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Ukrainska

After doing three great German sessions, my Ukrainian couch surfer and me did an Ukrainian session. We used a čorna ručka and a červona ručka, and made it up to want/have/give.

I’m now pretty good at doing German up to positions and numbers without major hindrances. So I tried to follow the same path in Ukrainian. Easy at first; Ukrainian, like Russian (and German) has different endings of words depending on case, so that was not a problem for me. The trouble started when I tried to rephrase “This is my red pen” into a question. In English and German, this is pretty easy (“Is this my red pen?”; “Ist das mein roter Stift?”), so I tried the simplest thing, just repeating the statement with the tone of a question, which also works in English/German (“This is my red pen?”; “Das ist mein roter Stift”), hoping for her to correct the positions of the words. This is when I found out that in Ukrainian, doing a question seems to be very complex, with totally different words being used for “have” for example. I quickly saw that this would throw me off the game train, so we continued without questions, which limited the possible game play. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time (we had done an extensive German session before, and it was pretty late), so I couldn’t investigate further.

I was confused that “(I) have” and “my” sound very similar, but with a different emphasis on syllables, and while listening to the recording I notice that I kept mixing them up constantly.

I also learned another lesson in interesting and unexpected connotations :) When I was playing Turkish a while ago, I learned that “I do not want your stick” is equivalent to “I don’t want you to beat me up”. In Ukrainian,  ті даєш мені зараз not only indicates that the other person should transfer an object to you at this moment in time, but also seems to be a pickup phrase for rapists :P