May 2021
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Ukrainian for beginners

The draft law “On languages in Ukraine” has been registered in the Ukrainian Parliament

 This draft law was developed by Deputies Efremov A. S. (Party of Regions of Ukraine), Symonenko P.M. (the Communist Party of Ukraine) and Grinevetskuj S.R. (The Lytvyn Bloc). Even if this law keeps the legal status of the Ukrainian language as unitary official language, it contains some positions which level its official language status. Critics of the draft law from the national patriotic side considered that its most threat consists in establishing of Ukrainian-Russian bilingualness. However we consider its most danger in creating linguistic chaos which can be compared with biblical Babylon, where different peoples couldn’t understand each other. As a result Babylon reign has become a ruin.
The 8th article of this draft law determinates the conditions for recognition some language as regional one and gives the list of 15 languages which may obtain this status. They are Russian, Byelorussian, Bulgarian, Armenian, the Gagauz language, Yiddish, the Crimean Tatar language, Moldavian, German, Romaic, Polish, Romanian, Slovak and Hungarian. To each of these languages the measures can be taken directed to acknowledge them as regional languages or minority languages, if the number of native-speakers of these languages, who live on the territory where this language is widespread, amounts 10 and more percents of population.
However the 12th article carries the situation with using of regional language in official office work to the point of absurdity. From other side, it limits the human right to work in the organs of power for Ukrainians. According to the first point of the first article “within the borders of the territory, where the regional language is widely spoken (third part of 8th article of the law) in the work, office work and office documentation of local state and self-government authorities regional language is used equally with the official language. These authorities are allowed to apply this regional language in correspondence with authorities of higher level”. Lets imagine the situation when Chernivtsi regional state administration will correspond in Romanian with Presidential Administration of Ukraine and with the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine, Zakarpatska – in Hungarian, half of other regions – in Russian, Odessa Regional State Administration – in Moldavian, the Gagauz language and Bulgarian. Nevertheless according to aforesaid they’ll be rightful. Did the authors of this draft law absolutely lose feeling of reality offering the law which leads to the complete absurdity in relations between different levels of power in Ukraine.
12,5 % of population in Chernivtsi region identify themselves as Romanians. The approving of this law will create pre-conditions for recognition the Romanian language as the regional one all over the region. According to the 2 point of 12 article, the state will guarantee to the visitors of state power and self-government authorities grant of services not only in Ukrainian, but also in regional language.
The necessity of providing such guarantee will be taken in account while hiring officials. The acceptance of this bill means that without knowing Romanian none of the officials will be not able to get the position not only in regional state administration but also in rayon state administration, and well as in Executive Committees of Vyzhnytsia, Zastavna, Kelmentsi, Kitsman, Pytula, Sokyriany and Khotyn regions and Chernivtsi city, where almost nobody knows Romanian.
Moreover, all residents of the region will be forced to elect only Romanian-speaking citizens as local deputies because according to the new law the regional council will be constrained to resolve decisions in two languages. That is why in the regional government authorities will be no place for Ukrainians and for the Ukrainian language. And again, the slogan “Speak only Romanian” will become actual as it was during the Romanian occupation. And for its negative implementation one can get “beeches” as dispensing from the work.
In conclusion we want to mention that the real introduction of multilingualness in education, culture and state administration spheres needs huge budgetary assignations. In particular, studying in schools with profile language of the national minority are in one and half more expensive that in schools with the official language studying. We can give an example of Canada experience. Sticking to English-French billingualness causes additional budgetary charges in size of 10% of national budget. We don’t know whether the initiators of new law acceptance had counted the economic effect of official introduction of 15 languages in Ukraine. We’re sure, that the valuable introduction of these norms will entail not only total paralysis of state and municipal administrations but will lead to immediate default of the Ukrainian state.
The authors of the new law “On languages in Ukraine” demand this, don’t they?
Taras Khalavka, Volodymyr Staryk, the public society “Ukrainian National House in Chernivtsi”.

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