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Mensch
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Question

You're free to judge whether my question is provocative or not. It certainly is not meant to be. :)

It's a simple question:
Is it true that Belarusian language is dying out?
I've read this in different sources.

And a related one:
I've learned to distinguish Polish and Russian just by hearing. Do you think it's possible for a foreigner to distinguish Belarusian and Russian just by hearing?
I've listened to some audio examples, but I still cannot distinguish them. Any tips?

I'm just interested in languages.

Thanks!
 

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Well, it is partly true. I think it is possible to distinguish for slavic language speaker. Don't think you will be able to do it because languages are very close.
 

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It's a simple question:
Is it true that Belarusian language is dying out?
I've read this in different sources.
That is not true. I would say that the situation with the language is preserved at certain level and with the pass of time even improves slightly. If we compare the 70's when Belarus was part of the Soviet Union, and the language was really vanishing, with what we have now- it is a huge progress. At the same time if compared with the first half of the 90's it is a step back. Anyway the situation is far from 'dying out'. Belarusian is taught at all schools and at least officially has the same number of lessons per week as Russian. 25% of the schools (if I am not mistaken) are fully in Belarusian language (those where the entire education is in Belarusian not just lessons of Belarusian language and literature as in common secondary schools). Unfortunately those truly Belarusian schools are mostly concentrated in villages not in cities. Urban population speaks Russian. That is true and that is pathetic.

And a related one:
I've learned to distinguish Polish and Russian just by hearing. Do you think it's possible for a foreigner to distinguish Belarusian and Russian just by hearing?
I've listened to some audio examples, but I still cannot distinguish them. Any tips?

I'm just interested in languages.

Thanks!
At this point I would disagree with AlexRiga. The differences are big enough to distinguish between two languages just by hearing them. At least the Russians themselves don't either understand or can correctly reproduce spoken and written Belarusian. It goes not only about lexicon and grammar - the pronunciation of academic Belarusian shows a number of differences if compared with Russian. According to my observations the foreigners can perceive these differences.

For good samples of Belarusian I would recommend you to visit the following pages: www.belsat.eu - that is the Belarusian TV. On the homepage they have a flash video of their daily news block. Another good option is radio stations. Try visiting www.svaboda.org or directly http://realaudio.rferl.org/BR/news/news_BR.mp3 for their latest news block.

I hope you will share your findings with us. The topic is very interesting.
 

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The TV clip sounds almost exactly like Russian while those videos of "underground learners of Belarusian" on YouTube sound much softer but I could understand them both. Radio news presenter sound a lot different from video clips and if I heard them without knowing which language it was I would have thought it is Slovakian and it's a bit hard to comprehend it. But then when it turns to female presenter it sounds more Russian again and is more understandable. I have just found what it could be, those that I understand better are probably speaking in Trasianka (Meshanka) and those whom I understand less are probably using pure Belarusian.
 

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In some article few years ago they mentioned that in village where Lukashenko was born there are many plastic windows wich is rare in Belarus... Sometimes you remember weird things :)
 

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Zurück in die Zukunft
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I will also use this thread to address questions to those living in Belarus :)

Is it true that the last Belarusian school in Minsk was closed something like 5 years ago?
Is the amount of Belarusian taught in schools and universities increasing or decreasing?
 

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I will also use this thread to address questions to those living in Belarus :)

Is it true that the last Belarusian school in Minsk was closed something like 5 years ago?
Is the amount of Belarusian taught in schools and universities increasing or decreasing?
Difficult question. At least here http://news.tut.by/society/114301.html it is written that on 01.09.08 a new Belarusian gymnasium is supposed to be opened in Minsk. It implies that the new one is not the only one and there are more of them in Minsk.

Russian and Belarusian are taught at the same level as far as secondary school is concerned. However the standard language of higher education (at the level of college or university) is Russian.
 

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Are there any fully-Belarusian TV stations being broadcasted nationwide?
 

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Are there any fully-Belarusian TV stations being broadcasted nationwide?
There is a satellite channel broadcasting from Poland. It is entirely in Belarusian and is financed through the polish government and partly EU.

www.belsat.eu


As for national TV channels those are mostly in Russian. Probably "LAD" is an exception but who watches it (that's a rhetorical question)? It is like cultural and educational. No politics, no economics.

http://www.lad.tvr.by/bel/

The main broadcaster (referred as "BT"- Belarusian Television) is in Russian. It has the homepages in Russian, Belarusian and English. If someone interested, the later can be found under:

http://www.tvr.by/eng/default.asp (official news etc.)
 

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As I know, there are some schools in Minsk where all subjects are studied in Belarusian. In another schools Belarussian is using only for profile subjects, such as "Belarussian language and literature", "The history of Belarus", etc.

In the universites most subjects are studied in Russian, but "Belarussian language", "The history of Belarus" and "The History of Great Patriotic War" are studied in Belarusian. In fact, since as Belarusian as Russian are both official languages of the Republic of Belarus, the lecturer can teach his subject in any of them. Most lecturers prefer Russian, but, for example, in our university (I am a student of Belarussian State Universtity, the faculty of Mechanic and Mathematic) one lecturer (which speak Belarussian in common life) doesn't afraid to teach such difficult subject as "Mathematical analysis" exclusively in Belarussian! And students visit his lections with more pleasure, than lections of another ones!

2Burislav: there are no official fully Belarussian TV-channels, but the national radio station ("Belarussian radio. First national channel") is broadcasting almost fully in Belarussian! I'd like to emphasize that this radio station is acessible to most citizens of our country, because in Soviet time every house and flat (as in village as in city) should have been definitely connected to the official radio network.

Sorry, if I have some gramar mistakes in my message, my English is still not perfect...
 

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Mensch
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Discussion Starter #20
Bahasa Belarus

in our university (I am a student of Belarussian State Universtity, the faculty of Mechanic and Mathematic) one lecturer (which speak Belarussian in common life) doesn't afraid to teach such difficult subject as "Mathematical analysis" exclusively in Belarussian! And students visit his lections with more pleasure, than lections of another ones!

2Burislav: there are no official fully Belarussian TV-channels, but the national radio station ("Belarussian radio. First national channel") is broadcasting almost fully in Belarussian! I'd like to emphasize that this radio station is acessible to most citizens of our country, because in Soviet time every house and flat (as in village as in city) should have been definitely connected to the official radio network.

Sorry, if I have some gramar mistakes in my message, my English is still not perfect...
Your English is great, Dr. Stein!

Why do students like the lectures in Belarusian better?
Is it because they feel more comfortable with Belarusian?

So basically in Belarus there is a high degree of bilingualism, with Russian being predominant in the cities and Belarusian in rural areas, and there's various degrees of mixing between the two languages. Am I right?
 
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