Bird, Sonya
Litvin, Natallia

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Journal of the International Phonetic Association


Belarusian (ISO 639-3 BEL) is an Eastern Slavic language spoken by roughly seven million people in the Republic of Belarus (Zaprudski 2007; Census of the Republic of Belarus 2009), a land-locked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Russia to the north and east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Within the Belarusian language, the two main dialects are North Eastern and South Western (Avanesaǔ et al. 1963; Lapkoǔskaya 2008; Smol’skaya 2011). Two additional regional forms of Belarusian can be distinguished: the Middle Belarusian dialectal group, incorporating some features of North Eastern and South Western dialects together with certain characteristics of its own, and the West-Polesian (or Brest-Pinsk) dialectal group. The latter group is more distinct linguistically from the other Belarusian dialects and is in many respects close to the Ukrainian language (Lapkoǔskaya 2008; Smol’skaya 2011). The focus of this illustration is Standard Belarusian1, which is based on Middle Belarusian speech varieties. For details on the phonetic differences across dialects, the reader is referred to Avanesaǔ et al. (1963) and Lapkoǔskaya (2008).




Bird, S., & Litvin, N. (2021). Belarusian. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, (51)3, 450-467.