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».
The idea of writing an introduction to Ukrainian dialectology in a widely understood European language originated in 2006 when I first began to conduct field work in Ukraine. Although at the time I was not directly working with dialects but on the related social phenomenon of Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech (“suržyk”), I realized that most reference manuals on dialectology were quite obsolete, although still informative.
Secondly, without a sound knowledge of Ukrainian, it was difficult to read existing manuals and to become familiar with Ukrainian dialectal concepts and terminology.
For several years, various reasons forced me to postpone my original plan to supply the students of Ukrainian with the first basic English account on Ukrainian dialectology. In the meantime, a series of new introductions to Ukrainian dialectology have finally been published in Ukraine. Nonetheless I hope that my introduction will still be a useful aid to foreign Ukrainianists.
I wish to thank Dawn Marley (University of Surrey, England) for having patiently proof-read my text, Rudolf Muhr (University of Graz, Austria) who was the very first person who read the manuscript, Andriy Danylenko (Pace University, New York) for the precious advice on some specific content issues, Natalija Verbyč (Institute of Ukrainian Language, Department of dialectology, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences) for having checked the dialectal facts. A final word of appreciation goes to Tilmann Reuther (University of Klagenfurt, Austria) for having always supported my publications.
Kyiv, December 2016
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