LangJam – Ukrainian

Ukraine (Resized)Добрий день! Як у вас справи? Мене звати Спрокскатан, дуже приємно познайомитись! Я англієць. Я живу у Ньюкасл-апон-Тайн, місто на північному-сході Англії. Я працюю як перекладач. Я розмовляю англійською, датською, норвезькою і шведською, а трошки українською. Радий вас бачити! Мені подобається вивчати мови, а я думаю, що українська мова дуже гарна.

united-kingdomSo, this year has been a pretty weird one so far. I know, right? Super hot take. Under normal circumstances, if you were to come to me and say, ‘hey, why don’t you just take some time off from socialising and just be on your own for a while?’ I would have taken you up on it so fast your head would spin. But it seems that, as with most things in life, the reality doesn’t quite match up with the fantasy. Which is why I was so excited when Sandra (a.k.a. @tulipun on Twitter) announced that she would be hosting another Language Jam, and it just so happened to be taking place the weekend after full lockdown was announced! Such luck. I’d been plodding along with both Korean and Welsh for a little while, but you guys know me; a bit of sanctioned (or even unsanctioned, let’s be honest) dabbling is what I live for.

When I was signing up, I decided to be a bit adventurous and tick the box for languages not written using the Latin alphabet – and boy, I was not disappointed. My first selection was Urdu, which I had absolutely no prior knowledge of. I thought it would be just what I needed. 772393F4-AAEC-43E9-B679-529635C5EE89But after much back and forth, I decided to go with my alternate – Ukrainian. Now, I’ve wanted to learn a Slavic language for years. I’ve dabbled with Bulgarian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Croatian and Slovene, and I even went to four months of Russian evening classes a few years ago – though all I can remember now is how to ask where the taxi rank is (which is ‘извините, пожалуйста, вы не знаете, где стоянка такси?’ if you’re interested). I’ve even had a go at Ukrainian itself before, during my Chernobyl period, so I already had some textbooks laying around gathering dust. It was nice to have a legitimate excuse to actually start, and it proved to be just the kick up the backside I needed.

IMG_0310I’d be lying if I said I spent the whole weekend studying. A lot of Netflix was also watched, and I read about 150 pages of the book I’ve been putting off. But I managed to take just under seven pages of notes, with vocabulary words and grammatical structures. Using just the book, I can now use Ukrainian with confidence as far as stating whether something is or is not a tomato, and can also ask the relevant question should the issue remain unclear to me. And thanks to someone on Twitter (whose username I now forget, I’m sorry!) I stumbled across a podcast (The UkrainianLessons Podcast, to be precise) with some basic Ukrainian phrases – most of which form the basis for the paragraph at the beginning of this post. So I want to say a big thank you to Anna Ohoiko (Анна Огойко), you’ve helped me so much over this weekend while having absolutely no idea who I am. Дуже дякую!

I guess the question that always lingers at the end of every LangJam is… will I be continuing with this language? Or was it just a weekend romance, never to be thought of again? Honestly, I’m not sure. I would very much like to continue with Ukrainian, maybe I’ll have my own private LangJam in a couple of weeks. But for now I’m going back to Korean, because I managed to express more in Ukrainian after a weekend than I’ve been able to do in months of Korean study. So I guess it’s time to really buckle down and do something.

How did you get on with the LangJam, if you took part, and do you think you’ll continue with your language assignment? If you didn’t, was there a specific reason why you didn’t? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, I want to thank you all for reading, and I’ll see you all next month – unless I get cabin fever and decide to write twice in the same month (shock, horror!)

– J.


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