The Rusyn language in Slovakia was codified in 1995 on the basis of the country’s two most prevalent Rusyn dialects: East Zemplín and West Zemplín. From this perspective Rusyn is a relatively young Slavic language, and this despite its centuries-long history, which is marked by many conflicts concerning the question of a literary norm; the disputes concerning Rusyn have taken place on the territory of today’s Slovak Republic, as well as throughout all of historical Carpathian Rus. Any solutions concerning a Rusyn literary language were always connected to the question of the Rusyn minority’s ethnic identity [i.e. are they (Great) Russian, Ukrainian, or do they form a separate Slavic nationality?], and these issues were not possible to resolve until after 1989, when society began to enjoy new pluralistic conditions. Thus, the late twentieth-century codification of Rusyn on the basis of local dialects was the natural result of an expression of free will on the part of Rusyns, and a response to the dilemma of their ethnic identity. The codification of Rusyn became the basis for introducing the literary language into various public spheres in Slovakia – publishing and media, religious life, stage and theatre productions, and of course the literary world –, which had until 1995 used various forms of Rusyn dialects without applying standardized rules. The expansion of Rusyn into these spheres of life – especially into the educational system and government administration – required the existence of a standardized literary language. Thus, the implementation of literary Rusyn (in its written and spoken form) into the above-named spheres of life is an important step to guaranteeing the language’s further development.
The codification of the Rusyn language in Slovakia in 1995 created space for linguistic research into individual language levels not only within Rusyn dialects, as was the case in the past (Olaf Broch, Ivan Verchratskij, Georgij Gerovskij, and Vasiľ Latta), but also regarding the actual codified language used by Rusyns in Slovakia. Based on earlier results and the research of Vasiľ Jabur (one of the codifiers of the Rusyn language in Slovakia, who determined the system of vocalic sounds in standard Rusyn), in this paper, the authors present vocalic sounds and their variations in individual phonological realizations.
These two letters and two inventories preserved in the rich heritage of Anton Hodinka in the manuscript depository of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Library present an exciting picture of the everyday life of the 18th century. Nevertheless, I find these documents valuable not because of this fact but due to their vocabulary which reflects the Rusyn language adequately. These original sources are the splendid illustrations of the Rusyn language wordstock used in everyday life of that period. Therefore I have not spared myself to copy, study and publish the manuscripts in question because I should like to contribute to enriching the Rusyn language history. As a matter of fact the Rusyn language of the 18th century reflects the synthesis of three elements: the Church Slavonic liturgy language, the Old Ukrainian language and the living folk language. The formation and unification of the literary language norm, which was not regulated by grammars and dictionaries, was greatly influenced by the bishop's office documents due to the great authority and prestige of the church in the region. The three above-mentioned elements of the Rusyn literary language of the 18th century can be revealed in all language layers (phonetical, morphological, syntactical, lexical, semantical). I shall give several examples on the elements of the Rusyn folk language.
This paper explores the contemporary status of the Rusyn literary language, the standardization of its norms on various strata in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, and the field of Rusyn studies, which has developed intensively in the two decades since the fall of communism and the restoration of the right of Rusyn communities to their own ethnic self-identification. The author provides a summary description of the development of grammars and dictionaries published in Yugoslavia (Serbia), where the first version of the Rusyn literary language was codified in the first quarter of the twentieth century, as well as in Slovakia and Poland, where indigenous variants of the Rusyn literary language were proclaimed in 1995 and 2000. He also describes the development of the Rusyn language in Hungary. A special situation exists in Ukraine, where the codification of the literary language of the local Rusyns has not reached its logical conclusion due to political reasons, in spite of the activity and notable achievements of local authors and advocates of an independent Rusyn culture.