A language of Belarus

Alternate Names
Belarusan, Belorussian, Bielorussian, Byelorussian, White Russian, White Ruthenian
беларуская мова‎ (Biełaruskaja mova)

3,510,000 in Belarus, all users. L1 users: 2,230,000 in Belarus (2011 census). The majority of Belarusans speak Russian [rus] as their L1. L2 users: 1,280,000 (2009 census). Ethnic population: 7,960,000 (2009 census). Total users in all countries: 3,843,110 (as L1: 2,563,110; as L2: 1,280,000).

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (1994, Constitution, Article 17(1)), largely symbolic use.


Northeast Belarusian (Polots, Viteb-Mogilev), Southwest Belarusian (Grodnen-Baranovich, Slutska-Mazyrski, Slutsko-Mozyr), Central Belarusian. Linguistically between Russian [rus] and Ukrainian [ukr], with transitional dialects to both.


SVO; prepositions; noun head final; gender (masculine/feminine/neuter); no articles; case-marking (6 cases); verb affixes mark person, number, gender of subject (in past tense); passives; tense and aspect; 37 consonant and 6 vowel phonemes; non-tonal; free stress.

Language Development

Fully developed. Bible: 1973.


Braille script [Brai], no longer in use. Cyrillic script [Cyrl], official usage. Latin script [Latn], official usage 1941–1944, modern occasional usage.

Other Comments

Christian, Muslim.

Also spoken in:

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