Belarusian orthography reform of 1933


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The orthography of the Belarusian language was reformed in 1933 during the Soviet era.

Differences between the old and the new orthography

  1. The soft sign ⟨ь⟩ /ʲ/ is no longer written when denoting assimilation of 'softness': ⟨песня⟩, ⟨свет⟩, instead of ⟨песьня⟩, ⟨сьвет⟩.
  2. The soft sign is no longer written between double consonants: ⟨каханне⟩, instead of ⟨каханьне⟩.
  3. The particle ⟨не⟩ and the preposition ⟨без⟩ are written unchanged, independently of pronunciation: не быў⟩, instead of ня быў⟩; and без мамы⟩, instead of бяз мамы⟩ (compare with English definite article "the").
  4. Loanword orthography is regulated:
    • Akanye is preserved in all cases except ten words (such as ⟨рэволюцыя⟩, ⟨совет⟩ instead of ⟨рэвалюцыя⟩, ⟨савет⟩; these exceptions were abolished in 1959)
    • Central-European L is transmitted as hard /l/ and not soft //, as in Russian
    • The variants of writing the sound of ⟨ф⟩ with letters ⟨п⟩, ⟨хв⟩, ⟨х⟩, ⟨т⟩ are removed
    • The endings ⟨-тар⟩, ⟨-дар⟩ are replaced with ⟨-тр⟩, ⟨-др⟩, for example: ⟨літр⟩, instead of ⟨літар⟩
    • The endings ⟨-ый⟩, ⟨-iй⟩ are used where appropriate, for example: ⟨алюміній instead of ⟨алюміні⟩.
  5. The orthography of personal names is regulated so that vernacular forms are replaced with canonical Orthodox forms, for example: ⟨Юрый⟩ instead of ⟨Юрка⟩, ⟨Юры⟩, ⟨Юра⟩ or ⟨Юрась⟩.
  6. In morphology, the ending ⟨-а⟩/⟨-у⟩ denoting genitive case is regulated as ⟨-а⟩, as in Russian, and not as ⟨-у⟩, as in certain modern dialects. Also unified is the spelling of names in dative and prepositional case.

See also



  • Two Standard Languages within Belarusian: a Case of Bi-cultural Conflict by Ihar Klimaŭ (Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts) - École normale supérieure, 25 March 2006