Rusyn language

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Rusyn language
русинськый язык; руски язик
rusîns'kyj jazyk; ruski jazik
Native speakers
623,500 (2000–2006)[1]
Census population: 76,000. These are numbers from national official bureaus for statistics:
Slovakia – 38,679[2]
Serbia – 15,626[3]
Poland – 10,000[4]
Ukraine – 6,725[5]
Croatia – 2,337[6]
Hungary – 1,113[7]
Czech Republic – 777[8]
Cyrillic script (Rusyn alphabets)
Latin script (Slovakia)[9]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3rue
Linguasphere53-AAA-ec < 53-AAA-e
(varieties: 53-AAA-eca to 53-AAA-ecc)
Idioma rusino.PNG
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The Rusyn language (/ˈrsɪn/;[14] Carpathian Rusyn: русиньскый язык, romanized: rusîn'skyj jazyk; Pannonian Rusyn: руски язик, romanized: ruski jazik),[15] also known by the older term, руснацькый язык, rusnac'kyj jazyk, 'Rusnak language',[16][17] is an East Slavic lect, spoken by Rusyns in several parts of Central and Eastern Europe, written in the Cyrillic script.[18] The majority of speakers exist in an area that spans from Transcarpathia, westward into eastern Slovakia and south-east Poland.[19] There is also a sizeable linguistic island in the Vojvodina, Serbia[19] and a Rusyn diaspora throughout the world.[20][21] Per the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Rusyn is officially recognized as a protected minority language by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Poland (as Lemko), Serbia, and Slovakia.[10]

In the English language, the term Rusyn is recognized officially by the ISO.[22] Other names are sometimes also used to refer to the language, mainly deriving from exonyms such as Ruthenian or Ruthene (UK: /rʊˈθn/, US: /rˈθn/),[23] that have more general meanings, and thus (by adding regional adjectives) some specific designations are formed, such as: Carpathian Ruthenian/Ruthene or Carpatho-Ruthenian/Ruthene.[24]

The categorization of Rusyn as a language or dialect is a source of controversy.[25] Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian, as well as American and some Polish and Serbian linguists treat it as a distinct language[26][needs update] (with its own ISO 639-3 code), whereas other scholars (in Ukraine, Poland, Serbia, and Romania) treat it as a Southwestern dialect of Ukrainian.[27][needs update]

Geographic distribution[edit]

In terms of geographic distribution, Rusyn language is represented by two specific clusters: the first is encompassing Carpathian Rusyn or Carpatho-Rusyn varieties, and the second is represented by Pannonian Rusyn.[28]

Carpathian Rusyn is spoken in:

Pannonian Rusyn is spoken by the Pannonian Rusyns in the region of Vojvodina (in Serbia), and in a nearby region of Slavonia (in Croatia).


The Rusyn Language in History

One of the dangers of any enterprise like the codification of a language is the desire to 'see' its history go back as far as possible. This danger affects every single language that may have had difficulties in gaining acceptance of its identity ... A good example is Ukrainian itself ... It was not recognized by ... the 19th century ('great') Russian establishment ... leading to a continued perception ... that Ukrainian was a 'dialect' of Russian ... Such treatment invariably led later Ukrainian scholars ... to refer to the language of those [earliest] features as not only 'old' Ukrainian but 'proto'-Ukrainian ... The desire to see the beginnings of Rusyn as existing before, say, the 18th century is entirely natural - it was clearly in evidence in that century, so the beginnings must have been earlier. In fact, it is possible to see linguistic traces of what we recognize as 'Rusyn' in documents in very early texts - but this is not to say that these texts were written in 'Old Rusyn'. It is safe to say that Rusyn begins to be quite recognizable in a more systematic fashion (in terms of modern Rusyn) by the 18th century. Of course, given the political and social histories of the region, and especially religious history, documents differ according to the region, time, and the (socio-)linguistic milieu in which they were composed - e.g., Church Slavonic, Russian, Latin, etc.

