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Languages of Belarus

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Title: Languages of Belarus  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Languages of Europe, Languages of Belarus, List of territorial entities where Russian is an official language, Languages of Nagorno-Karabakh, Languages of San Marino
Collection: Languages of Belarus
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Languages of Belarus

Languages of Belarus
Official languages Belarussian, Russian
Minority languages Polish, Ukrainian

Belarusian and Russian are the official languages according to the Constitution of Belarus (Article 17). The constitution guarantees preservation of the cultural heritage of all ethnic minorities, including their languages (Article 15).

Russian, and not Belarusian, is the dominant language in Belarus, spoken normally at home by 70% of the population (2009 census). Even among ethnic Belarusians nearly 70% normally speak Russian at home. Ukrainians and Jews also speak mostly Russian. Poles are the ethnic group who most frequently use Belarusian at home (41%), but the rest speak mainly Russian, with around 1% reporting Polish as the language exclusively used within the family.[1]

In everyday life many Belarusians, especially in Rural areas use Russian-Belarusian mixed language, relatively recently called "trasianka".

West Polesian dialect is colloquially spoken in Southwestern Belarus (Polesia area).

Language normally spoken at home, % of population in respective ethnic group[2]
Nationality Population, thousands of people Belarusian Russian
Total 9,504 23.4 70.2
Belarusians 7,957 26.1 69.8
Russians 785 2.1 96.5
Poles 295 40.9 50.9
Ukrainians 159 6.1 88.4
Jews 13 2.0 95.9
Languages of Belarus according to 2009 census (green - Belarusian, blue - Russian)
Native languages Spoken languages

Knowledge of Belarusian and Russian languages by region and Minsk City

Source: Belstat Census 2009 [3]

Population classified by knowledge of the Belarusian and Russian languages by region and Minsk City (thousand)
Entity All population Of total population persons who indicated as
Mother tongue Language normally spoken at home Other language they have good knowledge of
Belarusian Russian Belarusian Russian Belarusian Russian
Republic of Belarus 9503.8 5058.4 3948.1 2227.2 6673.0 1281.7 1305.4
Brest Region 1401.2 751.9 597.4 374.2 982.4 209.6 236.1
Vitebsk Region 1230.8 646.8 543.7 276.1 900.8 207.7 176.9
Gomel Region 1440.7 786.4 602.8 326.4 1037.6 154.8 166.5
Grodno Region 1072.4 634.7 386.9 375.9 606.1 145.6 230.4
Minsk City 1836.8 645.9 966.0 106.1 1508.7 321.6 54.3
Minsk Region 1422.5 987.2 390.5 553.0 796.6 127.4 343.9
Mogilev Region 1099.4 605.5 460.8 215.5 840.8 115.0 97.3


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