As absurd as it might sound but there’s a fat chance one will hear the Belarusian language on the streets of Belarus. Which leads to the question: “Where to listen to Belarusian in Belarus?”
In case you wonder how such a situation has even arisen, BelarusFeed tried to explain all the turbulences that caused it in ‘Why Belarusians don’t speak Belarusian‘ piece.
To visit Belarus and won’t hear its lively, melodious and beautiful ‘mova’ will be an impermissible omission. So, let’s cut to the chase and get you to the spots where the Belarusian language lives.
Let’s say, you just came to Minsk and felt a craving to immerse in the local culture, meet locals and listen to Belarusian as fast as you can.
For starters, keep looking around and you won’t miss the fact that all the names of the streets look a bit odd – this might be it, authentic Belarusian łacinka is looking back at you.
Another quick and budget-friendly way is to go down the metro. Don’t panic, we’ve got your back here too and made a guide on how to use public transport (metro included) in Minsk.
Besides fanciful inscriptions indicating the stations and directions, one will hear the announcements made in Russian, Belarusian and English, so that you don’t get lost.
Just imagine how unusual it would be to watch familiar play, Don Juan by Jean-Baptiste Moliere for instance, in Belarusian. Or, on the contrary, to get acquainted with the works of Belarusian drama.
We particularly recommend two theaters: Janka Kupała National Theatre and Theater of Belarusian Drama. Here the Belarusian language will be presented in all its glory in the works of Belarusian classics and modern playwrights.
For years the Belarusian language was seen as the language of villagers and farmers, no wonder, the village now is some kind of its last bastion. Well, where to start with?
Choose a small town or better a village closest to the south-western border of the country, then pick the transport and how to get there. Once on the ground, start looking for Belarusian-speaking seniors to have a nice conversation.
Mind they highly unlikely will understand your English, so it’s better to go there with a person who speaks Russian/Belarusian to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Be sure, even if you don’t hear pure Belarusian speech there’s a big chance someone will talk trasianka, which is a mixed form of Belarusian and Russian.
While you may not hear pure Belarusian, a bunch of insightful facts about Belarusian literature, culture and history is guaranteed.
More on the topic:
Forrest Gump, Home Alone, Die Hard – want to watch some classics of world cinema such in Belarusian? Kinakong makes it possible, check their website to see what is in the movies now.
Feel like being ready to dig deeper and try yourself in learning the language?
Locals also recommend to visit Church of Saints Simon and Helena (also known as the Red Church) in the heart of the city, get acquainted with the students of philological and historic faculties.
Drop by Lohvinaŭ Bookstore, one of the centers of the literary life in Belarus, where contemporary writers, critics, and book lovers gather to talk, share ideas and create.