Tiny voyage to the past


There are 5,000-6,000 languages in the world, and just over 16 are Slavic languages. Over 300 millions people speak Slavic languages. These languages are Polish, Belorussian, Czech, Serbian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Slovak, Slovenian, Russian.

If you belong to this group of Slavic languages or if you learn them, you know that they are very similar to each other. A lot of words sound the same, and you can guess the meaning of sentences.

Nevertheless, for some foreign people who speak the Germanic languages or Romance, they can face to a certain difficulties when learning these languages. In this article, I am going to compare Ukrainian and English languages, their differences in pronunciation and grammar. You will see the peculiarities of both languages. Before that, we are going to start with history, as it is important to know how the language was formed to understand their specificities.

Origins of English

English belongs to the Indo-European family of languages and to the Germanic group. English was formed in four periods and had a long way of development. Its history started in the 6th century. We call it theOld English. During these years, the territory of England was occupied by Jutes, Saxons, Frisians and Angles tribes. The last one gave us the name England, which means the land of the Angles. So in these times, English was based on the old Germanic language, and a lot of words were borrowed from Latin and Celtic.

The next period is called theMiddle English. It is famous by the Norman conquest. The war between english, breton and french soldiers gave England a lot of french and latin borrowings. In the modern English, there are about 25% of french words. The Middle English period lasted until the 14th century.

The next period, called the Early Modern English, was very important for the language. During the 14th-16th centuries, English changed a lot. London became the center of the international commerce. The English language also developed, as it absorbed different dialects of adjacent countries. The most important changing: plural form created with the -s ending, and suffixes are not used to create words. In this period, the book printing was started and the orthographic rules were completed.

The period of the Modern English started in 18th century. At this time, lots of reforms were done. English took new territories, as England conquered colonies: New Zealand, Ireland, Australia and America. Until now, English is the most popular language in the world, it is also the language of the Internet, commerce, technique and international negotiations.

Origins of Ukrainian

The Ukrainian language had more difficult way of development than English. Unlike English, Ukrainian was interdicted during some years. Until the 20th century, it was considered as a Russian dialect. It was also oppressed from the polish side. Ukrainian wasn’t accepted as a independent language. There were times when governors tried to eradicate and to destroy the Ukrainian language.

We don’t have a definite answer how Ukrainian appeared, but the most likely version is that the Ukrainian language is an unification of several slavic tribes – the Polans, the Drevlians and the Siverians. They settled down on the ukrainian territory in 6th century. During the 11th-12th centuries, the first ukrainian inscriptions were found. Then, until the 15th century, linguists found them regularly. The research of the Ukrainian language was complicated, because Ukraine wasn’t an independent country until 1991. Being a part of Russian Empire, Poland, Hungary and Moldova, the existence of the independent ukrainian language was almost impossible. It was considered as the dialect of the russian language, its derivative. From the 15th century, new reforms came to the ukrainian language, and gave us the Old Ukrainian As the result, some church texts were translated into the Old Ukrainian language. Old Ukrainian came also to the science and literature. New books were written. But after 1720, the book publishing in the ukrainian language were banned. That was the period under the reign of Peter I. The ukrainian language fell into decay. Only from the end of the 18th century, thanks to the ukrainian writers, this language became popular. More and more people started to use it in their everyday life. Step by step, Ukrainian entered into all areas of life. In 1989, the Ukrainian language became the official language of Ukraine.



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