Project

Russian - Belarusian / Ukrainian language contact

Goal: The projects investigates the linguistic situations in Belarus and the Ukraine, in their structural, social and political aspects. Especal attetion is being paid to mixed subvarieties in the two countraies, i.e. Belarusian-Russian or Ukrainian-Russian mixed varieteis. As to structural phenomena the approach is corpuslinguistic one. The social and political aspects are being investigated by methods of social sciences, such as closed ad open interviews, forcus groups etc.

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Gerd Hentschel
added 2 research items
The paper discusses the contact- and sociolinguistic status of contemporary (Upper) Silesian on the background of a highly politicalized and emotional debate in Poland, taking into account the historical background. A special topic commentd upon is the influence of German on Silesian, especially in the lexicon. Proposals have been made as to the future legal position of Silesian (regional language or "lect" of Polish).
The article deals with the mixed types of speech in Ukraine and Belarus – Surzhyk and Trasyanka. On the basis of multidimensional research conducted by the scholars from Oldenburg University and their colleagues from Ukraine and Belarus, the author discusses the range of Russian influence on the hybrid languages. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses were made on the basis of corpora collected in various regions of Belarus and Ukraine.
Gerd Hentschel
added a research item
This article investigates the relationship between linguistic preferences, religiousness and religious denomination in Central Ukraine. On the one hand, the Ukrainian linguistic situation is characterized by the co-existence of Ukrainian, Russian and substandard forms of Ukrainian Russian mixed speech, on the other hand, the Orthodoxy in Ukraine is split into different denominations. In Central Ukraine, most notably the conflict between the Kyїv and the Moscow Patriarchate is relevant. For both linguistic and religious affiliation, a correlation with political preferences has been postulated, and, in a similar vein, a connection between religious denomination and the degree of religiousness on the one hand, and different aspects of linguistic affiliation, i. e. language usage and native language, as well as attitudes toward substandard speech on the other hand. Based on field work from 2014, we show that there is no preference for the Russian language among members of the Moscow Patriarchate in comparison to those of the Kyїv Patriarchate, and only a slightly more pronounced preference towards substandard forms of mixed speech among respondents with lower degrees of religiousness. Overall, the results argue against the existence of a “language conflict” in the Ukrainian population, outside the elites.
Gerd Hentschel
added a research item
Die Studie untersucht den Zusammenhang zwischen Sprachverwendung, sozialer Positionierung und kollektiver Identitätsbildung in Weißrussland zwischen dem Weißrussischen, Russischen und der weißrussisch-russisch gemischten Rede (Trasjanka). Die soziodemographische und ökonomische Struktur der drei „Kodes“ wird mittels Umfrage und Interviews bei drei Generationen erfasst. Die Konstellation ist grundlegend diglossisch: Russisch herrscht im öffentlichen Raum, die Trasjanka viel stärker als bisher angenommen im privaten (besonders bei der älteren Generation). Weißrussisch ist völlig marginalisiert. Für die spezifisch weißrussisch-kollektive Identität, die durchaus festzustellen ist, spielt keiner der Kodes eine nennenswerte Rolle, bestenfalls das Weißrussische auf symbolisch-musealer Ebene.
Gerd Hentschel
added a research item
(English one beneath) Эта статья является итогом исследовательского проекта по белорусско-русской смешанной речи (БРСР), которую обычно уничижительно называют «трасянкой». БРСР практикуют как субвариант миллионы людей в Беларуси, как правило, в дополнение к русскому. Результаты проекта будут представлены в формате вопросов и ответов. Речь идет об 11 вопросах, которые широко обсуждались в течение последних двух десятилетий: 1. Когда возникла БРСР / трасянка? 2. Как появилась БРСР / трасянка и как происходит процесс ее усвоения? 3. Является ли БРСР / тра- сянка формой речи необразованных? 4. Есть ли у БРСР / трасянки что-либо общее с пиджинами, креольскими языками или другими «смешанными языками»? 5. Явля- ется ли БРСР / трасянка примером переключения кодов (code switching), смешения кодов (code mixing) или смешанного кода (fused lect)? 6. Есть ли у БРСР / трасянки узус или узуальная норма? 7. Можно ли отличить БРСР / трасянку на белорусской основе от БРСР / трасянки на русской основе? 8. Является ли БРСР / трасянка белорусским или русским «диалектом»? 9. Можно ли описывать БРСР / трасянку через классические концепты «диглоссия» и «билингвизм»? 10. Является ли БРСР / трасянка временным явлением в языковом сдвиге от белорусского языка к русскому? 11. Какую роль может играть трасянка / БРСР в поддержке или возрождении белорусского языка? This paper is a conclusion to a research project on Belarusian-Russian Mixed Speech (BRMS), which is commonly referred to disrespectfully as “Trasyanka”. BRMS is practised as a subvariety by millions of people in Belarus, usually in addition to Russian. The findings of the project will be presented in a question and answer format. At issue are 11 questions, which have been widely discussed during the last two decades: 1. When did BRMS / Trasyanka come into existence? 2. How did BRMS / Trasyanka arise and how is it acquired? 3. Is BRMS / Trasyanka a form of speech of the uneducated? 4. Does BRMS / Trasyanka have anything in common with pidgin or creole languages or other “mixed languages”? 5. Is BRMS / Trasyanka an instance of code switching, of code mixing or a mixed (“fused”) lect? 6. Does BRMS / Trasyanka have a usus or usage norm? 7. Is it possible to distinguish a Belarusian-based BRMS / Trasyanka from a Russian-based one? 8. Is Trasyanka a “dialect” of Belarusian or Russian? 9. Can we apprehend BRMS / Trasyanka with old concepts like “diglossia” and “bilingualism”? 10. Is BRMS / Trasyanka a transient epiphenomenon in the language shift from Belarusian to Russian? 11. What role does BRMS / Trasyanka play for the maintenance or revitalisation of Belarusian?
