Belarusian language: 1918 - 2018. Education and the press

Belarusian language: 1918 - 2018. Education and the press


This is the first time that all the relevant data on the language situation in the press and education over a hundred years have been collected and analysed.

The research is mainly descriptive: there are no extensive explanations of the revealed state of affairs, as it seemed reasonable first to fill in the gap in reliable knowledge of what has been happening in the area.

The main conclusions and forecasts of the study:

1. Over the past century the linguistic landscape of Belarus radically changed several times. By 1918 the Belarusian press was in the shadow of the Russian language. But by the end Belarusianization of the 1920s the Belarusian language became dominant in the press and in schools, and it began to lose its position only in the post-war period.

2. In 1932, the Belarusian-language book-publishing industry reached its peak. The record was broken not until 2018.

3. Since 1994, the proportion of Belarusian-language education has been shrinking at all levels: pre-school, school, universities. The Belarusian language has been marginalized (in favor of Russian) also in villages.

4. In the nearest future, we can expect a modest increase in Belarusian-language book- and press-publishing. Quite the opposite in the education sphere: it is likely that the number of students studying in Belarusian will be even less.

The research paper is only available in Belarusian.

There is also an abridged version in Russian