The Ukrainian word has passed a difficult way from prohibitions and restrictions to the state status. Unfortunately, so far the Ukrainian language has not taken a worthy place in society, but not everything is so sad. The holiday of the native word is being arranged the eighteenth year in a row on the Ukrainian radio. Radio dictation ‒ the unity of the Ukrainians all over the world through the language.

“We write together”

The official slogan of the current All-Ukrainian Radio Dictation of National Unity is traditionally held on the Day of Ukrainian Literature and Language (November 9), ‒ “We write together”. True, the event first took place in May, on the day of the reburial of Taras Shevchenko. While the works were checked on the radio, the students had the holidays. And although the organizers are not focused solely on schoolchildren, they shifted the event to a more convenient time.

“Each dictation is special and memorable in its own way”, Alina Akulenko, coordinator of the Radio Dictation of National Unity action, the host, said to Opinion. “It would be unfair to say which one I remember more, and which one less. At the moment when it happened, it was the dictation that seemed to be the best, the most relevant, the brightest. But to be objective, it is necessary to single out the 15th radio dictation ‒ in that year many innovations occurred. For the first time, they organized an exit location ‒ the Shevchenko University. It was a big event. For the first time, a live broadcast of the radio program was conducted from the lecture hall, named after M. Maksymovych. For the first time, there was a television broadcast. That was the year when we first started receiving dictations sent by e-mail”.

Диктант по радіо писатимуть десятки тисяч українців

Photo: Yuriy Prytseliuk;

Over the years, famous Ukrainians wrote the radio dictation: Olga Sumska and Vakhtang Kipiani, Igor Ostash and Olga Gerasymyuk, Maryna Grymych and Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, Vasyl Shklyar and Andriy Kurkov. Every year the event attracts more and more people. Ukrainians write radio dictations not only in their native land but also in Poland, Portugal, China, France, Sweden, Germany. Last year, 28,999 participants sent their works, 123 people did not make a single mistake. In fact, dictations are written by many more people, but not all send them for verification.

This year, the main Kyiv location of the mass writing of the radio dictation, not the first time, will be the lecture hall, named after M. Maksymovych in the Red building of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Famous Ukrainians (writers, singers, politicians), as well as university students, will gather there.

Диктант по радіо писатимуть десятки тисяч українців

Photo: Yuriy Prytseliuk;

What is dictation about?

For many years, the text for the radio dictation has been prepared and dictated by Oleksandr Avramenko, an associate professor at Kyiv University named after B. Grinchenko.

“The dictation about Yurii Kulchytsky, who opened the coffee for Europeans, was the most remembered,” Oleksandr recalled. “A few weeks ago I was in Vienna and not far from the train station I saw a sculpture, a monument to our countryman. The Austrians are grateful for this discovery. As for dictation, it was a surprise for the students and teachers of the country that the Minister of Education Tabachnyk (former minister of education – Ed.) wrote the dictation to the camera. He made one mistake: he wrote “do rechi” (“by the way” – translator’s note) together, but it must be written separately”.

Диктант по радіо писатимуть десятки тисяч українцівPhoto: Yuriy Prytseliuk;

Oleksandr Avramenko said: the approximate volume of a dictation is 160-170 words. But he keeps the topic secret (it’s a rule), although, he admits that the text will be informative, positive, and bright. Avramenko advised readers of Opinion, “Pay attention to the fact that, for example, the word “strawberry” can have a different spelling, depending on the meaning and context: strawberry as a plant, Strawberry as a character of a fairy tale, “Strawberry” as the name of the kindergarten… And most importantly ‒ take into account intonations and pauses, because they will tell you what punctuation marks need to be used and where to put them in the text. Punctuation will be difficult”.

“The radio dictation will not be easy”, Alina Akulenko confirmed. “There will be a huge number of different punctuation marks, but there will not be a single author’s, that is, the relevance of which we cannot confirm by spelling or corresponding reference books. It will be a dictation with words, phrases, idioms, aimed at enriching our vocabulary, making our language more beautiful, more dynamic, and more colorful. It should be informative, that is, we don’t only write the text, but we also get the opinion of what is worth thinking about. And for someone, perhaps, after writing, there would be a need to look through directories, to google or “to go” to Wikipedia to find out what a phenomenon, event, or person was in the history of our country”.

Диктант по радіо писатимуть десятки тисяч українців

Photo: Yuriy Prytseliuk;


Dictation will be broadcast from the studio UA: Ukrainian Radio on Khreshchatyk, 26. The live TV version will be provided by Public Broadcasting. Televersion stream ‒ on the pages of the Public Broadcaster on Facebook.