Gerd Hentschel
added 6 research items
The article discusses aspect of the impact of Russian on the one hand and Belarusian or Ukrainian on the infectional structures in the mixed subvarieties of Trasyanka in Belarus and Surzhyk in the Ukraine.
On the basis of a survey from June/July 2014, this article investigates the attitudes towards Ukrainian, Russian, and the widespread Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech in central areas of Ukraine. Although there are certain differences between areas that are differentiated by the amount of use of the three codes, all in all there are no hints at a profound language conflict. While Ukrainian is clearly preferred as the dominating language in state and society, the attitude towards Russian is not a hostile one, and there is an open-minded stance to settle questions of language politics on a more regional level. As for the Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech, which is stigmatized by many politicians and representatives of the cultural elites, the attitude towards it among ordinary people is differentiated. It includes two aspects: Whether it is seen as a menace to culture, and whether it is seen as convenient in daily life. While there are respondents who either approve or reject this code in both aspects, there also more than a few who evaluate it positively in the one, but negatively in the other dimension.
Gerd Hentschel
added 2 research items
Современные языковые субстандарты отличаются высокой степенью вариативности. В европейском языковом пространстве их часто рассматривают как смешанные диалекты (региолекты, городские диалекты и т. п.), сочетающие в себе элементы литературных языков (суперстрата) и «старых», исконных диалектов соответствующих регионов (автохтонного субстрата). Современному смешанному субстандарту в Белоруссии, так называемой «трасянке», присущи и русские, и белорусские характерные черты. В качестве автохтонного субстрата на смешанный субстандарт «трасянки» влияют белорусские диалекты. Основным суперстратом при этом является русский, т. е. доминирующий в стране литературный язык, а не белорусский, поскольку последний занимает в повседневной жизни большинства белорусов периферийное положение. Однако и он, будучи, например, учебным предметом в школах и вузах, оказывает на «трасянку» определенное влияние как адстрат. Многие люди, говорящие на таких смешанных субстандартах, могут в своей речи довольно свободно перемещаться от литературного полюса к диалектному. В белорусском языковом пространстве это перемещение между русским и белорусским полюсами, с определенной асимметрией в пользу русского. В данной статье обсуждается, в чем вообще может заключаться узус в таких субстандартах, составляющими которых могут быть в принципе все возможные варианты всех участвующих языковых разновидностей (включая и специфические варианты нового смешанного субстандарта). Как выявляемые регулярности в белорусско-русской смешанной речи в статье описываются иерархии, базирующиеся на различной частотности употребления в ней русских и белорусских вариантов разных структурных переменных. В статье показано, что, несмотря на многочисленные различия в частоте употребления различных вариантов, эти иерархии чрезвычайно стабильны как в разных коммуникативных ситуациях (в семейных разговорах и в интервью с различными респондентами) и у различных групп говорящих (с ориентацией их субстандарта на белорусский или же русский полюс языкового пространства Белоруссии), так и в разных городах. Соответствующая «средняя» позиция социального субстандарта определяется, таким образом, по типичным иерархическим образцам количественного распределения вариантов различных структурных переменных.
