According to many linguists, the Ukrainian language appeared much earlier than official science says. They think that it is the oldest of living Slavic languages.
The Ukrainian language is a part of the Indo-European language family. It is the only state language in Ukraine. Moreover, the Ukrainian language is also spoken in foreign countries where there is quite a big Ukrainian diaspora like the USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and Russia.
At different times there have been many hypotheses about the origin of the Ukrainian language offered by linguists, however nowadays only two are accepted:
- The Ukrainian language originated from pre-Slavic language.
Linguists state that Ukrainian is closely connected with old Slavonic, which was the common language of the modern Slaves’ ancestors, just like Sanskrit is the closest language to the one spoken by first Indo-Europeans. By the way, a lot of Ukrainian words are similar to Sanskrit ones, for example: “povitria” (air), “kokhaty” (love), “kin” (horse), “derevo” (tree), “vohon” (fire).
A famous Ukrainian scientist V. Kobyliukh proves in his works that the Ukrainian language was formed in Х-IV centuries B.C. Therefore, the most important Ukrainian words originated from Sanskrit, not from Russian, German, Turkish, Greek or other languages, which appeared much later.
- The Ukrainian language came from a common Russian ancient language, which was the “mother” of other “Russian” languages, i.e. North-Russian, South Russian and Byelorussian.
However, many linguists find the second version imperfect, since the Ukrainian language is quite different from other Russian languages as it has different phonetic and lexical features. Considering the lexis, the closest languages to Ukrainian are Byelorussian (84%), Polish (70%) and Serbian (68%). Russian takes only the fourth place (62%). Speaking of phonetics and grammar, the Ukrainian language has 22-29 common features with Byelorussian, Czech, Slovak and Polish; and only 11 with Russian.
Still, I offer to let the scientists, historians and linguists argue about the origin of the Ukrainian language while we will look at some interesting facts about it.
- The first Ukrainian words “med” (honey) and “strava” (dish) were written in 448 b.c. by a Byzantine scientist Prisk Panikiyskyi, who was in one of Hun ruler Atilla’s camp, situated on the territory of modern Ukraine.
- Ukrainian alphabet is one of the variations of Cyrillic alphabet and consists of 33 letters.
- The Ukrainian language is one of the most widely-spread languages and takes (according to different data) 26th or 32d place in the world, based on the number of speakers.
- The Ukrainian language is rich in synonyms. For example, word “horyzont” (horizon) has 12 synonyms. However, the winner here is the word “byty” (hit), which has 45 synonyms according to “Brief Ukrainian Language Dictionary of Synonyms”
- The Ukrainian language is rich in diminutive forms of words. It is interesting that even the word “vorogy” (enemies), has a diminutive-hypocoristic form – “vorozhenky”.
- About fifty various orthographic systems have been in use in the Ukrainian language since ХVІІІ. Due to the number of writing systems, it has surpassed even the Mongol language, which has experienced a lot of changes in spelling.
- Letter “п” (p) is the most widely used letter in Ukrainian alphabet, since most words start with it. At the same time letter “ф” (f) is the least used letter and the words, which start with this letter are mostly borrowed from other languages.
- A noun in Ukrainian has seven cases, which makes it different from other East-Slavonic languages.
In conclusion, I would like to remind you, my dear reader, that every language is not just the means of communication. It is also the cultural face of the country. That is why, it is quite logical that, if people don’t care about their native language, they will not have their independent, developed and stable country. Speaking of us, Ukrainians, I can say that we have not always been so caring, and only not long ago came back to our native language, which is, probably why we are in not a very good situation now. Nevertheless, Ukrainian language is gradually reviving, which brings us hope for the brighter future.