Posts in Language
Ukraïner shares stories of historical and modern Ukraine

The Google rabbit hole is one of my favourite places.

A few months back, I was looking for information about the lizhnyk, a traditional wool blanket from the Hutsulshchyna region of Ukraine. In January 2018, I was in Yavoriv, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast and visited the home of a craftswoman who makes these blankets, and though I took some notes, I still wanted more info (and also was probably procrastinating doing something).

So I searched around online a bit, and I came across an article with video and photos on a website called Ukraïner. After learning more about the lizhnyk, I dove deeper into Ukrainer’s site—I was hooked. And you will be too.

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English mistranslations on Ukrainian clothes

Learning a second language is tough.

I've lived in Ukraine for seven months, taking language lessons two to three times per week. And my skills are nowhere near where I want them to be. I usually just resort to the friendly smile and nod, smile and nod.

I've met countless people in Ukraine who speak multiple languages Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, German, and English are a few common ones. And each time I hear the number of languages they speak, I am amazed.

When we (attempt to) speak Ukrainian or when the Ukrainians speak English, sometimes there are funny mistranslations. In Kyiv, a friend once said she had a "raining" nose instead of a "runny" nose. And there have been many times we've mispronounced Ukrainian words, saying foul words instead of what we meant.

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Living in Ukraine and not knowing the language

I walk the walk but I don't talk the talk.

While walking the streets, ordering in restaurants, and buying groceries people have mistaken me and the other Canadians/Americans as locals. We just smile and shake our heads or offer a "Я не знаю" (I don't know) or "Я не розумію" (I don't understand).

I do my best to keep up at dance, and at times (very few times, that is) I even blend in with the other 40 dancers, if I do say so myself.

But the language, I'm not quite there yet.

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