The Belarusian Language
The Belarusian language (беларуская мова, BGN/PCGN: byelaruskaya mova, Scientific: belaruskaja mova, łac.: biełaruskaja mova), sometimes referred to as White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people. It is an official language of Belarus, along with Russian, and is spoken abroad, chiefly in Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. Prior to Belarus gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the language was known in English as Byelorussian or Belorussian, transliterating the Russian name, белорусский язык, or alternatively as White Ruthenian or White Russian. Following independence, it was called Belarusian.
Belarusian is one of the East Slavic languages, and shares many grammatical and lexical features with other members of the group. To some extent, Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian are mutually intelligible. Its predecessor stage is known as Old Belarusian (14th to 17th centuries), in turn descended from Old East Slavic (10th to 13th centuries).