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