Rusyn language

  (Redirected from Carpathian Rusyn language)

The Rusyn language (/ˈrsɪn/;[13] Carpathian Rusyn: русиньскый язык (rusîn'skyj jazyk), Pannonian Rusyn: руски язик (ruski jazik)),[14] also known as the Rusnak language (Carpathian Rusyn: руснацькый язык / an older term),[15][16] is an East Slavic lect, spoken by Rusyns in several regions of Eastern Europe, as well as by the Rusyn diaspora in other parts of the world.[17][18]

Rusyn language
русинськый язык; руски язик
rusîns'kyj jazyk; ruski jazik
Native speakers
623,500 (2000–2006)[1]
Census population: 70,000. These are numbers from national official bureaus for statistics:
Slovakia – 33,482[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.

In the English language, the term Rusyn is recognized officially by the ISO,[19] but some other designations are sometimes also used, derived mainly from exonymic terms such as Ruthenian or Ruthene (UK: /rʊˈθn/, US: /rˈθn/),[20] that have several wider meanings, and thus (by adding regional adjectives) some specific designations are formed, such as: Carpathian Ruthenian/Ruthene or Carpatho-Ruthenian/Ruthene.[21]

There are several controversial theories about the nature of Rusyn as a language or dialect. Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian, as well as American and some Polish and Serbian linguists treat it as a distinct language[22] (with its own ISO 639-3 code), whereas other scholars (in Ukraine, Poland, Serbia, and Romania) treat it as a Southwestern dialect of Ukrainian.[23][24]

Geographical distributionEdit

In terms of geographical 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.[25]

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 classification of Rusyn language is 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:[27]

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

Those linguistic disputes did not affect the official terminology, used by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, that actually ruled the Carpathian region. For Austro-Hungarian state authorities, the entire East Slavic linguistic body within the borders of the Monarchy was classified under an archaic and exonymic term: Ruthenian language (German: Ruthenische sprache, Hungarian: Rutén nyelv), that was employed up to 1918.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30]

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,[31] which proceeded with implementation of Ukrainian linguistic standards. In Soviet Ukraine, Rusyns were not recognized as a distinctive ethnicity, and their language was considered as a dialect of Ukrainian language. Poland employed similar policies,[32] using internal deportations to move many Eastern Slavs from southeastern to newly acquired western regions (Operation Vistula),[33] and switch their language to Polish, and Ukrainian at school.

During that period, the only country that was officially recognizing Rusyn minority and its language was Yugoslavia.[34]

Modern developmentsEdit

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 Rusyn language as an official minority language.[35]

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.[36] 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.[37]

Ukrainian state authorities do not recognize Rusyns as a separate ethnicity, regardless of Rusyn self-identification. Ukraine officially considered Rusyn as 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.[38]

Rusyn is listed as a protected language by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Romania,[citation needed] Poland (as Lemko), Serbia and Slovakia.

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

Grammars and codificationEdit

Early grammars include Dmytrij Vyslockij's (Дмитрий Вислоцкий) Карпаторусский букварь (Karpatorusskij bukvar') Vanja Hunjanky (1931),[39] Metodyj Trochanovskij's Буквар. Перша книжечка для народных школ. (Bukvar. Perša knyžečka dlja narodnıx škol.) (1935).,[40][41] and Ivan Harajda (1941).[18] 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[42]). A standard grammar was proposed in 1995 by Vasyl Jabur, Anna Plíšková and Kvetoslava Koporová. Its orthography is largely based on Zhelekhivka, a late 19th century variety of the Ukrainian alphabet.
  • The Lemko variety in Poland. A standard grammar and dictionary were proposed in 2000 by Mirosława Chomiak and Henryk Fontański.[43]
  • 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).

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) j

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].[44]


Front Central Back
Close i u
ɪ ɤ
Mid ɛ o
Open a

The Carpathian Rusyn alphabetsEdit

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,[45] BGN/PCGN,[46] generic European,[citation needed] ISO/R9 1968 (IDS),[47] and ISO 9.

Letters of the Carpathian Rusyn alphabets[48]
Capital Small Name Romanized Pronunciation Notes
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 ё ё ë jo jo/'o ë /jo/ not present in Lemko Rusyn or Pannonian Rusyn
Ж ж жы z͡h ž ž ž ž /ʒ/
З з зы z z z z z /z/
І і i i I i I ì /i/ not present in Pannonian Rusyn
Ї ї ї ï ji ji/'i ï ï /ji/ not present in Lemko Rusyn
И и и i/y y î I I /ɪ/ 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.
Ы ы ы ŷ y y y/ŷ y /ɨ/ not present in Pannonian Rusyn
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 ь мнягкый знак (ірь) ' /ʲ/ "Soft Sign": marks the preceding consonant as palatalized (soft)
Ъ ъ твердый знак (ір) " "Hard Sign": marks the preceding consonant as NOT palatalized (hard). Not present in Pannonian Rusyn

In Ukraine, usage is found of the letters о̄ and ӯ.[49][50][51]

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 alphabetEdit

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 orderEdit

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.