S. M. Pugh, The Rusyn Language, 2009[30]

The Niagovo Postilla (Njagovskie poučenija), dated to 1758, is one of the earliest texts possessing significant phonetic and morphological characteristics of modern Rusyn (specifically the Subcarpathian variant) and is potentially "linguistically traceable" to the 16th century.[31][32]

By the 18th century, the Rusyn language was "clearly in evidence" and "quite recognizable in a more systematic fashion".[33]

The first books produced exclusively for Rusyn readership were printed under the direction of bishop of Mukachevo, Joseph Decamillis (r. 1690 - 1706). Under his direction, the printshop at the University of Trnava published a catechism (Katekhisis dlia naouki Ouhorouskim liudem, 1698) and an elementary language primer (Boukvar’ iazyka slaven’ska, 1699). For decades, these would be the only textbooks available to Rusyn students.[34]

Later, in 1767 Maria Theresa's Urbarium was published throughout the Habsburg Empire in a variety of languages, including Rusyn.[35][36]

Finally, under Bishop Andrei Bachyns’kyi’s tenure (r. 1773 - 1809) in the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo, new texts for Rusyn student readership were published. These several editions of Ioann Kutka's primer and catechism were published in Rusyn vernacular, though with heavy influence from Church Slavonic. [37]

19th Century[edit]

By the 19th century, "attempts to write in a form of Russo-Church Slavonic with a Rusyn flavor, or a type of 'Subcarpathian Russian' with Rusyn phonetic fatures," began to be made. Notably, Myxajlo Lučkaj's grammar of the Subcarpathian variety of Church Slavonic, Grammatica Slavo-Ruthena, of 1830 had a "distinctly Rusyn flavor". And while Lučkaj did not support use of vernacular as a literary language (commenting on the proper usage of either lingua eruditorum et Communis plebis, 'the languages of the learned and the languages of the common people' in his Praefatio), he did include examples of "Rusyn paradigms" in his work to attempt demonstrate its similarity to Church Slavonic. Lučkaj in effect sought to prove the two languages were close sisters of a common ancestor. [31][38]

In 1847, Greek Catholic priest Alexander Dukhnovych published the first textbook written almost fully in common Rusyn vernacular, Knyzhytsia chytalnaia dlia nachynaiushchykh (A Reader for Beginners).[39]


The classification of the Rusyn language has historically been both linguistically and politically controversial. During the 19th century, several questions were raised among linguists, regarding the classification of East Slavic dialects that were spoken in the northeastern (Carpathian) regions of the Kingdom of Hungary, and also in neighbouring regions of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. On those questions, three main theories emerged:[40]

  • Some linguists claimed that East Slavic dialects of the Carpathian region should be classified as specific varieties of the Russian language.
  • Other linguists argued that those dialects should be classified as western varieties of a distinctive Ukrainian language.
  • A third group claimed that those dialects are specific enough to be recognized as a distinctive East Slavic language.

In spite of these linguistic disputes, official terminology used by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy that ruled the Carpathian region remained unchanged. For Austro-Hungarian state authorities, the entire East Slavic linguistic body within the borders of the Monarchy was classified as Ruthenian language (German: Ruthenische sprache, Hungarian: Rutén nyelv), an archaic and exonymic term that remained in use until 1918.[41]

20th Century[edit]

After the dissolution of Austria-Hungary (1918), the newly proclaimed Hungarian Republic recognized Rusyn regional autonomy in Subcarpathian regions and created, at the beginning of 1919, a department for Rusyn language and literature at the Budapest University.[42]

By the end of 1919, the region of Subcarpathian Ruthenia was appended to the newly formed Czechoslovak state, as its easternmost province. During the next twenty years, linguistic debates were continued between the same three options (pro-Russian, pro-Ukrainian, and local Rusyn), with Czechoslovak state authorities occasionally acting as arbiters.[43]

In March 1939, the region proclaimed independence under the name Carpatho-Ukraine, but it was immediately occupied and annexed by Hungary. The region was later occupied (1944) and annexed (1945) by the Soviet Union, and incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR,[44] which proceeded with implementation of Ukrainian linguistic standards. In Soviet Ukraine, Rusyns were not recognized as a distinctive ethnicity, and their language was considered a dialect of Ukrainian language. Poland employed similar policies,[45] using internal deportations to move many Eastern Slavs from southeastern to newly acquired western regions (Operation Vistula),[46] and switch their language to Polish, and Ukrainian at school.

During that period, the only country that was officially recognizing the Rusyn minority and its language was Yugoslavia.[47]

Post-Soviet Developments[edit]

Official usage of Pannonian Rusyn in Vojvodina, Serbia.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, modern standards of minority rights were gradually applied throughout the Eastern Europe, thus affecting the attitude of several states towards the Rusyn language. As successors of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Croatia continued to recognize the Rusyn language as an official minority language.[48]

Scholars with the former Institute of Slavic and Balkan Studies in Moscow (now the Institute of Slavonic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences) formally acknowledged Rusyn as a separate language in 1992, and trained specialists to study the language.[49] These studies were financially supported by the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Since 1995, Rusyn has been recognized as a minority language in Slovakia, enjoying the status of an official language in municipalities where more than 20 percent of the inhabitants speak Rusyn.[50]

