Russian Language Journal


language, speech, bilingual, communities, Russian, Belarusian


The elicitation of language usage in the present study was carried out by means of a survey. Language utilization was surveyed in the home, in school, at work, and in government institutions to ascertain whether a functional hierarchy of domains in Belarusian and/or Russian obtains in Belarus. In addition, the study examines whether domain-specific language utilization varies according to participants’ sex. Respondents were asked to evaluate choice of language as “useful” or “necessary” for each domain. Findings reflect self-reports from 559 students born in Belarus and attending eight different institutions of higher education, cumulatively. Data were collected in three cities, namely Minsk, Vitebsk, and Grodno. Preliminary findings suggest that Belarusian lacks sufficient grassroots support, as evidenced in particular by student self-reports relative to the “home” domain. Responses to language utilization in the “school” domain reflect continued government support of the national language in spite of relatively low utility accorded Belarusian in actual “government institutions.”