  • Amerikansky Russky Viestnik
  • Besida, a Lemko journal
  • Karpatska Rus'
  •,[52] Gorlice, Poland
  • Lemko, Philadelphia, USA †
  • Narodnȳ novynkȳ (Народны новинкы)
  • Podkarpatská Rus (Подкарпатська Русь)
  • Ruske slovo (Руске слово),[53] Ruski Kerestur, Serbia
  • Rusnatsi u Shvetse (Руснаци у Швеце)[54]
  • Rusynska besida (Русинська бесіда)

The ISO processEdit

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has assigned an ISO 639-3 code (rue) for Rusyn language.[55]

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.[56]

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.[57]

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.[58]

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).[59] 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.[60]

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,[15][16] thus revealing the lack of basis for the requested reduction of that term to only one of those groups.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Rusyn language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. "Population and Housing Census 2011: Table 11. Resident population by nationality – 2011, 2001, 1991" (PDF). Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  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. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "The Statue of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Serbia". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary".
  14. ^, p. 8.
  15. ^ a b Plishkova 2009, p. 17, 37, 67.
  16. ^ a b Magocsi 2015, p. 3, 5, 134, 154, 222-224.
  17. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 267-281.
  18. ^ a b Kushko 2007, p. 111-132.
  19. ^ ISO 639-3: 639 Identifier Documentation: Rusyn (rue)
  20. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary".
  21. ^ Renoff & Reynolds 1975, p. 35, 51, 79-80.
  22. ^ Bernard Comrie, "Slavic Languages," International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (1992, Oxford, Vol 3), pp. 452–456.
    Ethnologue, 16th edition
  23. ^ George Y. Shevelov, "Ukrainian," The Slavonic Languages, ed. Bernard Comrie and Greville G. Corbett (1993, Routledge), pp. 947–998.
  24. ^ Moser 2016, p. 124-139.
  25. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 267-269, 275.
  26. ^ Gavin Baptie (2011): Issues in Rusyn language standardisation, p. 8-9.
  27. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 276-281.
  28. ^ Moser 2018, p. 87-104.
  29. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 46, 521.
  30. ^ Csernicskó & Fedinec 2015, p. 93–113.
  31. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 495-497.
  32. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 73.
  33. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 531-532.
  34. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2005, p. 75.
  35. ^ "Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  36. ^ Іван Гвать. "Україна в лещатах російських спецслужб". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  37. ^ 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.
  38. ^ Csernicskó & Fedinec 2016, p. 560-582.
  39. ^ Vyslockyj, Dmytryj (1931). Карпаторусский букварь [Karpatorusskij bukvar'] (in Rusyn). Cleveland.
  40. ^ Trochanovskij, Metodyj (1935). Буквар. Перша книжечка для народных школ. [Bukvar. Perša knyžečka dlja narodnıx škol.] (in Rusyn). Lviv.
  41. ^ 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).
  42. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  43. ^, p. 52.
  44. ^ Pugh, Stefan M. (2009). The Rusyn Language. Languages of the World/Materials, 476: München: LINCOM.CS1 maint: location (link)
  45. ^ "Rusyn / Carpatho-Rusyn (ALA-LC Romanization Tables)" (PDF). The Library of Congress. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  46. ^ "Romanization of Rusyn: BGN/PCGN 2016 System" (PDF). NGA GEOnet Names Server. October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  47. ^ "IDS G: Transliterationstabellen 4. Transliteration der slavischen kyrillischen Alphabete" (PDF). Informationsverbund Deutchschweiz (IDS) (Version 15.10.01 ed.). 2001. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  48. ^
  49. ^ Кушницькый, Мигаль (27 May 2020). "Carpatho-Rusyn Phonetics ep3 - О/Ō | Карпаторусинська фонетика №3". YouTube.
  50. ^ Кушницькый, Мигаль (1 May 2020). "Carpatho-Rusyn phonetics. Ep#2 - і, ї, ӯ | Карпаторусинська фонетика. Другый епізод". YouTube.
  51. ^ "ruegrammatica".
  52. ^ "Хыжа | - Радийо Руской Бурсы". - Радийо Руской Бурсы. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  53. ^ "Руске слово". Руске слово.
  54. ^ "Rusnaci u svece". Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  55. ^ ISO 639-3: 639 Identifier Documentation: Rusyn (rue)
  56. ^ ISO 639-3: Change Request Documentation: 2019-016
  57. ^ ISO 639-3: Change Request Documentation: 2021-005
  58. ^ Comments received for ISO 639-3 Change Request 2019-016 / Outcome: Rejected
  59. ^ Request for Change to ISO 639-3 Language Code: 2021-005
  60. ^ Bunčić 2015, p. 276-289.


External linksEdit