News / Europe

Euro 2012 Prompts Ukrainians to Learn English

Anna Podulenko
KYIV - While members of the Ukrainian parliament are fighting over the status of the Russian language in Ukraine, English is becoming more popular in the country - without any government directive.  Market forces - in which supply dictates demand - as well as the Euro 2012 football (soccer) championship, co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland, are having an impact on Ukrainians becoming trilingual. 
 
Euro 2012 has changed Ukrainians’ daily routine, especially those who live in the host-cities.  The championship has attracted many tourists to the country, who remind Ukrainians that while the national parliament struggles to decide which language they should speak - Russian or Ukrainian - more and more people around the world are turning to English, especially in international business.

With that in mind, some Ukrainians, on their own, have begun speaking and running their businesses using several languages.

“We organize many tours with English-speaking guides, but most of them are still ordered by some self-organized travel groups that are coming here to Kyiv," said Arseniy Finberg, project coordinator for Interesting Kyiv.
            
The Ukrainian capital is also switching to English. The names of subway stations are now announced in Ukrainian and English, and all the signs are in both languages. And restaurant owners have added a few extra menus in English to those they already have.
    
“Last year when I was here, everything was in Ukrainian. Now everywhere, in the subway for example, all the signs are in English, and also the speaker voice is in Ukrainian and in English," said Swedish tourist Katerina.  "And you can really tell that the town has prepared to welcome the tourists because now all the signs are in two languages and so on.”
            
Ukrainians are sometimes surprised by how well soccer fans from abroad speak English - even though it is not their national language. Those who have had a chance to take part in Euro 2012, have seen that market forces are in effect, with those knowing at least three languages in demand among employers.
 
“English language is a must these days," said Euro 2012 volunteer Tetiana. "It doesn’t matter in which field you work, you can find it connected with English."
    
“The quantity of people speaking English is increasing with a speed of a sound. I know people who don’t speak English they start attending language schools. Almost everyone now speaks English," said Kateryna, another Euro 2012 volunteer.
 
With the flow of tourists to Kyiv, local residents are seeing the important role the English language plays - even in the course of watching soccer games in their home country.  As a result, Ukrainians are finding they are going back to their school years, trying to come up with a few English phrases - if only to explain to foreign fans why the Ukrainian team they are cheering for will win.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: oldfogie1 from: Sydney Australia
June 21, 2012 6:42 PM
When in Ukraine, I found most of the younger people spoke English to varying degrees, particularly in the cities. Older people, generally only knew Ukrainian, particularly in the villages.

English is being taught in Russia. One of my friends has been recruited to teach English there. Russia is aware of the importance of this language. It is not only useful for trade and tourism, but also as a way to access Western technology. Most of this technology is either written in the English language, or translated into English from other languages. This makes it essential for study purposes, particularly at University level. The Russian language is not widely known outside of the former USSR states. In any case, Russia also lags the West in developing new technology and the English language is essential to keep up to date with the rest of the world..

by: sergeyovitch from: Canada
June 21, 2012 5:24 PM
No doubt knowing English is great. The more languages one knows - the more opportunities. Unfortunately, in Ukraine, the Russian language was shoved down everyones throat for over 300 years. It is time that Ukrainians appreciate, know, use and protect their own language first.

by: davidjules from: Philippines
June 20, 2012 9:51 PM
Ukrainians should start learning English or should speak English for that language is very necessary in the business world.
Here in my country Philippines I am proud to say that most probably 90% of the people here can speak English and because of that a lot of American & European investors put up BPO companies here, that gives thousands of jobs for Filipinos & that helps our economy to grow. Apart from that, our tourism boost because a lot foreigners visit our country because there's no language barrier. English is no doubt very important. See? How beneficial English is!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs