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Ukrainian language


Rain33 14 | 19
7 Dec 2011  #1
I was wondering if anyone knows anything about Ukrainian. I have applied and got accepted to a university in Kiev, but I do not know Ukrainian. I do want to learn Ukrainian, but I am very afraid that said Ukrainians will beat me up because I am trying to learn the language. Someone, and I think it was my Polish neighbor, told me that the Ukrainian language does not exist. She says that most Ukrainians do not like foreigners learning the language because they are very xenophobic, and most do not welcome Americans, or Brits, who can speak Ukrainian. She says that Russian is prefered over there, and if I dare speak Ukrainian, I will get beat up by a bunch of Ukrainian hooligans because they perfer the Russian language over their own. That is why they speak Russian over there, my Polish neighbor told me, the Ukrainians don't like their own language.

I think she told me a story about some Ukrainian guy beating up her daughter in Lviv because she told them she was trying to learn the Ukrainian language.

Nobody? And I thought the few Ukrainians on this forum would answer.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
10 Dec 2011  #2
Blatant provocation! Some in the east speak Russian but they won't beat you up. You've been spun a yarn!
Wulkan - | 3,251
10 Dec 2011  #3
This is the biggest nonsens I have ever heard, Ukrainians are very proud of their language
rybnik 18 | 1,462
10 Dec 2011  #4
Ukrainians are very proud of their language

Of course they are. Furthermore, I've never heard of a people hating their own language. What a bizzare notion.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
10 Dec 2011  #5
I have never heard of a whole people hating their own language either, but their are individual examples of people preferring a foreign tongue to their own I.E. the German philosopher Gottfried Liebniz preffered to write in French, and so too much of the aristocracy of continental Europe preferred to speak French, rather than their native tongues, for a long time. We also have examples of conquerers who abandoned their native tongues to speak those of the subjugated. This phenomena can be traced back at least as far as the Aryan conquest of Iran in which Elomite remained the court language for many years. Nearer Poland, the Turkic Bulgars adopted the tongue of their Slavic thralls, the Germanic Franks adopted the Latin tongue of their subjects, the Normans abandoned Norse for French and then French for English etc.
f stop 25 | 2,513
10 Dec 2011  #6
I think there is some kind of push-back, especially among younger people, who might be tired of governments telling them what language they'll have to speak. Regardless of history, it's aggrevating to have to learn a new language, even as easy as ukrainian is if you know russian, without moving your foot out of town. For at least two generations, everybody in cities spoke russian. Most still do. I hear that the majority of ukrainian websites are in russian as well. If it wasn't for politics or linguists, they'd blend the two together.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
10 Dec 2011  #7
I do want to learn Ukrainian, but I am very afraid that said Ukrainians will beat me up because I am trying to learn the language.

Why would they? The only issue is that Ukraine is more or less genuinely bilingual - people will use Ukrainian and Russian interchangably, depending on context. But in some parts, one language is "stronger" - L'viv for instance is heavily biased towards Ukrainian and many of them (even educated ones) will struggle with intricate concepts in the language. Likewise in the East - they will be weaker in Ukrainian, but all of them can use both on a day-to-day basis.

Your "Polish" neighbour is a redneck and ignorant, like most Polonia. The Ukrainian language is flourishing, and they positively enjoy foreigners learning.

Ukrainian hooligans very much speak the language of the region of which they're associated. In the West, Ukrainian - in the East and Kyiv - Russian.

but their are individual examples of people preferring a foreign tongue to their own.

