Almost three weeks (officially almost four) in my beautiful cottage house in Tatar’ja. Time has passed very quickly, although fruitfully.

[See how fast the veggies have grown in a week!]

The family I’m staying with owns some farm animals and some field, which they keep almost 100% organic. I have asked them to let me go with them several times. I am learning a lot about organic farming, plus, I get to hear the most natural language (outside the fieldwork sessions).

[Three types of wells that people use in the region, the one in the middle is “ours”]

Meanwhile, I had had to go to Minsk to share about my research (to the Society of Zaharoddzian or West Polesian Studies), be interviewed by TUT.BY, send a paper to a conference in Minsk, prepare my supervisory meeting.


[I love the sunsets I see every evening from the house]

I borrowed a bike and I am riding on it to the neighbouring villages to visit other speakers. Now that the weather is nice, it is actually a pleasure to go outside (otherwise, I am inside the cabin, working on the recordings and fighting with the mosquitoes, who apparently love me). I realise that it is very important to become visible in the villages. During winter that was a lot harder; now that many people are sitting outside their houses or working in the fields, we greet each other, and they are getting used to my presence.

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Getting more technical, I have been working on modality and future. Common Slavonic had its imperfective future tense by adding different modal (partly desemantised) verbs’, usually volitive (want, will) or incoative (start) followed by the infinitive. From the XVI century the Eastern Slavonic subgroup got rid of the rest of the auxiliaries and chose the semantically most neutral verb ‘to be’ as the only auxiliary (Southern Slavonic languages have preserved it). However, there is a rest of it in Contemporary Ukrainian (робитиму[1]), and in West Polesian.


The case of West Polesian is very interesting because, I am finding different form of that auxiliary with different nuances: maju robɪtɪ, majusja robɪtɪ, robɪtym(u), zrobɪtɪm(u), budu robɪtɪ and zrablju. Cross-linguistically it may not be that unusual, but it is special among the Eastern and Western Slavonic group. What is the function of each of them? It seems that there is lots of work to do, and this is just the begining.


Last Sunday I also got bad news, one of the speakers I had been interviewing a few days ago passed away. Thank you for all that you shared for the project and the future generations.


[1] MIKHAЇLYK, R. (2003). Grammaire pratique de l’ukranien: Manuel du niveau moyen. Paris: L’Harmattan (p.64)


Author: Kristian Roncero

I am a PhD student at the Surrey Morphology Group. I am currently doing fieldwork in the region of Brest (Belarus), as I am researching West Polesian morphology and phonology. You can follow short updates about my experiences on the field on Twitter, with the hashtag #westpolesian You will see that some post have the tags as # *thing, as I am also following a course on increasing the impact of your research at the University of Surrey called '23 Things'.

10 thoughts on “Tatar’ja”

  1. You are doing a great job. I also speak like this although I am only 29 years old 🙂 If you are still in Imeniny or anywhere in Drogichin district, go to Zakozel for a bit of sightseeing.


  2. Hey Kristian, it’s really good job, thank you for choosing Belarusian village as a topic of the research. And great that your are blogging your field work. I would follow your research if you don’t mind. If you ever happened to turn your attention to dialects on a bit northern parts of Belarus, you are welcome. I have in mind to organize thesis writing bootcamps there. It’s for desperate young researchers in need of digital detox, what is not your case, but definitely some others.


      1. Thank you for your offer. I’ve never worked with north-eastern dialects, but it would be interesting to read about it. [Sorry, I can’t see your email address, is there any way of contacting you or reading your work, perhaps, a profile in]


      2. I plan to carry out the summer trip to this area. The locals have an interesting accent. Especially in the endings of words. If you’re interested, I could help with the organization and support. E-mail to contact me

        Best Regards!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hola Kristian! Me ha impresionado un montón todo lo que he leido de tí y del trabajo que estás haciendo! Mucha suerte! Los pueblos que estás visitando son natales para mi familia, mis abuelos y más alla)) Yo no vivo allí pero durante el verano voy a estar por un tiempo definitivamente. Pues si necesitas ayuda no dudes en comunicarme.


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