„Nations do not die of a heart attack. First, they are deprived of their language“. These words of the famous poetess Lina Kostenko have always been relevant for our Ukrainian language. Freely available documents as well as historical references confirm the deliberate destruction of the Ukrainian language from the distant past. Our language was especially brutally suppressed in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.
Today, February 21, 2023, on International Mother Language Day, Rostyslav Voronezkyi, consultant of the publishing projects „Dictionary Heritage of Ukraine“ and „Ukrainian Grammar Classics“ of the Public Organisation „Rotary Club Kiev City“ presented rare reprint editions of dictionaries and essays in the library of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, which belong to the landmark lexicographical works of the golden decade of Ukrainian national and cultural revival. Mr. Rostyslav noted that the members of the Rotary Club „Kyiv City“ focused on the revival and republishing of dictionaries of the era of „Executed Renaissance“ which took place from 20s and 30s of the XX century, when highly artistic works were created in the field of linguistics, literature, philosophy and further annihilated of mostly during the great terror.
For example, the „Ukrainian-Russian Dictionary“ edited by Andrii Nikovsyi, presented to the Court’s library, is a reprint from the 1926 edition, the time of the development of the Ukrainian language in the 20s of XX century and with a register of more than 20,000 words.
The library of the Constitutional Court was also replenished with the publication of „Russian-Ukrainian Dictionary“ in 4 volumes, edited by Agathangel Krymskyi. According to Rostyslav Voronezkyi, this is actually the first academic work that in the 20s and 30s of the 20th century which adopt the standards of the renewed Ukrainian literary language and determined its foundation in various spheres of use. In addition, the guest handed over to the Constitutional Court for use the three-volume „Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language“ by Borys Hrinchenko, edited by Serhii Yefremov and Andrii Nikovsyi, three volumes of the „Dictionary“ edited by Serhii Yefremov, „Dictionary of Technical Terminology (General)“ by I. Sheludko and T. Sadovskyi, as well as „Dictionary of Business Language“ (Terminology and Phraseology) by M. Doroshenko, M. Stanislavskyi, V. Strashkevych. The authors of this dictionary were repressed in the 1930s by the Soviet authorities for „nationalism“.
Judges of the Constitutional Court, Serhiy Holovaty, Oksana Hryshchuk, Oleh Pervomaiskyi, and Petro Filiuk, together with the Secretariat's employees, got acquainted with the 2021 reprint of „Essays on Ukrainian Syntax (in connection with phraseology and stylistics)“ by Serhii Smerechynskyi, which belongs to the most important works on grammatical stylistics of the Ukrainian language, created during the Ukrainian revival.
During the meeting, Acting Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Serhiy Holovaty talked about the difference between the Ukrainian language of law or legal language and the Russian one. He noted that the word “law“ did not exist in the Russian language almost until the 18th century whereas in the Ukrainian language it had existed since the times of Kyiv Rus state. “Today, the issue of compiling the newest Russian-Ukrainian legal dictionary is urgent, considering the level of russification of the modern Ukrainian language in general and its legal branch in particular, “ he emphasised. According to him, it is important to return to specifically Ukrainian word inflections.
At the end of the meeting, the judges of the Constitutional Court thanked Rostyslav Voronezkyi for his work on restoring the lexicographic treasures of the Ukrainian language, which are very relevant today.