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Ukrainian (українська мова [ukrɑˈjiɲsʲkɐ ˈmɔwɐ]) is an East Slavic language closely related to Russian, Belarusian and Rusyn. It is the official language of Ukraine, and the common language of most Ukrainians. It is also one of the three official language of the largely unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, commonly known as Transnistria. Ukrainian is written in the Cyrillic script.

A large Ukrainian minority lives in Russia and Moldova. Large diaspora communities also live in the U.S. and Canada as well as Portugal(around 60.000).
Ukie

Ukrainian speaking world. Red: several millions; Pink: several thousands

History Edit

Origin Edit

The origin of the Ukrainian language is still highly debated among scholars. But we can be sure about some aspects of its development. We know that at least from the 11 century, the language used in Novgorod differed from the Kyiv. We have by the 16 century direct written evidence of the Ukrainian language, on a dictionary named "Лексис".

Past that in the 18 century, we have the first entirely written Modern Ukrainian literary work in history, it is called "Енеїда", a burlesque poem made by Ivan Kotlyarevsky in 1798.

Later Period Edit

Later on in the Russian Empire, Ukrainian was called "Малорусскій"(Little Russian); and according to the Russian Empire 1897 Census, Ukrainian was the predominant language on what is today the entirety of Ukraine, although only 32.5% of the urban population claimed Ukrainian as their native language.

Ukrainian in Russian Empire 1897

Ukrainian speaking population of the Russian Empire, according to its 1897 census.

Soviet Period Edit

Writing system Edit

The Ukrainian language uses a modified version of the Cyrillic Alphabet. Speakers of Russian are familiar with most of the letters, but some being unique to Ukrainian.

Letter Romanization Equivalents
А а a /ɑ/ A in "Arm"
Б б b /b/ B in "Bat"
В в v /ʋ~w/ V in "Vegas"
Г г h /ɦ/ A more "breathy voiced" version of the H in "Head"
Ґ ґ g /g/ G in "Gun"
Д д d /d/ D in "Dad"
Е е e /ɛ/ EA in "Peasant"
Є є ye /jɛ/ or /ʲɛ/ YE in "Yeah"
Ж ж zh /ʒ/ S in "Pleasure"
З з z /z/ Z in "Zambia"
И и y /ɪ/ I in "Sit"
І і i /i/, /ʲi/ EA in "Eagle"
Ї ї yi /ji/ Same as Є but ending in the previous sound (EA in "Eagle) instead of the EA in "Peasant"
Й й y /j/ Same as Ї but only the first part
К к k /k/ C in "Cat"
М м m /m/ M in "Mom"
Н н n /n/ N in "Nice"
О о o /ɔ/ O in "Mother"
П п p /r/ P in "Party"
Р р r /r/ There's no equivalent to this sound in English, but it's the same as the R in "Arame" in Portuguese.
С с s /s/ S in "Stop"
Т т t /t/ T in "Top"
У у u /u/ O in "Move"
Ф ф f /f/ F in "Fabric"
Х х kh /x/ There's no equivalent to this sound in English, but it's the same as the R in "Merci" in French.
Ц ц ts /t͡s/ TS in "Tsunami" (remember to pronounce both the T and the S, not only the S)
Ч ч ch /t͡ʃ/ TCH in "Atchoo"
Ш ш sh /ʃ/ S in "Mansion"
Щ щ shch /ʃt͡ʃ/ There's no equivalent to this sound in English, but it's a mixture of the Ш and Ч sounds.
Ь ь (soft sign), ʼ /◌ʲ/ This letter is not pronounced, but indicates that the previous letter is "softened"
Ю ю yu /ju/ YU as in "Yugoslavia"
Я я ya /jɑ/ YA as in "Yandhi"
' apostrophe; not a letter

Features Edit

General Characteristics Edit

Similar to its sister languages, Ukrainian is a highly inflected synthetic language. It has 7 grammatical cases: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Instrumental, Locative and the Vocative. The Vocative being underused by some people, but recently has been getting fairly more popular around some groups of people.

All words in Ukrainian are gendered in one of the three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. To know the gender of a word you can just look at the end of the word. Masculine nouns in general end in ь, й or a consonant, feminine ones end in а or я, and neuter ones end in е, о and some verb derived nouns ending in я(You can easily know that it is neuter just looking at the end of the word, if the preceding consonant is doubled or not, ex: Дослідження, research; neutral). All genders have their declensions for each specific grammatical case. Declining nouns for cases depends on 2 factors:

  • The gender of the noun
  • If it ends on a soft(ь, й, я, і) or a hard sound(и, о, е, а, consonants)

Let's see the declensions for the masculine noun чоловік(man):

Single

Plural

Nominative Чоловік Чоловіки
Genitive(1) Чоловіка Чоловіків
Dative Чоловікові, Чоловіку Чоловікам
Accusative(2) Чоловіка Чоловіків
Instrumental Чоловіком Чоловіками
Locative на/у чоловіку, чоловікові на/у чоловіках
Vocative Чоловіче Чоловіки
  • (1) The ending -а for the Genitive case in masculine nouns is only used for living beings, inanimate masculines nouns in the Genitive case take -у(hard ending) or -ю(soft ending)
  • (2) The Accusative case for inanimate nouns is the same as the nominative

Now the declension of a feminine noun such as собака(dog):

Singular Plural
Nominative Собака Собаки
Genitive Собаки Собак
Dative Собаці(1) Собакам
Accusative Собаку Собак
Instrumental Собакою Собаками
Locative на/у собаці на/у собаках
Vocative Собако Собаки
  • (1) In Ukrainian some sound changes are quite common in some cases, it is common for declensions in nouns that end in к, and in the declension it adds -і(a soft vowel), the к becomes a ц.

For the neuter declension we will use the noun місто(city):

Single Plural
Nominative Місто Міста
Genitive Міста Міст
Dative Місту Містам
Accusative Місто Міста
Instrumental Містом Містами
Locative на/у місті на/у містах
Vocative Місто Міста

Resources Edit

General Resources Edit

General Resources

Ukrainian has a decent amount of general resources.

Resource Duolingo Lingvist Clozemaster Memrise Lingodeer JW Languages
Available Yes No Yes Yes No ?
Resource Lingq Assimil Michel Thomas Pimsleur Rosetta Stone Language Transfer
Available Yes Yes No Yes No No

Pimsleur Edit

  • Ukrainian has 1 unit, with 30 total lessons.

YouTube channels Edit

Dictionaries and Pronunciation Guide Edit

  • Словник.ua - It is your best bet if you want a complete, and useful dictionary, although it is in Ukrainian, and the language used can be quite hard to understand for beginners.
  • Cybermova - They have English-Ukrainian and Ukrainian-English dictionaries, they can be very useful, but sometimes the descriptions can be severally lacking information
  • Словники України - An amazing dictionary, which shows all the declensions of each word, and also shows where the stress falls in the word, amazing for bettering pronunciation.

Other Edit

  • Гуртом - A simply amazing website, where you can download films, serials, documentaries and more all in Ukrainian.
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