Ukrainians had to fight hard for the preservation of their language. Since the 17th century, the Russian Empire systematically banned the Ukrainian language in all aspects of life, including everyday conversations. During the Soviet occupation, the authorities tried to suppress the Ukrainian language, trying to leave no trace of it.
However, the Ukrainian language endured oppression and experienced a revival. We have compiled 7 exciting facts about the Ukrainian language confirming its uniqueness and beauty.
1 Astonishing variability
Known for its melodic nature, Ukrainian is pleasing to the ear and boasts a rich vocabulary of synonyms. That’s probably why texts by Ukrainian writers are more enjoyable and easier to read. Most Ukrainian words have several synonyms, which helps make oral and written communications more poetic.
The “Short Dictionary of Synonyms in the Ukrainian Language” contains over 4,000 synonym groups. For instance, the word “бити” (to beat) alone has 45 equivalents. This diversity, of course, makes learning Ukrainian a little more challenging but no less exciting.
2 Delicate language
Endearments and diminutives are not unique; they are considered a universal category inherent in almost all languages. But they have a special place in Ukrainian, making the language extraordinarily tender and delicate. Finding another language with as many endearing words as Ukrainian is hard. Even in their national anthem, Ukrainians affectionately referred to their enemies as “воріженьки” (little enemies).
3 Exceptionally rich vocabulary
The sheer number of words in Ukrainian is often overlooked. Most Ukrainian speakers possess a vocabulary sufficient to express their thoughts to others. But there are always methods to increase your lexical units! In contrast to Russian, which only contains 150,000 linguistic units, modern Ukrainian boasts an astounding 256,000 words. As previously mentioned, there are many synonyms among those 256,000 words.
4 Lazy letter “Ф”
Another interesting fact: most words in the Ukrainian language start with the letter “п” (p), while the fewest lexical units begin with the letter “ф” (f). Interestingly, most words that start with “ф” are borrowed from other languages.
5 Ukrainian people are everywhere
You can hear the Ukrainian language in Ukraine and in many distant corners of the world, thanks to its over 40 million native speakers! Perhaps that’s why the enemies couldn’t destroy the Ukrainian language – it’s impossible to defeat such a large number of people who carry it in their minds and hearts.
6 Mirror words
Here’s another fascinating linguistic phenomenon. Palindromes, or mirror words, are linguistic units and phrases you can read the same way from left to right and vice versa without changing their meaning. Two of the most famous palindromes are “ротатор” (rotator) and “тартрат” (tartrate).
7 The longest word
Sometimes, words may appear daunting at first glance due to their length and complex pronunciation. However, even such combinations of letters (mostly borrowed) pale compared to a true linguistic giant: a word composed of 30 letters! The chemical name “дихлордифенілтрихлорметилметан” (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) can replace any tongue twister and give your tongue a good workout!
The Ukrainian language faced suppression and attempts to eradicate it throughout history, but it endured and experienced a revival. Ukrainian stands out for its variability, with most words having multiple synonyms. The language also possesses tender and endearing forms. Ukrainian is among the richest languages, with a vast vocabulary of 256,000 words. Additionally, Ukrainian can be heard worldwide, with over 40 million native speakers. And over 1.3 million people have started learning Ukrainian after Russia invaded Ukraine.