The ukrainian language
I’m lucky to be a Ukrainian,
To be born on the marvelous land,
To enjoy in the third millennium
All the beauty of cultural brand.
I’m lucky to speak Ukrainian
With its values that shine like the sun.
If I could, I would give all the premium
For the charm of my beautiful tongue.
People’s self-expression, their spiritual development are closely
connected with their mother tongue. The Ukrainian language’s melody
resembles fields’ and forests’ whispering, birds` songs, water streams`
rippling, folk songs’ and fairy tales’ music. The mother language
cultivates children’s love to the native land and their home.
Language formation is a historical creative process. Local dialects and
the people’s language do not appear at once, but are formed throughout
The Ukrainian language developed from the Old Slavonic language and
during the XlVth-XVIIIth centuries it was developing successfully,
improving its grammatical structure and enriching its vocabulary. But
its further development was somewhat hampered by the discriminating
policy of the Polish and Russian Empire in the XVIIIth century.
The Ukrainian language is the second most widely spoken language of 12
surviving members of the Slavic group of the large Indo-European
language family. Geographically, it is classified together with Russian
and Belarusian as one East Slavic language.
Ukrainian is represented basically by a set of dialects, some of which
differ significantly from the others. Generally, however, dialectical
divisions in Ukrainian are not as strong as they are, for example, in
British English or German. Traditionally, scholars have divided
Ukrainian dialects into three main groups: northern, southwestern and
southeastern. Standard Ukrainian is a superstructure built on this
dialectal foundation. It is the only form of Ukrainian taught at school
and used in literature. The standard language is based mainly on the
Poltava-Kyiv dialects of the southeastern group.
The status of the Ukrainian language on Ukrainian territories was
defined, except during Ukraine’s brief period of independence, by
foreign powers. As a rule, the role of the Ukrainian language was
restricted. In the former USSR, for example, there was no special
legislation on language; Russian was the only language of government.
Ukraine’s Constitution of 1937 guaranteed the use of Ukrainian in
schools. In fact, Russian continued to be the only language of
instruction for the Ukrainian population.
On 28 October, 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the UkSSR passed the law “On
languages in the Ukrainian SSR”,which gives official status to Ukrainian
and provides its introduction in the legislation, ministry, civil
organisations and enterprises, the court system, international treaties
and agreements, the school system from kindergarten to higher
educational institutions, scientific publications and the mass media.
What family of languages does Ukrainian belong to?
2. What dialects is Ukrainian divided into?
3. What dialects is standard Ukrainian based on?
4. When was the law on languages passed in Ukraine?
5. What status does it give to the Ukrainian language?
6. Was the role of Ukrainian restricted? In what way?
Give your viewpoints on the following: V Do you agree with the opinion
that every Ukrainian has to know and speak his mother tongue? Why?
Leafing through newspapers, journals and books of ‘yesterday and today,
one may come across interesting opinions on the Ukrainian language. Here
are some of them:
The strings of our native tongue connect us with all other languages.
Pavlo Zhitetsky (1837-1911), Ukrainian philologist
The Ukrainian language is majestic and simple, fully mature and
extraordinarily rich. It has a millennial history, a powerful
literature, a great (not only numerically) people and its land. Also,
like the waters of the world, it has spread far beyond the boundaries of
its age-old territory to all other continents.
Vladimir Mayakovsky(1893-1930), Soviet Russian poet
I love Ukrainian very much; I think that among the Slavic languages, it
sounds like Italian among its sisters.
Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963), Turkish poet
Language and history are indivisible; they make up one circulatory
system, so we have to restore both of them at a time. We have to revive
in present-day Ukrainians their genetic memory and sense of pride; we
have to touch every listless heart with the fragrant magic wort of our
May this lofty, long-cherished goal inspire us!
So we say: May our language be, may it live and thrive!
modern Ukrainian writer
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