Odesa residents are among the most active

Places for writing a dictation are equipped in schools, universities and offices, or simply they write in the family circle. Anyone can take part in the language flash mob ‒ all you need is a sheet of paper and a pen. Some participants joined the dictation in almost extreme conditions: the blacksmith wrote a dictation on the fireplace; the taxi driver ‒ on the steering wheel until he was called; the boy ‒ on the pasture, pinning the radio on a tree branch. The participants of the event share their stories in letters.

“Every year, the organizers expect that there will be more participants, and 2018 is not an exception”, said Alina Akulenko. “And if in 2015 or 2016 it was necessary to explain, call for locations to be organized, then this year educational institutions, cultural centers, libraries, where there is an opportunity to sit at the table, turn on the radio, the Internet, or any other device, willingly, without coercion, organize the locations for conducting a radio dictation of their own will”.

Диктант по радіо писатимуть десятки тисяч українців

Photo: Yuriy Prytseliuk;

The Odesa Vocational Education Center never missed a radio dictation. Every year, Svitlana Ladyzhenska, a teacher of the Ukrainian language and literature, is responsible for the event. Physics teacher Oksana Zadorozhna helps with the technical organization of the process.

“For 18 years of my philological and pedagogical activity in school, there have been cardinal changes: the name has changed (Vocational school-18, Vocational School of the Odesa State Academy of Refrigeration, now ‒ Odesa Center for Vocational Education), subordination, a set of professions”, Svitlana Volodymyrivna told to Opinion. “But for eighteen years, the tradition of writing radio-dictations of National Unity remains unchanged”.

For the first time, it happened in the back room of the office with the participation of three people. In 2000,  Economics teacher Agnesa Pavlova and the director of educational work Iryna Lopushanska (with a degree in Russian philology) joined Svitlana Ladyzhenska.

“And since the very next year, 2001, I began to organize the Week of Ukrainian literature for the Day of Ukrainian Literature and Language, the radio dictation was always planned during one of its days”, Svitlana Volodymyrivna continued. “There were only a few concerned ‒ ten or fifteen students. Gradually, our circle expanded. The number of students increased, and the masters of industrial training also came.

In 2014 radio dictation in the OCVE became really massive. All those, who wished, could no longer fit into the lecture hall of the Ukrainian language, and two other halls had to be involved. More than a hundred participants wrote it. The 15th dictation became even more widespread ‒ almost 200 people wrote down the text with Oleksandr Avramenko. A large audience, except for students and teachers, was filled with masters, accountants, representatives of the school administration. Freshmen especially pleased ‒ they all came in embroidered shirts.

“There was a touching story last year”, Svitlana Ladyzhenska recalled. “Before the dictation, I went to groups to remind, where people, willing to write, are gathered. And then a second-year student pulled out a big blue-yellow flag from behind his bosom and asked if he could also write, although he was convinced that he would write badly. Of course, I was excited “to the bottom of my heart”, I was trying to convey that the goal was not to find mistakes, but to unite fans of the language. The boy was happy and so were we”.

The Luhansk region loves the Ukrainian language

Singer, artist, the adviser to the Minister of Culture Angelika Rudnytska was in the east of Ukraine last year with art events, and the writing of the radio dictation itself was one of the key events.

“The most famous people of the Luhansk region gathered in the very lecture hall of the university: actors, directors, public figures, politicians, officials, there were military, students, schoolchildren, as well as stars, who came to Severodonetsk with a concert”, Angelika noted. “And they all sat next to their desks. Regardless of status, they turned into students, who diligently wrote out every word. During the live broadcast, we said hello to all Ukraine from Luhansk region and did not go for a long time, exchanging impressions from the text. It was funny when famous writers peeped into each other’s sheets of paper. And the artists and I peeped into the paper of Professor of the KNU named after Shevchenko, Olena Ivanovska. It was a funny and informative quest”.

Диктант по радіо писатимуть десятки тисяч українців

Photo: Yuriy Prytseliuk;

According to the artist, this year the team “Ukrainian East” will again go to the Luhansk region, and on November 9, a large Ukrainian family will write dictation there. In general, Angelika Rudnytska participated in many radio dictations.

“Always, when I am free that morning, I join”, she continued. “But my mother is a big fan of radio dictations. I don’t know if she ever missed it. It’s nice to write dictation among friends and colleagues at native Shevchenko University, there is always a great atmosphere in the press center on Khreshchatyk, 26. There is no point in worrying, nobody controls anyone. But the hand hurts because I am not used to writing with my hand. Yes, and the speed. I type in gadgets much faster. Radio dictations ‒ a feeling of unity, self-test, a great way to popularize the Ukrainian language, meeting with friends and colleagues, native voices from the radio, educational texts, philological quest and just a celebration of the Ukrainian language, which I love very much. I invite everyone to join us”.

