SUGGESTION: let's change the Belarusian flag to white-red-white
Since Belarusian was added on Tatoeba, two things have changed:
1. Recently, the white-red-white flag has been adopted by most Belarusians.
Back when Belarusian was added, some 10 years ago, the white-red-white flag had limited use: it was de facto forbidden and it was used mostly by few politically active people and Belarusians abroad.
Recently, we've seen white-red-white flag adopted by Belarusians all over the Belarus. It's clearly much more common than the red-green flag nowadays.
2. Tatoeba has developed clear guidelines about language variants.
Back when Belarusian was added, it wasn't clear if the flag was to represent all variants of Belarusian, or just the academic standard (narkamaŭka, be-1959acad).
Originally, we only had sentences in academic Belarusian, so it made sense to reserve the white-red-white for classical Belarusian (taraškievica, be-tarask) and use red-green for the academic standard.
However, Tatoeba has since introduced clearer guidelines about using ISO codes, which means the flag should represent both academic and classical standards. I believe the white-red-white flag works better in this case.
ПРАПАНОВА: давайце зменім сцяг для беларускай мовы на бела-чырвона-белы
З таго часу, калі быў выбраны сцяг для беларускай на Татоэбе, змяніліся дзве рэчы:
1. Апошнім часам БЧБ сцяг стала выкарыстоўваць большасць беларусаў.
Калі ў свой час, 10 год таму назад, дадавалася беларускай мова, БЧБ выкарыстоўваўся мала: ён быў дэ-факта забаронены, і яго выкарыстоўвалі толькі нешматлікія палітычна актыўныя людзі і беларусы за мяжой.
Апошнім часам, як бачым, БЧБ сцяг сталі выкарыстоўваць беларусы па ўсёй Беларусі. Відавочна, яго выкарыстоўваюць нашмат часцей, ніж чырвона-зялёны.
2. На Tatoeb'е з'явіліся дакладныя правілы пра моўныя варыянты.
Калі дадавалася беларуская мова, было незразумела, ці дадаецца сцяг для ўсіх варыянтаў беларускай, ці толькі для акадэмічнага стандарта (наркамаўкі, be-1959acad).
Першапачаткова ў нас былі толькі сказы акадэмічным стандартам беларускай мовы, і здавалася лагічным зарэзерваваць БЧБ для класічнай беларускай (тарашкевіцы, be-tarask), а акадэмічны стандарт пазначаць чырвона-зялёным сцягам.
Аднак з таго часу на Tatoeb'е з'явіліся дакладныя правілы пра выкарыстанне кодаў ISO, а гэта значыць, што сцяг адзіны і для акадэмічнай, і для класічнай беларускай. Мне здаецца, што БЧБ ў такім выпадку лепей.
Kuvaako Wikipedia-artikkeli aihetta tasapuolisesti ja tarkasti? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Belarus
[If you're addressing me, could you please use a language I speak? In my culture, switching to a language another person in the conversation doesn't know is considered rude. This is usually done to offend the interlocutor.
While I understand you're probably not trying to offend me, I first read your messages as agression, and only later I rationalise this interpretation away. This makes the conversation very frustrating for me.]
The article gets the historical context correctly, but it doesn't mention some important facts:
1. Recent developments.
In the past (e.g. 10 years ago), white-red-white flag was used by a minority: it was a flag of the systemic opposition, a small group of so-called "real" or "conscious" Belarusians. They were usually pro-European, spoke Belarusian, often were religious, often used classical Belarusian, etc.
Since August, this has changed. After the police tortures, it has became the flag of the majority. It has been used by people who speak Russian, by pro-Russia people etc. You can now see it in every city, town or village, it's basically everywhere.
2. Red-green flag is not a very good representation for Belarusian in general because it has been used in periods when the Belarusian language was discouraged.
Lukashenko introduced red-green flag alongside with the introducion of Russian as the second state language. Since then, the usage of Belarusian has been declining.
White-red-white flag was used in the first years of the Belarusian independence, when Belarusian was promoted as the only state language.
(Fun fact: a website https://belaruspartisan.by/ uses white-red-white flag to represent the Belarusian language, and red-green flag to represent Russian.)
Ursäkta mig och tack for extra information.
Don't repeat the Kabile-Berber drama.