Linguistic subvarieties (social dialects) in modern societies show, as is well known, a high degree of variation. At least in the European context they may often be described as mixed dialects (regiolects, urban dialects, mesolects, etc.) including linguistic traits of the standard language (superstratum) and of «old» local dialects of corresponding regions (autochthonous substrata). The contemporary mixed subvariety in Belarus, the so-called «Trasyanka», contains Belarusian as well as Russian traits. The primary sources for the Trasyanka are, first, local Belarusian dialects as autochthonous substrata and, second, Russian as the superstratum, since it is the dominating standard language in everyday life of Belarusian society. In this context Standard Belarusian plays only a peripheral role, but being taught in schools and institutions of higher education it still has a certain influence on the mixed subvariety, as an adstratum. Many speakers of such mixed varieties can shift freely from the «standard pole» to the dialectal one. In the Belarusian landscape this means shifting between the Belarusian and the Russian poles, with a certain asymmetry favouring the Russian pole. The topic of this paper is the question of what can be seen as the usus (uncodified norm) in mixed subvarieties comprising in principle variants of all linguistic «donor» varieties spoken in the society (as well as specific variants of the mixed Trasyanka itself). Certain hierarchies are described that are based on token frequency of Belarusian and functionally corresponding Russian variants of structural variables. It is shown that, in spite of many differences in token frequency, these hierarchies are very stable in different communicational settings (family conversations and interviews), in different groups of speakers (with differences in the degree towards the Belarusian or Russian pole in the linguistic landscape of Belarus) and even in different towns. The corresponding «middle position» of the social substandard is thus to a large degree determined by typical hierarchical patterns of the quantitative distribution of variants of a vast amount of structural variables.
Gerd Hentschel
added 2 research items
Weißrussland, die Ukraine und Schlesien, genauer: Oberschlesien, sind Areale, die über viele Jahrzehnte durch extensiven und intensiven Kontakt zwischen Sprachen gekennzeichnet sind oder waren. Damit einher geht das Phänomen einer aus den kontaktierenden Sprachen gemischten Rede, die von sehr vielen Menschen in den jeweiligen Arealen in der alltäglichen mündlichen Kommunikation praktiziert wird bzw. wurde. In solchen Fällen stellt sich die Frage, was in diesen „Mischungen“ spontan, was konventionalisiert ist, oder besser, zu welchem Grade diese Mischungen spontan oder konventionalisiert sind. Die drei Beiträge in diesem Band befassen sich jeweils mit Tendenzen zur Stabilisierung, zur Herausbildung eines Usus in den Formen der gemischten weißrussisch- bzw. ukrainisch-russischen oder polnisch-deutschen Rede in den genannten Arealen.
Gerd Hentschel
added 6 research items
Contrary to common opinion that considers Belarusian-Russian mixed speech (BRMS), also known as «Trasyanka», to be highly irregular or even chaotic with respect to the distribution of Belarusian or Russian elements, i. e. expressions and constructions, a series of tendencies towards stabilisation of preferences of partially Russian (mostly), partly Belarusian (more rarely) variants at different structural levels will be described that are based on a corpus analysis of family speech. It is argued that during recent decades BRMS was the code for initial language socialisation for millions of Belarusians and that the acquisition of Russian and Belarusian is to be understood as secondary acquisition consisting in blocking elements of the complete inventory of BRMS that are inappropriate in different social contexts where either Russian or (more rarely) Belarusian is required. The Belarusian situation is placed within a series of speech situations that also encompasses South Germany, where in urban settings mixed varieties of local dialects and standard German is spoken.
Gerd Hentschel
added a project goal
The projects investigates the linguistic situations in Belarus and the Ukraine, in their structural, social and political aspects. Especal attetion is being paid to mixed subvarieties in the two countraies, i.e. Belarusian-Russian or Ukrainian-Russian mixed varieteis. As to structural phenomena the approach is corpuslinguistic one. The social and political aspects are being investigated by methods of social sciences, such as closed ad open interviews, forcus groups etc.
 
Gerd Hentschel
added 2 research items
The study investigates the influence of Russian on the pronunciation of Belarusians (in Belarus). The central variety in which this influence can be observed is Belarusian-Russian mixed speech (BRMS). BRMS is practised by hundreds of thousands if not millions of speakers in non-official speech situations. Based on the analysis of two corpora, we will demonstrate the strength of the Russian influence on nine variables that can be counted as belonging to the most important phonetic differences between Russian and Belarusian. The variables subject to the strongest Russian influence are those that exhibit a certain degree of morphonologisation in Belarusian. Where purely phonic (phonological or ‘pure’ phonetic) differences exist between Belarusian and Russian, speakers tend more strongly towards the Belarusian pronunciation variant. But even for these variables there is a hierarchy of resistance toward ‘Russification’. The variations are by no means chaotic. This hierarchy of the variables mirroring the strength of the Russian influence is statistically constant in each of the seven towns investigated, across all speaker types and in different communication settings. Thus the hierarchy can be understood as evidence for a usus in BRMS. Furthermore, this hierarchy is also observed in ‘pure’ Russian and ‘pure’ Belarusian (and not mixed) parts of the discourse.
The language discusses the contemporary "linguistic architecture" in the Ukraine and in Belarus. The main point of interest is the distribution of the three central langauges or codes in the country, i.e. Russian, Ukrainian / Belarusian, and Russian-Ukrainian / Russian-Belarusian mixed subvarieteis. The analysis takes into account own data from polls and copares it with data and results from other students of these phenomena, illustrating the difficulties of comparing the results of different investigations.