Contemporary Status[edit]

Ukrainian state authorities do not recognize Rusyns as a separate ethnicity, regardless of Rusyn self-identification. Ukraine officially considered Rusyn a dialect of Ukrainian. In 2012, Ukraine adopted a new law, recognizing Rusyn as one of several minority and regional languages, but that law was revoked in 2014.[51]

Rusyn is recognized as an officially protected, minority language by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011), Croatia (1997), Hungary (1998), Romania (2008), Poland (as Lemko, 2009), Serbia (2006), and Slovakia (2002).[10]

It is not possible to estimate accurately the number of fluent speakers of Rusyn; however, their number is estimated in the tens of thousands.[citation needed]

Grammars and codification[edit]

Early grammars include Dmytrij Vyslockij's (Дмитрий Вислоцкий) Карпаторусский букварь (Karpatorusskij bukvar') Vanja Hunjanky (1931),[52] Metodyj Trochanovskij's Буквар. Перша книжечка для народных школ. (Bukvar. Perša knyžečka dlja narodnıx škol.) (1935).,[53][54] and Ivan Harajda (1941).[21] The archaic Harajda's grammar is currently promoted in the Rusyn Wikipedia, although part of the articles are written using other standards (see below).

Currently, there are three codified varieties of Rusyn:

  • The Prešov variety in Slovakia (ongoing codification since 1995[55]). A standard grammar was published in 1995 by Vasyl Jabur, Anna Plíšková and Kvetoslava Koporová. Its orthography is largely based on Zhelekhivka,[citation needed] a late 19th century variety of the Ukrainian alphabet.
  • The Lemko variety in Poland. A standard grammar and dictionary were published in 2000 by Mirosława Chomiak and Henryk Fontański, with a second edition being issued in 2004.[56][57]
  • The Pannonian Rusyn variety in Serbia and Croatia. It is significantly different from the above two in vocabulary and grammar features. It was first standardized in 1923 by G. Kostelnik. The modern standard has been developed since the 1980s by Julian Ramač, Helena Međeši and Mihajlo Fejsa (Serbia), and Mihály Káprály (Hungary).

Though an official standard does not exist for the Subcarpathian Rusyn variety, M. Alamašij's and Igor Kerča's Materyns'kyj jazyk - pysemnycja rusyns'koho jazyka, serves as the de facto standard. Published in 1999, with a second edition published in 2004, and a 58,000 word Rusyn-Russian dictionary in 2007, Kerča's work is used by prominent Rusyn publishers in Uzhorod, albeit with variations between published works that are typical of the spoken language.[58][59]

Apart from these codified varieties, there are publications using a mixture of these standards (most notably in Hungary and in Transcarpathian Ukraine), as well as attempts to revitalize the pre-war etymological orthography with old Cyrillic letters (most notably ѣ, or yat'); the latter can be observed in multiple edits in the Rusyn Wikipedia, where various articles represent various codified varieties.



Labial Dental/
Velar Glottal
hard soft hard soft
Nasal m n
Stop voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡sʲ t͡ʃ
voiced d͡z d͡zʲ d͡ʒ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ (ʃʲ) x h
voiced v z ʒ (ʒʲ)
Rhotic r
Approximant lateral l
central (w)[a] j
  1. ^ The [w] sound only exists within alteration of [v]. However, in the Lemko variety, the [w] sound also represents the non-palatalized L, as is the case with the Polish ł.

A soft consonant combination sound [ʃʲt͡ʃʲ] exists more among the northern and western dialects. In the eastern dialects the sound is recognized as [ʃʲʃʲ], including the area on which the standard dialect is based. It is noted that a combination sound like this one, could have evolved into a soft fricative sound [ʃʲ].[60]


Front Central Back
Close i u
ɪ ɤ
Mid ɛ o
Open a
  • /ɪ/ and /ɤ/ tend to be more towards centralized as [ɪ̈], [ɤ̈].[61]


Noun Declension[edit]

Declension in Rusyn is based on grammatical number, gender, and case. Like English, only two types of grammatical number are expressed: singular[disambiguation needed] and plural. And like other Slavic languages, Rusyn has three grammatical genders: feminine, masculine, and neuter. Furthermore, like those languages, Rusyn uses a seven-case system of nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, locative, instrumental, and vocative cases.[62]

One final point of note is that the masculine gender (and only the masculine gender) is further subdivided into animate and inanimate types. While there are no suffixes specific to animacy, declension between the two differs in that for animates, the form of the accusative case copies that of the genitive case.[62]


As mentioned in the preceding section, Rusyn cases are similar to those of other Slavic languages. A very general summary of usage is given in the table below, though proper usage depends on a particular situation, prepositions, and verbs used, as well as other extenuating circumstances.[62]

Cases in Rusyn
Full name (Rusyn) Case General Usage
номінатів nominative Subjects
акузатів accusative Direct objects
ґенітів genitive Possession or belonging
датів dative Indirect objects
локал locative Concerning location. Only used with prepositions such as "in", "on", etc.
інштрументал instrumental Concerning "means by which".
вокатів vocative Used to address another.

