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There is still no concord among linguists if the Rusyn language is a separate East Slavic language or if it is a dialect of Ukrainian. It is obvious that politics plays a great part here, “a language without an army and fleet is a dialect”, you know. Still, the question about the Karta song discussed here on meta.ukrainian.stackexchange is about the meaning of Rusyn words. The song “Плине кача по тисині”, which became the requiem of the Heavenly Hundred is also a song in Rusyn. There are dozens of other similar songs and works of the Ukrainian classic writers such as Vasyl Stefanyk or Marko Cheremshyna who heavily used the Rusyn language in their work, questions about the word usage in their text are inevitable.

My question is: do we consider Rusyn stuff as a part of our SE? As for me, I am all for that, our languages are so close that many speakers of Rusyn cannot decide whether they speak Rusyn or Ukrainian, for still more it does not matter at all, and for most of the speakers of Standard Ukrainian all those Lemkos, Boikos, and Hutzuls speak just a Ukrainian dialect. Note, that most of those Standard Ukrainian speakers met those people mostly in the Eastern or Central Ukraine after the Stalin-era deportations of the people from the Western Ukraine to the East...

But the question I put up is really conceptual: do we post questions about the Rusyn language here merely accepting it is a dialect of Ukrainian, or we reject them altogether, or we accept them making a slight change in our goal statement which would say that “Ukrainian Language SE is about the Ukrainian and Rusyn languages”. I think this is important, with our silence on that matter we will disregard those tens of thousands of people.

If you need materials in Rusyn, I have them and can share them with you, textbooks for foreigners, 1-3 grade school textbooks for Rusyn school pupils, dictionaries.

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I think Rusyn is a distinct language

Since it's spoken in Ukraine, it's really close to Ukrainian and it does not have its own SE site Ukrainian.SE can host questions about it till Rusyn will got it's own SE site.

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    Would you suggest to accept questions on Belurusian too?.. Because it satisfies all of your requirements: separate language, is spoken in Ukraine, is really close to Ukrainian and does not have its own SE site :) – Kyrylo Yatsenko Feb 22 '17 at 17:31
  • according to ethnologue data Belarusian has 56,200 L1 users and has Dispersed status while Rusyn has 560,000 L1 users and has status Vigorous. So the chances that Belarusian speaking ukrainian will try to find some information about Belarusian language is much smaller than Rusyn - b.of number of users in Ukraine. While chances that Belarusian speaker will be looking for information about Belarusian language elsewhere are higher - b.of language status – chizh Feb 22 '17 at 18:25
  • And If we compare total number of L1 users we'll see that that it's 4 time more Belarusian speakers in the world, but it 4 times more Rusyn speaking in Ukraine. So I suppose we may have host and support Rusyn questions and we do not need to host and support Belarusian. And of course we need to keep UKR/ENG language policy for Q&A – chizh Feb 22 '17 at 18:28
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Yes, we should support the Rusyn. And probably, the Belarusian, too.
But we should measure the public opinion first.


My argument follows an old discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of single language sites over collective ones.

There are several key arguments to be considered:

  1. What is the level of mutual intelligibility between the two languages?
  2. Are the target audiences same? (e.g., would the two parts of the user base benefit from having separate sites or a single collective one?)
  3. Do the nations have had any historical tensions related to how they get their political independence? (think of your own reaction if someone tells you that Russian Language.SE from now allows questions about Ukrainianwould you participate?)

The last argument seems to be decisive, in my opinion: we never had any serious tensions with Belarusian or Rusyn nations, nor we or them oppressed each other's languages. Also, think about the political outcome of such decision: we would definitely win if these languages get a place here at StackExchange.

The only big counter-argument is that I have not (yet) seen any serious public demand about the Rusyn (except a single question referenced above). I suggest waiting for some attempts to ask questions about the Rusyn (or Belarusian). By seeing the community's response (e.g., up/down/close-votes, receiving good/poor quality answers, etc) we could measure the public opinion on this matter.


Reading

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    But there was a question about Rusyn here, about the song Карта. Also, maybe such questions are not asked because people think they are off-topic on the Ukrainian SE. – Yellow Sky Mar 5 '17 at 1:39
  • Oh, thanks, let me re-formulate it. I mean, people often tend to "test the waters" by asking some marginally-ontopic and see how the community accepts it. – bytebuster Mar 5 '17 at 1:57
  • Actually, so far there have been no questions on many topics within Ukrainian proper, e.g. about diphthongs in the Northen dialects, about merging of the old i and ы into и, about the distribution of dialects, etc. Most questions are about translating words, etymology, and the meaning of words. Maybe there were no questions about Rusyn just because of the statistc factors? – Yellow Sky Mar 5 '17 at 2:20
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    @YellowSky you're right, all language-related sites are full of „easy“ questions on usage and lack the deep, history-related ones. So you have to ask + self-answer the really tough ones. :-) Also, Re: «If you need materials in Rusyn…» — it would be great if you asked + self-answered a Meta question sharing the links you have. We would then be able to measure the public demand by seeing the votes count there. – bytebuster Mar 5 '17 at 2:30
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    I'll do that. But do many users visit the Meta section? – Yellow Sky Mar 5 '17 at 2:34
  • @YellowSky, not many. But even fewer would comment the Q above asking you for links. :-) – bytebuster Mar 5 '17 at 2:38
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    I've posted the question and the answer. – Yellow Sky Mar 6 '17 at 11:46
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As the author of the question you refer to, I think that from the practical point of view it would be strange to ask a question about some songs that many Ukrainian singers perform (like Maria Burmaka, Ruslana Lyzhichko, Taras Chubai, etc.) and then the question is closed because it is about Rusyn language.

So, for question 'what does this phrase means' - I think this should be definitely allowed.

As for questions 'How to say a phrase correctly in Rusyn language' - I'm not so sure.

Also, I don't think that just the existence of people that inhabit Ukraine, which have no their country, but have their own language should be enough to allow questions on this site. For instance Crimean Tatars do not have their own country and they have their own language. I doubt though that average Ukrainian will be able to answer the question about Crimean Tatar language.

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AFAIK, some Ukrainian linguists¹ ² consider the Rusyn language to be a dialect of the Ukrainian language. I am not competent enough to agree or disagree with them (and actually know nothing about Rusyn language). I said that just to state that formally it may be on-topic.

So, all depends on whether we want to discuss it, or no.

¹ — http://litopys.org.ua/ukrmova/um87.htm
² — Розділ Ю. Шевельова «Ukrainian» у книзі Bernard Comrie та Greville G. Corbett «The Slavonic Languages» (1993, Routledge, ст. 947–998).

  • You may pick up arbitrary Rusyn text, read it and see if you are reading dialect of Ukrainska (or Russian/Belaruska/Serbska?) or a distinct language :) – chizh Feb 22 '17 at 13:10
  • @Chizh, I don't want to start to debate about that. I'm simply not competent in it. I just say that some scientists claim that. (Not necessarily that it's truth.) (BTW, some records (e.g. slower speaker here) and texts are really understandable — but I personally don't make any decisions from it.) – Sasha Feb 22 '17 at 13:53

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