https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

A Russian learner's guide to the Ukrainian course

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It was easy to notice that many people took interest in the Ukrainian tree. The Russian course is still under construction—even if they only were interested in Russian initially, the temptation is all too high! Why not do it right, then? :)

I cannot recommend for or against it with confidence. The languages are quite similar, so you might get confused if you tackle both at the same time. On the other hand, knowing one of them IS going to help you with the other, and the experience reading Cyrillics won't hurt (even though some letters are mapped onto different sounds). Reading is a skill that also requires quite a bit of knowledge. To top that, many words that you had no ideas about, will already have some imprint in your brain that will make learning a similar word easier. So both decisions make some sort of sense.

I definitely recommed taking the other course upon finishing one of them. It is likely to improve your comprehension for both. Quite often, the words that mean the same are different but both kind of "exist" in both languages. For example, the Ukrainian translation of a Russian word might look like its synonym, like a somewhat related concept or, well, it might be a false friend. Besides, the Ukrainian course has a different structure; it is more diverse in some things, or gives vocabulary in different order.

I compiled a short guide to the major differences between the languages you are going to encounter early on. You may read it all at once if you are good or you may read it piece by piece as you move through the tree.

Pronunciation

Here are the approximate basics of what corresponds to what:

UKRAINIAN → RUSSIAN

  • і [i] → и [i]
  • и [ɪ] ≃ ы [ɨ],[ɪ] (only an approximate match)
  • ї → йи
  • е ≃ э
  • є ≃ е
  • г [ɦ], [ɣ] → voiced х [ɣ]
  • ч ≃ тш
  • щ (шч) ≃ шч

And now, really, let's be honest—Ukrainian sounds are different from the Russian ones. Here is a brief overview of both spelling conventions and pronunciation differences:

  • і corresponds to Russian «и» (the vowel sound in meet)
  • и is about halfway between Russian «и» and «ы», with a hint of «э» (so it is something like "i" in "tit")
  • е is something like Russian «э», only usually more open (like in "этот")
  • є stands for what would be «е» in Russian.
  • ї stands for Russian «йи» sound combination, and often appears where Russian spells unstressed «е»
  • unstressed А and О are audibly different, like in northern Russian dialects. Unstressed О may move towards У in some environments (when an adjacent syllable has «о» or «у»)
  • unstressed И and Е are somewhat different, though it is less audible and the difference may disappear.
  • unstressed Я does not reduce to "ї" (йи), unlike in Russian (where it does)

Consonants:

  • г is not a "g" in "go" but a voiced counterpart of English "h" or Russian «х»—I've heard, it depends on the speaker.
  • ч is not "palatalized" (sounds like т+ш). Щ means ш+ч, unlike Russian
  • ц can be both palatalised and non-palatalised, unlike Russian «ц» (always non-palalalized)
  • дз/dz/, the voiced counterpart of «ц»/ts/ is a real sound in its right. Same with дж (the voiced counterpart of «ч»)
  • an apostrophe is used instead of Russian «ъ»
  • voicing/devoicing of adjacent consonants is more limited than in Russian

Labial consonants (like Б) are never fully palatalized in Ukrainian.

AFAIK, palatalized т / д never get a hint of [ц] / [дз]. In Russian such alteration happens for some speakers, both average natives and professional voice talents. It is considered a normal variation in Russian, unless you truly slide into ц and дз.

The intonation in Ukrainian is also different from what you'd expect from a Russian speaker reading the same sentence. Mind you, Russian intonation may also show some variety in certain regions. I am just telling that the intonation in the standard language is different.

Some vocabulary

UK {@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;font-weight:bold; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #00BFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} RU {@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #00BFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} UK {@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal;font-weight:bold; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #00BFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} RU {@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #00BFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

Так{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Да{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Ні{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Нет{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

Приві́т{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Приве́т{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Будь ла́ска{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Пожа́луйста{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

Дя́кую!{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Спаси́бо!{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} До́брий ра́нок{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} До́брое у́тро{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

і, й, та{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} и{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} або́, чи{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} и́ли{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

це{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} э́то{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} цей, ця, ці{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} э́тот, э́та, э́ти{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

він{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} он{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} вона́, вони́{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} она́, они́{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} що{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} что{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} де{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} где{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

але́{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} но{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} з{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} с{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

та́то{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} па́па{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} дя́дько{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} дя́дя{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} ті́тка{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} тётя{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} діду́сь{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} де́душка{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

бабу́ся{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} ба́бушка{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} ма́ти{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} мать{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

