Date of Award

Winter 12-9-2022

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English and Linguistics

Department Chair or Program Director

Jonathan Levin

First Advisor

Paul Fallon

Major or Concentration



Ukraine and Russia, both in the international spotlight, have similar national languages that are often misrepresented as being entirely mutually intelligible. While both languages do, in fact, have the same lineage, Ukraine has, over time, developed linguistic independence in a distinct language separate from Russian. The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine has renewed public interest in both the Ukrainian and Russian languages, but there are still stark differences, both socio-politically and linguistically, which are not widely known or appreciated. A brief, historical description of a few lexical, phonological, and orthographic differences between the two languages can illustrate the importance of linguistic independence and diversity. Understanding language use in other cultures that differ from our own helps us expand our view of the world, encouraging us to reflect on the ways language affects geopolitics, how we got to where we are, and what could be done to avoid further conflict.