One year, two lan­guages, thou­sands of rea­sons

The pas­sage of the Ger­man-Ukrainian Year of Lan­guages

The Ukrainian Week - - CONTENTS - Ernst Re­ichel, Am­bas­sador of Ger­many to Ukraine, Beate Köh­ler, Di­rec­tor of Goethe In­sti­tut Ukraine

The pas­sage of the Ger­man-Ukrainian Year of Lan­guages

Bor­maschyna (Bohrmas­chine or drill), wun­derkind, schukhli­ada (Schublade or drawer), drush­liak (Dürch­schlag or sieve), and vin­shu­vate (Wün­schen or to wish) are just some of the words that con­nect mil­lions of Ukraini­ans to the Ger­man lan­guage. In ad­di­tion, more than 700,000 Ukraini­ans know what the ex­pres­sions “Dankeschön” and “Her­zlich Wil­lkom­men” mean, sim­ply be­cause they are al­ready study­ing Ger­man and us­ing it as a for­eign lan­guage. This num­ber alone puts Ukraine in an im­pres­sive 5th place in the world.

“Take the next step!” This is the slo­gan we used to pro­mote the Ger­man lan­guage over the last year. We—the Ger­man Em­bassy and Goethe In­sti­tut—, to­gether with the Ger­man Aca­demic Ex­change Ser­vice and the Cen­tral Ad­min­is­tra­tion for Ed­u­ca­tion Abroad, have been able not just to reach those who are al­ready study­ing Ger­man, but also to ac­quaint thou­sands of Ukraini­ans with it and get their in­ter­est.

Af­ter all there are many im­por­tant rea­sons why peo­ple learn it: learn­ing Ger­man means pre­par­ing for a trip to Ger­many, as a tourist, a pupil or stu­dent, an em­ployee, or an en­tre­pre­neur. Learn­ing Ger­man means div­ing into the world of over 100 mil­lion na­tive speak­ers in Europe. Learn­ing Ger­man means the op­por­tu­nity to take a Ger­man lan­guage course many Ukrainian schools and uni­ver­si­ties, to rel­ish the rich cul­tural pal­ette in Ger­man films, lit­er­a­ture and mu­sic, or to dig into the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided in jour­nals, news­pa­pers, in­ter­net sites and spe­cial­ized lit­er­a­ture. Last, but not least, learn­ing Ger­man opens con­sid­er­able pro­fes­sional prospects, from work­ing as a trans­la­tor to be­ing a Ger­man-lan­guage tour guide, from a medic to a lawyer, from a po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist to an en­gi­neer, in Ger­many, in Ger­man-speak­ing coun­tries, or even in one of the nearly 1,000 Ger­man com­pa­nies in Ukraine.

The Ger­man-Ukrainian Year of Lan­guages was an­nounced jointly by Ukraine’s For­eign Min­is­ter Pavlo Klimkin and Ger-

many’s then-For­eign Min­is­ter Frank Wal­ter Stein­meier in the fall of 2016 in Ber­lin. In honor of 25 years of part­nerly re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries, lan­guage should also play a sig­nif­i­cant role, it should be learned and knowl­edge of it deep­ened. Af­ter all, co­op­er­a­tion in ed­u­ca­tion and learn­ing for­eign lan­guages is a nat­u­ral com­po­nent of co­op­er­a­tion at the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic lev­els.

True co­op­er­a­tion has never been a one-way street: just as we used the Year of Lan­guages in Ukraine to pro­mote Ger­man, our col­leagues at the Ukrainian For­eign Min­istry and for­eign mis­sions in Ger­many pro­moted the mel­liflu­ous­ness of the Ukrainian lan­guage and the prospects for learn­ing it. Ukrainian is al­ready of­fered in many uni­ver­si­ties in Ger­many and we hope that, thanks to the Ger­man-Ukrainian Year of Lan­guages, it will be­come even more pop­u­lar.

“Take the next step!” is how we ap­pealed, to­gether with our Ukrainian part­ners not only those who are study­ing Ger­man in Ukraine but also those study­ing Ukrainian in Ger­many.

Look­ing back at the Ger­man-Ukrainian Year of Lan­guages, we can point to many re­sults, start­ing with more than 100 events in more than 30 towns and cities in Ukraine, and a myr­iad of events for those who are study­ing Ukrainian in Ger­many. In ad­di­tion to this, we or­ga­nized 12 months of live de­bates be­tween Ger­mans and Ukraini­ans, be­tween older peo­ple and youth, be­tween artists and their gallery own­ers, be­tween writ­ers and their trans­la­tors, in Ger­man and in Ukrainian, syn­chro­nized or con­sec­u­tive trans­la­tions—and some times even with­out the as­sis­tance of a trans­la­tor. This is ex­actly how we hoped, from the very start, that the idea of a Ger­man-Ukrainian Year of Lan­guages might turn out.

Podium dis­cus­sion called “In­ter­nat/Інтернат: The art of trans­la­tion.” Par­tic­i­pants: Sabina Stöhr, Yuriy Durkot, Ser­hiy Zhadan, Maria Ivanyt­ska (moder­a­tor) at the Mys­tet­skiy Arse­nal [Art Arse­nal]. Zhadan's 2018 book In­ter­nat was awarded the Leipzig Book Fair award for best trans­lated work

Mo­ti­va­tion. With the help of tablets in four Ukrainian cities — Zhy­to­myr, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv and Sumy — the Goethe In­sti­tute in­vited peo­ple to learn 10 phrases in Ger­man while walk­ing or run­ning through the park

More than a sym­bolic achieve­ment. Dur­ing the Ger­man-Ukrainian Year of Lan­guages, nearly 100 events were held in 30 Ukrainian cities and towns

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