Belarusian is the native language in Belarus, with over five million native speakers and six million second-language speakers. It belongs to the Indo-European language family and is one of the country's official languages. Back in the 16th century and earlier times, its old form was one of the official languages of administration in Lithuania, Ukraine, and present-day Belarus.
The language has many alternative spellings, including Byelorussian and Belorussian. Formerly, people also refer to it as White Russian and White Ruthenian. It creates a connection between the Ukrainian and Russian languages because Belarusian dialects shade into the Ukrainian and Russian dialects, too.