I'm pretty sure you won't find any Belarusian speakers who would mind the flag change on Tatoeba. So it's unlikely we'll have any drama. :)
If you think the person who asked for the red-green flag originally would mind the decision, don't worry about that. It was me. :D I was the first Belarusian contributor who asked for the red-green flag in 2009 (I've used the account Demetrius back then). But a lot has changed since 2009.
Dear ◊Impersonator◊, thank you for your suggestion.
I strongly disapprove it.
ON ARTEFACTS AND GENERAL MATTERS
◊Impersonator◊'s arguments as well as their elaborations are political and not linguistic. Tatoeba is a project around languages so any arguments other than linguistic are to be disregarded **by definition**. Tatoeba is not a place to expose one's political convictions nor the conclusions made thereof while this is what ◊Impersonator◊ exposes in his comment.
Let it be known that ◊Impersonator◊'s suggestion comes exactly at the time of large, instrumentalized political actions on the territories where Belarusan language is used (August 2020), let it also be noted that the white-red-white flag ◊Impersonator◊ is referring to acts as one of the totems of such instrumentalization. At Tatoeba, our purpose is to produce equilibrated, neutral decisions. Any decision using a politically-engaged token induces cognitive abberations and should be postponed until this token ceases to be such. I think it is only possible to mention the white-red-white flag when this totem becomes back just a flag and when we are able to make a cold-minded, weighted decision.
ON THE ARGUMENTS
1. "Recently, the white-red-white flag has been adopted by most Belarusians".
This is false.
Just as Wikipedia does, Tatoeba tries to reflect the existing situation and not to create new habits (in Wikipedia terms: no original research).
While the whole issue of associating languages with flags of countries is a tricky and bad idea (let's invent e.g. a politically neutral French language flag), it is a feasible matter if there exists one-to-one language-to-country correspondence. That is the case of the Belarusan language, whose major part of speakers inhabits Belarus, where as well it is an official language. ◊Impersonator◊ makes an error referring to some "recent" facts. The majority of Belarusans have adopted their flag in 1995 (= a quarter-century ago) and it had been officialized and legitimized immediately and widely used since. Not only postulated, that flag is factually used, e.g. in Belarusan passports (even held by those who disapprove the authority delivering those passports), e.g. in car number plates (even held by those who disapprove the authority delivering those plates) and all other sorts of documents, symbols and protocols. This symbol, just as the national anthem and the national coat of arms, is supposed to be treated with respect, and there are penal liability consequences for their abuse, according to the country's Criminal Code, just as in any other country.
◊Impersonator◊, The Tatoeba community including myself may misknow some facts, so please provide us with some further references to remind us of Belarusans adopting — in somehow juridically significant manner — the white-red-white flag. So far I cannot find any mention of such choice.
◊Impersonator◊, please use verifiable and quantifiable categories. "It became the flag of the majority" — one cannot verify this statement and it's not Tatoeba's contributors' responsibility to decode those external signals. As long as international organizations provide us with standardized versions of countries', languages' names, flags, capitals etc., we do not need to invent them ourselves.
2. I think ◊Impersonator◊ misunderstood the terms "varieties" or "variants" as mentioned by Tatoeba guidelines.
(My role as a professional linguist is also to disseminate knowledge, so please bear with me mumbling a little bit.)
Every language shows some level of diversity in its lexical units, phonology and phonotactics. It does not automatically make any two different speech instances different language "varieties". When one speaks of **variants** or **varieties**, the most evident feature is grammatical discrepancies. Usually this automatically leads to mutual incomprehensibility. This is e.g. the case of Western and Eastern Armenian. This is the case of different Italian dialects (Napoletano, Ligurian etc.) Usually, the ISO classification attributes a separate code to each of them. I have been dealing with updating ISO tables in the past, and you should know that to state some parlance as a "variety", one needs to provide documental evidences (publications) that 1) it exists (say, that the mentioned village really speaks the stated idiom) 2) that this "variety" is sufficiently distinct from its superstrate (that, say, Napoletan is morphologically distinct from Italian and from, say, Ligurian) and cannot be reduced to a dialect. On the other hand, sometimes mutual comprehensibility exposes artificial language segregation: Romanian and Moldovan, Iranian Persian (Farsi), Afghani Persian (Dari) and Tajiki Persian, Indonesian and Malay etc.
