Belarusian, Russian, and Belarusian–Russian mixed speech.

2013. №1, 53-76


Contrary to common opinion that considers Belarusian-Russian mixed speech (BRMS), also known as «Trasyanka», to be highly irregular or even chaotic with respect to the distribution of Belarusian or Russian elements, i. e. expressions and constructions, a series of tendencies towards stabilisation of preferences of partially Russian (mostly), partly Belarusian (more rarely) variants at different structural levels will be described that are based on a corpus analysis of family speech. It is argued that during recent decades BRMS was the code for initial language socialisation for millions of Belarusians and that the acquisition of Russian and Belarusian is to be understood as secondary acquisition consisting in blocking elements of the complete inventory of BRMS that are inappropriate in different social contexts where either Russian or (more rarely) Belarusian is required. The Belarusian situation is placed within a series of speech situations that also encompasses South Germany, where in urban settings mixed varieties of local dialects and standard German is spoken.