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Thread: Ukraine, Russian langauge in Ukraine and other questions

  1. #1

    Ukraine, Russian langauge in Ukraine and other questions

    There hasn't been anything about Ukraine on the forum since the thread about the elections. I am interested in Ukraine but I don't know very much about it.

    As a starting question: What is the position of the Russian language in Ukraine?
    There is plenty of conflicting information on the internet.
    Is it a controversial topic? Is it true that all street signs have been switched over to Ukrainian from Russian?

    People have probably seen the latest "Europe according to xxx" maps flying around the internet at the moment.. Note the obscure position of Ukraine (according to France and Germany). Europeans know hardly anything about Ukraine!
    Is it because Ukraine is in the "shadow" of Russia, somehow? Or is Ukraine deliberately keeping a low profile.

    Edit: Oh these maps are silly but funny. I am putting in some more. Note the confusion regarding Ukraine.

    Europe according to France (note Ukraine.. typical view...)

    Europe according to Poland
    "Colonies, huh?????"

    According to the UK

    There is more confusion and strange views on Ukraine on other maps like this but I don't want to paste any more now.

    But it's time for myself and other Europeans to educate ourselves a bit more about Ukraine. I don't even know where to start.

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    As a starting question: What is the position of Russian in Ukraine?
    Is it a controversial topic? Is it true that all signs have been switched over to Ukrainian from Russia
    Here is a good descriptive article about languages in Ukraine and latest political... err... performance around the situation. The article is big so you can train your Russian... Or just use automatic translation.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  3. #3
    Почтенный гражданин
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    It's been about four years since I've been to Ukraine, but here's my understanding of the situation.

    1. Yes, it's complicated and controversial.
    2. Nearly 100% of Ukrainians know Russian, at least to some extent.
    3. Some large portion of Ukrainians speak little to no Ukrainian.
    4. People in Eastern and Southern Ukraine tend to be Russian speakers.
    5. People North and West of Kiev tend to speak Ukrainian.
    6. There is some sentiment that Ukrainian should be promoted as the national language and it is the "official" language for many formal and governmental purposes.
    7. There is, among others, feeling that Russian is more advantageous/historical, etc.
    8. There is a general sort of East/West split in Ukraine involving a lot of mutual distrust. Language is one component of that split.
    9. It's a little bit like if somehow the US decided that Spanish was now the national language. Most people in the US know a little Spanish and could learn it if they needed to but it would seem odd to reject the language of the majority of the citizens. (Obviously in many other ways it is dissimilar, for instance Russian and Ukrainian are far more similar as languages than English and Spanish)

  4. #4
    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    I absolutely agree with paulb's post. For about 50% Ukrainians Russian is a native language. And for the large part of another half who count Ukrainian as a native tongue (my wife is one of them), this Ukrainian isn't the same language. Ukrainian spoken in Lvov region and in Chernigov region are very different and both differ from Ukrainian wich is spoken on Ukrainian TV and radio. The first one use many Polish words and the second one use many Russian words instead of 'standart' Ukrainian.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna
    Europe according to Poland
    "Colonies, huh?????"
    In XVI-XVII centuries some parts of modern Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia belonged to Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth (so-called Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów (in Polish) or Republic of Both Nations). Many Poles still think that Russia 'illegaly occupied' these lands.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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