Steve on Ukrainian TV

Steve’s over in the Ukraine and was recently interviewed on a popular news network. He speaks in both Russian and Ukrainian.

If you’re studying Russian or Ukrainian, take a listen :slight_smile:


Well done. He’s always a greater speaker, even when I don’t understand the language. :smiley:


Thanks for the link. It was an interesting interview, and I’m impressed by Steve’s ability to freely and spontaneously speak like that. Not flawless, but that just illustrates that you don’t need to be flawless to effectively use the language. It was much, much better than I’d have done in any case.


Not sure how the prohibition of Russian language (mother tongue of more than 50% of the population) would contribute to the “self-defense” of Ukraine. In my view, it will only aggravate the civil conflict within the country.


I absolutely agree with you. Steve’s argument on that issue came across as pretty weak. Defending, valuing and rallying around the Ukrainian language as a “national symbol” is one thing; banning education in the mother tongue of the majority of the population is quite another

Видимо, Стив сейчас много времени уделял изучению новых для него языков, из-за чего русскому доставалось существенно меньше внимания. Но несколько лет назад его русский был гораздо лучше во время наших с ним бесед. Украинский у него тоже был получше пару лет назад.

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I don’t think the new laws ban education in Russian. Ukraine is a majority Russian speaking country. This was not the case 100 years ago. Every Russian speaker I met in Eastern Ukraine, as well as Kyiv with only a few exceptions, favoured, or was at least indifferent to the language laws, and was happy to send their children to Ukrainian language schools.


Hi Sergei. You make the point that my Russian and Ukrainian were better before. This may be true of Russian but I doubt if it is true of Ukrainian.
I did try to get my Russian back up before going to Ukraine, and a major source of listening was the wonderful recordings of the mini-stories which you and, I presume, your daughter made. They are truly outstanding and had me laughing quite a bit. Great drama with a touch of humour.
I’m at the point in my Slavic languages, as is the case with German, that I focus on comprehension and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to output. The niceties of cases or verb aspects etc. are too complex to produce accurately without a lot of attention, which I can no longer focus on them. If I speak more I improve. If I leave it for a while I regress, when it comes to accuracy or grammar. So be it. It works for me. I mostly want to be sure that I understand what is said and can get my meaning across somehow.


I should add that every country where there are language issues is unique. Ukraine is not like Canada, for example, where most people are not bilingual. Everyone in Ukraine, it seems, is effortlessly and unselfconsciously bilingual. The languages are very close grammatically, written in Cyrillic, and the vocabulary is about 65% the same or very similar. In Wales, even people who don’t speak Welsh are proud of having a national language. In Shanghai, people may speak to each other in Shanghainese but are fluent in Mandarin and all schools are taught in the national language. Russian in Ukraine is in a much stronger position than Shanghainese or Welsh because of its international position, and because it is so widely spoken in Ukraine. This will all have to be played out in Ukraine, and only Ukrainians should be involved in the evolution of this situation. France can provide resources for French in Canada, but would not be welcome as a meddler in Canadian affairs. Same is true in Ukraine in so far as outside meddling is concerned. We can have opinions and state them but Ukrainians will decide.


I’m affraid you have been misinformed. Russian is not and has never been prohibited in Ukraine. In fact, the recent law on functioning of Ukrainian as the state language doesn’t mention Russian at all, nor does it conain the word “prohibit”. Contrary to how official Russian media portray it, the purpose of the new law is to ensure that whenever someone wants to get information or service in Ukrainian they can do that. As Steve correctly mentioned, with few exceptions, most of Ukrainians are either in favor or at least indifferent towards legislation aimed to protect Ukrainian language.
The claim that Russian is the native language for more than half of the population is also an exaggeration, I’m affraid. According to sociological studies the actual number is closer to 30 percent.
And last but not least: there is no civil conflict. There is Russian military intervention. The so called “rebels” are commanded, instructected, armed and financed by Russian military, and, when there was threat of defeat, russian troops were directly engaged in combat. Without supply of Russian equipment, without truckloads of cash and ammunition there would be no conflict, “civil” or otherwise.


Hi Steve. I presume, you’ll also like our Belarusian translations of the mini-stories as well as Who Is She, Eating Out, etc.

One day I will give them a try but trying to stay focused on Turkish now, (and Persian and Arabic) and occasionally refreshing other languages…