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 centuries.
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 gov-ernment. Ukraine's Constitution of 1937guaranteed 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.
1. 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 spoken word!
May this lofty, long-cherished goal inspire us!
So we say: May our language be, may it live and thrive!
modern Ukrainian writer