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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs