Ruthenian Language - Nomenclature - New National Languages

New National Languages

With the beginning of romanticism at the turn of the 19th century, literary Belarusian and literary Ukrainian appeared, descendant from the popular spoken dialects and little-influenced by literary Ruthenian. Meanwhile, Russian retained a layer of Church Slavonic "high vocabulary", so that nowadays the most striking lexical differences between Russian on the one hand and Belarusian and Ukrainian on the other are the much greater share of Slavonicisms in the former and of Polonisms in the latter.

The split between literary Ruthenian and the successor literary languages can be seen at once in the newly-designed Belarusian and Ukrainian orthographies.

The interruption of the literary tradition was especially drastic in Belarusian: In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Polish had largely replaced Ruthenian as the language of administration and literature. After that Belarusian only survived as a rural spoken language with almost no written tradition until the mid-nineteenth century.

In contrast to the Belarusians and Eastern Ukrainians, the Western Ukrainians who came to live in Austria-Hungary retained not only the name Ruthenian but also much more of the Church Slavonic and Polish elements of Ruthenian. For disambiguation, in English these Ukrainians are usually called by the native form of their name, Rusyns.

Thus, by 1800, the literary Ruthenian language had evolved into three modern literary languages. For their further development, see Belarusian language, Rusyn language, and Ukrainian language.

Read more about this topic:  Ruthenian Language, Nomenclature

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