To say that "classical" and "official" Belarusan languages are "varieties" would be to state that they have different number of cases, differently distribute genders across nouns, use different cases and prepositions with the same verbs and expose different conjugation schemes and different phi- and theta- licencing (sorry, these are syntacticians' hardcore, but I must mention them). THIS IS NOT THE CASE! Not only don't these two "varieties" differ in any of the abovementioned features, they do not differ in pronounciation. As is well known, the primary form of any language is the linearized phonematic (=abstract phonetic) form. It is conditioned by the abstract knowledge of the language and is not related to using some specific script or to using a script at all (=being literate). That's the form of the language recorded by professional linguists in dialectology expeditions. When a Belarusan-speaking person pronounces the sequence of phonemes /k z'oram ahnʲ'istɨm k prɨv'ol̃ʲu nʲabʲ'ɛsnamu/ (‘to the stars of fire, to the expanses of the sky’, a Yanka Kupala's poem), it is completely devoid of any markedness as "classical" or "official" and is completely understood by any speaker of Belarusan, and this phonematic sequence is the primary form of Belarusian speech. Now in writing one can depict this phrase (or any other just as well) using differents strategies of indicating secondary articulation of palatalization (Roman languages palatalize only /l,n/, Slavic ones are known to palatalize everything and there had been three distinct historical palatalization shifts in XI, XII and XIII cc.). The "sequential strategy of indicating palatalization in writing" is simply called "classical orthography", the "combining strategy of indicating palatalization in writing" is simply called "official orthography" and it is the only official one. The sequential strategies using Latin or Arabic letters are known as "Belarusan Latin orthography" and "Belarusan Arabic script". There are two-side conversion procedures between any pair of the latter. The abovementioned phrase would be written as follows using those graphical protocols: "К зорам агністым, к прыволлю нябеснаму", classical "К зорам агністым, к прывольлю нябеснаму", Belarusan Latin "K zoram ahnistym, k pryvoĺliu niabiesnamu", Belarusan Arabic "ک زوَرام اهنِیستىم، ک پرىووَلِّو نِابِاِسنامو". Those are pronounced identically because they are one single utterance. None of those protocols is a "language variety" in a linguistic sense, and any portion of Belarusan speech can be written within any of those conventions (nor are those "transliterations", but this would make us deviate too far away). As have mentioned the topic-starter, some people condition politically their choice between official and "classical" orthographies. The scripts themselves are neutral, the political spicing up is the people's.
To sum up: what the topicstarter has mentioned are not linguistic "varieties" of the Belarusan language and it is normal that there is no ISO code attributed to them. The ISO code is correctly attributed to the unitary and undivided Belarusan language.
I think, we can consider as its varieties: "Trasianka" — a saturation of the Belarusian phonetics by the Russian lexical flows. "Polessian" — a microlanguage related to Belarusan and sharing several features with Ukrainian (or related to Ukrainian and sharing several features with Belarusian?), "Old-Belarusan" aka "Old-Ukraininan" aka "Ruthenian". Those languages either have separate ISO codes, or those codes can be assigned in principle after a probing procedure with ISO authorities ("Trasianka" would need more proper corpus). So far, on Tatoeba, we would distinguish them with tags, just as we would do with the dialectal forms (e.g. specific northern dialects of Belarusan mixing up /ч/ and /ц/).
So there are no two varieties to be represented by two different flags.
ANOTHER RELATED ISSUES
These matters do not directly relate to the topic, but may clarify the situation because ◊Impersonator◊ has provided some false arguments in the comments. Especially for the people who do not live in or have never been to Belarus, his way of presenting the facts is at least misleading.
◊Impersonator◊ mentions that Belarusan language has been left disregarded during the last twenty years and that the main source of this evil are official authorities.
This is false.
1) Let it be known that these are the very years when complete codification of the Belarusan language has been accomplished.
The Belarusan Language Institute of the National Academy of Sciences has alone published several central codification works:
- Rules of Belarusan Orthography (2008).
