Part 1, Section 13 - Language

Lemko language by its content and expression is a separate Russian dialect. Since Lemkos were neighbors to Poles, Slovaks and Hungarians, certain expressions from these languages have crept into the language spoken by the Lemkos, but its main development is based on the Old Slavonic, and became developed to such a degree, while self-sustaining itself, that this dialect is not only used by the peasants, but also by the Lemko intellectuals. In this dialect, in the middle of the last century are written and became published many books and periodicals. From the literary Russian and Ukrainian language it differs mainly by the stress, which similarly to the Polish language, occurs always on the second syllable from the end. An unusual property of this language is the fact that it can be understood by every Slav, and vise-versa.
In modern times many dictionaries have been published, even within the Slavic family of languages. For example Russian-Polish, Ukrainian-Polish, Czech-Polish, and so on. But no dictionary is needed for the Lemko language. It is understood by Big Russians and Little Russians, Poles and Czechs, and every other Slav. None of the Slavic languages survived and maintained the character of the original language, as has the Lemko language. If ever in the future, there was to arise a Big Slav nation, about which dream certain Slavophiles, then only on the foundation of the Lemko language, would this new Slavic language develop most faithfully. No wonder that over 50 years ago, in the monthly periodical "Slavic Age" which is published in Vienna, articles in the Lemko dialect were being published. The Lemko language has accumulated certain success. The Lemko literature, even though it finds itself in a very unfriendly position, grows daily. One should also mention that the Lemko language in Lemkivshchyna is not monolithic, there are regional sub-dialects, many expressions have different meanings, and this proves that this language is still developing. Take this for example, the word "potato" in Lemkivshchyna can be described with several different words. [bandurka, gruli, kartofli, barabola.....- wm]

Excerpted from "Istoria Lemkovyny" (History of Lemkovyna), in 5 parts, by Ioann F. Lemkyn, published in distorted Lemko in 1969 by Lemko-Soyuz of USA & Canada, Yonkers, NY. Translated by Walter Maksimovich.

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Date Posted: February 24th, 1998
Last Revision: May 29th, 1999

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