Western Poleshuks – Западные полешуки

Western Poleshuks are people living in the South-Western Belarus, in the area located approximately between Brest on the West and Luninets on the East.
Most of them are officially considered to be ethnic Belarusians, though they speak a specific dialect much closer to Ukrainian than to Belarusian. That is why some politicians in Ukraine call them 'Ukrainians of the Brest Region' ('Ukraintsi Beresteishchyny').

Usually, Western Poleshuks do not like being involved in any politics, including issues like that; however, there was a handful of them who claimed that Western Poleshuks should be recognized as a separate ethnic group with their own language (the fourth Eastern-Slavic language, along with Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian). In late 80's, these people organized a movement called Polisse and published a local-language newspaper called Zbudinne. They also tried to develop a standard for the 'literary Western-Polessian language'. However, they failed to stir up much enthusiasm among the local people, and the newspaper was eventually closed.

If you understand Belarusian, I would recommend an article called "The Modern History of Yatviagi" ("Найноўшая гісторыя яцвягаў)" by Andrei Dyn'ko published in ARCHE magazine (thanks a lot to the author for his permission to place it here, and to Mikola Ramanouski for letting me know about this article and sending me the text!)

Zbudinne logo

Zbudinne info

more Zbudinne info

I do not intend to discuss here if Western Poleshuks are ethnic Belarusians, or Ukrainians, or a separate group, I just want to give several examples of the language used in the newspaper Zbudinne. In my opinion, this language looks somewhat artificial, as if the authors tried to establish a standard of spelling and usage that should be as different as possible both from Ukrainian and from Belarusian. Nevertheless, it contains a lot of specific words and features actually used in the local dialects, and I believe these examples could be of interest for people studying Slavic languages.
The examples are in GIF files (unfortunately, I am not aware of any OCR software able to recognize texts in the Western-Polessian language :-) ). 

Disclaimer: Inclusion of the examples below in this Web page does not necessarily mean my agreement with the views expressed therein.

Example 1 - ethnographical

Example 2 - political

Example 3 - J.Kraszewski and Pinsk

Example 4 - Some specific words from one village


Some links


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