Nouns will generally decline differently to indicate each case (e.g. English they/them/their/theirs). Based on how they decline, nouns can be grouped into one of four "types".

  • Type I: feminine nouns ending in / in the nominative singular
  • Type II:
    • masculine nouns ending in a consonant in the nominative singular
    • neuter and masculine nouns ending in a consonant or -o in the nominative singular
    • neuters ending in -e or / in the nominative singular
  • Type III:
    • feminine nouns ending in a paired consonant (-cons.+ь),[i] an unpaired palato-alveolar consonant (, , щ, , or -дж),[ii] or -ов in the nominative singular
    • the feminine noun мати, maty, 'mother'
  • Type IV: neuter nouns ending in / in the nominative singular
Declension Type I: Feminines Ending in -а/-я[edit]

This type consists of grammatically feminine nouns ending in (hard) or (soft) in the nominative case. The table below includes four examples of such nouns. The first two represent the archetypal feminine paradigm, while the second two represent a "common" or "two-fold gender" paradigm.

It is important to note that this second paradigm has atypical dative, locative, and instrumental singular suffixes which are actually representative of the male/neuter declension paradigm (visible later in this article). According to Pugh, this peculiarity developed as a result of the societal roles of "judge" and "elder" being traditionally patriarchal. This phenomenon is in contrast to grammatically feminine nouns of ambiguous gender where a particular role was not historically male-oriented, such as сирота, orphan. In these cases, the typical feminine paradigm is maintained.[63]

Feminine Nouns Ending in -а/-я in the Nominative Singular[63]
Archetypal Feminine Common/Two-Fold Gender
Hard Soft Hard Soft
Sg. Nominative школа земля старосту судця
Accusative школу землю старосту судцю
Genitive школы землї старосты судцї
Dative школї землї старостови судцёви
Locative школї земли старостови судцёви
Instrumental школов [a] землёв [a] старостов
Vocative школо землё старосто судцё
Pl. Nominative школы землї старостове
Accusative школы землї старостів судцїв
Genitive школ земль старост
Dative школам землям старостам
Locative школам землях старостах
Instrumental школами землями старостами судцями
English school earth elder judge
  1. ^ a b -ов is pronounced as in English owe.
Declension Type II: Masculines and Neuters[edit]

This declension type encompasses a very large set of vocabulary as it contains nouns of both masculine and neuter genders, hard and soft stems, as well as animate and inanimate beings (for the masculine gender).[64]

Masculines Ending in Consonants[edit]

This declension contains a large amount of identical forms (syncretism) between cases. Depending on the noun, the number of distinct forms may number from as few as 3 to as many as 6. For singular animate nouns, there is a single form for the accusative and genitive cases, as well as a single form for the dative and locative cases. Similarly, singular inanimate nouns share a form for nominative and locative cases.[65]

Masculine Nouns Ending in a Consonant in the Nominative Singular[65]
Animate Inanimate
Hard Soft Hard Soft
Sg. Nominative сын учітель стіл край
Accusative сына учітеля
Genitive [a][65] стола краю
Dative сынови учітелёви столу краю
Locative столї краю
Instrumental сыном учітелём стілом краём
Vocative сыну учітелю столе краю
Pl. Nominative сынове учітелї столы краї
Accusative сынів учітелїв столы краї
Genitive сынів учітелїв столы краї
Dative сынам
Locative сынох
Instrumental сынами учітелями столами краями
English son teacher table area, region
  1. ^ For this declension, nouns may decline with either -u or -a. Use of one or the other depends on whether the concept or object is (very generally) abstract or tangible in nature. For instance, Pugh provides the following examples for the former: "anger, pain, reason, sugar, tea"; and the following for the latter: "table, nose, knife, et al."
Neuters or Masculines Ending in -o, Neuters Ending in -e or -а/-я[edit]

The following table demonstrates the declension paradigm for nouns with hard stems which end in -o in the nominative case. Though there are some masculine nouns in this category, these nouns are predominantly neuter.

