Mova Nanova

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Mova Nanova
Belarusian: Мова Нанова
Formation13 January 2014
Official language
Key people
Gleb Labadzenka Alesia Litvinouskaja
WebsiteOfficial website

Mova Nanova (Belarusian: Мова Нанова, Mova Nanova, literally, “language anew”) is a Belarusian course that has taken place in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, since January 13, 2014. It is a non-profit NGO, a cultural and linguistic initiative aimed at expanding the everyday use of the Belarusian language, which alongside Russian is one of the two official languages of Belarus. The lessons are held in the gallery of modern art «Ў». The initiative has caught on and has been acclaimed by other regional cities that support the endeavour locally – now the courses can be also found in Baranavičy, Hrodna, Babrujsk, Niasviž, Brest, Maladziečna, Mahilioŭ, Viciebsk and Homel.[1] The undertaking has also expanded outside Belarus and has an affiliate group in Kraków.[2]

Mova Nanova in Minsk has been set up and is hosted by Alesia Litvinouskaja, a linguist, and Gleb Labadzenka, a journalist.[3] The course gathers about 300 students weekly and is attended by people of different background and all walks of life from Belarusian-speaking physicians and software engineers to architects and singers, to writers and actors, to historians and students, to kids and senior citizens. The distinct feature and integral part of each class is special guests.[4] Normally, they are public figures and famous people promoting the Belarusian language and culture, and who see this linguistic environment as an intrinsic part of their daily life.

The course is informal by nature, and the teaching process is not governed by strict academic rules. The lessons are divided into different topics like fashion, medicine, relatives, etc., and are split up into several sections – vocabulary, grammar, interesting facts, historical or cultural edutainment section, and more.


In June, 2014 Mova Nanova was awarded the Grand Prix for the best project in the "Undertakings of Social Value" category at AD!NAK,[5][6][7] the festival of Belarusian advertising, media and communication.

Other activities[edit]

Mova Nanova offers the service of free translation called "Linguistic Emergency Service".[8][9] A volunteer team of professional linguists provides a quick translation service (within a few days) of texts up to 5000 characters, which will be used directly or indirectly for promoting the Belarusian language in public life. The most common instances are website texts, name plates, posters and billboards, names of ingredients on packages, labels and price tags in shops, restaurant menus, advertisements, etc.

The first national sports contest Mova Cup (Language Cup) took place on September 28, 2014,[10] where there was also a team representing Mova Nanova, which came 5th in the overall standing.[11]

The language course for preschool children "Mova Nanova for the Little Ones" [12] opened its doors to very young learners in the gallery of modern art «Ў» on October 5, 2014.[13]

Premise for emergence[edit]

The initiative has emerged as a response to the growing need of a certain part of Belarusian population inclined to raise their linguistic, cultural and national awareness, and among those people who are interested in building up their knowledge of the Belarusian language. The regular attendees of the course see this practice as an inseparable step toward strengthening their national identity. Currently regardless of the official status of Belarusian as one of the state languages, its use is mainly restricted to academic and scientific circles, and a range of media channels. Whereas Russian remains the dominant language in public life, among official authorities and on the governmental level as well as in the sphere of education, where the use of Belarusian is equivalent to that of a foreign language.

According to the latest census of 2009, around 53% of the population of Belarus consider the Belarusian language to be their mother tongue, however, only about 23% of the respondents say they speak it at home.[14] The language is labelled as vulnerable by UNESCO, which is reflected on its Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.[15]

Being brought up in a predominantly Russian linguistic environment, many Belarusian people still experience linguistic interference when they try to speak Belarusian and find it difficult to switch to this language and achieve fluency in an everyday conversation. One of the common reasons that impedes wider adoption of Belarusian beyond the passive utilization in reading and listening is said to be lack of confidence about the level of proficiency that in fluent speech often results in a mixture of both Russian and Belarusian. This blend is often informally called “trasianka”. Therefore, one of the primary aims of the Mova Nanova course is to help those who are aspiring to speak Belarusian regain and develop confidence about using the language in a daily conversation, refresh their existing knowledge, and instill curiosity about further learning of the Belarusian language, culture and history.[16]

In Minsk[edit]

The language courses Mova Nanova first started in Minsk, and now are hosted there by the philologist Alesia Litvinouskaja and the journalist Gleb Labadzenka. The first year of the course numbered 21 lesson, and concluded with a first-year graduation party where special guests such as the music band Handmade and musicians Lavon Volski and Pavel Arakelian were invited. The topics of the first season were Greetings and Wishes, Knights and Battles, Paganism, Medicine, Verbal Tussle and Strong Language, Relatives, Birds, Cinema, Fashion, Humour and Jokes, City and Urbanism, Education, Easter and its Traditions, Theater, Information Technologies and Computer Literacy, Man and Law, Flora, Disabilities and Special Abilities, Fairy Tales. The lessons were visited by many famous Belarusian public figures and cultural personalities, among which were the Handmade band, the members of the knight club "Givojt" Juras Uscinovič and Uladzimir Ličko, Uladzimir Arloŭ, Vital Gurkoŭ, Aleh Chamenka, the Sumarok band, the Rahis band, Alaksandr Vinčeŭski, the Bosae Sonca band, Ales Kamocki, Viktar Šałkevič, Hanna Chitryk, the band Vuraj, Saša Varlamaŭ, Andrej Chadanovič, Lavon Volski, the Shuma band, Viačaslaŭ Rakicki, Mikałaj Pinigin, Zmicer Vajciuškevič, Kasia Kamockaja.

