author: Tetiana Yakusyk
Let's be clear, there is only one state language in Ukraine, it is Ukrainian. However, we know Russian for some historical reasons, which we will discuss later. 😉
Let's start by talking about the particularities of the Ukrainian language.
That the large majority of the population speaks Ukrainian and understands it.
Let's see the results of the latest polls about the Ukrainian language. 78% of Ukrainians consider Ukrainian their native language, and 22% are representatives of national minorities living in Ukrainian territory. Such as Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Greeks, Poles, Hungarians, and others.
The Ukrainian language has its own characteristics. There are about 17 dialects in Ukraine! Dialects are language features that exist only in a particular region.
For example, there is the word "болсанка" (bolsanka) which means "bottle" (in Ukrainian reads as – plyashka) in the Chernihiv region, and you can hear how people use "вуйко" (vuiko) which means “uncle” (in Ukrainian reads as – diadko) in Transcarpathia. And there are many such examples!
Did you ever know that Hagrid also speaks in dialect from the book "Harry Potter" in Ukrainian translation? The dialect gave the character even more color.
Cover of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" to the Ukrainian translation from the publishing house "A-BA-BA-GA-LA-MA-GA", 2002.
Try reading and repeating it after Hagrid his short phrase in Ukrainian with a dialect
Eurovision 2022 winners have dialectic words in their song. The band's soloist sings dialect words, and he is from the Kalush town, Ivano-Frankivsk area.
You can watch the performance and video of the Kalush Orchestra for the “Stefania” song below.
To let you know more about the Ukrainian language and use that opportunity to share it with your friends, we will find out where the Ukrainian language came from and how it is retained. 🤓
Modern Ukrainian comes from Proto-Slavic.
The Ukrainian language and its distinctive characteristics were formed in the 6th-11th centuries. The Proto-Slavic group disintegrated, and modern Slavic languages emerged from it, including Ukrainian, in the middle of the 12th century. The oldest documents of our nation were written during this period.
«Edification to children» was written by Prince Volodymyr Monomakh of Kyiv.
«Aeneid» by Ivan Kotlyarevsky
Typography appeared in the 15th century, and elements of colloquial speech appeared in the written language.
The situation was similar to other languages. For example, Dante Alighieri wrote “The Divine Comedy” in colloquial Italian.
The Ukrainian language developed rapidly. All segments of the population spoke the language, and entertaining, ecclesiastical, and scientific texts were written in Ukrainian.
At the end of the 18th century, vast empires were formed in Europe, inhabited by many nations.
Most of Ukraine was occupied by the Russian Empire, which tried to create a single linguistic space – Russian. The Ukrainian language survived many restrictions, ban on writing works, scientific texts and documents, studies, and stage play during this period.
However, the Ukrainian language continues to develop despite the prohibitions. The first book is written in a living Ukrainian language – "Aeneid" by Ivan Kotlyarevsky, published in 1798.
The number of works in Ukrainian increased in the 19th century. For example, poems by Taras Shevchenko and Lesia Ukrainka.
Ukrainians found a way to print books in the Ukrainian language in regions that were not part of the Russian Empire (modern Transcarpathia, Lviv region, Chernivtsi region).
The Russian Empire disintegrated in the early 20th century. Ukrainians proclaimed the creation of the Ukrainian People's Republic as an independent state, and the Ukrainian language became the only state language in 1917.
The Ukrainian People's Republic was occupied and became part of the USSR in 1922. The Soviet government tolerated Ukrainians, and the Ukrainian language, so scientific and artistic works were written in Ukrainian, and plays were staged in the first years of the occupation.
The situation changed in the 1930s. Later there were restrictions on the use of the Ukrainian language in education and culture, the violation of which was severely punished. In the end, it turned into a process of Russification – the forced planting of the Russian language.
This is the biggest reason why Ukrainians know Russian, and at the same time, it is the main reason why Ukrainians cherish their language so much.
Faces of the "Executed Renaissance" - Ukrainian artists who were shot by the Soviet authorities
The Ukrainian language obtained the status of a single state language (when the USSR was falling into pieces) in 1989. We are always pleased when people address us in Ukrainian and know that this is our country's language. Ukrainians speak Ukrainian and Russian, this is how our history has developed, and we are not divided into Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking. We are Ukrainians, a united nation.
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