View Full Version : Language (and genetic?) convergence of Polish & Ukrainian-Belarusian, ca. 1340-1940

04-10-2016, 10:34 AM
The era of strong Polish influence in Western Ukraine started in 1323, when - after the death of Andriy II Yuriyevych - duke Bolesław-Jerzy II of the Piast dynasty ascended the throne of Halychyna-Volhynia, supported by Polish king Władysław I. After the death of Bolesław-Jerzy II, king Casimir I directly incorporated his realm into Poland in 1340. In 1385 Poland signed the Union of Krewo with Lithuania, and Polish cultural influence extended also into Lithuanian-controlled parts of Ukraine and Belarus. In 1569 the Union of Lublin was signed, all of Lithuanian-controlled parts of Ukraine were transferred to Poland, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was formed.

A comparison of lexical distances between languages shows that lexically Belarusian and Ukrainian are closer to Polish than to Russian:


That influence was also in the opposite way, Polish is more similar to Ukrainian and Belarusian than any other Western Slavic language.

It is said that in times when Ukrainians and Belarusians lived in the Polish-Lithuanian realm, Polish and western East Slavic strongly influenced one another, resulting in secondary convergence. The graph shows that also lexical similarity between Lithuanian and Polish increased, as the result of common history. Genetic influences and mixing probably accompanied those linguistic influences too.

It is said that thousands of Polish peasants who settled in what is now Ukraine-Belarus converted to Eastern Christianity & became Ruthenized. There were also thousands of Ruthenians in ethnic borderlands who converted to Roman Catholicism & became Polonized.

Plus intermarriages between both groups.