The second year of the course started on September 8, 2014.[17]

Mova Nanova in regions[edit]


Alesia Litvinouskaja and Gleb Labadzenka handed the baton to the like-minded fellow activists from Babrujsk on February 21, 2014, International Mother Language Day.[18][19] Mova Nanova in the biggest regional city is hosted by the linguist Volha Rudaja and the journalist Alesia Lacinskaja. The course takes place at 33/1 Kastryčnickaja Street each Friday at 18:00. Alesia Litvinouskaja and Gleb Labadzenka, the founders of Mova Nanova in Minsk, came to open the course in Babrujsk and held the first lesson. There were 20 attendees. The topic was greetings and forms of address. The students discussed the original Belarusian names, and the vocabulary on the topic “Relatives” was introduced. Then there was reading of several articles from Naša Niva (one of the oldest Belarusian periodicals), dated to the early 20th century. The lesson was concluded with a creative task that required the attendees to finish famous Belarusian proverbs and sayings in their own way.

The event was supported by the organizers of the civil campaign “Budzma Belarusami”. The students received Budzma-branded souvenirs and books from the Union of Belarusian writers.


The introductory presentation of the first lesson in Hrodna on March 14, 2014, gathered more than 100 people.[20] The event was organized with the help of the civil organization “Centre of “The Third Sector””. 15 minutes before the planned start it was clear that the spot wouldn’t have enough room to welcome all the guests willing to attend the course. The organizers had to promptly find another venue for the presentation and postpone the beginning of the lesson by half an hour. There were people of different background among the first attendees, including the students of “The University of the Golden Age”, and college students as well as middle-aged people. The presentation was delivered again by the founders of the course “Mova Nanova” Gleb Labadzenka and Alesia Litvinouskaja. Alesia immediately won the hearts of the audience by saying that she was the granddaughter of the renowned Apanas Cychun. While the rest of the students enthusiastically responded to the zeal and witty jokes of Gleb. From the beginning of the presentation the hosts set laid-back and friendly atmosphere that lasted during the two hours of the lesson.

The founders of Mova Nanova spoke about the key concept of these courses and demonstrated a few examples of lessons that could be used as the building blocks for the course in the affiliate group in Hrodna. Then a practical followed. The students were divided into groups and again had to finish Belarusian proverbs and sayings. At the end of the presentation the hosts of Mova Nanova in Hrodna were introduced to the audience. The initiative will be carried on by Volha Astroŭskaja and Ihar Kuzminič.


Mova Nanova in Baranavičy was opened on Saturday, March 15, 2014.[21] The course took place on the premises of the civil environmental organization “Neruš” (12 Paŭłava Street). The course in Baranavičy was organized by Julija Tracciak, who will host the initiative in this town. The first lesson was traditionally held by Alesia Litvinouskaja and Gleb Labadzenka, the founders of the course in Minsk. There were 30 attendees during the first lesson, and the event was supported by the civil and cultural campaign “Budzma Belarusami”.


The first lesson of Mova Nanova in Niasviž took place on March 22, 2014, and was held by the hosts of the Minsk course Alesia Litvinouskaja and Gleb Labadzenka.[22] The event was organized by the artist Natałla Bordak. The course is planned to be held on a regular basis, however, for now there is no detailed information about the next steps.


Mova Nanova in Brest for the first time took place on April 27, 2014, more than 90 people attended the lesson.[23] It was held by the teachers of the Minsk branch of Mova Nanova Alesia Litvinouskaja and Gleb Labadzenka. The students had a chance to learn Belarusian equivalents of their names, did a creative task, trained their speech skills with tongue twisters, and listened to voice recordings of illustrious Belarusian poets. Mova Nanova in Brest is promised to be held on a regular basis. All comers can leverage the opportunity to practise Belarusian for free every Wednesday. Inha Voran and Jaŭhien Skrabec took up the torch and would host the lessons in Brest. They promised to add a splash of entertainment to every lesson.

The second season of the course continued from September 6, 2014.[24]


The course opened its doors to Maladziečna students on May 7, 2014 with about 60 people attending the first lesson.[25] It was held by the founders of the Minsk course Alesia Litvinouskaja and Gleb Labadzenka. The lesson lasted for two hours, the attendees learnt about traditional Belarusian names, practised to find false friends in translation, honed their pronunciation skills, and listened to the voices of the famous Belarusian poets and writers Janka Kupała and Jakub Kołas. From then on the lessons would be hosted by the journalist Nastassia Roŭda and the cultural personality Ales Mazanik.

