Are Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian the Same Languages?

Do you, like me, think that the languages spoken in the Russian geography are different dialects of Russian? We were wrong. Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian are actually quite different from each other. Especially Russian and Ukrainian are compared. The general opinion is that these two languages are the same. The misconception that Russian and Ukrainian are the same may be due to the fact that Russian is widely spoken in Ukraine. The figures vary according to surveys, but according to a survey conducted in 2015, 60% of Ukrainians consider Ukrainian as their mother tongue. 15% consider Russian their mother tongue. And 22% consider both to be their mother tongue.

Wherever you say these surveys, you can visit this page: Русский_язык_на_Украине

I can’t help but give one more piece of information here. Ukraine is not the only country that uses a language similar to Russian, but we can say that it is the largest. It also uses the Cyrillic alphabet in countries where many people don’t even know it exists. These are languages that are influenced by each other in abundance.

As far as I know, the countries that use the Cyrillic alphabet are: Belarus, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Macedonia, Serbia and even our Azerbaijani brothers in the nineties. Their influence is still continuing in Azerbaijani.

My personal opinion is that at least for my age group, whatever additional languages besides Russian are both native languages. That is, those who open their eyes before the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) disintegrates. Because they were raised in a Russian-speaking society and that was their official language. What they suffered and suffered after the dissolution is another matter. But I listened to the fact that both before and after were full of pain, from those who were old enough and who remembered those periods imaginably. And I don’t think they’re still living the way they deserve it.

Wait, let me suggest you a book right away:  
Second-Hand Time: The End of the Red Man
The work of Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich, for which she received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2015.

It is also worth noting that most Ukrainian, Belarusian speakers can also speak Russian, even if it is a second language. Some people may hear that Ukraine speaks Russian and think to themselves: “Wow, Ukrainian is very similar to Russian!” But what they need to tell themselves is, “Russian is very similar to Russian!” Because if you know enough Russian to understand the difference, you have not read this article until these lines. If you don’t know, it is very difficult to distinguish which of these two languages is being spoken. Moreover, in all my visits, people spoke Russian in all areas of life. Of course, I don’t know what has changed in the last five years, since 2017.

On top of that, some people use a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian and may not be consciously aware of which elements are Ukrainian and which are Russian. This mixing can also blur the lines between Ukrainian and Russian. However, despite the sometimes unclear definition between the two languages, standard Russian and standard Ukrainian are clearly different, and the local speaking of most people is also clearly different.

In summary, as long as we communicate, mixing languages has been common throughout our human history. Don’t we use foreign words even when we communicate with the people of our own country, who dominate our mother tongue? If there were two languages that we dominate like our mother tongue, wouldn’t we mix them with pleasure? This is exactly how communication is established in this geography.

The languages I mentioned were developed from the Old East Slavic language, which consists of a series of mutually intelligible dialects spoken within the Russian Federation. These former East Slavic speakers are considered the ancestors of modern-day Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians. Kievan Rus Rus’ Dynasty

When it fell, the Slavic tribes were divided into two separate states, and the oldest Slavic dialects in these separate states began to move away from each other and suffer different influences. The tribes in the east came under the rule of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, and their dialects became Russian standard. The Russian that prevails today was further influenced by the old Slavonic church. The ancient Slavic literary language, which also differed from the local dialects of Peter the Great, who aimed to turn Russia into a great Western power, adopted a significant amount of vocabulary from Russian, French and other European languages.

The tribes in the west came under the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and then the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Standard Ukrainian was based on spoken language, especially southeastern dialects, and lacked the ancient church Slavonic influence that Russian had. Ukrainian also suffered a lot of Polish influence due to geographical proximity and Polish political control, and Poland became a common language for a time. This is especially true in western Ukrainian dialects. Now let’s cut it short and start looking at the languages themselves. Vocabulary. Russian and Ukrainian share about 62% word similarity.

Personally, I found this number surprisingly low. Ukrainian, Polish, Slovak, and Belarusian, as well as Russian, have a higher level of word similarity, especially Belarusian. There are many differences, even between very basic words.

Grammar. The grammatical concepts of Russian and Ukrainian are usually the same. Both have three sexes: masculine, feminine, and neutral. Both have almost identical noun states, which also apply to adjectives and pronouns. They share the same main verb conjugations and the like.

Russian and Ukrainian are very closely related languages that share many similarities, but they also have many differences, some small, some large. The large number of different vocabulary, different pronunciations, and different word forms that emerge over time make the two languages only partially mutually intelligible for people who are not exposed to much of the other language. But since most Ukrainian speakers also speak Russian or are widely exposed to Russian, asymmetrical intelligibility is the norm. In other words, Ukrainian speakers can usually understand Russian, while Russian speakers don’t understand Ukrainian, especially Russian speakers from outside Ukraine.

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By Rusça Dersleri

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