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Ukrainian proverbs

This guy tells a Ukrainian proverb on the radio every week.



December 7, 2015


[deactivated user]

    That is really interesting!

    Some of these proverbs feature old or regional grammar and vocabulary:

    • «Бу́ли пе́рли та й си сте́рли» features a detachable reflexive ending «ся» (in its dialectal form «си»); standard variant of «си сте́рли» is «сте́рлися» (although that wouldn't rhyme and wouldn't be a proverb anymore),
    • «Дай нам, Бо́же, все, що тре́ба, а по сме́рти — гоп, до не́ба» features an old form of the Locative case, «сме́рти» (instead of «сме́рті»),
    • «Ключі́ до ґа́ри і шти́ри доля́ри» features a dialectal numeral «шти́ри» (standard form is «чоти́ри»), and non-standard words for 'car' (in Ukraine that would be «маши́на») and 'dollar' («до́лар»).

    Also, sometimes in the stress is placed differently compared to how it's put in Ukraine:

    • вме́рлому (Andriy pronounces вмерло́му),
    • лихи́й (audio has ли́хий),
    • вода́ (audio for «ти́ха во́да береги́ ло́мить» has «во́да»; interstingly, «ця вода́ на мій млин» has вода́).

    In all the cases when the stress is different, Andriy has the stress to the penultimate syllable, so it might be because his dialect was influenced by Polish to a larger extent than standard Ukrainian.


    These proverb segments air on CFCW here in Alberta as a segment on the ZBava show, which is Ukrainian-Canadian. I think Andrey is probably second or third generation Ukrainian. He's not from the Ukraine, for sure. He's from the Kule folklore department at the university of Alberta. Sometimes instead of a proverb, he tells something about Ukrainian culture or something else.

    He says the proverbs so fast in Ukrainian that I never remember. He explains the meaning and then gives an example of how it's used in daily life.

    I found that link where I could download the proverbs.

    Steven Chwok always introduces the proverbs by saying, "Now it's time to hear from our good friend Andrey Nahachowsi". I don't know how to spell his name but I really like how it's pronounced and how he always says "our good friend".

    The Ukrainians in Alberta emigrated here probably 100 years ago. People of 2nd generation that I've known, were fluent in Ukrainian and English, but didn't speak it to their own children, so by the third generation, their children only speak English.

    But in Alberta, there are some Ukrainian-English bilingual schools where the children learn Ukrainian.
    I don't know Ukrainian writing or much Ukrainian. I'm only on the first couple skills in the Ukrainian course.

    I've heard that the Canadian Ukrainian dialect is different from present-day Ukraine. There was a wave of immigration from the Ukraine to Canada about 100 years ago.

    I only remember that my dad used to talk about the early Ukrainian immigrants back in the early 1900's and that he said people in those days used to call them "Galicians."

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