2007 | 31 | 175-198
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Polish language in the East Belarus. The sociolinguistic situation and remarks about language of Stajsk and Vesolovo

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Stajsk and Wesolowo are villages in Belarus mainly inhabited by the Poles. They came into being as a result of the latest migration of the Polish country-folk at the beginning of the XX century. Polish peasants came to Belarus from the provinces of Radom, Kalisz, Piotrków, Lublin and Siedlce. In the interwar period the language used at homes and the language of prayer in every Polish family was a dialect brought from the Polish ethnic territories. They talked in Belarussian with their Belarussian neighbours (in a local dialect). After the WW II a disintegration of the Polish community occurred - the children and grandchildren of our informants attended Russian and Belarussian schools, mixed marriages were more and more common. This resulted in the disconnection of the Polish continuum in the middle generation - the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our informants know the speech of their forefathers only passively. They are usually Russian-speaking. In the sphere of the sacred there are two languages used - the personal prayer and the confession in Polish, the service is officiated in Belarussian (by the priests from Poland). The Poles communicate in the local Belarussian dialect with their neighbours - Belarussians. The Polish language of our informants remains a well preserved dialect brought from the ethnic territories. It is confirmed by numerous phonetic or morphological features and the vocabulary. As far as the phonetic features are concerned these are: the labialization of the vowels 'o' and 'u'; the narrowing 'o>ó'; the remains of the existence of oblique 'a - aN > u'; the narrowing of the oblique 'a > o'; the narrowing of oblique 'e e > i/y'; the remains of pronouncing alveolar consonants as dental ones 'duzo, scypek, cforo'; the remains of preserving the hard 'l': 'xlyp, f cybuly'. The Poles from Stajsk and Wesolowo possessed a variety of East Slavic features, e.g.: soft 'l', voiced 'h': prohrama, hektar; pronouncing - 'a' in the place of '-o' and the lexicon concerning the soviet reality and economy: kolchoz, sowchoz, sielsawiet; the everyday life: duxofka, davlene, balnica, etc.
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  • M. Ostrowka, Instytut Slawistyki PAN, ul. Bartoszewicza 1B m. 17, 00-337 Warszawa, Poland
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