Gerd Hentschel
added 2 research items
The chapter discusse the distribution of functional words in a mixed Belarusian-Russian subvariety, spoken by millions of people in Belarus. The datat presented indicate a transition from code mixing to a mexed code (fused lect). Futhermore, the general question of "systemicity" in such highly variative, oral subvarieties is commented upon.
Gerd Hentschel
added 2 research items
The article addresses the linguistic situation in central parts of Ukraine, based on a survey of 1,400 respondents in cities within the respective districts. The focus lies on “Surzhyk”, the Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech, in particular on the usage of this variety in comparison with Ukrainian and Russian as well as on specific attitudes towards the three varieties held by people in the selected districts. Concerning the strength of Ukrainian usage in everyday life – according to respondents’ estimations – only a gradual and on the whole not very strong west-east divide can be observed, but a surprisingly clearer decline from the centre to the north (Belarusian and Russian border) and to the south (Ukrainian Black Sea districts). The strength of both Surzhyk and Russian usage, however, does show a clearer east-west decline. All in all, Ukrainian is dominant, with the exception of three districts in the eastern central region: within these three areas, Russian or Surzhyk dominate. The declared preferences of the respondents for the three codes do not correlate with their reported competence in Ukrainian and Russian. Given the current military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Ukrainian respondents were also questioned about the relationship between language usage and their position towards Russia and the Russians. The majority consider themselves an independent entity: most strongly with regards to “nationality”, slightly less pronounced as an “ethnic group” and weakest (but still in the majority) in regard to “culture”. No relationship to the choice of code in everyday life could be identified. A further question established how relaxed Ukrainians are about the usage of Russian and Surzhyk that on the whole are not perceived as a threat to Ukrainian culture. Therefore, no trace of a language conflict or even language war within the population can be found!
This article deals with the situation of the Belarusian language in Belarus in competition with the Russian language and Belarusian-Russian mixed speech, both of which are widely used by the young generation in the country. Based on a nationwide survey with 1,000 respondents carried out in 2013, we show how young Belarusians see their first linguistic socialisation and how they evaluate the different linguistic codes in various contexts. The article then describes how and to what extent the respondents’ self-reported competence in Belarusian varies with sociodemographic characteristics and (geo-)political preferences with regard to a “Western” or “Eastern orientation”. Finally, it discusses the question whether young Belarusians favour promoting Belarusian and whether a pro-Belarusian attitude correlates with political preferences. The article provides evidence for the peripheral status of Belarusian in Belarus, but it also shows that there is support for the maintenance and even promotion of Belarusian, which is only slightly affected by global political orientations.
Gerd Hentschel
added 20 project references
Gerd Hentschel
added 2 research items
This paper concludes a research project on Belarusian-Russian Mixed Speech (BRMS), which is commonly referred to disrespectfully as ‘Trasjanka’. BRMS is practised as a subvariety by millions of people in Belarus, usually in addition to Russian. The findings of the project will be presented in a question and answer format. At issue are 11 questions, which have been widely discussed during the last two decades: 1. When did BRMS / Trasjanka come into existence? 2. How did Trasjanka arise and how is it acquired? 3. Is Trasjanka a form of speech of the uneducated? 4. Does Trasjanka have anything in common with pidgin or creole languages or other ‘mixed languages’? 5. Is Trasjanka an instance of code switching, of code mixing or a mixed (‘fused’) lect? 6. Does Trasjanka have a usus or usage norm? 7. Is it possible to distinguish a Belarusian-based Trasjanka from a Russian-based one? 8. Is Trasjanka a Belarusian or Russian ‘dialect’? 9. Can we comprehend Trasjanka with the help of old concepts like ‘diglossia’ and ‘bilingualism’? 10. Is Trasjanka a transient epiphenomenon in the language shift from Belarusian to Russian? 11. What role does Trasjanka play for the maintenance or revitalisation of Belarusian?
On the basis of a survey from June/July 2014, this article investigates the attitudes towards Ukrainian, Russian, and the widespread Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech in central areas of Ukraine. Although there are certain differences between areas that are differentiated by the amount of use of the three codes, all in all there are no hints at a profound language conflict. While Ukrainian is clearly preferred as the dominating language in state and society, the attitude towards Russian is not a hostile one, and there is an open-minded stance to settle questions of language politics on a more regional level. As for the Ukrainian- Russian mixed speech, which is stigmatized by many politicians and representatives of the cultural elites, the attitude towards it among ordinary people is differentiated. It includes two aspects: Whether it is seen as a menace to culture, and whether it is seen as convenient in daily life. While there are respondents who either approve or reject this code in both aspects, there also more than a few who evaluate it positively in the one, but negatively in the other dimension.