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Scholars do not agree whether Ruthenian was a separate language, or a Western dialect or set of dialects of Old East Slavic, but it is agreed that Ruthenian has a close genetic relationship with it. Old East Slavic was the colloquial language used in Kievan Rus' (10th-13th centuries). Dialects of Ruthenian slowly developed into modern Belarusian, Rusyn and Ukrainian languages.
In modern texts, the language in question is sometimes called "Old Ukrainian" or "Old Belarusian" (Ukrainian: ?) and (Belarusian: ?). As Ruthenian was always in a kind of diglossic opposition to Church Slavonic, this vernacular language was and still is often called prosta(ja) mova ( Cyrillic (?) ?), literally "simple speech".
Names in contemporary use
Ruthenian (Old Belarusian? ) - by the contemporaries, but, generally, not in contemporary Russia.
(variant) Simple Ruthenian or simple talk (Old Belarusian (?) or ? , ? ?) - publisher Grigoriy Khodkevich (16th century).
Lithuanian (Russian: ?) - possibly, exclusive reference to it in the contemporary Russia. Also by Zizaniy (end of the 16th century), Pamva Berynda (1653).
Names in modern use
(Old) Ruthenian - modern collective name, covering both Old Belarusian and Old Ukrainian languages, predominantly used by the 20th-century Lithuanian, also many Polish and English researchers.
(Old) West Russian, language or dialect (Russian: (?) ?, Russian: (?) ?) - chiefly by the supporters of the concept of the Proto-Russian phase, especially since the end of the 19th century, e.g., by Karskiy, Shakhmatov. Russian popflock.com resource uses the term West Russian written language ( ? ?).
(Old) Belarusian (language) - rarely in contemporary Russia. Also Kryzhanich. The denotation Belarusian (language) (Russian: (?)) when referring both to the 19th-century language and to the Medieval language had been used in works of the 19th-century Russian researchers Fyodor Buslayev, Ogonovskiy, Zhitetskiy, Sobolevskiy, Nedeshev, Vladimirov and Belarusian researchers, such as Karskiy.
ruski - used by Norman Davies in Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (2011).
East Slavic languages in 1389. Areas with different spoken dialects are shown in different colors. Territories using different written languages are delineated by dashed lines: the green line for the Ruthenian ("") and the orange line for the Old-Russian ("").
^e.g., Elana Goldberg Shohamy and Monica Barni, Linguistic Landscape in the City (Multilingual Matters, 2010: ISBN1847692974), p. 139: "[The Grand Duchy of Lithuania] adopted as its official language the literary version of Ruthenian, written in Cyrillic and also known as Chancery Slavonic"; Virgil Krapauskas, Nationalism and Historiography: The Case of Nineteenth-Century Lithuanian Historicism (East European Monographs, 2000: ISBN0880334576), p. 26: "By the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Chancery Slavonic dominated the written state language in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania"; Timothy Snyder, The Reconstruction Of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (Yale University Press, 2004: ISBN030010586X), p. 18: "Local recensions of Church Slavonic, introduced by Orthodox churchmen from more southerly lands, provided the basis for Chancery Slavonic, the court language of the Grand Duchy."
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Danylenko, Andrii: "On the Name(s) of the prostaja mova in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth", In: Studia Slavica Hung., 51/1-2 (2006),p. 97-121
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Martel, Antoine. La langue polonaise dans les pays ruthènes: Ukraine et Russie Blanche 1569/1667. Lille 1938.
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Pivtorak, Hryhorij. "Do pytannja pro ukrajins'ko-bilorus'ku vzajemodiju donacional'noho periodu (dosjahnennja, zavdannja i perspektyvy doslid?en')". In: Movoznavstvo 1978.3 (69), p. 31-40.
Pugh, Stefan M.: Testament to Ruthenian. A Linguistic Analysis of the Smotryc'kyj Variant. Cambridge 1996 (= Harvard Series of Ukrainian Studies).
Shevelov, George Y. "Belorussian versus Ukrainian: Delimitation of texts before A.D. 1569". In: The Journal of Byelorussian Studies 3.2 (year 10), p. 145-156.
Stang, Christian: Die westrussische Kanzleisprache des Grossfürstentums Litauen. Oslo 1935 (= Skrifter utgitt av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo, Historisk-filosofisk Klasse 1935,2).
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