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An Introduction to Ukrainian Dialectology


Salvatore Del Gaudio

The book intends to render available to a wide range of students of Slavic languages, and particularly of Ukrainian, an outline of Ukrainian dialectology. The author presents the fascinating world of geographical variation of contemporary Ukrainian to all students of Slavic languages. A basic knowledge of Ukrainian dialects is likewise important to complete the theoretical and practical background of a Slavist, especially if focusing on Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian. It is also a valuable aid to a better understanding of diachronic and synchronic language processes, e.g. the Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech «suržyk».

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3. Topical issues in Ukrainian dialectology

In this chapter we intend to briefly introduce some topical issues often neglected in most traditional and contemporary works on Ukrainian dialects. Manuals on Ukrainian dialects tend to illustrate the Ukrainian dialectal territory as if it were a static unit, unchanged since the middle of the 20th century. They do not always reproduce the real situation of contemporary diatopic and diastratic variation, and recent language policy trends.

In the present work, for practical and illustrative reasons, we also adopted a stereotyped approach in presenting the basic characteristics of Ukrainian dialects. Our decision, however, relied on the assumption that the primary aim of this introduction was to supply a non-Ukrainian reader and/or student of Slavic languages with basic knowledge of Ukrainian dialects.

In the following sections we intend to briefly introduce three topical issues:

     1) The relationship between regional varieties of standard Ukrainian, dialects and forms of language mix (mixed speech), generally known as “suržyk”.

     2) The question of whether Rusyn can be treated as part of west Ukrainian (Transcarpathian) dialects or as a separate ‘language’.

     3) The connection between dialectology and sociolinguistics in Ukrainian studies. ← 101 | 102 →

3.1. Regional varieties, dialects and forms of mixed speech “Suržyk”

The strict interrelation between regional varieties of standard Ukrainian, dialects and forms of mixed speech, e.g. Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech “suržyk” but also other language combinations, is...

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