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Scholars do not agree whether Ruthenian was a separate language, or a Western dialect or set of dialects of Old East Slavic, but it is agreed that Ruthenian has a close genetic relationship with it. Old East Slavic was the colloquial language used in Kievan Rus' (10th-13th centuries). Dialects of Ruthenian slowly developed into modern Belarusian, Rusyn and Ukrainian languages.
In modern texts, the language in question is sometimes called "Old Ukrainian" or "Old Belarusian" (Ukrainian: ?) and (Belarusian: ?). As Ruthenian was always in a kind of diglossic opposition to Church Slavonic, this vernacular language was and still is often called prosta(ja) mova (Cyrillic (?) ?), literally "simple speech".
Names in contemporary use
Ruthenian (Old Belarusian? ) - by the contemporaries, but, generally, not in contemporary Russia.
(variant) Simple Ruthenian or simple talk (Old Belarusian (?) or ? , ? ?) - publisher Grigoriy Khodkevich (16th century).
Lithuanian (Russian: ?) - possibly, exclusive reference to it in the contemporary Russia. Also by Zizaniy (end of the 16th century), Pamva Berynda (1653).
Names in modern use
(Old) Ruthenian - modern collective name, covering both Old Belarusian and Old Ukrainian languages, predominantly used by the 20th-century Lithuanian, also many Polish and English researchers.
(Old) West Russian, language or dialect (Russian: (?) ?, Russian: (?) ?) - chiefly by the supporters of the concept of the Proto-Russian phase, especially since the end of the 19th century, e.g., by Karskiy, Shakhmatov. Russian popflock.com resource uses the term West Russian written language ( ? ?).
(Old) Belarusian (language) - rarely in contemporary Russia. Also Kryzhanich. The denotation Belarusian (language) (Russian: (?)) when referring both to the 19th-century language and to the Medieval language had been used in works of the 19th-century Russian researchers Fyodor Buslayev, Ogonovskiy, Zhitetskiy, Sobolevskiy, Nedeshev, Vladimirov and Belarusian researchers, such as Karskiy.
ruski - used by Norman Davies in Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (2011).
East Slavic languages in 1389. Areas with different spoken dialects are shown in different colors. Territories using different written languages are delineated by dashed lines: the green line for the Ruthenian ("") and the orange line for the Old-Russian ("").
Linguistic, ethnographic, and political map of Eastern Europe by Casimir Delamarre, 1868
^e.g., Elana Goldberg Shohamy and Monica Barni, Linguistic Landscape in the City (Multilingual Matters, 2010: ISBN1847692974), p. 139: "[The Grand Duchy of Lithuania] adopted as its official language the literary version of Ruthenian, written in Cyrillic and also known as Chancery Slavonic"; Virgil Krapauskas, Nationalism and Historiography: The Case of Nineteenth-Century Lithuanian Historicism (East European Monographs, 2000: ISBN0880334576), p. 26: "By the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Chancery Slavonic dominated the written state language in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania"; Timothy Snyder, The Reconstruction Of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (Yale University Press, 2004: ISBN030010586X), p. 18: "Local recensions of Church Slavonic, introduced by Orthodox churchmen from more southerly lands, provided the basis for Chancery Slavonic, the court language of the Grand Duchy."
Brogi Bercoff, Giovanna: "Plurilingualism in Eastern Slavic culture of the 17th century: The case of Simeon Polockij." In: Slaviaasopis pro slovanskou filologii, vol. 64. p. 3-14.
Danylenko, Andrii: "'Prostaja mova', 'Kitab', and Polissian Standard". In: Die Welt der Slaven LI (2006), no. 1, p. 80-115.
Danylenko, Andrii: "On the Name(s) of the prostaja mova in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth", In: Studia Slavica Hung., 51/1-2 (2006),p. 97-121
Dingley, Jim [James]. "The two versions of the Gramatyka Slovenskaja of Ivan U?evi?.' In: The Journal of Byelorussian Studies, 2.4 (year VIII), p. 369-384.
Frick, David A. "'Foolish Rus': On Polish civilization, Ruthenian self-hatred, and Kasijan Sakovy?." In: Harvard Ukrainian studies 18.3/4 (1994), p. 210-248.
Martel, Antoine. La langue polonaise dans les pays ruthènes: Ukraine et Russie Blanche 1569/1667. Lille 1938.
Moser, Michael: "Mittelruthenisch (Mittelweißrussisch und Mittelukrainisch): Ein Überblick." In: Studia Slavica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 50 (2005), no. 1-2, p. 125-142.
Mozer [= Moser], Micha?l'. "?to takoe 'prostaja mova'?". In: Studia Slavica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 47.3/4 (2002), p. 221-260.
Pivtorak, Hryhorij. "Do pytannja pro ukrajins'ko-bilorus'ku vzajemodiju donacional'noho periodu (dosjahnennja, zavdannja i perspektyvy doslid?en')". In: Movoznavstvo 1978.3 (69), p. 31-40.
Pugh, Stefan M.: Testament to Ruthenian. A Linguistic Analysis of the Smotryc'kyj Variant. Cambridge 1996 (= Harvard Series of Ukrainian Studies).
Shevelov, George Y. "Belorussian versus Ukrainian: Delimitation of texts before A.D. 1569". In: The Journal of Byelorussian Studies 3.2 (year 10), p. 145-156.
Stang, Christian: Die westrussische Kanzleisprache des Grossfürstentums Litauen. Oslo 1935 (= Skrifter utgitt av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo, Historisk-filosofisk Klasse 1935,2).
Strumins'kyj, Bohdan. "The language question in the Ukrainian lands before the nineteenth century". In: Aspects of the Slavic language question. Ed. Riccardo Picchio, Harvey Goldblatt. New Haven 1984, vol. 2, p. 9-47.