Belarusian grammar

Belarusian grammar

The norms of the modern Belarusian grammar were adopted in 1959. Belarusian Grammar is mostly synthetic and partly analytic. Belarusian orthography is constructed on the phonetic principle ("you write down what you hear") and is mainly based on the Belarusian folk dialects of the Myensk-Vil'nya region, such as they were at the beginning of the 20th century. Initially, Belarusian grammar was formalised by notable Belarusian linguist Branislaw Tarashkyevich and first printed in Vil'nya (1918). Historically, there had existed several other alternative Belarusian grammars. See also Belarusian language#History.

"See also": Belarusian alphabet, Belarusian phonology.


Grammatical system

The main means of representation of the grammatical meanings in the Belarusian language are:
* affixes — "стол - стала", "кідаць - кінуць";
* suppletivism — "я – мяне", "чалавек - людзі", "браць - узяць" ;
* intonation — "ён гэта зрабіў – ён гэта зрабіў?";
* function words — "чытаў бы", "будзеш ведаць";
* roots combining — "хадзіцьму = хадзіць+іму - маю хадзіць" ;
* reduplication — "белы-белы";
* order of words — "цікавая кніга - кніга цікавая".

Methods of analytical constructing are also present. E.g., word "лесам", which is Instrumental of "лес" — forest, may grammatically mean:
* circumstance, if used with verbs of motion — "ехаць лесам";
* specification, if together with other verbs — "валодаць лесам".


There are six cases in Belarusian:
* Nominative ( _be. назоўны, BGN/PCGN: nazowny)
* Genitive ( _be. родны, BGN/PCGN: rodny)
* Dative ( _be. давальны, BGN/PCGN: daval'ny)
* Accusative ( _be. вінавальны, BGN/PCGN: vinaval'ny)
* Instrumental ( _be. творны, BGN/PCGN: tvorny)
* Locative ( _be. месны, BGN/PCGN: myesny)Historically, there also existed a vocative case ( _be. клічны, BGN/PCGN: klichny), but in modern Belarusian, like Slovene, Slovak and closely-related Russian, it's used only sparingly, generally in literature, and usually is not mentioned in textbooks.

For nouns ( _be. назоўнікі, BGN/PCGN: nazowniki) there are several types of declension:
* i-stem – feminine (feminine nouns ending in a hard consonant, soft consonant or ў: печ "stove", косць "bone", кроў "blood")
* a-stem – mostly feminine (subdivided into four subgroups: hard stems, guttural stems, soft stems, hardened stems)
* o-stem – masculine (subdivided into hard stem and soft stem) and neuter (вясло "oar", мора "sea")
* consonantal stem – mostly neuter (ягня "lamb", бярэмя "burden", семя "seed")
* irregular nouns (for example, вока "eye" and вуха "ear")


There are eight types of pronouns ( _be. займеннікі, BGN/PCGN: zaymyenniki) in Belarusian:

* Possessive (прыналежныя): мой (my, mine); твой (your(s)familiar); яго, ягоны (his); яе, ейны (her); наш (our(s)); ваш (your(s)); іх, іхны (their(s)), свой ((one's) own).
* Personal (асабовыя): я (I), ты (you (singular, familiar)), ён (he), яна (she), яно (it), мы (we), вы (you), яны (they);
* Negative (адмоўныя): ніхто (nobody), нішто (nothing), нічый (nobody's), ніякі (not of any kind), ніводзін, ніводны (no one);
* Definitive (азначальныя): сам (-self); самы (the very, - self); увесь (all, whole); усё (all, everything); усе (all, every, everybody); усякі, усялякі (every, any); кожны (each); іншы (other).
* Indefinite (няпэўныя): нехта, хтосьці (someone, somebody); нешта, штосьці (something); нечы, чыйсьці (someone's, somebody's, a); некаторы (some of); некалькі (a few, some, several); нейкі, якісьці (some, a kind of, something like); хто-небудзь, хто-колечы (anybody); што-небудзь, што-колечы (anything); чый-небудзь (anybody's); абы-што (smth.dickey); абы-чый (a, somebody's (negative)); абы-які (dickey).
* Interrogative-comparative (пытальныя): хто (who), што (what), які (which), каторы (which), чый (whose), колькі (how much);
* Demonstrative (указальныя): той (that); гэты (this); гэны (those); такі (such); гэтакі (such, of this kind); столькі, гэтулькі (that much);
* Reflexive (зваротны): сябе (-self).

Note: proper names and places’ names are rendered in BGN/PCGN


* Беларуская граматыка. У 2-х ч. / АН БССР, Ін-т мовазнаўства імя Я. Коласа; [Рэд. М. В. Бірыла, П. П. Шуба] . – Мн. : Навука і тэхніка, 1985.

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