In a message dated 11/21/1999 11:44:22 PM Central Standard Time,
> In my diletante
> opinion it is clother to Ukrainian than to Russian, but is a separate
> language. It was not very easy to read it.
I think what I said came out wrong. I meant to say that *in period* there was
not enough difference to really call it a separate language. Today it is very
close to Russian, but yes, it is a separate language although I can make
sense of it better than Ukrainian.
It is a bone of contention between Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians as
to when the languages separated and when the cultures became distinct. I
wouldn't put a date on it, but somewhere late-late-late in our period the
distinction became obvious.
On a different, but related note, my mother spoke two languages as a child:
Russian and a dialect. I was fortunate to hear my aunt speak that dialect
when she visited us, and it was quite an experience. It took me three days or
so to make sense of her pronunciation, vocabulary, and even syntax. That
dialect is about halfway between modern (standard) Russian and Ukrainian. But
it is Russian. Both my aunt, and my mother understand Ukrainian fluently,
although my mother doesn't really speak it. Still, they consider what they
spoke a Russian dialect, not a Ukrainian dialect.
The linguistic missing link, so to speak.
An offshoot of that is that my mother, never a very tolerant person, does not
consider Ukrainian all *that* distinct from Russian.
It's not a linguistic opinion, but a native's perception.
Just to make matters even more complicated.