Belarusian (Беларуская)

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Belarusian (Беларуская)

Postby voron » 2007-10-31, 21:18

Questions and discussions about the Belarusian language are welcome in this topic.

The links to some learning materials can be found here:
http://resources.unilang.org/wiki3/index.php/Belarusian

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Belarusian

Postby 0stsee » 2007-11-01, 1:23

Hej Voron, thanks for starting a Belarusian thread, and nice avatar!

My questions are:

1. How can one differentiate between Belarusian and Russian when hearing?
I always try to notice the more use of H-sound in Belarusian. But otherwise??

2. How can you type Belarusian font?

Thank you!
Ini tandatanganku.

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3. Frage

Postby 0stsee » 2007-11-01, 1:32

Another question:
3. Which one is closer to Russian: Belarusian or Ukrainian?

Thanks!
Ini tandatanganku.

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Re: Belarusian (Беларуская)

Postby 0stsee » 2007-11-01, 1:35

voron wrote:The links to some learning materials can be found here:
http://resources.unilang.org/wiki3/index.php/Belarusian

One of the links www.vitba.org doesn't function properly. I think it should be http://vitba.org/ :wink:

Salam
Ini tandatanganku.

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Postby voron » 2007-11-01, 12:10

Hi Ostsee, I'm glad to see you here!

1. How can one differentiate between Belarusian and Russian when hearing?


The characteristic differences in phonetics are:

1. The letter Г is pronounced as voiced velar fricative (the H-sound that you've noticed), unlike voiced velar plosive in Russian

2. The letter Ч is pronounced as /tʂ/ with the retroflex second component (same as Polish cz), unlike Russian /tɕ/

3. Palatalised /dʲ/ and /tʲ/ are pronounced as affricates [ʣʲ] and [ʦʲ] (this is called дзеканне and цеканне)

4. /sʲ/ and /zʲ/ are palatalised stronger than in Russian

5. There is no palatalised /rʲ/, only hard /r/

All these features are also present in lesser or bigger extent in the accent of Belarusians when they speak Russian. Eg in my Russian you can hear slight effects of 2, 3, 4. In our president's Russian you can hear all 1-5 very well.

There are many anecdotes about our president's pronunciation. Once he said: я перетряхивал парламент, which means 'I shook the parliament', but due to feature 5 his перетряхивал sounded as ператрахивал, which means (both in Russian and Belarusian) 'I f*cked the parliament'.

How can you type Belarusian font?


Same as usual, by selecting Belarusian layout in Control Panel/Regional Settings in Windows.

Which one is closer to Russian: Belarusian or Ukrainian?


Belarusian

One of the links www.vitba.org doesn't function properly. I think it should be http://vitba.org/


I've corrected it (though www.vitba.org works fine for me as well).

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Postby 0stsee » 2007-11-01, 16:07

Thanks a lot, Voron!

I guess I won't be able to distinguish them for some time now. Only the H-sound is helpful.

I still can't even differentiate most of the "hard" and "soft" consonants. I hear them, and I can barely hear any difference. :?

Thanks nevertheless!!


MAPK
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Postby dorenda » 2007-11-02, 20:45

voron wrote:2. The letter Ч is pronounced as /tʂ/ with the retroflex second component (same as Polish cz), unlike Russian /tɕ/
Could you explain this one a bit more, please? :) (My IPA-skills are not too good.)
нехай мій гаманець порожній
моя дорога невідома
я стану вільним, подорожнім
найголовніше вийти з дому

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Postby Mulder-21 » 2007-11-03, 0:51

So to sum up Belarusian's similarities with the other East Slavic languages, I've found this:

Belarusian Г (g) has become (h) just like in Czech, Slovak and Ukrainian.

Stressless O's have become A, just like in Russian, except Belarusian actually writes these A.

Right? I mean, this is just an outlining I've noticed.

And tell me, is Belarusian stress just as 'freaky' as Russian's and Ukrainian's?

Are there any significant differences in grammar from the other two? I'm here especially thinking about possible Polish and/or Lithuanian influences.

And is there any 'movement' to re-introduce Łacinka?

This is it for now. :)
Gløgt er gestsins eyga. (Føroyskt orðafelli)
Wise is the stranger's eye. (Faroese saying)
L'occhio dell'ospite è acuto. (Proverbio faroico)
Hosťovo oko je múdre. (Faerské uslovie)

Fluent: Faroese, Danish, English, German
Almost fluent: Norwegian, Swedish
Basic: Slovak (studying), Spanish
Have studied: Hebrew, Russian
Interests: Ukrainian, Romanian, Italian, Albanian, Armenian, Ossetic, Hungarian, Estonian, Baltic languages

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Postby voron » 2007-11-03, 23:18

dorenda wrote:
voron wrote:2. The letter Ч is pronounced as /tʂ/ with the retroflex second component (same as Polish cz), unlike Russian /tɕ/
Could you explain this one a bit more, please? :) (My IPA-skills are not too good.)


