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Encyclopedia > East Slavic languages
This article or section should be merged with List of East Slavic languages

The East Slavic languages constitute one of three regional subgroups of Slavic languages, currently spoken in Eastern Europe. It is the group with the largest numbers of speakers, far out-numbering the Western and Southern Slavic groups. Current East Slavic languages are Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Rusyn (a small language spoken in Eastern Slovakia, South Eastern Poland, Eastern Hungary and South Western Ukraine and regarded by many as a Ukrainian dialect).

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The first divergence among the Old East Slavic texts is evident during the 12th century, during the era of Kievan Rus', i.e. some texts can be linguistically located to areas that are now in Russia, Ukraine or Belarus. This leads many Russian scholars to speak of the existence of a separate Russian language as early as the 12th century.


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The Slavic family is usually divided into three subgroups: West Slavic, comprising Polish, Slovak, Czech, and Sorbian; East Slavic, comprising Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian; and South Slavic, comprising Slovene, Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, and Macedonian.
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East Slavic is generally thought to converge to one Old Russian language, which existed until at least the twelfth century.
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