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 Ukraine 9[1]
local dialect

Polishchuk (Ukrainian: Поліщук, Poliščuk (Polishchuk); Belarusian: Паляшук, Paliašuk; Russian: Полещук, Poleshchuk; Polish: Poleszuk) or Poleshuks is the name given to the people who populated the swamps of Polesia.

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The Polishchuk dialect is close to the Ukrainian, Belarusian and Polish languages. Although recently most scholars assign it as a dialect of Ukrainian, it maintains many local peculiarities and is notably distinct from other Slavic languages and dialects of the area.

The Primary Chronicle uses the name Dregovichs for an ancient Slavic tribe settled between Pripyat and Western Dvina rivers. The name comes from the Slavic word dregva or dryhva ("swamp"). This tribe is thought to be the ancestors of modern Polishchuks.[citation needed] In 11th and 12th centuries the land was administrated by the Prince of Turov.[citation needed]

Inhabitants of remote areas of modern Belarus and Poland, the Polishchuks did not develop their own national identity until relatively recently. Hence when asked for their nationality in Imperial Russian and then Polish censuses, many of them answered "tutejszy", meaning "local", and were categorized either as "other nationalities", Poles, Belarusians or Russians, depending mostly on their religion and political situation. In the Polish census of 1931 approximately 800,000 people declared themselves to be "locals" rather than Ukrainians or Belarusians.[citation needed]

During and after the World War II, the Polishchuks along with Belarusian people developed a strong sense of identity and currently the Polishchuk group is one of the distinct cultural and ethnic parts of Belarus, while most of the population of the Polish and Ukrainian parts of the region of Polesie have assimilated with the respective nations. At the end of 1980s, there was a minor campaign in Soviet Belarus for the creation of a separate "Polesian language" based on the dialects of Polesia launched by Belarusian philologist Mikola Shylyagovich and his associates. However, they received almost no support and the campaign eventually melted away.

See also[edit]