- Full Orthoepic Dictionary compliant with these Rules
- Grammar dictionaries of nous; verbs; adjectives; etc. compliant with these Rules (four or five autonomous dictionaries)
- Historical Dictionary of the Belarusian language (an ongoing publication, 21 volumes covering А—О so far, since 1982)
- Etymological dictionary of the Belarusian language (an ongoing publication, 14 volumes covering А—Т so far, since 1978).
The two last academic items are fundamental research and represent titanic amount of time and effort.
Please find the thousand-full list at their website http://www.iml.basnet.by/publikacyi . One cat find other, smaller and regional state-funded publishers publishing thousands of books and magazines in or about Belarusan language. They are plenty.
Some preparatory codification work concerning the Latin script has also been done. In 2008, an official Belarusian Latin scripting procedure has been introduced. It has been adopted into international use and standardized by UN and UNESCO afterwards.
2) Numerous and quite popular Belarusian-language literary series are being published by the state publishers Mastackaja Litaratura and Bielaruś as well as topic-centered magazines like Nastaŭnickaja hazieta, Źviazda, Rodnaje Slova, Litaratura i Mastactva, (please find the abundant continuation yourself). Those are accessible in libraries in every village. The topic-centered spontaneous publications (not making part of any series) of those state publishers are usually initiated and funded by the Ministry of Communication (e.g. the recent edition of the Carmen Bisontis—Pieśnia pra Zubra).
3) Even the state television channels Belarus 1 (General), Belarus 2 (Films), Belarus 3 (Culture), Belarus 4 (Regional News), Belarus 5 (Sports) broadcast in Belarusan. The channel Belarus 5 (Sports) even comments sport events in Belarusian **on live air**. This fact completely tramples down ◊Impersonator◊'s misobservation that the official authorities are the main source of debelarusization in the country. Local press is often published in Belarusan. In my town (Bialyničy), the regional newspaper is published in Belarusan (cf. Zara nad Drućciu: zara.by )
4) Local and nationwide literary reviews, competitions and readings are held in Belarusan and concentrate publics of different ages. In my town (Bialyničy) alone, we are going to celebrate the National Writer's Day (Dzień bielaruskaha piśmienstva) in three weeks, celebrated every year since 1994 every time in different city/town. It is held in Belarusan language and will include the awarding of the National Literary Prize, as well as other accompanying artefacts (publishing poetry collection of the laureats and participants etc.). Such initiatives are usually state-funded, and they popularize Belarusian language on both national and international levels. You can imagine the whole volume of such type of events on the country scale.
5) Exploring internal richness of the Belarusian language, hundreds of dialectological and ethnographic trips are organized by Belarusian State University, Academy of Sciences and Belarusian TV (BielTelieRadyjoKampanija), not to mentions other regional projects. Those expeditions are usually state-funded and their purposes are usually to gather 1) dialectally rich speech samples 2) regional ethnographic content (songs, tales, legends). Two next links give examples.
- Vadzim Škliaryk from Academy of Sciences about their ethnographic trip into Palieśsie (with sound samples) https://philology.by/u-hlyb-paliessia
- Aksana Viečar from Belarusian TV : "Napierad u minulaje" (‘fast-forward into the past’) about gathering folk songs (Belarus 3 any Sunday around 10AM, so far >500 villages and songs) and "Nacyjanaĺny chit-parad" (Belarus 3 any Sunday around 11AM) about popularizing these very songs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhmAGshgGSI (final song at 22:42)
6) Belarusian National Library (https://nlb.by/upload/iblock/02a/biblioteka.jpg and http://moscowalk.ru/images/2013...ka/minsk19.jpg ) — a modern storage for Belarusan content on physical support. It has been built within the latest 26 years and by official authorities. Its role is to store Belarusan physical and digital documents, repair and restore damaged documents, acquire Belarusan manuscripts all over the world and organize scientific and educational exchanges and round tables. Among others, it contains unpublished manuscripts of Belarusan poets, yet to be deciphered, Skorina's (proto)-Belarusan (=proto-Ukraininan = Ruthenian) books of 1522 and ancient Belarusan Arabic manuscripts (XIV c).
Conclusion: not only private and marginal initiatives, but also (and first of all) state-funded television, press, research centers, publishers and events favor and promote Belarusan language. Your intention, ◊Impersonator◊, to dissociate the Belarusan language from its country (along with its flag) is regrettable, it owes a lot to this land.