Neuter or Masculine Nouns (with Hard Stems) Ending in -o in the Nominative Singular[66]
Masculine Neuter
Inanimate Animate
Sg. Nominative домиско дїдо село
Accusative доміиіско дїда[a] село
Genitive домиска дїда села
Dative домиску дїдови селу
Locative[b] домиску дїдови селї
Instrumental домиском дїдом селом
Vocative домиско дїду село
Pl. Nominative домиска дїдове села
Accusative домиска дїдів села
Genitive домиск дїдів сел
Dative домискам дїдам селам
Locative домисках/




Instrumental домисками дїдами селами
English large house, building grandfather village
  1. ^ This follows the typical masculine animate paradigm where the genitive takes the place of the accusative.
  2. ^ For the locative case, there are three possible suffixes: -ovy for animates, -i for inanimates (either masculine or neuter), and -u for stems ending in velar or soft consonants.
Neuter Nouns (with Soft Stems) Ending in -e and -а/-я in the Nominative Singular[67]
Soft in Nominative Hard in Nominative [a]
Sg. Nominative условіє значіня[b] поле сердце
Accusative условіє значіня поле сердце
Genitive условія значіня поля сердця
Dative условію значіню полю сердцю
Locative условієу/ условії значіню/ значінї плю/ полё сердцю/ сердцї
Instrumental условіём значінём полём сердцём
Pl. Nominative условія значіня поля сердця
Accusative условія значіня поля сердця
Genitive условіє значінь поль сердець/ сердць
Dative условіям значіням полям сердцям
Locative условіях значінях полях сердцях
Instrumental условіями значінями полями сердцями
English condition meaning field heart
  1. ^ Over time, soft consonants before -e have hardened in Rusyn.
  2. ^ This suffix changed over time from -e to -a.
Declension Type III: Other Feminines[edit]

All nouns in this type are feminine. The paradigm can be identified by the following suffixes in the nominative singular case: a paired consonant (-cons.+ь),[i] an unpaired palato-alveolar consonant (, , щ, , or -дж),[ii] or the suffix -ов. Additionally, the noun мати, maty, 'mother' is also part of this type.

Feminine Nouns Ending in a Consonant and 'Mati'[69]
Paired Cons. Palato-Alveolar Cons. -ов мати
Sg. Nominative тїнь ніч мыш церков мати/ матїрь
Accusative тїнь ніч мыш церков матїрь
Genitive тїни ноч мышы церкви матери
Dative тїни ноч мыші церкви матери
Locative тїни ноч мыші церкви матери
Instrumental [a] тїнёв ночов мышов терковлёв матїрёв
Pl. Nominative тїни ноч мышы церкви матери
Accusative тїни ноч мышы церкви матери
Genitive тїней ночей мышей церквей матерей
Dative тїням ночам мышам церквам матерям
Locative тїнях ночах мышах церквах матерях
Instrumental тїнями ночами мышами церквами матерями
English shadow night mouse church mother
  1. ^ The declension for all feminine nouns in the instrumental case is the same (-ов) across all declension types.
Declension Type IV: Neuters Ending in -а/-я[edit]

This declension paradigm is used very rarely. It entirely consists of grammatically neuter nouns. This paradigm can be identified by the -a suffix in the nominative and accusative cases, as well as the appearance of the affix -t- between the stem and suffix in other cases. There is no variation in this paradigm: all nouns decline in an identical manner.[70]

Type IV is predominantly made up of words referring to the young of animals and humans. However, this should not be taken as a hard rule as some nouns which historically declined differently (e.g. вымя, vŷmja, 'udder' and горня, hornja, 'cup, mug'), now decline according to this paradigm instead.[70]

Neuter Nouns Ending in -a and [71]
Sg. Nominative гуся гача вымя/ вымня
Accusative гуся гача вымя/ вымня
Genitive гусяти гачати вымяти/ вымняти
Dative гусяти гачати вымяти/ вымняти
Locative гусяти гачати вымяти/ вымняти
Instrumental гусятём гачатём вымятём/ вымнятём
Pl. Nominative гусята гачата вымята/ вымнята
Accusative гусята гачата вымята/ вымнята
Genitive гусята гачата вымята/ вымнята
Dative гусятам гачатам вымятам/ вымнятам
Locative гусятах гачатах вмятах/ вмнятах
Instrumental гусятами гачатами вымятами/ вымнятами
English gosling colt, foal udder


Each of the three Rusyn standard varieties has its own Cyrillic alphabet. The table below shows the alphabet of Slovakia (Prešov) Rusyn. The alphabet of the other Carpathian Rusyn standard, Lemko (Poland) Rusyn, differs from it only by lacking ё and ї. For the Pannonian Rusyn alphabet, see Pannonian Rusyn language § Writing system.

