during the times of "Rzeczpospolita") and then (after divisions of "Rzeczpospolita") Russian. So its revival was difficult. Belarusian modern alphabet was created around 1920 and has 32 letters plus apostrophe.
Аа Бб Вв Гг Дд Ее Ёё Жж Зз Іі
Йй Кк Лл Мм Нн Оо Пп Рр Сс Тт
Уу Ўў Фф Хх Цц Чч Шш Ыы Ьь Ээ
Юю Яя
Though the alphabet is almost same as Russian we don't have some letters in it, but we have our unique "Ў".
Here in Belarus we joke that our national language is "trasyanka" because people often mix up Russian and Belarusian so as both are state, but none is spoken well sometimes. Though I must say there are getting more and more people who speak Belarusian very well (and there are many students among them). By the way, Sweden Ambassador in Belarus speak Belarusian! It also often used for official names and street boards. To my shame I speak Russian most of the time, though I love Belarusian and write my master's thesis in it. By the way, that's why I wrote Lukashenka (as transliteration from Belarusian), while he is Lukashenko in Russian (and most of sources). And that's why I'm officially (as it is written in my passport) Veranika, while it is 'Veronika' in Russian.
Like we can learn English with BBC, one can learn Belarusian with lessons from Belarusian radio, too. But I'd like to show the beauty of our native language through a song of our famous band on lyrics of our classic poet. It is called "Prayer" and is still important today, I think.


  • Comment number 1.

    first time ,ı have wrote some comment on this blog,Hi veronika,ı read all your story about your country with pleasure that.
    Feyrusfer from ıstanbul

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Veronika,

    nice song :-) It was clearly audible that it was in Slavic language - I could even understand some words.

    For me, I cannot imagine to have two state languages. Which language do you speak at home? Russian? Or both? And how it is with schools? The children must be confused...

    Have a nice day,

  • Comment number 3.

    Dear Veranika,

    I am really interested on language so I like your last post.

    Tereza: there are a lot of countries in which there are more than one official language. For example in Belgium (French and Flemish), the Basque Country (Spanish, French and Basque), Canada (French and English), etc.


  • Comment number 4.

    Hi, Veronika (Weronika in Polish btw ;))

    Thanks for very great blog...I live in Poland but i don't know too much about Belarus :( i hope you change it ;). Moreover thx for great song...do you know that some of words sound very simlarly to polish ones?

    have a great day

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Veronika,

    I think speaking Belarussian must be difficult everywhere in Belarussia after the many years of Russian politic,economic and cultural hegemony on your people.What do you think about it?
    We know your people as White Russian. Why your people is called like that? Can you explain it?
    Kuthy from Ankara

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Veronika,
    We know your people as White Russian. Why is it called like that? Can you explain it?
    Kuthy from Ankara

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Veronika,

    Thank you very much for reminder about VIE (vocal and instrumental ensemble) Pesnjayry. This ensemble was a popular when I was a childe and I remember some song from that time and after your blog I lapsed into nostalgia :). If you remember, their song “Mowed Yas konyushinu” was used in the most popular cartoon “Just you wait!” (Nu pogodi). Thank you for nostalgia!
    Veronika, your language indeed similar to Russian. I cannot understand only some word but generic meaning is clear.

    Best regard,
    look forward to read new post.
    Marina form Moscow

  • Comment number 8.

    Dear Veronika: Music is a universal language and "Prayer" the ballade in the video sounds for us, Argentina people, as sweet and nostalgic as if it were sang in Russian. I like it very much, it is moving. Thanks for your material. The best for you. Beatriz.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi dear Veronica ,
    Interesting to know about your two state languages and it 's origin . I wish I had a good knowledge of Europe history to understand it better . I 'm interested to know about how you improved your English as it 's too fluent and to know more about you and your subject in university if you don't mind ! Please keep going the good job of bloging as still you have time !
    Merry christmas and happy new year !

  • Comment number 10.

    Hello Veronika,

    Your post about language is very interesting ! Our alphabet is almost the same of english. We just not use frequently the letters "w" "y" and "k", officialy these letters its not a part of our alphabet, but we use it.

    Just to let you know (curiosities). Veronika is a very beautiful name in Brazil but here is VERONICA with "C". Some names in Russian (Here the name is "RUSSIA" and "Belarusian" is "BIELORUSSIA", now is the same you said "BELARUS", very beautiful name too.

    CCCP, here was "URSS" in portuguese is União das Republicas Socialistas Sovieticas.

    So, just to let know, here it's a very hot Summer (42ºC), and it's very hot!

    Sometimes there are hard rain, and it's a big problem. I'm seeing by the tv about the winter there. Crazy world (^_^).

    Merry Christmas dear Veronika and Happy New Year for you and your family.

    God bless you on your new 2011 and if you have a chance come to the tropics.

    Cheers - Natanael - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Pary,

    How are you doing, man? I'd like to wish you a very good year, FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

    Cheers - Natanael - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Marina from Moscow.

    How are you doing? I'm glad to hear from you.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    Bye , Natanael form Brazil.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hello Biatriz,

    How are you doing?

    Will come to Brazil on the Summer?

    Merry christmas and happy new year for you and your family.

    Cheers - Natanael from Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

  • Comment number 14.

    Hello, Natanael! Very happy to hear from you! Thanks God, I´m very well. My holidays have been always in Argentina and this season I´ll go to the beach Pinamar. It´s near Mar del Plata. Our coast is windy and the sea is cold but I like it. My children, grandchildren and the rest tell I choose it because I don´t know the Brazilian beaches, but I love Argentina and I feel more confident at home. Thanks for your wishes and the best for you and your family! Beatriz. Argentina.

  • Comment number 15.

    hallo from Poland :)
    ur blog is graet :)

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi veronika and every one
    I have just read your post in student blog. Thanks you very much. It is very helpful . I have known more information about belarus and russian. i am so surprising when know you can use three language: russian, english and belarusian. i realy want to know how do you use them.i am studying english and i hope you could help me more and more by post blog. Thanks so much again

    Best wish

  • Comment number 17.

    slavic alphabet was not used in ancient times because it was created by the greeks Kyrillos and Methodios who were sent to Serbia and slavic speaking countries to make slavs christians and to make them an alphabet. Slavic alphabet its based on the greek one. Furthermore the latin alphabet is based on the greek. The greek alphabet is based on the Phoenician alphabet which is no longer in use


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