люди́на{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} челове́к{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} дружи́на{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} жена́{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} годи́на{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} час{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} мі́сяць{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} ме́сяц{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

рік{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} год{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} ро́ків{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} лет{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

{@style=clear:both;}

У ме́не є{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} У меня́ есть{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Мене́ зва́ти{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Меня́ зову́т{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} У ме́не нема́є{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} У меня́ нет{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Я їм{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Я ем{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

до́бре{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} хорошо́{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} пога́но{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} пло́хо{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

кіт, кі́шка{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} кот, ко́шка{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} ми́ша{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} мышь{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

птах{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} пти́ца{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} кінь{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} ло́шадь, конь{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

ведмі́дь{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} медве́дь{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} твари́на{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} живо́тное{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} мі́сто{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} го́род{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} мі́сце{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} ме́сто{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

{@style=clear:both;}

ї́жа{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} еда́{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} смачни́й{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} вку́сный{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

я́блуко{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} я́блоко{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} я́блука{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} я́блоки{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

хліб{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} хлеб{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} карто́пля{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} карто́шка{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

ка́ва{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} ко́фе{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} цу́кор{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} са́хар{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

ковбаса́{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} колбаса́{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} сіль{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} соль{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

сніда́нок{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} за́втрак{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} {@style=float:left;width:4%; border-style:none; padding:6px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #FFFFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} вече́ря{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} у́жин{@style=float:left;width:24%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px;font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

{@style=clear:both;}

VERBS

Past Tense

Masculine forms in Ukranian have , in Russian they have :

  • Він спав = Он спал.
  • Мій та́то був там. = Мой па́па был там.

Present tense

Non-past conjugation in Ukrainian an Russian follows the same general pattern. A notable difference can be found in the "we"-form and in the 3rd person singular of the Е-conjugation:

  • Ми йде́мо = Мы идём.
  • Вона́ хо́че = Она́ хо́чет.

Anyway, dropping final vowels or consonants is pretty natural in the evolution of languages, so such little differences in the endings should not surprise you.

"to have"

The verb «име́ть» (to have) in Russian is by a long shot a non-idiomatic way to express possession. It is largely avoided in favor of «у кого́-то есть ...», except in set expressions and official style. However, its Ukrainian twin «ма́ти» is a perfectly fine verb to use.

You can also use the Ukrainian verb to express "someone has to do something", just like in English. Russian «име́ть» does not have this meaning. Instead, you should use the predicative word «до́лжен» («должна́», «должно́», «должны»; a form of the verbs «быть» is required in past and future).

Adjectives

Masculine forms will look similar, but Ukrainian forms for other genders in Nominative will look more similar to Russian short adjectives:

  • си́ній ко́лір = си́ний цвет
  • си́ня соро́чка = си́няя руба́шка
  • си́нє крісло = си́нее кре́сло
  • си́ні шкарпе́тки = си́ние носки́

Numbers

The Russian pronunciation of 70 and 80 differs from the Ukrainian one, reflecting an older accent logic:

  • сімдеся́т = се́мьдесят
  • вісімдеся́т = во́семьдесят

Usage of nouns with numbers 2,3,4 in Nominative is different in Ukrainian and Russian. About a thousand years ago, Slavic languages used to have Dual number, which was used with "two". Nominative plural was used with "three" and "four", while larger numbers were nouns, so they used Genitive Plural (a bucket of apples, a five of apples, a six of apples).

When Dual was decaying, falling out of use and people's memory, the pattern for 2,3,4 was replaced by a uniform one. However, different Slavic languages resolved the loss of Dual in a different manner (except those few that retained it):

  • Ukrainian uses Nominative plural: два студе́нти, три студе́нти
  • Russian uses Genitive singular: два студе́нта, три студе́нта

Miscellaneous

Speak Ukrainian, please!

Russian and Ukranian differ in how they treat speaking some language. Both start from the adjective meaning a certain language/region. Then Ukrainian uses its Instrumental form whereas Russian builds "manner of action" adverbs—or uses «на» + Prepositional:

  • Ukranian: Я говорю́ францу́зькою.
  • Russian: Я говорю́ по-францу́зски / на францу́зском

Note that Ukrainian uses the feminine form and Russian (на францу́зском, на украи́нском, на ру́сском) uses the masculine one. This is, of course, just a consequence of words for "language" being different («мо́ва» vs. «язы́к»)

Russian adverbs like «по-ру́сски» mean manner of action ("Russian way") while «на русском» means that some "content" is in some language. This means that Russian-style tea might be "чай по-ру́сски" while a magazine printed in Russian can only be "журна́л на ру́сском".

