Thank You, Ukraine!

I am back in Vancouver after a month in Europe, mostly in Ukraine. I still have vivid images of that country, and particularly of Lviv where I spent the better part of three weeks. I see the city in my mind, the cafés, the public squares, the cobblestone streets, the friendly people filling the streets, the musicians and the many churches.  

I had announced earlier here on my blog that June was to be my Slavic month. My initial intention was to focus on a number of Slavic languages. I did work on Slovak prior to visiting Bratislava. However, mostly I just focused on Ukrainian.


I think I improved in Ukrainian and probably in all of my Slavic languages. I know I enjoyed myself. When you have learned as many languages as I have, the motivation for learning languages is simply the opportunity to learn and to enjoy oneself.


Activating Languages

I mentioned in a previous blog post that after 10 days of intensive study of Slovak, I was tongue-tied when I tried to speak Ukrainian in Bratislava. Now I’m sure I would have trouble speaking any Slovak. Someone commented that this meant that I had not learned either language.


In the view of this person,  if you say you have learned language,  you should be able to produce it at a high standard whenever you need it. That is not the case with me. I learn languages and develop significant potential in these languages based on a large passive vocabulary and high level of comprehension. These languages may need a short while to activate.


The time required for activation may be almost nothing for my strongest half dozen or so languages. The time required for activation could be hours or even a day or so for my weaker languages. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Languages are for communication, understanding and enjoyment.


Ukraine: A Magical Place

Enjoyment is the best word to describe my experience in Ukraine. In addition to spending almost three weeks in Lviv, I also had the opportunity to visit the Carpathian mountains and the Southern city Chernivtsi.

The whole period of my stay was a magic time. I have to thank Ukraine and the many friendly Ukrainians who made my stay so enjoyable. I have posted a few short videos on my YouTube channel about my stay in Ukraine, and I will post a few more there to give an idea of what a wonderful place it is. Thank you, Ukraine!


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2 comments on “Thank You, Ukraine!

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Hi Steve
I love reading your blog and watching your youtube videos. I appreciate the fact you want people to build a solid foundation by reading and listening. I’ve been studying Portuguese for a year…I read and listen everyday. I speak when I get the opportunity. I recently found a Brazilian Portuguese speaking church in my city. I was beyond delighted when I discovered the entire service was done in Portuguese! I have been able to speak to a few people that don’t speak any english, but I’m running into problems with those people that have been here 15-20 years and assume I need to be spoken to in English all the time. Its very frustrating. How do I politely request they stop speaking english without offending them? What is your strategy when you get “englished”? Its a language power struggle! Thanks very much!



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