— Mr Matenko, you’re director of a publishing
company in Kiev, aren’t you?
— That’s right. We specialize in fiction and
— And do many women work in your company?
— Oh yes, quite a few. Many women work in the
publishing business. We’ve got women editors, proof-readers, and even heads of
— Does your wife also work in publishing, Mr
— Well, no. She’s a doctor, a pediatrician.
She usually works in our local hospital, but she isn’t working at the moment.
Our baby’s only 3 months old.
— Oh, you’ve got a baby. Is it a boy or a
— A girl. Her name’s Natasha.
— What a lovely name! Have you been married
— Oh, quite a few years. We go back a long
way. My wife and I went to the same school. When we were in the 10th form, we
decided to get married.
— How romantic! Did you get married right
after leaving school?
— Yes, and we invited all our college friends
to our wedding reception. We had a great party!
— How interesting! Tell me about your wedding.
— Oh, it was just a typical wedding. It was a
civil ceremony. It took place in a registry office. It was beautiful! Our
relatives and friends congratulated us and gave us presents. Oh, and we drank
some champagne. Then we held the wedding reception.
— And drank some more champagne?
— Yes, indeed. We drank a lot of champagne and
then we left on our honeymoon.
— Where did you go?
— Well, we didn’t go anywhere, I’m afraid. My
wife and I were both students when we got married. We held our reception in the
student's hostel. But we spent our honeymoon in a hotel in Kiev.
— Where do you live now? Have you got a flat
in the centre of the city?
— Yes, we live in Shevchenko street. It’s ten
minute walk to Kreschatik, the main street of Kiev.
— Do you like Kiev?
— Oh yes — naturally. After all, it’s my home town.
— And what’s your native language?
— It’s Ukrainian. But also I speak Russian. I
learnt it at school.
— Ah, so you’re bilingual, are you?
— More than that! Eugene speaks Czech, Polish,
French and Spanish, to say nothing of English!
— Good grief! You’re a real polyglot! How did
you learn so many languages?
— Well, I often go abroad on business trips.
For example, a few years ago I regularly went to the Czech Republic so I had
the opportunity to speak Czech. And I learnt to speak it quite well.
— What about your French and Spanish?
— Well, I went to the evening classes at a
language institute. I enjoyed the classes a lot. I have a gift for languages.
— You certainly have. Does your wife speak any
— Oh yes. She studied English at the medical
institute. She speaks it quite well. Then, 3 years ago, we went to Poland as
tourists. She decided to learn Polish, and I decided to keep her company. After
all, I didn’t want to lag behind her! Now I’m brushing up my English.
— That’s incredible. You’re very talented.
— Oh, you’re flattering me. As they say,
"Where there’s a will, there’s a way".
— I tried to learn some Russian before I came
here. But it’s a very difficult language, and I didn’t learn very much.
— Ah well, to master a foreign language, you
have to practise, practise, practise. You have to have free time, and to love
the language you’re studying. Most of all, you have to speak it regularly.
— That’s true. I’m afraid I never have enough
— Ah, it’s the same old story, isn’t it?
Everybody wants to learn foreign languages, but few people really master them.
Do you get many opportunities to use your languages, Mr Matenko? Do you travel
— Oh, I’m a tourist at heart, but I’m afraid I
don’t travel very much now. I’m always too busy. Like you, Judy, I never have
enough time. But I enjoy travelling whenever there is an opportunity.