My time living in Sevastopol has officially come to an end and I’ve moved to the majestic Ukrainian capital, Kiev, to work in IH Sevastopol’s sister school (strangely enough called IH Kiev). I’ve talked before at length about the Ukrainian language, my feelings about it and my attempts at learning it, which can be seen here and here.
Now I’m in Kiev and I have the opportunity to speak it over a long period. In my build up to this moment I’ve been doing the following, in no particular order:
1. Listening to Pimsleur Ukrainian.
2. Listening to Colloquial Ukrainian (and following a couple of the dialogues, with minimal commitment).
3. Creating a database of flashcards with Anki.
4. Reading an impressive grammar book.
5. Meeting locals and different events and asking them to speak to me in Ukrainian.
This last one is more difficult than it sounds, since many people in Kiev speak Russian, not Ukrainian on a daily basis. Although they are completely competent and happy to help a strange foreigner learning their language, it isn’t automatic.
Here’s an attempt at speaking Ukrainian. As you can hear, it’s completely spontaneous and I’m thinking hard about what’s coming out. I’m also guessing words based on my knowledge of Russian (which I tend to do A LOT).