A UKRAINIAN WORD IN ENGLISH IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER

Etymological English dictionaries state that about 30 per cent of this language are of French origin, 26 per cent are the native Germanic stock, 6 per cent of all words came from Greek and 10 per cent – from other languages. The Ukrainian language “supplied” English with some thirty words. More than half of them relate to the Ukrainian cuisine: pyrohy, varenyky, borsht, kasha, kvas, paska, kobasa, pysanka, holubtsi, etc. I go Merriam-Webster Online and type the word holodomor in the search bar. The internet dictionary says that the word isn’t there and suggests three words which are similar in spelling to mine: old-timer, oligomer and Old Norse.

The word holodomor is known to every foreigner who lives in Ukraine. It stands for the 1932-33 artificial famine that killed 7 – 10 million people. The Holodomor was arranged by Moscow and was aimed at breaking the resistance of the Ukrainian peasants to the communist rule. Importantly, peasants made up some 80 per cent of the Ukrainian nation in those days. Not only the crops were requisitioned from the people, but even food was taken from the ovens in their homes. Living on the black soils, which were the richest in the world, the peasants had to eat leaves from trees and kill stray dogs and cats for food. There were many cases of cannibalism. Villages were turned into death camps because police cordons didn’t let the people leave their places.

At the same time, the leading Western intellectuals, like Leon Feuchtwanger or George Bernard Shaw eulogised Stalin. In 1933 the United States established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Russia, thus officially recognising it. The West didn’t see what it didn’t want to see.

The Holodomor was the genocide of the Ukrainian people. If it hadn’t been egotistically overlooked by the leading democracies in those days, the Jewish Holocaust might not have happened some ten years later.

Yesterday, November 24, church bells tolled, candles flickered and national flags, adorned with black ribbons, flew in Kyiv as the Ukrainians marked the anniversary of their national tragedy. But it is worthy of note that the Ukrainian President didn’t commemorate the memory of the dead together with the Ukrainian people. He did it a day earlier in a very narrow company of his like-minded associates – purposefully distancing himself from all those who qualify holodomor as an intentional destruction of the Ukrainian nation. On the one hand, he couldn’t have disregarded the sheer truth of the death of millions, on the other, he tried to belittle the significance of the commemoration because present-day Russia doesn’t recognise it, and he is the Russian puppet.

……………………………………………

I looked through the Russian borrowings in the English language. There are about two hundred of them. Those which I found most conspicuous were katorga, mat, dedovshchina. oprichnik, KGB, vodka, pogrom, gulag…

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2 Responses to “A UKRAINIAN WORD IN ENGLISH IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER”

  1. mpanchuk Says:

    Reblogged this on virtualborscht and commented:
    Thank you Vitaliy for your thoughtfulness!

  2. Alan Says:

    I did find the word In Wikipedia recently while trying to school my western friends on Ukraine and its history

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