Didn't Copernicus conduct a lot of his work in Latin?
rybnik 18 | 1,462
10 Dec 2011  #8
I doubt he did it because he wanted to, rather because he had to. Latin was the language of science in his day.....What I find incredulous, is that members of a country/culture would consciously choose a language other than the one they were raised in to communicate with.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
10 Dec 2011  #9
To the OP, don't raise the issue with NSBM folk. You might leave the bar in a rather worse state. Ukrainians have worked hard at carving out their own identity and no deluded Pole should try and make you believe otherwise.
f stop 25 | 2,513
10 Dec 2011  #10
What I find incredulous, is that members of a country/culture would consciously choose a language other than the one they were raised in to communicate with.

exactly. All in the name of patriotism.
Lyzko
10 Dec 2011  #11
Rybnik, I asked the same question (in an entirely different venue, not to mention wholly other context) during my last visit to Sweden. I wondered out loud why many Scandinavians 'prefer' to communicate, even amongst each other, in English (not even German!), instead of their respective languages. The answer. Lack of national pride?? "English is more easier!", one had the audacity to assert, in his "ease" merrily breaking umpteen grammar rules while doing itLOL

At least in the far North, people are plenty patriotic! They've simply been sold a bill of goods that English is the cool passport to international acceptance and French, German, their native languages, are "uncool"-:)

Does this make sense to somebody?!
strzyga 2 | 993
10 Dec 2011  #12
What I find incredulous, is that members of a country/culture would consciously choose a language other than the one they were raised in to communicate with.

That's the point, many of them were raised speaking Russian and during the Soviet times didn't identify with the Ukrainian language, which was looked upon as peasants' dialect. Russian was the language of TV, schools, newspapers etc. Plus, a great number of resettled Russians were living there, especially in the eastern parts of the country. Ukrainian was the lesser known of the two languages. Similar story with the Belorussian, which has had even weaker position against Russian. Ukrainian is doing not so bad now, with Belarussian there's still a lot of confusion.
f stop 25 | 2,513
10 Dec 2011  #14
When switching languages, going with the language that is more widely used makes better sense. Again, the ultimate goal is for all of us to speak the same language.
Lyzko
10 Dec 2011  #15
I agree, f stop. The thing is though, Ukrainian and Russian are SOOOoo close as to almost be the same language!! This makes both cultural and linguistic sense. I can well see a Ukrainian student communicating in 'native' Russian with a Russian native speaking fellow student, for instance, not, say in Polish etc.

What however is the logic of two Scandinavians, say, a Swede and a Norwegian communicating with one another in German or English when both their languages (like the Ukrainian/Russian example above) are also so very close??
f stop 25 | 2,513
10 Dec 2011  #16
It may be that they realize that english is fast becoming the universal language, and they want to practice.
rybnik 18 | 1,462
10 Dec 2011  #17
That's the point, many of them were raised speaking Russian and during the Soviet times didn't identify with the Ukrainian language.

I was unaware of this - very interesting.
Lyzko
10 Dec 2011  #18
Yes, that right! So long as they continue to see this a but a "practice exercise", I applaud their efforts wholeheartedly.
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
10 Dec 2011  #19
It may be that they realize that english is fast becoming the universal language, and they want to practice.

No, no such thing. It's the older generations that still 'pretend' to understand each other using respective Scandinavian languages... the differences between the languages are pronounced enough to make the communication a bit cumbersome (at least from the Danish perspective), it's simply easier to use English, the conversation flows unhindered, jokes can be cracked, instead of smiling politely and nodding where in reality you go 'wtf was that?', I mean you do get it eventually but the delay disrupts the flow.
f stop 25 | 2,513
10 Dec 2011  #20
it's simply easier to use English,

OK, good to know!
KingAthelstan 9 | 142
10 Dec 2011  #21
I mean you do get it eventually but the delay disrupts the flow.

that not true, my sister is married to a Norwegian and he says that when in Sweden and Denmark he simply communicates in Norwegian and he's 28.
Lyzko
10 Dec 2011  #22
Flagless Pole, not wishing to offend the "Danish perspective" (??), this is politically correct nonsense! I say this as a frequent long-term visitor to Sweden and Denmark, speaking both languages fluently. While obviously they all learn English in grade school, if English really WERE "easier" and less "cumbersome" than their native tongue(s), why is their spoken English at any rate, so repleat with basic errors in usage, grammar and idiom?! Jokes? I decided once to humor their efforts and speak in English with my host family and their friends, NOT in insultingly slow ESLese, but in standard correct, idiomatic, slang-jargon free North American English, applying the same standard and spoken at about the same clip as though I were talking to my own wife; it fell as flat as a lead balloon. My hosts politely smiled the (universally!!) thin smile of non-comprehension and looked nervously at one another. He was a manager at Maersk and his wife taught highschool English at the local parochial school in Aabenraa.

