Sprachlicher Inzest in Weißrussland und der Ukraine?
Edited By Gerd Hentschel, Oleksandr Taranenko and Siarhej Zaprudski
Social and structural factors in the emergence of mixed Belarusian-Russian varieties in rural Western Belarus
Belarusian-Russian mixed language, popularly known as trasjanka, has been the subject of often heated public debate in Belarus since the late 1980s, yet until quite recently, there has been surprisingly little systematic analysis of this phenomenon by linguists. Like Ukrainian-Russian mixed suržyk in Ukraine (BILANIUK 2004; 2005), in Belarus trasjanka has long been the unwanted stepchild of linguistic research, due to its highly stigmatized status among the educated urban population and to the considerable discomfort felt by prescriptively-oriented linguists when dealing with varieties that seem to blur the boundaries between the Belarusian and Russian languages.
Although scholars have offered a variety of opinions about the origins, linguistic status and structural characteristics of Belarusian-Russian mixed language, their arguments have been largely based on anecdotal evidence rather than in-depth empirical research (see, for example, MICHNEVIČ 1985, MEČKOVSKAJA 1994b, CYCHUN 1998, CYCHUN 2006, BULYKO & KRYSIN 1999, KORJAKOV 2002b). More recently, other researchers based outside of Belarus, LISKOVEC (2003) and HENTSCHEL & TESCH (2006a, 2007b), have sought to redress this imbalance between theory and data through detailed structural analysis of field recordings of Belarusian-Russian mixed speech. While these newer studies have significantly enhanced our understanding of trasjanka as a linguistic phenomenon, one important shortcoming they share is the tendency to use standard Belarusian as the reference point for defining the “Belarusian” component of mixed Belarusian-Russian speech, when in fact trasjanka speakers typically show at least some dialect features characteristic of their region of origin and...
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