Mabel Fatokun

Clear The Confusion: Ukraine Vs Russia

The second-biggest nation in Europe, after Russia, is called Ukraine, and it has been heavily involved in current events lately—unfortunately, for the wrong reasons.
I hear a lot of misconceptions and presumptions concerning the Russian and Ukrainian languages. So, are the languages of Russia and Ukraine the same?

It’s commonly assumed that Russian is Ukraine’s official language. This is untrue. While many Ukrainians may know Russian, Ukrainian is their native tongue and their official language. Russian and Ukrainian are two different languages.

Allow me to elucidate the similarities between the languages of Ukraine and Russia, or rather, Russian and Ukrainian.

Russian vs. Ukrainian Language: Is Russian Ukraine’s official language?
No. Ukraine does not have Russian as its official language. Although many people in Ukraine speak Russian, Ukrainian is the official language.

The languages of Russia and Ukraine: Where did they originate?
From 2 BC until the 6th century, both languages were initially dialects of the language known as Proto-Slavic. They later developed into two distinct languages.

Russian and Ukrainian are now considered to be Slavic languages. Three subcategories comprise the more than 20 Slavic languages.
East Slavic, including Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian
West Slavic (like Polish, Czech, or Slovak) and South Slavic (like Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian, or Bulgarian). Thus, the answer to the question, “Does anyone speak Russian in (insert any Eastern European country)?” is no.

Everybody, even those from Ukraine, speaks their own language. Russian is an official language in Belarus alone, along with Belarusian.

Russian and Ukrainian: Are they the same?
Naturally, a natural speaker of any Slavic language can gain some understanding of the other language by focusing only on certain words rather than the entire context. Similar to Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish. On the other hand, because Ukrainian shares more characteristics with West Slavic languages than Russian, speaking Ukrainian will increase your chances of understanding Slovak or Polish. The same holds true for Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian, and Belarusian languages.

Although switching from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet has been discussed as a way to standardise writing in Ukraine with other European nations, this is still just a theoretical proposal.

As you can see, both Russian and Ukrainian are members of the same linguistic family and have some historical similarities.

Nonetheless, Ukraine is a sovereign nation with its own language, Ukrainian, which is more akin to Polish and Slovak than Russian and now written using the Cyrillic script.


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