To illustrate the differences I've recorded myself pronouncing pairs of Russian and Belarusian words which differ only in pronunciation: http://s10.divshare.com/launch.php?f=2622871&s=4aa

the letter г: Russian [ɡ] vs Belarusian [ɣ]

нога - нага (a leg)
гора - гара (a mountain)
гриб - грыб (a mushroom)
плуг - плуг (a plough)

In the last example notice that the final г's are devoiced differently.

the letter ч: Russian [ʨ] vs Belarusian [tʂ]

чай - чай (tea)
человек - чалавек (a man)
ночь - ноч (night)
мечеть - мячэць (a mosque)

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Postby voron » 2007-11-04, 0:00

Mulder-21 wrote:So to sum up Belarusian's similarities with the other East Slavic languages, I've found this:

Belarusian Г (g) has become (h) just like in Czech, Slovak and Ukrainian.


They are different between Belarusian and Czech. In Belarusian it's voiced velar fricative [ɣ] while in Czech it's voiced glottal fricative [ɦ].

Infact, some sources give [ɦ] as a standard for Belarusian as well, but I disagree. I'm not a linguist, though.

Stressless O's have become A, just like in Russian, except Belarusian actually writes these A.


No, the vowel reduction is different. In Russian, unstressed O's and A's become unclear sounds like [ɐ] and [ə] (the system of rules regulating it is quite complex, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vowel_reduction_in_Russian). In Belarusian however it is clear A, i.e. the vowel reduction is stronger.

The reduction of E is also different, e.g. unstressed pretonic E is reduced to И in Russian, while in Belarusian it's reduced to A again.

Right? I mean, this is just an outlining I've noticed.


Well, one can make many more comparisons even for phonetics alone. For example you may notice that Belarusian palatalised /sʲ/ and /zʲ/ are transitional between Russian and Polish.

And tell me, is Belarusian stress just as 'freaky' as Russian's and Ukrainian's?


Yes it is. Though with Belarusian spelling it's easier to guess where to put the stress. O is always stressed (otherwise it becomes A).

Are there any significant differences in grammar from the other two? I'm here especially thinking about possible Polish and/or Lithuanian influences.


It has differences from Russian in conjugation and declension patterns, it lacks some Russian participle forms, it forms comparative degrees of adjectives differently etc. I can write a more detailed comparison later. As for some radical differences, like new grammar concepts... uhm I guess there are none.

And is there any 'movement' to re-introduce Łacinka?


Yes, but these people are few and they are not taken seriously.

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Postby voron » 2007-11-04, 14:19

I forgot to mention one more distinctive feature of the Belarusian phonetics.

Both Russian and Belarusian have assimilation with respect to voicing, i.e. if you have a cluster of consonants, they all become simultaneously voiced or devoiced the same way as the last consonant in the cluster.

Besides that, Belarusian has assimilation with respect to palatalisation. The consonants дз, ц, з, с, л, н are palatalised when preceding a palatalised consonant. In the old orthography this palatalisation is marked in the spelling (with the ь sign).

The sounds дз, ц, з, с when palatalised give Belarusian a specific 'whistling' sound, since they are palatalised stronger than in Russian. Listen to the recording: http://s10.divshare.com/launch.php?f=2629308&s=a77

Russian - Belarusian - Belarusian, old orthography

дверь - дзверы - дзьверы (a door)
твёрдый - цвёрды - цьвёрды (hard)
зверь - звер - зьвер (a beast)
спелый - спелы - сьпелы (ripe)

Altogether, Belarusian is known to be 'whistling' and 'ringing'. The ringing comes from the affricates дз and ц.

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Postby dorenda » 2007-11-04, 15:19

voron wrote:To illustrate the differences I've recorded myself pronouncing pairs of Russian and Belarusian words which differ only in pronunciation: http://s10.divshare.com/launch.php?f=2622871&s=4aa
Дзякуй! It took a while before I got that site to play the file, but now the difference is clear to me.
нехай мій гаманець порожній
моя дорога невідома
я стану вільним, подорожнім
найголовніше вийти з дому

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Postby kubuspuchatek » 2007-11-04, 18:04

Joined Unilang today and was a little disappointed to find no Belarusian, but then I stumbled on this! Well done, Voron.

just three things at the moment:

(i) Voron - my wife, together with most of the Belarusian speakers in London, insists on гарбата (last syllable stressed; Polish 'herbata'; Lithuanian 'arbata') rather than чай for 'tea'. The existence of doublets in vocabulary is something we can explore.

(ii) on Latin-script orthography: it may not be taken very seriously at the moment, but the article at http://www.pravapis.org/art_lac1.asp is worth reading and, to be fair, there are many in Belarus today who, unfortunately, do not take the language seriously, never mind the script.

(iii) 'Old-Belarusian' spelling sounds terribly antique. Let's talk frankly about 'Tarashkevitsa' (the orthography developed by the linguist Branislau Tarashkevich) and Stalin's 'reforms' of the 1930s.

Besides, there are several websites that use the 'old' orthography.