Romanization (transliteration) is given according to ALA-LC,[72] BGN/PCGN,[73] generic European,[citation needed] ISO/R9 1968 (IDS),[74] and ISO 9.

Letters of the Carpathian Rusyn Alphabets[75]
Capital Small Name Romanization Pronunciation
А а a a a a a a /a/
Б б бэ b b b b b /b/
В в вэ v v v v v /v/
Г г гэ h h h h h /ɦ/
Ґ ґ ґэ g g g g g /ɡ/
Д д дэ d d d d d /d/
Е е e e e e e e /ɛ/
Є є є i͡e je je/'e je ê /je, ʲe/
Ё [a][b] ё ё ë jo jo/'o ë /jo/
Ж ж жы z͡h ž ž ž ž /ʒ/
З з зы z z z z z /z/
І [b] і i i I i I ì /i/
Ї [a] ї ї ï ji ji/'i ï ï /ji/
И [c] и и i/y y î I I /ɪ/
Ы [b] ы ы ŷ y y y/ŷ y /ɨ/
Й й йы ĭ j j j j /j/
К к кы k k k k k /k/
Л л лы l l l l l /l/
М м мы m m m m m /m/
Н н ны n n n n n /n/
О о o o o o o o /ɔ/
П п пы p p p p p /p/
Р р ры r r r r r /r/
С с сы s s s s s /s/
Т т ты t t t t t /t/
У у у u u u u u /u/
Ф ф фы f f f f f /f/
Х х хы k͡h ch ch ch h /x/
Ц ц цы t͡s c c c c /t͡s/
Ч ч чы ch č č č č /t͡ʃ/
Ш ш шы sh š š š š /ʃ/
Щ щ щы shch šč šč šč ŝ /ʃt͡ʃ/
Ю ю ю і͡u ju ju/'u ju û /ju/
Я я я i͡a ja ja/'a ja â /ja/
Ь [d] ь мнягкый знак
(English: soft sign)
or ірь
' /ʲ/
Ъ [b][e] ъ твердый знак (ір) "

Usage Notes[edit]

  1. 1 2 3 Not used in Lemko.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Not used in Pannonian.
  3. 1 The Pannonian Rusyn alphabet places this letter directly after з, like the Ukrainian alphabet. According to ALA–LC romanization, it is romanized i for Pannonian Rusyn and y otherwise.
  4. 1 "Soft Sign": marks the preceding consonant as palatalized (soft)
  5. 1 "Hard Sign": marks the preceding consonant as NOT palatalized (hard).
  6. In Ukraine, usage is found of the letters о̄ and ӯ.[76][77][78]
  7. Until World War II, the letter ѣ (їть or yat') was used, and was pronounced /ji/ or /i/. This letter is still used in part of the articles in the Rusyn Wikipedia.

Number of letters and relationship to the Ukrainian alphabet[edit]

The Prešov Rusyn alphabet of Slovakia has 36 letters. It includes all the letters of the Ukrainian alphabet plus ё, ы, and ъ.

The Lemko Rusyn alphabet of Poland has 34 letters. It includes all the Ukrainian letters with the exception of ї, plus ы and ъ.

The Pannonian Rusyn alphabet has 32 letters, namely all the Ukrainian letters except і.

Alphabetical order[edit]

The Rusyn alphabets all place ь after я, as the Ukrainian alphabet did until 1990. The vast majority of Cyrillic alphabets place ь before э (if present), ю, and я.

The Lemko and Prešov Rusyn alphabets place ъ at the very end, while the vast majority of Cyrillic alphabets place it after щ. They also place ы before й, while the vast majority of Cyrillic alphabets place it after ш, щ (if present), and ъ (if present).

In the Prešov Rusyn alphabet, і and ї come before и, and likewise, і comes before и in the Lemko Rusyn alphabet (which doesn't have ї). In the Ukrainian alphabet, however, и precedes і and ї, and the Pannonian Rusyn alphabet (which doesn't have і) follows this precedent by placing и before ї.

