|The Ukrainian Language is the second most widely spoken language of 12 surviving members of the Slavic group of the large Indo-European language family. Geographically, it is classified with Russian and Belarussion as an East Slavic language.
Ukrainian is represented basically by a set of dialects, some of which differ significantly from the others. Generally, however, dialectical divisions in Ukrainian are not so strong as they are, for example, in British English or German. Traditionally, scholars have divided Ukrainian dialects into three main groups, northern, southwestern, and southeastern. Standard Ukrainian is built on this dialectal foundation. It is the only form of Ukrainian taught in school and used in literature. The standard language is based mainly on the Poltava-Kyiv dialects of the southeastern group.
The status of the Ukrainian language on Ukrainian territories was defined, except during Ukraine's brief period of independence, by foreign powers. The role of the Ukrainian language was restricted. In the former USSR, for example, there was no special legislation on language; Russian was the only language of government. Ukraine's constitution of 1937 guaranteed the use of Ukrainian in the schools.
On 28 October 1989 the Supreme Soviet of the UkSSR passed the law "On languages in the Ukrainian SSR", which gives official status to Ukrainian and provides its introduction in the legislation, ministry, civil organizations and enterprises, the court system, international treaties and agreements, the school system from kindergarten to higher educational institutions, scientific publications and the mass media.