Pannonian Rusyn or simply Rusyn (Ruthenian) is a Slavic language or dialect spoken in north-western Serbia and eastern Croatia (therefore also called Yugoslavo-Ruthenian, Vojvodina-Ruthenian or Bačka-Ruthenian). It is similar to West Slavic languages, (Slovak in particular), but has Eastern Slavic phonetics and vocabulary. It has been influenced by surrounding Southern Slavic languages (Serbian and Croatian). Pannonian Rusyn is one of the official languages of the Serbian Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.
While it is classified as a microlanguage by the Serbian authors, it is considered a Ukrainian dialect in Ukraine, and simply as a Rusyn (Ruthenian) dialect by Slovaks and northern Ruthenians. Ethnologue classifies Rusyn language as ISO 639-3:rue.
Like the northern Rusyn language, it constitutes a mixture of some Eastern Slovak dialects and East Slavic features (namely, Russian Church Slavonic, Russian and Old Ruthenian). This mixture is because these Rusyns emigrated to Bačka from Eastern Slovakia and Western Ukraine around the middle of the 18th century. Like most modern Ruthenians, they are Greek Catholics and therefore have closer ties with Ukraine. The language also has some Southern Slavic features, and it is sometimes called "a Slavic Esperanto".
Since the Rusyn language was officially not recognized in Czechoslovakia and Ukraine in the past, the Rusyns in Yugoslavia, where the language was recognized, had to create their own language codification: The language has been codified by Mikola Kočiš (Микола Кочиш) in Правопис руского язика (Pravopis ruskoho yazika; "Orthography of Rusyn", 1971) and Ґраматика руского язика (Gramatika ruskoho yazika; "Grammar of Rusyn", 1974) and is written with Cyrillic letters:
|А а||Б б||В в||Г г||Ґ ґ||Д д||Е е||Є є||Ж ж|
|З з||И и||Ї ї||Й й||К к||Л л||М м||Н н||О о|
|П п||Р р||С с||Т т||У у||Ф ф||Х х||Ц ц||Ч ч|
|Ш ш||Щ щ||Ю ю||Я я||Ь ь|
Pannonian Rusyns themselves call their language Bačvan'ska ruska bešeda (бачваньска руска бешеда), or Bačvan'ski ruski yazik (бачваньски руски язик) . Their cultural centre is Ruski Kerestur (Руски Керестур, Руски Крстур / Ruski Krstur). Although the number of Pannonian Rusyns (Pannonian Ruthenians) is much lower than that of the northern Rusyns (Transcarpathian Ruthenians) — just 23,286 according to the Yugoslav census of 1981 — they were lucky to live in a multinational state that granted them certain minority rights as early as the 1970s, so that there is a Rusyn-medium grade school in Ruski Kerestur (with some 250 schoolbooks printed so far for this school and elementary schools), a professorial chair for Rusyn studies at Novi Sad University. There are regular television and radio programmes in Pannonian Rusyn, including the multilingual radio station Radio Novi Sad, which serves all of Vojvodina. The breakdown of minutes of Novi Sad original broadcasting by language in 2001 was: 23,5% Serbian, 23,5% Hungarian, 5,7% Slovak, 5,7% Romanian, 3,8% Rusyn, 2,2% Romany, and 0,2% Ukrainian.