Studying Ukrainian

Discussion in 'Specific Languages' started by Henry, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. Henry

    Henry New Member

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    Has anyone here studied Ukrainian as an initial Slavic language (i.e., not after already mastering Russian, Polish or other Slavic language)? If so, can you describe your experience - how/where/what you studied and whether it was a significant challenge given the relative scarcity of study materials relative to Russian and Polish?
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  2. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    I haven't, but just wanted to say that LingQ supports Ukrainian, due to it being a language that Steve Kaufmann is studying.
  3. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    There is more stuff out there for this language than I supposed... stuff on Amazon
    I'm right there with you with material scarcity. There's always a jump from any language course to native materials, and the jump is now huge. The only advice I can give is to read whatever you can get your hands on, and if you lack audio materials /w transcripts, get a free audio bible from Faith By Hearing. If you have an iProduct this is the app you want: Bible.is
  4. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    I forgot to mention, there are many Ukrainian teachers on italki, some very reasonably priced, most are prepared to teach you from scratch, which means they have beginners material.
  5. Henry

    Henry New Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I've done language exchange with some Ukrainian speakers from italki and elsewhere but also like to have have workbooks and other self-study materials. My brain tends to retain things better when I see them rather than hear them.
  6. Cainntear

    Cainntear Active Member VIP member

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    Nothing special about your brain in that respect - the visual cortex is one of the very biggest parts of the brain, so we can process a lot more information visually than through any other means.

    However, There's a risk that this becomes a superficial form of retention - memorisation, rather than internalisation. As long as you keep doing a mixture, you'll be fine.
  7. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    I'm surprised Solfrid Christina has not come along and made a comment. Besides her Russian learning, part of which was done in the Ukraine, I think I remember her also mentioning dabbling in Ukrainian. I wonder how much grammar instruction material is available in Ukrainian vs. Russian. Despite whatever difference there may be between the two, perhaps the best way to learn Ukrainian is also to learn Russian grammar alongside since presumably there is a huge overlap, and thus end up with Ukrainian and a solid grammatical base for Russian.

    Frederick Bodmer's The Loom of Language (excellent book!) encouraged the learning of Romance and Germanic languages in parallel by comparing/contrasting the grammar and learning a base of vocabulary in multiple langs at a time, for which he provided thematic lists (i.e. French/Spanish/Italian/etc. and German/Dutch/Skandi/etc.). I wonder if anyone has ever written a comparable work for studying multiple slavic languages in parallel.
  8. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

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    I had that book from the reference on HTLAL but I never could make heads or tails of that thing and what I was supposed to do exactly. Perhaps you could make a thread about that? It might also be very uselful for Philipino dialects.
  9. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey Henry, did you ask this question on the LingQ forum? You might put it in Steve's thread. He normally just recommends reading and listening materials, but I bet he'd throw in a thing or two that could be useful. If I take another trip over there I might learn some myself, so I'm also curious about what you find out.
  10. Henry

    Henry New Member

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    I've never tried LingQ. I'll check it out. I'm planning to return to Lviv early in the new year.
  11. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Is Lviv a good place to study Russian? I'm asking because I want to find a place for next year sometime.
  12. Henry

    Henry New Member

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    I think you'd be better off further East (Kharkiv?) if you want to study Russian in Ukraine. I'm sure it is possible to study Russian there but there is fortunately no huge Russian minority. The population is Ukrainian and historically it was Polish/Austrian so Russian influence is minimal. And Lviv is politically conservative and anti-Russian so I think you'd be much more well received there speaking Ukrainian.
  13. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    Good to know. It's a place I've always wanted to visit, but I'll put it on the back burner for now.
  14. Oleksandr Mostovyy

    Oleksandr Mostovyy New Member

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    Yes, I did. That's my native language, i.e. I went to Ukrainian school and so on... but in the ex-USSR time we had to learn Russian as well; so I could say I've got two mother tongues :)
    The present situation in Ukraine is different, for example, my boys are learning Ukrainian only, while Russian classics is called 'foreign/world literature' along with other countries titles. At the same time the teaching standards are getting lower and that became a reason why I decided to initiate my own language project (sorry, for now it's only Ukrainian for the Ukrainians, but the things are going to change in the future); I had to make my boys learning and we've chosen an old Ukrainian Grammar book (1946) written specifically for those in need to obtain some vital knowledge in Ukrainian. It's concise, brief and brilliant! Now my boys are getting ready the exercises for the future trainer app, which should be a great addition to the said manual.
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  15. pensulo

    pensulo Member VIP member

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    Just wanted to add that Glossika offer Ukrainian if that's your sort of thing.
  16. David Webb

    David Webb New Member

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    I've been dabbling in Ukrainian and spent 13 weeks in the Ukraine over the past year. I have to warn people using Colloquial Ukrainian that that book's recommended pronunciation of Ukrainian is hard to find on the ground in the country. That book says that сказав should be pronounced сказау, and so on for all similar words (правда, Київ, Дніпропетровськ etc, where the v should be vocalized). There is one person on Forvo (Takuboku) who has this sort of pronunciation (check out his гривня at http://forvo.com/word/гривня_(hryvnia)/#uk and all his other pronunciations at http://forvo.com/user/Takuboku/), but it is clear that all other native speakers on Forvo prefer to pronounce full v's everywhere - and I was told (incorrectly) in the Ukraine that the vocalized pronunciation doesn't exist.

    Another thing is that the audio CDs for Colloquial Ukrainian do not match what the authors of the book itself are saying: it's so hard to find speakers who pronounce the way that book prescribes that they have found speakers who pronounce who say поВно instead of поУно (ie, they follow the spelling). Most speakers of Ukrainian are under heavy Russian influence, and don't appear to realize it. The vocalization of the v pronunciation is standard, as explained in a textbook of the standard pronunciation read out on audio at (see minutes 71-77, ie 1:11-1:17). Other problems are bilingual speakers who pronounce Щ exactly like in Russian - as a long soft sh - whereas in Ukrainian this letter is hard and is pronounced shch. Що and ще are mispronounced by millions of Ukrainians. The Ukrainian и is not exactly the same as the Russian ы, but once again bilingual speakers will normally treat them as exactly the same, and insist this is correct.

    One resource for the full standard pronunciation is the Bible read out, eg, in the audiobook at - that's St. John's Gospel, and the text is at http://www.cerkva.kiev.ua/biblioteka/novyi-zavit/394.html . You can clearly hear vocalization of the v's (after a vowel, of course) in that Youtube audiobook but in 13 weeks in the Ukraine, I have never met anyone with that pronunciation, although I have met many who have told me that pronunciation doesn't exist, and "it must be nonsense written by an English professor of Ukrainian who doesn't know his stuff".

    Only in the region around Lviv are people really strong speakers of Ukrainian. The large cities are nearly all solidly Russian speaking. The countryside is nearly all surzhyk (=Russian and Ukrainian mixed in in the same sentence).
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