The ISO process[edit]

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has assigned an ISO 639-3 code (rue) for Rusyn language.[79]

In April 2019, a group of linguists (including Aleksandr Dulichenko), supported a proposal that was addressed to the ISO, requesting suppression of the code (rue) and division of Rusyn language in two distinctive and separate languages, that would be named as: East Rusyn language (designating Carpathian Rusyn varieties), and South Rusyn language (designating Pannonian Rusyn varieties). In January 2020, the ISO authorities rejected the request.[80]

In November 2020, the same group of linguists, with some additional support, formulated a new proposal, also addressed to the ISO, requesting recognition of a new language, under the proposed name: Ruthenian language (with additional designation as: Rusnak language). According to their proposal, that designation would represent a specific linguistic variety, that was referred to in their previous proposal (from April 2019) as South Rusyn (otherwise known as Pannonian Rusyn, a term not mentioned in either of two proposals). The request is still under deliberation.[81]

If granted, the pending request from November 2020 would have various implications, both in the fields of ISO classification and terminology. Eventual recognition of the proposed new language would effectively reduce the scope of the present code (rue) to Carpathian varieties of Rusyn language, thus leading to an outcome that was already rejected by ISO authorities in January 2020.[82]

The proposal from November 2020 did not provide an explanation for terminological transition from initially proposed term South Rusyn (2019) to newly proposed terms Ruthenian and Rusnak (2020).[83] Both terms (Ruthenian and Rusnak) that are claimed for the proposed new language (encompassing only Pannonian varieties of Rusyn language), already have much wider and well established meanings, both in historical and scientific terminology. In the field of Slavistic studies, the term Ruthenian language is used primarily as a common exonymic designation for former East Slavic linguistic varieties that were spoken on the territories of modern Belarus and Ukraine during the late medieval and early modern periods, from the 15th up to the 18th centuries.[84]

The other term (Rusnak), that was included in the November 2020 proposal as a requested alternative designation for the linguistic variety spoken by Pannonian Rusyns, also has much wider meaning, since it is used by both Pannonian and Carpathian Rusyns as one of several self-designations for their people and language,[16][17] thus revealing the lack of basis for the requested reduction of that term to only one of those groups.


  • Amerikansky Russky Viestnik
  • Besida, a Lemko journal
  • Karpatska Rus'
  •,[85] Gorlice, Poland
  • Lemko, Philadelphia, USA †
  • Narodnȳ novynkȳ (Народны новинкы)
  • Podkarpatská Rus (Подкарпатська Русь)
  • Ruske slovo (Руске слово),[86] Ruski Kerestur, Serbia
  • Rusnatsi u Shvetse (Руснаци у Швеце)[87]
  • Rusynska besida (Русинська бесіда)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The terms "paired" and "unpaired" refer to a consonant’s use with the soft sign, the letter ь. Consonants that can be palatalized with the soft sign are referred to as "paired consonants", as in the case of н/нь. Others that are inherently hard or soft and never appear with ь are referred to as "unpaired consonants", as in the cases of the letters к or ч.[68]
  2. ^ a b Pugh refers to these collectively as "hushers".


