Saturday, August 24, 2013

Independence Day: The Languages Of Ukraine

Although the declaration of sovereignty took place on 16 July 1990 with the first actual celebration on the same date in 1991, today's date now celebrates Ukraine's independence from the USSR in 1991. In honour of this day we've decided to celebrate by taking a look at the languages of Ukraine.

The Crimean Peninsula
Major Slavic Languages

Ukrainian is the official language of course, with around 65% of the population speaking it. Russian, however, is spoken as the native language of nearly a third of Ukrainians. Though it holds no official status, many more people speak it as a second language, since it is often used for communication across large portions of the country.

Aside from these two main languages that make up the significant majority of the population, there are several other languages with a significant number of speakers such as Polish, which has over 1,000,000 speakers.

Germanic and Romance Languages

Ukraine is home to the largest number of Eastern Yiddish speakers in the world, over 600,000 in total. As a result, the language held official status in Ukraine for a period of three years between 1918 and 1921.

Romanian boats over 600,000 speakers as well and is another of the languages spoken in Ukraine with more than half a million native speakers.

Beautiful wheat fields in Ukraine.
More Slavic Languages

Rusyn, a language that is considered by some to be a dialect of Ukrainian, also has over half a million speakers, though that really depends on whether it's a language or a dialect. It is also spoken in parts of Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania. 

Ukraine also has over 400,000 speakers of Belarusian, which unsurprisingly is also a language of Belarus.

The Turkic Language

Perhaps the most interesting language spoken in Ukraine is Crimean Tatar, which has just over a quarter of a million speakers. Crimean Tatar is considered a native language of Ukraine and is quite sporadically spread across the globe. It is a Turkic language that currently enjoys official language status in a regional capacity in both Ukraine and Romania.

Do you plan to celebrate Ukraine's Independence Day or know any festive terms in these languages? Let us know in the comments below.