Please go to my new website Forgotten Galicia to read this post. Click here.
The vocabulary (which I wrote about here and more recently here) and accent of the diaspora community in North
America (specifically the community that descended from the third wave of
immigration (1940s-50s), many of which came from Galicia) differs somewhat from
the vocabulary and accent heard today in western Ukraine. In the diaspora this vocabulary
and accent remained rather stagnant while in Ukraine due to various factors
(such as Russification and just due to the natural evolution of languages), the
language, both its vocabulary and the sound, has changed. Thus the language
spoken in Galicia before WWII has been better preserved in the diaspora than it
has in Ukraine (in western Ukraine it can be heard only a little in rural
areas/from the oldest generation.)
The Ukrainian Historical and Educational Center of New
Jersey has on its website historical audio recordings where the early 20th
There are several differences in the Ukrainian alphabets used in the diaspora and in Ukraine, in particular, what we call the alphabet, the way we pronounce the letters, the melody we use when singing the alphabet (or the lack there of a song), as well as the difference I only recently discovered - the placement of the soft sign. In Ukraine the soft sign "ь" doesn't come at the end of the alphabet as I learned, but third to last. It was quite a big shock for me to discover. However, this was a relatively recent change. In 1990, the soft sign was moved from the end of the alphabet to the place after the letter "щ" as it is in the Russian alphabet. I'm surprised it wasn't moved back a year later when Ukraine gained its independence.
First of all, we usually say "азбука" or "абетка" while in Ukraine it is more common to say "aлфавіт" or "абетка" (for children).
When we (at least my Chicago diaspora community) sing/sa…
Please go to my new website Forgotten Galicia to read this post (an updated version). Click here.
Over the last several years my interest in languages and
dialects has grown. I have become very fascinated by the way the Ukrainian
language has developed in the diaspora vs. Ukraine. The Ukrainian language
spoken in the diaspora is the language that was spoken in western Ukraine before
WWII. The majority of Ukrainian immigrants who went to the West during and
right after WWII were from Galicia
and Western Ukraine. Galicia had had
a long history of Polish rule and influence, thus the language spoken there had
a lot of Polonisms. This language didn’t evolve much in the diaspora, so
Ukrainians still speak this language. (Though there has been some English
influence on the language.) Furthermore, it retained several archaic words relating
to technology (for example, in the diaspora we still usually say загасити світло (extinguish the light), which harks back to a time when
fire was used for …