The first sign, I thought, was so darn easy. It’s repeated at the top of the page, for goodness sake.

That’s right, ladies and gents. That sign says NEZALEZHNOSTI and was taken outside the Maidan Nezalezhnosti metro station.

The second one was a little trickier to guess but more straightforward. It’s a sign that says,

“Go through the overpass to get to the station “Maidain Nezalezhnosti” for the line that takes you to these stations: Heroyiv Dnipra, Minska, Obolon’, Petrivka, Tarasa Schevchenka, Kontraktova Ploshcha, Poshtova Ploshcha, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Ploshcha Lva Tolstoho, Respublikanskiy Stadion, Palats ‘Ukrayina’, Lybid’ska.

Below that, was Varske alluded to and Vykorn pointed out, is an advertisement for the daily newspaper, ‘Sevodnya’ and an ad for something else.

Thanks to commenter Alex, who actually wrote in the English version of the metro station names. Which brings me to another point – not only do people refer to things in either Russian or Ukrainian, but sometimes expats use the English version of the names. For example: Maidan Nezalezhnosti can be called ‘Independence Square’. Ploshcha Lva Tolstoho can be called ‘Leo Tolstoy Square’.

Ulitsa Krasnoarmiiska is Russian, which can be called Vulitsa Chervonarmiiska in Ukrainian, which can be called Red Army Street in English.

Yep. Confuzzling indeed.


22 thoughts on “Revealed

  1. This may explain why my best friend (a Russian…well, technically a Ukranian, but it was Russia when she was there last) always seems a bit disgruntled. With a language like that, I’d be pretty pissed off all the time too.

  2. I’ll admit is freely and unashamedly. I was totally confuzzled.

    Gosh, I like the way you make up words, whether or not I understand any of ’em. 🙂

  3. I think most expats want to sound cool and in-the-know, so they’ll whip out the Ukie name in conversation. Expats in Moscow know which names are translatable (Sadovoye Koltso = Garden Ring, for example) and which are not (Krasnodarskaya = Krasnodarskaya, VDNKh = VDNKh, no matter what).

  4. Finally over to see you in your new digs. Pretty snazzy! Been listening to the in-laws gabbing away in Ukrainian for about 39 years now. Can recognise some words,and can sometimes figure out the gist of the conversation, but will probably never learn to speak it at this stage. Unless. Unless my husband decides to gother, back to his roots, with the peace corps or some such divilment. Never say never, I guess. Enjoyed the political situation update a few posts back….

  5. Oh yeah, I remember that from when I was in Kyiv. My host basically pushed me on the metro and said: just get out on bluzjgehjiah.

    Considering I don’t speak Russian nor Ukranian and my cyrillic reading skills are pretty marginal, it is a miracle I got lost as little as I did. (which was still quite a lot to be honest)

  6. Are you sure it’s not a recipe for an awesome Vodka cocktail? ‘Cause I think you’d have to be snockered for that language to make any sense. Not that I’m being anti-multicultural or anything.

  7. Dear lacubanagringa. Hmm, I never really thought about that. I just assumed it’s because these Ukies love a bit of argy bargy – it’s the national past time.

    Dear enidd. Are you saying I always sounds pissed off?? boo hoo.

    Dear robin. Oh… I don’t know if I made up confuzzled… it’s just something I’ve always said! So I assumed I heard it from someone else.

    Dear very nice man. No… sorry 😦

    Dear uncle mark. Thank you. Me too. I impress myself.

    Dear amy w. Well, no-one did! But NOW you know what is says, so that’s good, isn’t it?

    Dear headless chicken. No, no… but just you wait til winter. I’m sure I’ll snap some advertisements for those things somewhere.

    Dear tomh. To be honest, amongst expat circles here in Kyiv, most things are called the Ukie names. It’s not a wanky thing, I guess it’s just cause we’re so stupid we don’t know the translations. Also, the landmarks aren’t as famous as in Russia (i.e. I will always call Red Square, Red Square, because Krasnoya Ploshchad just sounds wanky), so knowledge of the english names hasn’t preceeded, and all the maps here just have the transliterated names on them.

    Dear karmyn. Hey, you hit the nail on the head – the guys who invented cyrillic, Saints Cyril and Methodius, were Greek! That’s why some of the letters look similar to greek…

    Dear give it a try. Yes, very confuzzled. Worse after a couple of beers.

    Dear molly. Ooohh, if you move here we could be friends! And you’d know way more ukrainian than I do.

    Dear mjd. Yes, but now you can say that you understand it… can’t you?

    Dear mikkie. The other problem with the Kyiv metro is… if you blink, you miss the sign. And there’s only ever one sign. That’s what I found the hardest.

    Dear wes. Yeah! See, reading cyrillic isn’t that hard!

    Dear nikki. Oh… you get used to it. It’s a bit like deciphering a secret code… that everyone knows except you!

    Dear Sally. Ah, yes I’ve been ever so sad since the warm weather came and the shapkas (hats) disappeared.

    Dear melissa. No, it’s me. I don’t like your jokes. I have shared this with wordpress, and it totally understands what I mean. Kidding. Please try to leave jokes and make me laugh!

    Dear stephanie. Could well be, and if it’s not, well, it’s a good excuse for me to make one up!

    Dear claudia. Yes, but everyday I tell myself “At least it’s not Chinese. Or Georgian.”

    Dear nat. Ohh, italian, how romantic. Hey, you’d do fine here. There’s only 33 letters or so in the alphabet here..

  8. Okay this? This is why you need to drink. I have such a headache from this I’m not even certain what language I’m speaking right now.

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