Jaroslav Rudnyckyj

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Jaroslav Rudnyckyj
Ярослав Рудницький
Born(1910-11-18)November 18, 1910
Przemyśl, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austria-Hungary (now Poland)
DiedOctober 19, 1995(1995-10-19) (aged 84)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
OccupationAcademic, scholar, writer
LanguageUkrainian, English, German
Alma materUniversity of Lviv
SubjectLinguistics, lexicography with a specialty in etymology and onomastics
Notable worksEtymological Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language (1962–82)
Notable awardsOrder of Canada
SpouseMaryna Antonovych-Rudnycka [uk]

Jaroslav-Bohdan Antonovych Rudnyckyj[a] OC (Ukrainian: Ярослав-Богдан Антонович Рудницький, pronounced [jɐroˈslɑu̯ boɦˈdɑn rʊdˈnɪtsʲkɪj]; November 18, 1910 – October 19, 1995) was a Ukrainian-Canadian linguist and lexicographer with a specialty in etymology and onomastics, folklorist, bibliographer, travel writer, and publicist. [citation needed]


Born in Przemyśl, Habsburg Galicia, in what is today eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, he received his M.A. in Slavistics in 1934 and his Ph.D. (under Witold Taszycki) in this same field in 1937 from the University of Lviv.[citation needed] From 1938 to 1940, he was Research Associate at the Ukrainian Scientific Institute in Berlin. [citation needed] From 1941 to 1945 he was a professor at the Ukrainian Free University in Prague and he taught at the University of Heidelberg from 1945 to 1948.[citation needed]

In 1949 he emigrated to Canada where he organized and became head of the Department of Slavic Studies at the University of Manitoba.[citation needed] He stayed there until his retirement in 1976.[citation needed] With the historian, Dmytro Doroshenko and the literary scholar, Leonid Biletsky, he was a co-founder of the Canadian branch of the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences [uk] which is located in Winnipeg. He became the third president (1955–1970).[citation needed]


His books include The Ukrainian Language and Its Dialects, in Ukrainian, (1937; 5th revised ed. 1978), a German-language textbook of Ukrainian (1940; 4th ed. 1964), A Modern Ukrainian Grammar for English speakers (1949; reprinted seven times),[1] and a pioneering but incomplete English-language Etymological Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language (2 volumes in 22 fascicles, 1962–1982).[2] He also produced several smaller Ukrainian language books on the origins of various Ukrainian placenames including Galicia, Volhynia, and Ukraine.[citation needed] As well, he wrote on Canadian, especially Manitoban, placenames of Ukrainian origin. [citation needed]

During the Second World War, he published a short Ukrainian-German Dictionary which went through four editions: (1940; 1941; 1942; and 1943). [citation needed] Together with Zenon Kuzelia, he also published a much larger Ukrainian-German Dictionary (1943; reprinted 1983). (It contained over 100,000 words.)[3]

Travel writer[edit]

Among his Ukrainian language books are "Travels Across Half the World" (1955), "Travels Through America" (1956), and "Travels Through Canada" (1959?). [citation needed]


The source collection titled Ukrainian-Canadian Folklore and Dialectological Texts was published in Ukrainian in several volumes beginning in 1956. One volume appeared in English translation. [citation needed]

During the Cold War, he was concerned about the fate of the Ukrainian language under Soviet rule, and, comparing its situation with that of other languages under political pressure, noted the concept of "linguicide". [citation needed]

After his retirement from the University of Manitoba and his move to Montreal, he became active in the emigre government of the Ukrainian People's Republic which had been forced from the territory of Ukraine in 1920 by its rival Soviet government. [citation needed]


From 1963 to 1971, Rudnyckyj was a member of the Canadian Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. [citation needed] It led to the promulgation of the new policy of "Multiculturalism" by the federal government of Canada.[citation needed]

In 1992, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. [citation needed]


Rudnyckyj's bibliography, was published in four parts beginning in 1975; the last part was published in 1995 under the title J.B. Rudnyckyj: Repertorium Bibliographicum Addenda 1984–1994. [citation needed]


  1. ^ Also transliterated as Yaroslav, Rudnytskyi or Rudnytsky


  1. ^ The last (Seventh Printing) of Luckyj, G., Rudnyckyj, J. B. A modern Ukrainian grammar was in 1979, by the Ukrainian Language Association, Winnipeg, Ottawa. The 1949 (Second Printing) of the book is available in PDF format here.
  2. ^ Available online in DJVU format here.
  3. ^ Available as a pdf online here (44 MB)
  • Rudnyckyj's correspondence, including a few letters to three different Canadian Prime Ministers, comprises over 96 volumes and is stored in the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa. Some papers concerning his work on the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism are stored at Concordia University in Montreal. A significant amount of material on his academic and teaching career is held by the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, including material transferred from the National Archives.
  • Scripta Manent: A Biobibliography of J. B. Rudnyckyj (Winnipeg-Ottawa, 1975). This incomplete bibliography lists 1527 titles and contains an English language biographical sketch of Rudnyckyj by Olha Woycenko.
  • Tania Nosko-Oboroniv, Yaroslav Bohdan Rudnytskyi (n.p., 1992?). A brief biographical sketch in Ukrainian.
  • Thomas M. Prymak, "Inveterate Voyager: J.B. Rudnyckyj on Ukrainian Culture, Books, and Libraries in the West During the 'Long Cold War,'" Canadian Slavonic Papers, LI, 1 (March 2009), 53–76.
  • Thomas M. Prymak, "Two Encyclopedias: The Difference a War Made," Ukrainski visti/Ukrainian News (Edmonton), April 16–29, 2009, p. 7. An English-language article analyzing the treatment of Ukrainian Canadians in the Canadian encyclopedias published in 1936 and 1958 and the critical role of Rudnyckyj in instigating some major changes which helped to eliminate the negative ethnic bias of the 1936 article.
  • Thomas M.Prymak, "How the Ukrainians Helped Make Canada what it is Today," Ukrainian Weekly (New Jersey), no. 35, August 27, 2017, pp. 9 and 12. A brief outline of Rudnyckyj's contribution to the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and its place in the forging of official multiculturalism in Canada. Published to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Canadian confederation. Available on-line.
  • Thomas M. Prymak, “J. B. Rudnyckyj and Canada.” https://www.slideshare.net/ThomasMPrymak/j-b-rudnyckyj-and-canada?qid=3d0b3213-3158-473a-855b-c2c82b34e242&v=&b=&from_search=1

And also available at: https://www.academia.edu/38519781/J._B._Rudnyckyj_and_Canada.pdf Very brief biographical portrait, which includes a discussion of Rudnyckyj's philological interests and concentrates upon his impressions of the unique character of the Ukrainian language spoken in Canada in the 1940s and the 1950s.

  • Thomas M. Prymak, “The Royal Commission and Rudnyckyj’s Mission: The Forging of Official Multiculturalism in Canada, 1963-1971,” The University of Toronto Quarterly, LXXXVIII, 1 (2019), 43–63. Scholarly investigation of Jaroslav Rudnyckyj's participation in the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, which gave rise to the federal policy of “Multiculturalism in a Bilingual Framework.” Also treats the question of possible links between the national question in Canada and the foreign policies of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
  • "Rudnyckyj Distinguished Lecture Series". Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  • "J.B. Rudnyc'kyj fonds". Retrieved June 1, 2009.

External links[edit]