November 29th, 2012 Headsman
On this date in 1938, linguist and politician Branislaw Tarashkyevich was shot at the Kommunarka execution range outside Moscow: another victim of Stalin’s purges.
Tarashkyevich, and his grammar.
That’s the familiar name for Tarashkyevich’s 1918 grammar (Belarusian link) that standardized the tongue, or rather the collection of related “Belarusian” dialects.
Its creator also happened to be a political leftist; he served briefly in the parliament of Poland (which then controlled West Belarus), then became a leader of the Belarus Peasant and Worker Masses, a communist movement. Tarashkyevich was arrested in 1928 and subsequently exchanged for a Belarusian journalist whom the Soviets had imprisoned.
His career as a Soviet appartchik in Moscow was short-lived, however, before those guys clapped him in prison, too, with the outcome typical to that frightening time and place.
A like deletion was supposed to befall taraskevica when the Stalin-era Belarus SSR ordered a standardization with grammar and orthography that more closely resembled Russian; this version (“narkomawka”) still remains the official “Belarusian” to this day.
However, the taraskevica variant has established a stubborn foothold among users who consider it more authentic than its Russified rival.*
* See Curt Woolhiser, “Communities of Practice and Linguistic Divergence: Belarusophone Students as Agents ofLinguistic Change,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1/4 (2007).
Also on this date
- 1986: The Moiwana Massacre
- 1793: Antoine Barnave, constitutional monarchist
- 1284: Alice Bowe and her friends
- 1330: Roger Mortimer, usurper
- 1957: Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas
- 1781: The slaves of the Zong, for the insurance
- 1517: Torben Oxe
- 1941: Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya