Month: July 2022

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Learn Ukrainian

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Learn Ukrainian

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ready to learn a new language, create a social impact and make a friend along the way? From tasty dumplings to lively dances, from powerful prose to an unexpected connection to popular Christmas carols, here are our top 5 reasons why you should learn Ukrainian!


1. Connect with 40 million people worldwide

Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine. It is the second most widely-spoken Slavic language after Russian, with an estimated 40 million speakers across the globe. Even before the present crisis, Ukrainian diaspora communities could be found in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Kazakhstan, Moldova and the United States.

The increase in migration amongst Ukrainian nationals is set to spark a surge in speakers of the language. Ukrainian literacy is also on the rise as both new and old generations work to preserve their culture, in an ongoing effort to overcome socio-political oppression. 


 2. Experience vibrant folk culture

Ukrainian folklore is deeply rooted in ancient Slavic and later Byzantine traditions: from lively dances such as
hopak, hutsulka and kolomiyika to intricate craft traditions like Petrikov painting, pysanky decoration, and rushnyk embroidery. Ukraine is also home to some fantastic dishes such as paska (Easter bread), borscht (beetroot soup) and varenyky (dumplings)!

But perhaps it is through music that we are offered a true glimpse into the soul of the language. Many of these songs have accompanied people in their day-to-day lives, whether it be on the fields at work or during national holidays. One song, in particular, travelled across the ocean and became a Christmas classic in the Western world. It may surprise you to know that ‘Carol of the Bells’ is allegedly a derivative of Shchedryk (Щедрик), a traditional Ukrainian folk song about a swallow foretelling a household’s future wealth the following spring. It is said that its rise to popularity was owed to the Bolshevik purge of the intelligentsia, during which time many Ukrainian Choir members fled to the USA. Upon their arrival, Shchedryk was adopted by Alexander Koshyts, whose choir performed the song in New York for the first time in 1922.

Ukrainian culture is rich, vibrant, and truly an experience to cherish.


3. Delve into Ukrainian literature

Ukrainian literature – as well as the history behind it – is simply fascinating! Despite a history of literary oppression and struggle, Ukrainians have produced some of the greatest literary works of all time. Such efforts include Taras Shevchenko’s famous poetry collection,
Kobzar, a tribute to Ukrainian identity, and Ivan Franko’s dramatic masterpiece, Stolen Happiness. Contemporary authors are also deserving of recognition. Writing phenomena, such as Liubko Deresh, are even known to contrast post-Socialist Ukrainian reality with Western pop culture.

Although Ukrainian authors have endured persecution over time, this has made their work all the more significant. As a matter of fact, the term ‘‘Executed Renaissance’’ is used to describe a generation of Ukrainian writers, poets and artists of the 1920-30s who lost their lives for resisting Stalin’s Russification of Ukrainian literature. 

For avid readers and literary enthusiasts, learning Ukrainian will enable a deeper understanding of the country’s rich literary history.


4. Gateway to Slavic languages

Ukrainian uses the Cyrillic alphabet and belongs to the Slavic language family. Knowledge of Ukrainian will provide the necessary building blocks to learn similar languages such as Polish, Slovak, Belarussian and Russian. For example, did you know that, statistically speaking, Ukrainian is closest to Belarusian, sharing 84% of its vocabulary? Ukrainian speakers are also likely to understand 70% of Polish vocabulary and about a third of its grammar rules. Slovak stands at number three on the list with 66% common vocabulary.

If your interests lie in the languages of Eastern Europe, Ukrainian is a fantastic place to start!


5. Learn from a native speaker AND make an impact

The devastating impact of the war in Ukraine has caused more than 5.5 million Ukrainians to flee the country and over 7.1 million persons internally displaced.

As a response to the invasion in Ukraine, NaTakallam has launched language services in Ukrainian and Russian, providing tangible and immediate support to conflict-affected Ukrainians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Each language session directly contributes to the livelihoods of our language partners, enabling them with a sustainable income and sense of dignity through these difficult times.


Ready to learn Ukrainian, today? Sign up here and we’ll connect you with one of our highly-qualified Ukrainian language partners directly impacted by the conflict.

Learn a language, make a friend and support the livelihoods of forcibly displaced persons – from the comfort of your home.


How to Wish Someone a Happy Eid in Arabic (Dialects)

Updated: How to Wish Someone a Happy Eid in Arabic (Dialects Version)

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Millions around the world mark Eid al-Adha (عيد الأضحى) and Eid al-Fitr (عيد الفطر) with great food and festivities, surrounded by dear ones. Here are some of the most common greetings from around the Arabic-speaking world you can use to wish someone a happy and prosperous Eid (and the typical responses offered)!

1. Eid Mubarak (عيد مبارك) or Eidkom Mubarak (عيدكم مبارك) Across the Arab world

Eid Mubarak (عيد مبارك) is perhaps the most typical way to wish someone a happy Eid – during both Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr. It is in the singular form and literally translates to, “[have a] blessed Eid”. In response, one could say one of the following: Eid mubarak (عيد مبارك), meaning, “[a] blessed Eid [to you, too]”, Allah yebarek feek/i (الله يبارك فيك), equating to, “God bless you [too]”, or simply, Shukran (شكراً), meaning “thank you”. 

The plural form, Eidkom Mubarak (عيدكم مبارك), is equally, if not more, common when addressing one person or more, because you would be extending the Eid wishes to their families, too. One would hear back Eidkom Mubarak (عيدكم مبارك) or similar to the above, Allah yebarek feek/i (الله يبارك فيك).

2. Eid Mubarak (عيد مبارك) or Eidkom Mubarak (عيدكم مبارك) – Yemen (slight variation)

This is the same wish as above, however, it is important to note that in the Yemeni dialect, the conversation will unfold differently:

Speaker 1: Eid Mubarak (عيد مبارك)
Speaker 2: Eid Mubarak (عيد مبارك)
Speaker 1: Min al-aydeen (من العايدين – meaning, ‘‘may you be among those who celebrate Eid over and over’’).
Speaker 2: Min al-fayzeen (من الفايزين – meaning, ‘‘may you be among those who are successful’’).

3. Eid Saeed (عيد سعيد) Across the Arab world 

This greeting translates to “Happy Eid”, and can be used for any Eid in all Arabic-speaking communities, from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. The responses would be Eid saeed (عيد سعيد), Eid mubarak (عيد مبارك), or the most common of all: A’layna wa a’leykom (علينا و عليكم), meaning “Upon us and upon you [all]”. 

To specify the Eid, slightly vary the greeting to Eid Fitr saeed (عيد فطر سعيد) or Eid Adha saeed (عيد اضحى سعيد), which translate to “Happy Eid al-Fitr” and “Happy Eid al-Adha”, respectively. The response for both could be the same greeting back, Eid mubarak (عيد مبارك), or the best one: A’layna wa a’leykom (علينا وعليكم), meaning “Upon us and upon you [all]”.

4. Eid Adha mubarak (عيد اضحى مبارك) Across the Arab world 

This greeting is most apt for Eid al-Adha and is arguably less common than the generic ones above – its literal meaning is “[Have a] Blessed Eid al-Adha”. In response, the same can be repeated back, or your can opt for: Eid mubarak (عيد مبارك), Eid saeed (عيد سعيد), or Allah yebarek feek/i (الله يبارك فيك), meaning, “God bless you [too]”.

5. Adha mubarak a’aljamie’ (أضحى مبارك عالجميع) Levant

Also specific to Eid al-Adha, this phrase means “Blessed [Eid] Adha to everybody” and is one of the phrases used among Levantine speakers. A typical response would be Amin ya rab, Adha mubarak (امين يارب أضحى مبارك), meaning “Amen dear Lord, [have a] blessed Adha [to you, too]”.

6. Kol ‘am wa entou bekhair (كل عام وأنتو بخير) – Levant 

Another popular Levantine expression is Kol ‘am wa entou bekhair, translating to: ‘‘I wish you [all] goodness every year’’. The typical reply would be: wa entou bekhair (وأنتو بخير), meaning ‘‘and goodness to you [all, too]’’. This is in the plural form and can be said to one or more persons, as it is common to extend the wishes to their families, too.

In the Iraqi and Gulf dialect, slightly tweak this greeting to: kol ‘am we antom bikhair (كل عام و انتم بخير).

7. Kol sana wa entou salmeen (كل سنة وانتوا سالمين) – Levant and Iraq

This greeting is a variation of the previous Eid wish, which roughly translates to “may every year find you well”. The response would be Wa entou salmeen (وانتوا سالمين), meaning “may every year [also] find you well.”

8. Kol eid wa entou bekhair (كل عيد و وانتوا بخير) Levant

This phrase means “May every Eid find you in good health” – yet another warm Eid salutation. In response, the appropriate answer would be Wa entou bekhair (وانتوا بخير), meaning ‘‘and goodness to you [all, too]’’. 

9. Yen’ad alaykom belkhair (ينعاد عليكم بالخير) Levant 

This phrase means “Wishing you [all] good health until next year/Eid”. A typical reply would be Amin ya rab, wa alaykom (امين يارب وعليكم), translating to “Amen dear lord, to you [all, too]”.

10. Yen’ad alaykom bel-sahha wa al-saleme (ينعاد عليكم بالصحة والسلامة) – Levant 

A variation of the previous greeting, this Levantine phrase translates to, ‘‘Wishing you [all good] health and wellness’’. In response one would say: Wa alaykom bel-sahha wa al-saleme (وعليكم و بالصحة والسلامة) meaning, ‘‘may health and wellness be upon you [too]’’.

11. Kol sana wa anta/i tayeb/a (كل سنه وأنت/ه طيب/ه) – Egypt 

Kol sana wa anta/i tayeb/a is the Egyptian counterpart of the similar Levantine greeting. This common greeting means ‘‘I wish you goodness every year’’, and is also used as a birthday wish! It is often followed by Wa anta/i tayeb/a (وأنت طيب) in response, meaning ‘‘and I [wish] you goodness [too]”, or Eid saeed ‘alayna (عيد سعيد علينا), meaning ‘‘happy Eid to us [all]”.

12. Eidkum mubarak we kol ‘am we antom bikhair (عيدكم مبارك و كل عام و انتم بخير) – Iraq and the Gulf region

This popular greeting, when wishing Iraqi and Khaleeji speakers, is a combination of two aforementioned greetings: Eidkum mubarak (عيدكم مبارك), meaning “[have a] blessed eid [to all]”, and, we kol ‘am we antom bikhair (و كل عام و انتم بخير), meaning ‘and ‘I wish you goodness every year’’. It is in the plural form and can generally be said to all genders and any number of speakers. A typical response would be either Eidkum mubarak (عيدكم مبارك) or we antom bikhair (وانتم بخير).

13. Eidkum mubarak wa inshallah min al-aydeen (عيدكم مبارك وإن شاء الله من العايدين) – Iraq

This is another Eid salutation in Iraqi Arabic, meaning, “[Have a] blessed Eid and God willing, may you be among those who celebrate it over and over”. One would usually answer with Nahnu wa eyakom inshalla (نحن و إياكم ان شاء الله), which translates to “you and us [both], God willingly”.

14. Eidkum mubarak wa asakum min uwwadah (عيدكم مبارك وعساكم من عواده) – The Gulf region

This heartfelt expression means: ‘‘Have a blessed Eid and may you go on to witness many more Eids’’. In response one would say: Mubarak ‘alayna wa alaikum inshallah (مبارك علينا وعليكم إن شاء الله), which equates to ‘‘God willing, blessings on us and you’’. 

15. Mabrouk el Eid (مبروك العيد) Morocco 

In the Moroccan Arabic dialect, this greeting literally translates to “congratulations [for] Eid”, and it is a variation of the aforementioned Eid Mubarak (عيد مبارك). An appropriate response would be Allah yebarek feek/i (الله يبارك فيك), which means “God bless you [too]”.


Book a session, today, to learn more about these greetings and the various dialects of Arabic with NaTakallam’s native language tutors! Choose from Modern Standard Arabic and 7 dialects: Egyptian, Iraqi, Yemeni, and Levantine – Lebanese and Syrian/Palestinian.

To our language partners, learners, friends, supporters and all those celebrating, Eid Mubarak!

Here at NaTakallam, every language session contributes to the livelihoods of our skilled tutors from refugee/displaced backgrounds and their host communities. Learn a language, change a life.

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