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Language Information

Belorussian is the language of the new nation of Belarus, which borders Poland and whose capital is Minsk. Though similar to Russian—so much so that some consider it merely a dialect of Russian—it has been given official status in the country, and thus documents, books, and periodicals are published in it. There are about 7 million speakers. The alphabet contains the non-Russian letters i and y.

Actual native speakers of Russian say that they don't understand Belarusian when they hear it spoken and they are not able to read it at all. There are some similar end even identical words in the both languages, but beyond this, the languages are quite different.

Belarusian is spoken/used in the following countries:
Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine.

Language Family
Family: Indo-European
Subgroup: Slavic
Branch: Eastern

Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.

Writing Sample

Writing Sample


The partisans jumped aside, as if by command, when the mother approached. Aged, bent over, in a black kerchief—I remember, I can see her even now—Marina stood for a long time beside each grave, staring into the faces of the dead. No, she did not cry. Now and then her parched lips moved. What was she saying? Was she reciting a prayer? Or cursing the killers? I was worried : had her mind become clouded from grief?

—IVAN SHAMYAKIN, Snowy Winters

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