Language situation in Ukraine

I have been following this forum with great interest and would like to contribute some observations on the current language situation in the Ukraine. Maybe, someone would like to share their opinion? What do you think about the importance of languages?

My last visit to Kiev was full of impressions. One day when I was watching television I witnessed the following peculiar episode: A well-known professor of the Kiev medical elite was trying to speak Ukrainian. It was rather unpleasant experience: His Ukrainian was weak and often outright wrong. Ukraine’s captial has changed dramatically over the past three years. When you stroll through the city and want to communicate with someone you’d better talk to young people and you should do so in English. You will be surprised by those young people’s English language skills. Don’t try talking in English to elderly people, they won’t understand you. But the younger generation has a fast growing interest in foreign languages and of course English tops the list.
However, that was not always the case. Since the Ukraine became independent from Russia many Ukrainians have learned how important it is to speak several language fluently. Severe poverty and apathy in parts of the society have triggered a new kind of thinking with some Ukrianians. Especially young people are trying to get a better education (it goes without saying that by far not all are lucky enough to succeed). When it comes to languages English is number one followed by German, then French and Spanish. About half of Ukraines population are bi-lingual, they speak both Russian and Ukrainian as their mother tongues. In western regions some people speak Polish or Hungarian. Each language plays a different role: Ukrainian is the official state language (used on TV and radio, in the press etc.) It’s almost impossible to get a job without a decent command of the Ukrainian language.
On the streets, however, you mainly will hear Russian spoken for various reasons. It is a tradition that people in small towns and villages around Kiev speak Ukrainian whereas in the capital itself Russian is spoken. It has been this way since the Tsar was ruling the country. Because of Ukraine’s close connection to Russia Ukrainians often spoke Russian. Now, that Ukraine is emphasizing its independence some circles want Russian Ukrainians to speak Russian and Ukrainian Ukrainians to speak Ukrainian. But how can you devide nationalities that have been so close? Why is it not possible to have a similar language situation like in Switzerland or Canada where people can freely choose which language they want to speak?

Hello Larissa, very interesting article. How similar are Ukrainian and Russian? Do you understand both?

Hi Larissa! What is your mother tongue? Russian or Ukranian? 8)

Russian and Ukrain.
I would like to have free choice, which language I speaks and did not ask: may I?

Both languages are very similar, but sometimes Muscovites cannot understand Ukrainians without learning the language. I was born in Kiew speak Russian as well as Ukrainian. What about you, pupil and Nicole?

Hi Larissa, I speak German as my mother tongue, English and do understand French.
What about you, pupil, what is your mother tongue?

Hi ! My mother tongue is Russian. I speak Russian. I think it isn’t important which language people do speak Russian or Ukranian. It doesn’t make difficulties at all. Both languages are very similar.

Hi ! I speak Russian and I use English during travelling. 8)

Hi Pupil, do you think that the English spoken by Russian speakers is different from the English spoken by other Europeans?

maybe 8)

Hi Larissa,
Thanks a lot for your explaination about the Russian
language and accents. Please carry on the good work
as I would like to know more about the different Russian
States.

What about Lithuania, Lethuania, Letland,
Belo Russia, White Russia, Georgian etc.?

Can you give me a rough idea of how they each differ?

Also please explain what is Belo Russia or White Russia?

I hope that?s not too hard.
Maybe our other Russian readers would like to help
with an explaination.

Many thanks. Bruce.

Hi Bruce, very good that you are interested in the different countries of former Soviet Union. Most westerners don’t have a clue about them. They think Russia is one big country. In a way it is but then it’s not. There three big Slavic countries: Belarus in the north west, Ukraine in the west/south west and of course Russia. Those three nations are very similar - their languages belong to one family so they understand each other.
In the north west bordering the Baltic Sea there are the three Baltic states - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They now belong to the EU. Their languages are very different from any Slavic language.
I hope that was not too much?

Greetings Kievstar,
Thanks alot for this information.
Tell me more, tell me more, tell me more, it was not too much.

I have recently seen programmes about Peter the Great,
Chekow, Tolstoy & Puschkin on German television and
now I understand a lot more about the Russian way of thinking.
I want to know all about Ghengis Khan, Kaszakstan, Krimmtartar, Siberia,
Ukraine, Georgia, Mongolia etc. and most of all what Russian people think
about the English, Scots, Irish, Welsh, French, German and Americans.
This I will find very interesting.
Best Wishes, Bruce.

hello bruce!

so for you must know quite a lot about everthing looking at what you are interested in …
so, I think it’s up to you to give us some output of your own experiences.

best wishes from naufragis

Hi Bruce! I think you should learn geography better.
Thinker.

Hi Thinker, one of Bruce’s strenghts is that he is learning something new every day. We are here to exchange information, knowledge and experiences rather than to teach. Learning is more effective than teaching, wouldn’t you agree?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Construction workers[YSaerTTEW443543]

Dear Torsten! Everybody is learning SOMETHING new every day!
Do you agree?
Thinker

Greetings thinker,

So you think I should learn some more geography?
Tell me first where you get this impression.
This will be interesting.

Best Wishes, Bruce.

You have many questions about different countries
Thinker

thinker,

You will have to explain with more information.
I haven?t go time to reply to sniper shots.
A dignified question will receive a dignified answer.

Do you play chess?

Bruce.