  1. ^ Rusyn language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Number of population by mother tongue in the Slovak Republic at 1. 1. 2021". Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  3. ^ Republic of Serbia, Republic Statistical Office (24 December 2002). "Final results of the census 2002" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Home" (PDF). Central Statistical Office of Poland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  5. ^ State Statistics Committee of Ukraine. "About number and composition population of UKRAINE by data All-Ukrainian population census 2001 data". Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Republic of Croatia – Central Bureau of Statistics". Crostat. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  7. ^ "1.28 Population by mother tongue, nationality and sex, 1900–2001". Hungarian Central Statistical Office. 2001. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Obyvatelstvo podle věku, mateřského jazyka a pohlaví". Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  9. ^ Rusyn at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Council of Europe 2021.
  11. ^ "Implementation of the Charter in Hungary". Database for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Public Foundation for European Comparative Minority Research. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  12. ^ "I Raport dla Sekretarza Rady Europy z realizacji przez Rzeczpospolitą Polską postanowień Europejskiej karty języków regionalnych lub mniejszościowych" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  13. ^ "The Statue of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Serbia". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary".
  15. ^, p. 8.
  16. ^ a b Plishkova 2009, p. 17, 37, 67.
  17. ^ a b Magocsi 2015, p. 3, 5, 134, 154, 222-224.
  18. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 7.
  19. ^ a b Pugh 2009, p. 3.
  20. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 267-281.
  21. ^ a b Kushko 2007, p. 111-132.
  22. ^ ISO 639-3: 639 Identifier Documentation: Rusyn (rue)
  23. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary".
  24. ^ Renoff & Reynolds 1975, p. 35, 51, 79-80.
  25. ^ Moser 2016, p. 124-139.
  26. ^ Bernard Comrie, "Slavic Languages," International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (1992, Oxford, Vol 3), pp. 452–456.
    Ethnologue, 16th edition
  27. ^ George Y. Shevelov, "Ukrainian," The Slavonic Languages, ed. Bernard Comrie and Greville G. Corbett (1993, Routledge), pp. 947–998.
  28. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 267-269, 275.
  29. ^ Gavin Baptie (2011): Issues in Rusyn language standardisation, p. 8-9.
  30. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 4-5.
  31. ^ a b Pugh, 2009, p. 5.
  32. ^ Rusinko, 2003, p. 5.
  33. ^ Pugh, 2009, p. 4-5.
  34. ^ Magocsi, 2015, p. 84.
  35. ^ Magocsi, 2015, p. 99.
  36. ^ "The Urbarium of Maria Theresa in the languages of the South Slavic peoples of the Hungarian Kingdom". doi:10.1556/sslav.49.2004.1-2.7. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  37. ^ Magocsi, 2015, p. 101.
  38. ^ DANYLENKO, ANDRII (2009). "Myxajlo Lučkaj — A Dissident Forerunner of Literary Rusyn?". The Slavonic and East European Review. 87 (2): 201–226.
  39. ^ Magocsi, 2015, p. 105.
  40. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 276-281.
  41. ^ Moser 2018, p. 87-104.
  42. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 46, 521.
  43. ^ Csernicskó & Fedinec 2015, p. 93–113.
  44. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 495-497.
  45. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 73.
  46. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 531-532.
  47. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 75.
  48. ^ "Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  49. ^ Іван Гвать. "Україна в лещатах російських спецслужб". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  50. ^ Slovenskej Republiky, Národná Rada (1999). "Zákon 184/1999 Z. z. o používaní jazykov národnostných menšín" (in Slovak). Zbierka zákonov. Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  51. ^ Csernicskó & Fedinec 2016, p. 560-582.
  52. ^ Vyslockyj, Dmytryj (1931). Карпаторусский букварь [Karpatorusskij bukvar'] (in Rusyn). Cleveland.
  53. ^ Trochanovskij, Metodyj (1935). Буквар. Перша книжечка для народных школ. [Bukvar. Perša knyžečka dlja narodnıx škol.] (in Rusyn). Lviv.
  54. ^ Bogdan Horbal (2005). Custer, Richard D. (ed.). "The Rusyn Movement among the Galician Lemkos" (PDF). Rusyn-American Almanac of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society. Pittsburgh (10th Anniversary 2004–2005).
  55. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  56. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 9.
  57. ^, p. 52.
  58. ^ Magosci, p. 87.
  59. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 10.
  60. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 476.
  61. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 24.
  62. ^ a b c Pugh 2009, p. 43-44.
  63. ^ a b Pugh 2009, p. 43-49.
  64. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 49-50.
  65. ^ a b c Pugh 2009, p. 50.
  66. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 53-54.
  67. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 54-55.
  68. ^ Pugh, 2009, p. 33.
  69. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 57-59.
  70. ^ a b Pugh 2009, p. 60.
  71. ^ Pugh 2009, p. 60-61.
  72. ^ "Rusyn / Carpatho-Rusyn (ALA-LC Romanization Tables)" (PDF). The Library of Congress. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  73. ^ "Romanization of Rusyn: BGN/PCGN 2016 System" (PDF). NGA GEOnet Names Server. October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  74. ^ "IDS G: Transliterationstabellen 4. Transliteration der slavischen kyrillischen Alphabete" (PDF). Informationsverbund Deutchschweiz (IDS) (Version 15.10.01 ed.). 2001. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  75. ^
  76. ^ Кушницькый, Мигаль (27 May 2020). "Carpatho-Rusyn Phonetics ep3 - О/Ō | Карпаторусинська фонетика №3". YouTube.
  77. ^ Кушницькый, Мигаль (1 May 2020). "Carpatho-Rusyn phonetics. Ep#2 - і, ї, ӯ | Карпаторусинська фонетика. Другый епізод". YouTube.
  78. ^ "ruegrammatica".
  79. ^ ISO 639-3: 639 Identifier Documentation: Rusyn (rue)
  80. ^ ISO 639-3: Change Request Documentation: 2019-016
  81. ^ ISO 639-3: Change Request Documentation: 2021-005
  82. ^ Comments received for ISO 639-3 Change Request 2019-016 / Outcome: Rejected
  83. ^ Request for Change to ISO 639-3 Language Code: 2021-005
  84. ^ Bunčić 2015, p. 276-289.
  85. ^ "Хыжа | - Радийо Руской Бурсы". - Радийо Руской Бурсы (in American English). Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  86. ^ "Руске слово". Руске слово.
  87. ^ "Rusnaci u svece". Retrieved 7 March 2017.


External links[edit]