From Snezhana Kadian in Odesa (Wife of Pastor George Kadian in Odesa): It’s been almost a year since I’ve been communicating in Ukrainian.
It would have been easier for me to make this transition because the foundation was already set. A language question came to my mind after 2014, when I basically began to think about the relationship with our neighboring country, our history, etc. In particular, I was once overwhelmed by the thought of how it could happen that a person ceases to speak his native language, except emigration, where there is no other option but to study and assimilate to a new country. Like, why can I stop speaking my language?
I was Russian speaking at that time. Once I tried to switch to Ukrainian consciously. Notified my family, they were supportive, we talked a few times over breakfast and it was the end. Because it is hard! There are no external factors, there is no motivation. Also lazy, no support in society, everyone will ask why, wonder, so uncomfortable…. Couldn’t do it! Then what should happen for a man to turn away from his language?!
My dad told his story like this. As a student of a medical university, he received an amendment from the teacher – “calf language”. You’re a second-rate person if you use this language. So he no longer spoke Ukrainian for the rest of his life.
During independence, I watched Ukrainian disappear from television, social networks, cities that were originally Ukrainian-speaking. Of course, it was a successful action of the propaganda machine of the “Russian world”. But yet we agreed and accepted that shift not knowing first what to expect, secondly not realizing the cultural heritage we have.
Speaking of my prosperous background, I should add that I studied Ukrainian at school, went on vacation to a village where they spoke Surzhyk, but still, there was more Ukrainian, so I had experience of speaking.
What became the strongest incentive and support when I wanted to leave the discomfort of changing language, is my daughter’s example. Studying at the Ukrainian Academy of Leadership, she switched to Ukrainian. I spoke to her in Ukrainian as a support. That became a good workout and skill recovery. Whenever there were moments after my transition that I was tired of brain stress or ashamed that I was wrong, I comforted myself “If my child can do it, I can do it too.”
I want to inspire you to take that step. This is a contribution to the preservation of the Ukrainian language. And language is the medium of culture and history of the nation. Go ask Timothy Snider. By the way, he also speaks Ukrainian.
Also, I personally have a few ladies acquaintances from abroad who have started learning our language to help us. This is how they show respect to us.
Also, language is our antidote against hostile culture. When we realize who we are, we will be able to counter the false narratives that have been instilled in us since birth, which are so successfully used by opponents in the information war.
Be inspired 🥰