Interesting facts about the Ukrainian language you may want to know

Ukrainian is officially the most melodic Slavic language, so hear it out

syafrani_jambe (CC0), Pixabay

Ukraine – There is a huge dispute over the language spoken in Ukraine. Half of the nation speaks Russian and the other half speaks Ukrainian. This is the result of the communist influence during the times of the USSR and long years of Ukrainian discrimination in the early years. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian language is used and more and more people consider Ukrainian their native language.

Here are some interesting facts about the Ukrainian language which prove the point that it is too early for it to disappear.  

Ukrainian is officially the second most melodic language after Italian.

The Ukrainian language was officially recognised as the second most melodic language in the world after Italian and the third most beautiful based on such criteria as vocabulary, phonetics, phraseology and sentence structure after French and Persian. The competition took place in Paris in 1934.

Ukrainians don’t hear the difference between the sounds G and H.

Many Ukrainian people wouldn’t recognise any difference in somebody being called Harry Potter or Gary Potter. The reason lies in a certain sounds and letters in the Ukrainian languages. There is a very unique sound that sounds somewhere between English G and H. Besides this sound there is a normal sound G like in the word “Glory” and a sound H like in the word “Hero”.

The famous melody Summertime was influenced by the Ukrainian lullaby.

The world famous melody “Summertime” written by George Gershwin was inspired by the Ukrainian lullaby called “Oi Khodyt Son Kolo Vikon” (The Dream Passes by the Windows) performed by the Ukrainian National Chorus. This fact has never been proven but this theory definitely has a right to exist as the parents of George Gershwin originally came from Ukraine, the city of Odessa.  

Ukrainian is the second most spoken Slavic language

The Ukrainian language takes the second place after the Russian language as the most widespread Slavic language. It also takes the 26th most spoken language in the world according to the number of speakers.   

The meaning of a very confusing phrase for foreigners is “Ta ni”

There is no surprise that people from overseas might get confused as the literal translation of this phrase is “Yes no”. In fact, you may also often hear the phrase “Ta ni, ne znaju” where the literal translation is “Yes no I dont know”. This phrase may be used as an objection and means “no”. The closest example in the English language is “well, no”. If the words “I dont know” are added, then the whole meaning of the phrase stands for “I dont know”. For example:

  • Are you going to the sea this summer?
  • Ta ni,  I dont have any vacation left this year.

Ukraine or the Ukraine?

Even though articles dont exist in the Ukrainian language, this small notice might be useful for foreigners who are somehow connected to Ukraine and have to use this word often. It is incorrect to put the definite article before the word Ukraine. This habit comes from the times of the USSR when Ukraine was a republic. Since 1991 when Ukraine became independent the name of the country goes without the. This rule works for every language where articles are used. For example, the majority of people in Germany still say “Die Ukraine” which is also incorrect.

By looking at each language one can see many interesting facts about the entire nation which speaks it. Language is one of the things that differentiates human beings from animals. Every language has a long and interesting history and as you can see, Ukrainian is by no means an exception.

Other articles about Ukraine that you might like:

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