Smart woman, your sister! At least this minimizes the risk of misscommunicationLOL
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
10 Dec 2011  #23
that not true, my sister is married to a Norwegian and he says that when in Sweden and Denmark he simply communicates in Norwegian and he's 28.

Oh boy, an expert has spoken, I wonder what the Ukrainians have to say about your little russian comment, lol.
Anyways I did say Danish perspective, didn't I. Norwegians are the best at understanding the rest of Scandinavians simply because they need to learn two official Norwegian languages (Bokmaal and Nynorsk) at an early age. Bokmaal is basically Danish but with different pronunciation (few different words here and there) as Norway was part of Denmark for the good part of her history, culturally under the Danish hegemony (just like Lithuania was under the Polish). Nynorsk is an artificial construct created after Norwegian independence to bolster the Norwegian national identity, it's based on different regional dialects, from remote fjord communities, actually a bit similar to Old Norse, so they can also understand Icelandic. In reality nobody in Norway speaks 100% percent Bokmaal or Nynorsk it's always something in between, varying in proportion depending where in Norway you come from. My long time Norwegian girl friend who studied in Denmark didn't bother speaking Danish as she understood it perfectly, though little did she realize that most of the people in Denmark had actually somewhat hard time getting her even though her Norwegian was 95% Bokmaal. Of course I didn't speak English with her, I spoke Danish.. but it did take some time getting used to her pronunciation. Most of my Swedish friends however, studying in Denmark, learnt to speak Danish fluently within few months simply because otherewise they'd be misunderstood most of the time.
Lyzko
10 Dec 2011  #24
Norsk er bare dansk me' svensk accent-:) LOL

In case the non-Danish speaker on PF didn't get it: "Norwegian is merely Danish with a Swedish accent."

......in addition, I can watch Norwegian TV and basically catch what's being said from my Danish and Swedish (plus a smattering of Icelandic!). Nynorsk's another kettle of (ljut-)fisk all together, he-he!! No, I DON'T understand spoken Nynorsk, but could probably read a newspaper in each of the Nordic languages, except perhaps Icelandic and/or Faeroese.

Having studied some Russian (after Polish), Ukrainian certainly wasn't nearly 'good', but it had a familiar ring to it. Clearly, my chances would have been better with Czech after studying Polish than either Russian, Ukrainian or the other Slavic languages.
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
10 Dec 2011  #25
Norsk er bare dansk me' svensk accent-:) LOL

Det er sgu rigtigt... naesten da:)
Indeed after my time with the Norwegian girl I got much better at understanding Swedish
LYzko
10 Dec 2011  #26
Did you want to "knulle" or "knulla"???

No guys/gals, I'm NOT going to translate this much. This is a family show-:)

LOL)))))
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
10 Dec 2011  #27
Did you want to "knulle" or "knulla"???

naah, egentlig saa havde jeg bare taenkt mig at raakneppe...
Lyzko
10 Dec 2011  #28
Ahhhh-hAHHH!!! Hope it was fun-:)

Anyhow, I think the rest will get it. I do endeavor to 'keep things clean', in the US sense of the term.
Please excuse my hypocritical American Puritanism.
FlaglessPole 4 | 669
10 Dec 2011  #29
Please excuse my hypocritical American Puritanism

watch this and you'll see how far we are removed from any political correctness, awesome cartoon series loved by young and old, enjoy:) The Pandas!

dr.dk/nu/player/#/pandaerne-saeson-1/5005
OP Rain33 14 | 19
12 Dec 2011  #30
Thanks guys, I often thought Ukrainians did not like foreigners speaking their language. My Polish neighbor reinforced that belief nevertheless.


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