Speed-Dating Plan to Boost Neglected Language
Do you speak Belarusian and wish you could find your Belarusian soul mate? Then you might just be in luck! An independent public culture initiative called Art-Siadziba (or Art Manor) may have just the thing for you – Belarusian Speed Dating!
Belarus is an Eastern European country that used to be a part of the Soviet Union. But despite gaining independence in 1991 and having a population of almost 10 million people, the national language of the country is slowly slipping away.
According to a study in 2009, more and more people are speaking Russian at home and the number of people able to even speak Belarusian are becoming few and far between. As a result, the language is being squeezed out from the media and it’s even optional to learn in schools.
But Art-Siadziba – known for its creativity when it comes to organising events – wanted to do something original to give the national language a boost.
Now, Minsk is a city with a population of nearly 2 million, and it can be hard for two people who both speak Belarusian to meet each other.
So, Art-Siadziba arranged a speed-dating evening where potential partners are only allowed to speak Belarusian to each other for the duration of their time there.
Hopeful singles who could speak Belarusian had to email the group with details about themselves in advance, including their social media presence. However, the location was kept a secret until closer to the time.
This location turned out to be a café in Minsk on October 30. There, 20 potential love-interests (10 women and 10 men) would have two minutes to get to know one another, speaking only in their national language.
As each date concluded, the speed-daters filled in a form giving marks for the person they had just given two minutes of their life to. If the marks matched up accordingly, the organisers would inform the participants in question.
That first event was such a success that the group decided to hold another on November 6! It is likely to be a repeat occurrence and a way for Belarusian speakers to be able to meet one another and hopefully encourage more speakers.
So, if a Belarusian romance is something that you are interested in then you might want to make your way to Minsk and wait for the next alert…