The second season of the course in Maladziečna [26] started on September 15, 2014.[27]


Mahilioŭ welcomed its students on May 11, 2014 [28] and became the 9th city to take up the linguistic initiative. The first lesson was traditionally held by the course founders Alesia Litvinouskaja and Gleb Labadzenka. Around 50 people came to the first lesson to the civil centre "Koła", which was fairly a lot for Mahilioŭ for this kind of events. There was even a group of schoolchildren who came there with their teacher from Orša. Gleb Labadzenka and Alesia Litvinouskaja described the peculiarities of the family of traditional Belarusian names, explained to the Mahilioŭ amateurs of the Belarusian language the names of relatives, reminded of the famous tongue twisters, proverbs and sayings, and then together with the students did some exercises to practise. Now the course in Mahilioŭ takes place every Wednesday and is lectured by the local language teacher Juras Kałasoŭski.

The second year of the course started on September 9, 2014


The official opening of the Viciebsk branch of the language course took place at the exhibition room of the centre of history and culture - the Golden Ring of Viciebsk "Dzvina" - on May 25, 2014.[29] Viciebsk was the 10th city to open its doors to Mova Nanova students. More than 50 people attended the first lesson. The course started with Gleb Labadzenka and Alesia Litvinouskaja introducing the most typical Belarusian names to the attendees of the course, explaining the lexical topic of synonyms, and teaching the students to name correctly all the relatives. Then the lesson proceeded with some practical exercises in pronunciation - the students tried to pronounce various tongue twisters, and concluded with a language contest. Now the language course is hosted by local lecturers, and the philologist Siarhej Markaŭ is one of them.

The second year of the course started on September 7, 2014.[30]


  1. ^ "Беларускае Радыё РАЦЫЯ - КУЛЬТУРА - "Мова нанова" пашырае геаграфію". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  2. ^ "MOVA NANOVA w Krakowie - Towarzystwo Białoruskie w Krakowie". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  3. ^ "Шчодры вечар: з аншлагам пачаўся новы сезон курсаў беларускай мовы "Мова нанова"". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  4. ^ "YouTube - Лявон Вольскі -- Тры чарапахі -- Мова Нанова 07.04.2014". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  5. ^ "Фестываль беларускамоўнай рэкламы і камунікацыі". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  6. ^ "Камасутра, кіроўцы з жалезнымі яйцамі і палітвязні. У Беларусі выбралі лепшую рэкламу на роднай мове". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  7. ^ "Жывое відэа: Фэстываль беларускамоўнай рэклямы AD.NAK!". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  8. ^ “Мова Нанова” стварыла службу бясплатных перакладаў на беларускую мову — артыкул на сайце
  9. ^ Хуткая моўная дапамога
  10. ^ Cпартова-моўны фэстываль «Мова Cup» — артыкул на сайце
  11. ^ Падведзены вынікі спартыўнага фестывалю "Мова Cup" — артыкул на сайце
  12. ^ «Мова нанова» — цяпер і для дзетак — артыкул на сайце
  13. ^ Першыя заняткі «Мова Нанова Дзеткам» сабралі прыблізна 60 дзяцей — артыкул на сайце
  14. ^ "Population Census 2009". Archived from the original on 2012-11-29. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  15. ^ "UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in danger". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  16. ^ "After Decades of Russian Dominance, Belarus Begins to Reclaim its Language". Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  17. ^ Мова нанова: 500-годдзе Бітвы пад Воршай! артыкул на сайце
  18. ^ "У Бабруйску адкрыліся курсы "Мова нанова" (фота) | Новости Беларуси от". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  19. ^ "Белсат ТВ - Навіны - "Мова нанова" і "Мова ці кава" ідуць у рэгіёны". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  20. ^ "На першы занятак "Мова нанова" ў Гродне прыйшло больш за 100 чалавек". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  21. ^ "Ужо ў гэту суботу: "Мова нанова" ў Баранавічах | Intex-press - Новости г. Барановичи и Барановичского региона". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  22. ^ "Курсы "Мова нанова" адкрыліся ў Нясьвіжы - БЕЛАРУСКАЯ СЛУЖБА". Retrieved 2014-04-16.
  23. ^ Жыве мова! — артыкул на сайце
  24. ^ На берасцейскіх курсах “МОВА НАНОВА” адпачывала 50 чалавек — артыкул на сайце
  25. ^ Першыя заняткі «Мовы Нанова» ў Маладзечне — артыкул на сайце
  26. ^ «Мова Нанова» вяртаецца і ў Маладзечна — артыкул на сайце
  27. ^ Першы занятак другога сезона. "Адукацыя" — фота на сайце
  28. ^ 11 траўня Магілёў стаў дзявятым горадам, дзе распачаліся моўныя заняткі. — артыкул на сайце
  29. ^ Як у Віцебску прайшоў першы занятак «Мовы Нанова». — артыкул на сайце
  30. ^ У Віцебску адкрываецца другі сезон курсаў «Мова нанова» — артыкул на сайце

External links[edit]