So, the main thing in the Radio Dictation of Unity is not the test of literacy, it is participation, not victory. However, what prizes will be given to those, who write a better job?

“Traditionally, gifts are symbolic ‒ books or book sets”, Alina Akulenko said. “Ukrainian radio turned to a number of publishers. The gifts, presented by sponsors and patrons, will be given to the winners, to those, who will write a dictation without errors”.


Works should be sent to the address Khreshchatyk Street, 26, Kyiv-1, Ukraine, 01001, marked “Radio Dictation” (the letter should be sent on November 9 or 10). Or scan the photo of the text within 24 hours after the end of the event and send to the e-mail: The image should be of high quality, the text ‒ by hand. Braille texts are also accepted. On November 11, the text of the radio dictation will be published on the site UA: Ukrainian Radio, and the results of the checking the works will be announced by mid-December.

Dictation on the radio is written on the radio

Famous Ukrainians told Opinion about writing dictation on the Ukrainian radio.

Zhanna Bodnaruk, People’s Artist of Ukraine, singer:

“The family has written radio dictations before. But for eight or ten years we have been invited to the radio, to Khreshchatyk, 26, and to Shevchenko University. Already such a tradition, we ‒ as a talisman. This year they again invited me to the university, where many people gather in the Red Building ‒ both celebrities and students… We have a big company: me, my husband, my son, and last year my mother was with us. Interesting texts are prepared by Oleksandr Avramenko every year. I remember the dictation about the red rue. Radio dictation differs from school dictation by the fact that, apart from being able to test literacy, there is a moment of unification through the language, of a special sensation, when you know that millions of people have devoted an hour of time to join this. In Australia, Japan and America, people write dictation. Emotions overwhelm, but not from excitement, namely from unity. Every year, more and more people are involved in writing a radio dictation, they do it sincerely ‒ both children and pensioners… That’s cool!”.

Kyrylo Stetsenko, Honored Artist of Ukraine, violinist, composer:

“Last year I wrote for the first time. It was nice to see many familiar and famous people at the Shevchenko University, who also wrote radio dictation. The theme was about musical folklore, folk song. This is very close to my professional interests. I was worried because I was unsure that I remembered all the rules of punctuation. But the main feeling is solidarity with the organizers. After all, they contribute not only to the general experience of our national unity through their native language ‒ but they create our collective normative and institutional consciousness of the hosts, who “reign in their own way”. This year I will go to university again. This year is symbolic for me as the chairman of the Kyiv Prosvita because in December will be marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Prosvita Society, which went down in history as an institution for the creation of a Ukrainian political nation, a social platform for growing the leaders of the native state. Radio dictation of national unity ‒ the maintenance of this unit at the symbolic, political and personal levels”.

Lesya Telnyuk, Honored Artist of Ukraine, participant of the vocal duet “Telnyuk: Sisters”:

“I participated in three radio-dictations of national unity. I remember an interesting dictation about the radio. Then all the participants of the event sat at the table and with joyfully anxious eyes looked at each other and at the pieces of paper in front of them. It was fun and interesting. It is like I become a child again, a schoolgirl. I hope that this year I will write radio dictation too. It is a pleasant feeling that you participate in an important and responsible action, necessary for the cultural and spiritual formation of the nation and ourselves”.

Bohdan Benyuk, People’s Artist of Ukraine, actor of the Theater named after I. Franko:

“I am writing a dictation not for the first time. I was invited to the radio, on Khreshchatyk, 26, and this year to take part at the Shevchenko University. Wherever it happens, it doesn’t matter. It is important to join the action for all, who are convinced that the existence of our state depends on the Ukrainian language too. And when the dictation will be felt throughout the territory of Ukraine, from the east to the west, this will be a big plus for us as a nation that is developing and looking for itself in the European community. The most exciting moment is the mood with which you come, the person who is sitting next to you, how they are preparing for the action. And I can already come not only with my children but also with my grandchildren, who are schoolchildren now. So you can join many generations, and this is a kind of a little call that teaches. We must be engaged in the educational program, and my acting profession is precisely to teach someone to do something. Even if you make a mistake in the dictation, it will be remembered for many years, and you will never do it again. But the main thing is not that, but in the preparation, the spirit”.

Text by Viktor Tsvilikhovsky


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