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01.07.17

Welcome to Our Hometown. Join the Wider World! Firstly, a very big thanks to everyone who’s entered our Wider World competition so far.  The overall standard of the entries is fantastic. Our congratulations to May Winner - Aliona Bandiuk and her 7th class from Novoukrainka. As promised, please, read Michael's commentaries along with the Winner's essay. 
Welcome to Our Hometown. Join the Wider World! Firstly, a very big thanks to everyone who’s entered our Wider World competition so far.  The overall standard of the entries is fantastic. Our congratulations to May Winner - Aliona Bandiuk and her 7th class from Novoukrainka. As promised, please, read Michael's commentaries along with the Winner's essay. 
Firstly, a very big thanks to everyone who’s entered our Wider World competition so far.  The overall standard of the entries is fantastic.
 
Our congratulations to May Winner - Aliona Bandiuk and her 7th class from Novoukrainka. As promised, please, read Michael's commentaries along with the Winner's essay. 
Welcome to Our Hometown. Join the Wider World! Firstly, a very big thanks to everyone who’s entered our Wider World competition so far.  The overall standard of the entries is fantastic. Our congratulations to May Winner - Aliona Bandiuk and her 7th class from Novoukrainka. As promised, please, read Michael's commentaries along with the Winner's essay. 
Welcome to Our Hometown. Join the Wider World! Firstly, a very big thanks to everyone who’s entered our Wider World competition so far.  The overall standard of the entries is fantastic. Our congratulations to May Winner - Aliona Bandiuk and her 7th class from Novoukrainka. As promised, please, read Michael's commentaries along with the Winner's essay. 
Welcome to Our Hometown. Join the Wider World! 
 
Firstly, a very big thanks to everyone who’s entered our Wider World competition so far.  As with the opening month of our competition, the standard of June’s entries was extremely high.  We heard from towns and cities all over Ukraine, from east to west and north to south.  Thanks a lot to Odessa, Poltava, Kharkiv, Mukachevo, Chernivtsi, Kremenchuk, Cherkasy, Boryspil, Novoukrainka, Chervonograd, Pidvolochysk, Melitopol, Berdychiv, Hlyboka and Sumy.  Once again, it was really hard to separate the entries and pick just one monthly winner.
Our congratulations to June Winner - Svitlana Gavrilova and her 6th class from Poltava Gimnasium 17. As promised, please, read Michael's commentaries along with the Winner's essay.
 
 
You sent lots of great pictures and I learned many interesting things from your writing too.  One example was the musical heritage of Boryspil, which is home to both the rapper Yarmak and Pavlo Chubinsky, the writer of the Ukrainian national anthem.  I was pleased to read more about Novoukrainka’s “fresh air, healthy lifestyle and comfortable climate”.  I didn’t know that Chervonograd was famous for its miners (just like my home region) and I was sorry to hear that 90% of Kremenchuk was destroyed during World War II.  
The most common problem was with litter.  In Hlyboka, people would like to have more recycling bins for paper, glass and metal. In Odessa, you wrote that you wished people would take more care of nature and in Chernivtsi you were worried that the litter on the streets would spoil the “unforgettable charm” of your hometown.
Traffic was another big problem for most of you.  This was true even in smaller cities like Sumy, which is otherwise beautiful and green.  Kharkiv is another city with wonderful nature.  I really liked the description of the tourist attractions in your city such as the botanical garden, art gallery and Feldman Ecopark as well as the photos of how you’ve brightened up the land around your school.  I knew nothing about Pidvolochysk before this month but the parks and fresh air made it sound like a wonderful place to visit.
In fact, you all made your hometowns sound really attractive.  I loved the idea of going to multicultural  Mukachevo when the Red Wine Festival takes place and I’d really like to see the “awesome” view from the bridge over the Dnipro in Kremenchuk.   I’ve visited Chernivitsi before so I completely agree about its unique architecture and the lovely countryside nearby.  However, I had no idea that Cherkasy is called “the town of fountains”.  I’ve never been to Berdychiv but I did know about its connection to the writers Joseph Conrad and Vasily Grossman.  Last but not least, I knew that Melitopol was near the sea but I was very interested to learn that it’s famous as a place to see cherry blossom in spring.
There are many differences between English and Ukrainian punctuation.  For example, in English we use capital letters for the names of rivers so we’d write about the River Latorytsia in Mukachevo.  We don’t use quotation marks around the real names of places, so we have Palanok Castle in Mukachevo, Rovesnyk campsite in Chervonograd, the Liubava shopping centre in Cherkasy and the popular restaurants Kompot and Steakhouse in Odessa.  On the other hand, we do use quotation marks when we’re writing about nicknames such as Chernivtsi being the “Ukrainian Vienna”.  
One other difference is between the words rest and relax in English.  These are often confused by Ukrainian, who write about going to the park for a rest.  For native speakers, rest is more physical and is connected to taking a break from work or exercise because you are tired and need to get back some energy.  If your students spend a lot of time looking at their mobile phone screens, you might tell them to look at something else for a moment and rest (verb) their eyes.  And if you’re writing a lot in English on the board, you might have to put your chalk down for a few minutes to give your hand a rest (noun).  
Relax is more mental.  If you enjoy the work you’re doing, you can feel relaxed even when you’re working very hard.  I know lots of Ukrainians think gardening is relaxing, but you’re not resting while you’re planting vegetables or pulling out weeds.
You can also be resting but not feel very relaxed (maybe because you feel you need to get back to work quickly).  We rest when we’re tired but we can relax even when we’ve been doing nothing for a long time.  Look at the following sentences, which should help make the difference clear:
(On an aeroplane) “Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.”  
“After I finish work, I go swimming to relax.”
“I relax by lying on the beach and doing nothing.”
“I had a rest halfway up the mountain and then continued to the top.”
“I ran around the park and then sat on a bench to rest my legs.”
Wherever you’re from in Ukraine, I hope you all have a very relaxing summer! 
If you haven't heard about our competition yet, you can read the rules here