Belarusian: The language with a 32-letter alphabet

Belarusian is a Slavic language with around 9.3 million native speakers. It shares countless similarities with the Ukrainian and Russian languages. Despite the small speaking population, Belarusian is the language of many Nobel prize laureates, including the well-known writer Svetlana Alexievich.

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3 interesting facts about the Belarusian language


Belarusian shares many similarities with the Ukrainian language, including 84% of its vocabulary.


The blend of Belarusian and Russian creates an interlanguage known as "Trasyanka" and is commonly spoken in regions in Belarus.


Every year, Belarusian is celebrated alongside Russian on International Mother Language Day on February 21.

Origin of the language

Did you know the Belarusian language was the official language in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a vast state encompassing Lithuania, Belarus, parts of Poland, Ukraine, and Russia? The language was first mentioned in records from the 14th century. In later centuries this Slavic language changed under Russian and Polish influences.

History of the language

The Belarusian language initially used the Latin alphabet but later replaced it with the Cyrillic Belarusian language alphabet, which is widely used in East and some South Slavic languages. The language has many dialects, and the standard version became the official language of the Republic of Belarus in 1918. However, in recent history, the country's president, Lukashenko, elevated the Russian language to official status. Consequently, almost two-thirds of native Belarusian speakers use Russian in daily communication, endangering the future of Belarusian.

Learning the language

An English speaker is expected to need about 1100 hours to learn Belarusian.

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Romanian language diversity

Romanian is the official language of Romania and the Republic of Moldova.

When Romania occupied the area south of the Danube river, the Latin and Balkan languages influenced the Romanian dialects. Romanian is now classified into 4 different dialects: Dacoromanian, Aromanian, Istroromanian and Meglenoromanian.

Dacoromanian is the standard form of the language that is spoken in Romania and Moldova whereas the others are regional variants. Aromanian is spoken across some communities in Greece, Albania, Serbia and Kosovo. Istroromanian and Meglenoromanian, on the other hand, are almost extinct but are still spoken in some regions in Istria and Northern Greece, respectively.

Some very significant dialects include Swiss French (CH), Canadian French (CA) and Belgian French (BE). Additionally, there are numerous varieties of French. In France, for example, speakers in the bigger cities of France speak Metropolitan French while speakers in some regions communicate in regional dialects such as Meridional French.

Apart from the well-known French dialects such as Swiss French and Belgian French, there is also Aostan French in Italy. Two primary types of French in Canada are Quebec and Acadian French. In Cambodia, Cambodian French is spoken while Laos French is spoken in Laos.

In Lebanon, Lebanese French is spoken because French was the country’s official language until 1941. French is both officially and unofficially spoken in the Maghreb countries of Africa (Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia), as well as in other countries all over the African continent. French is also spoken in some parts of India that were previously colonized by the French.

Did you know?

Romanian is written in the Latin morphological case differentiation.

Nearly 72% of Romanian words are derived from a Latin root and 15% from a Slavic root.

The popular song “Dragostea din tei” by the music group O-zone is in Romanian.

Unlike most languages, Romanian has three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter.

The verbs usually precede the object in Romanian sentences.

Romanian officially switched from the Cyrillic alphabet to the Latin alphabet in 1989.

How to say 10 popular words and phrases in the Belarusian language

It’s not easy to learn the Belarusian language, but it only takes a few minutes to learn popular greetings and other terms and phrases.

Hello = Dobry dzień

Thank you = Dziakuj

How are you =Jak vy

Family = Siamja

Good morning = Dobraj ranicy

Happy birthday = Z dnjom naradzhehnnja

I love you = Ja liubliu ciabie

Goodbye=da pabačennia

Bye = da pabečennia

Good night=Dabranač

Belarusian for beginners

Ten basic words to start learning in Belarusian:

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Say what you know, do what you must, come what may.

Sofia Kovalevskaya

Mathematician and Educator

Suffering makes us human. A person without suffering is just grass.

Vasil Bykaŭ

Author and Novelist

Hatred will always give birth to more and more hate, and love has the power to demolish the borders between us.

Svetlana Alexievich

Journalist, Author, and Oral Historian

Fun facts about the Belarusian language

Unlike the English language, which has a 26-letter alphabet, the Belarusian alphabet has 32 letters.

The popular game World of Tanks was translated into Belarusian by the renowned organization Warming to show its appreciation for the Belarusian language.

Modern Belarusian has two variants: “classical” or “Tarashkevich” based on the first standardized form of Belarusian devised by the linguist Branislaw Adamavich Tarashkyevich in the early 20th century and a reformed spelling known as “Narcomovka” that came into force in 2008.


We can find many similarities when comparing Belarusian vs. Russian languages. Both languages belong to the East Slavic language group. Over 80% of written Belarussian is similar to Russian.

Although Belarusian and Ukrainian have the same East Slavic origin and share more than 84% of the vocabulary, these are two different languages.

The closest language to Belarusian is Ukrainian, with only a 16% difference in vocabulary. However, when it comes to written language, Belarusian shares many similarities with Russian.

Belarusian is an officially endangered language, mainly because Russian is more commonly used for everyday communication. Moreover, enrollment in Belarussian language schools is declining. However, Belarusian is used in television and radio programs, and campaigns and informal language courses to support the preservation of Belarusian are increasing.

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