Best wishes to all

kp

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Postby voron » 2007-11-05, 0:09

Oh, finally there's someone else to (I hope) answer the questions. :-) You're most welcome.

Thanks for the corrections. As for "гарбата", I was aware of this word but the big academic dictionary of Belarusian gives чай (only), so I thought it would be ok to use it. I consider them douplets.

By 'old' spelling I just meant the one which preceded the current (official) spelling. I could name it 'classical' or 'tarashkevitsa' as well but I found these names not so self-explanatory. And I was just too lazy at the moment to type all the story of the two conflicting Belarusian orthographies.

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Postby Soassae » 2007-11-05, 14:43

Oh, I did not notice this forum was opened. Nice :)
Thanks a lot!
once known as pufi...

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Postby dorenda » 2007-12-03, 21:03

1. Is the letter і in Belarussian ever pronounced like йі? For example in words like сям'і or лініі?

2.
Fundamentals of Modern Belarusian wrote:If a consonant is palatized, an immediately preceding consonant is also palatized, provided it is one of the eligible consonants. (...) The consonants б, в, м, and ф are not palatized this way, but if they are followed by an iotized vowel, consonants that precede one of these letters can be palatized by assimilation.
Does п belong to this group too, by any chance?

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Postby voron » 2007-12-04, 13:17

dorenda wrote:1. Is the letter і in Belarussian ever pronounced like йі? For example in words like сям'і or лініі?


Yes, it's pronounced like йі in your examples. The general rule is the same as in Russian:
я, е, i, ё, ю indicate the presence of jot when preceded by a vowel or by the soft sign or the apostrophe
я, е, ё, ю indicate the presence of jot in word initial position

The last rule is valid for i as well in dialectical pronunciation.
2.
Fundamentals of Modern Belarusian wrote:If a consonant is palatized, an immediately preceding consonant is also palatized, provided it is one of the eligible consonants. (...) The consonants б, в, м, and ф are not palatized this way, but if they are followed by an iotized vowel, consonants that precede one of these letters can be palatized by assimilation.
Does п belong to this group too, by any chance?


Yes it does. I don't know why it isn't mentioned, maybe because of the Polish interference where it is not obligatory.

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Postby dorenda » 2007-12-06, 12:05

Okay. Thank you. :)

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Postby RCA » 2008-03-18, 17:10

voron wrote: The consonants дз, ц, з, с, л, н are palatalised when preceding a palatalised consonant. In the old orthography this palatalisation is marked in the spelling (with the ь sign)... By 'old' spelling I just meant the one which preceded the current (official) spelling. I could name it 'classical' or 'tarashkevitsa' as well but I found these names not so self-explanatory. And I was just too lazy at the moment to type all the story of the two conflicting Belarusian orthographies.

Well, as far as I can see from what you said, the ‘Old Orthography’ seems to be out-of-date now. Actually, my book on Belarusian uses the old one, so I wonder what its current status is. I mean whether the old orthography is totally eliminated by the new one or there is still some kind of coexistence?
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Postby voron » 2008-03-20, 15:08

The short answer is, the old orthography is used by oppositional media (like one of the oldest Belarusian newspapers Наша Ніва) and oppositionally minded people, including immigrants who never adopted the reform. So the choice of orthography has a strong political connotation.

Two orthographies are conflicting on the internet. An example is a split of the Belarusian wikipedia, which now has two versions:
http://be-x-old.wikipedia.org - old orthography
http://be.wikipedia.org - new orthography

The old, or classical, orthography, commonly known as тарашкевіца, follows the codification of the Belarusian language first published in 1918 by Браніслаў Тарашкевіч (his work is available here http://knihi.com/taraskievic/hramatyka/).

In the 1933 the reform of the orthography and the grammar was introduced by the Belarusian Academy of Sciences. Among the causes of the reform were 'to remove the artificial barriers between the Russian and Belarusian languages' and 'to cancel the influence of Polonisation'. This new codification, which is in official use nowadays, is known as наркамаўка.

The main differences between the two are:

- тарашкевіца uses the soft sign to represent the assimilation with respect to palatalisation
cf. сьвятло - святло, песьня - песня

other differences concern rendering foreign words:
- in тарашкевіца, the usage of non-palatalised consonants is favoured
cf. сэнат - сенат, Амэрыка - Амерыка

- тарашкевіца renders «L» as palatalised «Л» in Latinisms
cf. кляса - клас, даляр - долар

- наркамаўка favours «Ф» over «Т» for «fita», and «В» over «Б» for «beta», in Hellenisms
cf. сымбаль - сімвал, арытмэтыка - арыфметыка

There are also variations of the grammar and the vocabulary among those who use тарашкевіца. Some grammar features different from наркамаўка are:

- the use of ёсьць/ё + the instrumental case as a copular in third person singular
- -e ending in the genitive singular for adjectives (eg. ад вялікае нягоды)

The тарашкевіца vocabulary includes more polonisms, cf. намёт - палатка.


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