Personally, ◊Impersonator◊, I think, you are trying to create a precedent out of a non-event.
Thanks for your comment!
If the other community members are not supportive, I won't push the matter further right now.
However, I'd like to comment on a few flaws in your reasoning (especially since you directly attack what I'm saying and I feel I need to defend myself).
> Tatoeba is a project around languages
> so any arguments other than linguistic
> are to be disregarded **by definition**.
This is not true. "How to represent the language" is NOT a linguistic argument, and it can't be a linguistic argument.
It's sociolinguistic at best, and sociolinguistics studies how languages and politics overlap.
It's impossible to make *any* judgement about *any* flag using linguistic arguments only. This is *neccessarily* a non-linguistic discussion.
> I think it is only possible
> to mention the white-red-white
> flag when this totem becomes
> back just a flag and when we
> are able to make a cold-minded,
> weighted decision.
You fail to notice that red-green flag has, similarly, acquired different meaning compared to the meaning it used to have.
In the past, it could be used as a more-or-less neutral flag. Nowadays, it is not.
It's similarly impossible to use red-green flag and pretend it's a "cold-minded, weighted decision". It's not.
(Also, there has been a lot of critique about "cold-minded" decision-making coming from people writing about social justice. Basically, limiting the discussion to "cold-minded" decisions means we limit the people making decisions to the privileged few, because you can only be cold-minded if you're not emotionally invested — something only privileged people can have.)
> Just as Wikipedia does, Tatoeba
> tries to reflect the existing
> situation and not to create new
> habits (in Wikipedia terms: no
> original research).
You're confusing the way corpus is formed (which, indeed, should be representative of the language) with Tatoeba in general.
Tatoeba in general *does* introduce a lot of new habits, starting from the idea of the project in general to flags (which Tatoeba allows even creating from scratch).
> it is a feasible matter if there exists
> one-to-one language-to-country correspondence.
> That is the case of the Belarusan language
Not really. The Belarusian state we know now is a de jure bilingual state, so the flag corresponds to the two languages. It can just as well stand for Russian (and, in fact, it does in some contexts).
> adopting — in somehow juridically
> significant manner
This statement tacitly assumes that only "juridically significant" things matter, which is not really true.
You know perfectly well that Belarusians were de facto very limited in what they could do in a "juridically significant manner". Requiring only "juridically significant" things is dishonest.
> 2. I think ◊Impersonator◊ misunderstood
> the terms "varieties" or "variants" as
> mentioned by Tatoeba guidelines.
In fact, Tatoeba guidelines mention neither. It's the terms I've used *myself* for the explanation of Tatoeba rules. If you want to be nitpicky about the terms, please at least check what you're commenting. https://en.wiki.tatoeba.org/art...nguage-request
> (My role as a professional linguist
> is also to disseminate knowledge,
> so please bear with me mumbling a little bit.)
Before "disseminating knowledge" it would be nice if you double-checked what you're disseminating.
(BTW I also majored in linguistics, so I'm pretty sure the way I've used the terms is not incorrect. 'Varieties' is broad enough to cover a lot of different use cases — that's why I've used this word.)
> to state that they have different
> number of cases, differently
> distribute genders across nouns,
> use different cases and prepositions
> with the same verbs[...] THIS IS NOT THE CASE!
You're arguing with yourself. You've given the word 'varieties' a different meaning from what I've used, and started to argue with your own meaning.
What I've said was: when I asked for the red-green flag 10 years ago, when Belarusian was added to Tatoeba, I've assumed I'm asking only about narkamaŭka. I've never intended this flag to be used for taraškievica or Belarusian in general. That's what I've meant.
> The ISO code is correctly attributed
> to the unitary and undivided Belarusan language.
I've never said it wasn't!
What I've said was: 10 years ago, when Belarusian was added to Tatoeba, there was no rule about ISO codes. (Toki Pona and CycL, added at that time, are treated as 'exceptions' now, but they weren't exceptions back then.)
> ANOTHER RELATED ISSUES
Things should be shown in context.
Sure, there are some books and TV programs in Belarusian. But if you compare it to the state *before* the introduction of Russian as the official language, you'll see that what we have now is much more limited.
Just want to say I wholeheartedly support this proposition.