The Alphabet and Orthography of Byelorussian in the 20th Century

At the beginning of the 20th century the Belarusian language had no officially established alphabetical or orthographic norms. Although many of the characteristic features of Belarusian pronunciation were reflected sporadically in texts as early as the 14th and 15th centuries and more frequently - but still with a considerable degree of inconsistency - in the 16th and 17th centuries, the further development and stabilisation of these features was effectively hindered by subsequent historical circumstances, in particular by the suppression of Belarus' national identity, one aspect of which was the treatment of the Belarusian language until the end of the 19th century as a dialect of Great Russian...

...Clearly there was a need for standardisation of both alphabet and orthography, and this need became even more apparent in the first decade of the 20th century when at a time of growing national consciousness Belarusian publishing houses were established in Minsk, Vilna, Kiev and St. Petersburg...

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