Rusyn (русиньскый язык), also known in English as Ruthenian, is an East Slavic language variety spoken by the Rusyns of Central Europe. Some linguists treat it as a separate language and it has its own ISO 639-3 code. Others treat it as a dialect of Ukrainian. Each categorisation has controversial political implications.
Rusyn (and more specifically Carpatho-Rusyn) is the venacular spoken in the Transcarpathian Region of Ukraine, in northeastern Slovakia, southeastern Poland (where it is often described as łemkowski 'Lemko', from their characteristic word лем / lem 'only'), or Lyshak and Hungary (where the people and language are called Ruten).
Ukrainian linguists officially consider Rusyn a dialect of Ukrainian, similar to the Hutsul dialect in the neighbouring Carpathian region of Ukraine. Ukrainian scholars and politicians do not recognise Rusyns as a separate ethnicity, despite the fact that some Rusyn speakers prefer to consider themselves as ethnically distinct from Ukrainians.
Attempts to standardise the various variants of Rusyn have been unsuccessful. Rusyns live in four countries, and efforts are hampered because Rusyns living outside the traditional home region often do not speak it fluently. Different orthographies have been developed (in most cases using variants of the Cyrillic alphabet) and also grammatical standards exist, based on regional dialects.
The major cultural centres of Carpatho-Rusyns are located in Prešov in Slovakia, Uzhhorod and Mukacheve in Ukraine, Krynica and Legnica in Poland, Ruski Krstur in Vojvodina and Budapest in Hungary. There are many active Rusyns living in Canada, the USA, and South America.
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