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A poem for Russian speakers not to understand

October 9, 2013

I think I learned that Belarusian was a language, not a dialect of Russian, at the same moment I learned there was such a thing as Belarusian. Still, I’ve never studied it, rarely heard it, and when I once flipped through a Belarusian-Russian dictionary at a library, it seemed like every entry was a transparent cognate. It turns out Sergei Grakhovskii wrote a poem to show how incomprehensible Belarusian can be to Russian speakers. I certainly can’t understand it, though I think this comment translates it into Russian. The smattering of Belarusian banter in the comments section is much easier to decipher, based on similarities to Russian and Polish, than the poem. Thanks to Languagehat for making me aware of it!

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