Thursday, June 08, 2006
Polygot the way to go
If the ongoing language debate is anything to go by then this will certainly not be as straight forward as many would think.
A number of Eastern states (oblasts) have declared Russian as a second regional language. There is claims and counter claims that the adoption of a second language is contrary to Ukraine's constitution. Others say it is in accordance with international treaties which protect the right of minority languages.
It is difficult to know which way the debate will turn as Ukraine has not constitutional court or history of such deliberations. Can the constitutional court re-write the constitution or add meaning to a document where there is no clear intention or direction?
Ukraine's constitution states that Ukrainian is the official language but does this prevent additional languages being adopted? Ukrainian can not be struck-out but there is nothing that states no other language shall apply.
Ukraine is a country of multi-ethnicity. It is diversity that adds to the excitement of this new country. Language should not be a point of division but this is exactly what is happening. Many Ukrainians do not speak Ukrainian let alone able to write or read Ukrainian.
There are many more important issue that need to be tackled and if Ukraine could only apply as much attention to the real issues as they do to the language debate then Ukraine would be better off. I guess when there is no real solutions or popular policies then politicians need to play National card to try and stand out from the rest. "I support Ukraine and I speak Ukrainian - via Ukraina, vote for me".
Yes, Ukrainian should be encouraged and should be a compulsory subject in school but should Ukraine only have one language? Many other countries have two or more languages and they are very successful. Some say English should as the new ionternational language also be adopted as an official language. Why not?
In Ukraine's past the Austrian-Hungarian empire permitted the language that was most spoken in any given region and as such Ukrainian was used in parts of the what is now Western Ukraine. The polish tried to wipe it out as did the Russians. Both were at fault as is the current Ukrainian policy (Socio-political engineering at its worst.)