Multilingual European magazine Cafebabel.com has published the article that is given over to analysing language situation in Belarus.
“Since independence from the soviet union in 1991, remnants of Belarus’ titular language stay mostly in the cultural sphere, with around 300, 000 speakers in the country. Young musicians, poets and writers, often from the left end of the spectrum, still try to speak Belarusian against the more popular Russian,” the article says.
The magazine reminds that independence brought one official titular language until president Aliaksandr Lukashenka came into power in 1994. And, still influenced by its neighbour to the right, Belarus has had two official languages since a well-timed referendum in 1995.
The author of the article calls our language “Belaroosian”. “The name encourages imperial claims, but there’s no Russian heritage there,” Nabeelah Shabbir stresses.
According to the journalist, our country’s population of 9.49 million generally speak in Russian. In her opinion, a small proportion practising Belarusian is comparable to Scotland‘s Gaelic population. “Government statistics put the figure to be 20% of the population, whilst independent agencies rate the statistics to be more likely 3-5%,” the author marks the difference.
“Why should young people speak it if their grandparents don’t, typically having shunned it post world war two when economic conditions sent them off to work in Russia?” Nabeelah Shabbir wonders.
Cafebabel.com, the first multilingual European current affairs magazine, designed for readers across borders. Cafebabel.com revolutionises European media through participatory journalism, providing a unique platform of expression for the eurogeneration, the first generation living Europe on a day-by-day basis thanks to the Erasmus programme, the internet and an increasing level of mobility.
Nabeelah Shabbir, the author of “The Lost Art of Speaking Belarusian in Belarus” is responsible for the English version of cafebabel.com. She studied in Great Britain and Germany, lived in Pakistan, Belgium, France, travelled around Kashmir and South America.