росі́йський / ру́сский

You may also notice that the «-ск» suffix does not have a soft sign in Russian (but it has a palatalized K there: remember that Russian and Ukrainian spell different sounds with "и"). The Ukrainian suffix is «-ськ»

by bus

Somewhat similar to languages, travelling by vehicles might be expressed differently. Russian typically uses "на" while Ukrainian prefers Instrumental. For example, let's say ""by plane" or "by train":

  • Ukrainian: літа́ком, по́їздом
  • Russian: на самолёте, на по́езде.

Using Instrumental here is possible in Russian, too, but is not the most idiomatic way (at least, these days).

-ировать

Russian has a lot of verbs of foreign origin that end in -ировать. Ukrainian generally does not use the «-ир» suffix and prefers -увати:

  • аналізува́ти = анализи́ровать
  • фотографува́ти = фотографи́ровать

On a brighter note, both Russian and Ukrainian drop -ва in Present conjugation (in Russian it works for verbs ending in «-овать»/«-евать»):

  • Я фотографу́ю = Я фотографи́рую
  • Я малю́ю = Я рису́ю (малюва́ти/рисова́ть is "to draw, to paint")
September 4, 2015

41 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/buenotc
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Yes, I recognized your picture. I probably check the Russian page too much :). I avoided the temptation Of Ukrainian and restarted the french course I had abandoned. I started the Russian course on memrise and its not too difficult. I'm 99.9% mobile app. How long will it take from beta to app?

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/motorman97
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Thanks for mentioning that memrise app. I am currently studying Russian in school (college) and it seems like a big help. I also like the variety offered there that I'm sure will make its way to duolingo eventually.

September 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/EoghanBostock

I think beta goes straight to the app. At least it is with Esperanto...

September 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/cdub4language
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Esperanto didn't go immediately to the app, but it was there within a couple of weeks. Release time may also vary depending on the device (Android, IOS, etc.)

September 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/EoghanBostock

Sorry, I thought that it went on the app when it starts beta, but I probably should'nt be the one talking because I only started Esperanto quite recently. Dankon!

September 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/savourtardis
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Ukrainian didn't go straight to the app after being released on the web. I don't think Esperanto did either, but I think it got there very quickly.

September 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/maxwellkg7
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They need to drop under a certain number of error reports per hundred users to go to the app. I think its 6.5, but I could be wrong.

September 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/efisgpr
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I think it's 3 per 100 users, for 2 weeks straight.

September 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/maxwellkg7
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I thought that was for it to leave beta

September 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/UkraineMax
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Dude, great job! Thank you so much! I'm an american living in Ukraine. I am semi fluent in Russian and eventually want to tackle Ukrainian. I appreciate this short guide. Hope to see the Russian tree soon ))

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Michal_90
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Great job, I wouldn't do it better. I know both languages and know the differences, but the problem is that I'm not a philologist, so I can't explain them properly.

I would just add that if you learn one language and then the other (but this is not only the case of combination of Russian/Ukrainian, but basically all slavic languages) you won't have to learn some important parts of grammar. Of course there are different endings in conjugation in different slavic languages, but the meaning of specific cases follows the same pattern in all slavic languages (as far as I know except Bulgarian). The only difference is that unlike Russian some languages (including Ukrainian) have vocative case, but this one isn't particularly difficult. The same applies to e.g. verb aspects. Once you learn them in one slavic language it'll be much easier to understand them in some other.

And just one comment to your summary of differeces between Russian and Ukrainian. You're not completely right in the part about languages, because in Ukrainian there are actually two ways how to say "I speak French". Both Я говорю французькою and Я говорю по-французьки are perfectly correct and it's up to you what fits you.

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Kiryo
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Yes, you can use both these forms, but it depends on the meaning you want to convey: "по-французьки" means "in a French manner", "à la française", whereas "французькою" means "in French". This is the correct Ukrainian usage.

September 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
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Hm. So, with speaking verbs you can use both? What about "на фрацузькій"? Do you use it?

September 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Kiryo
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No, not really with speaking verbs. But you can still use it in the literal meaning, like на французькій мові базується практично вся освіта.

September 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
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What about books in French or some other language? In Russian it would be «Этот учебник был написан на немецком в 80-х годах XX века. На русском он издаётся впервые.»

I suspect that a Ukrainian sentence would be identical in structure but would use "німецькою" and "російською". Or... are there other options?

September 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Kiryo
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A good question. But it will be «Цей підручник було написано німецькою у 80-х роках ХХ століття. Російською він видається вперше.» ;)

September 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
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Great post, I'll have to refer to this when people ask me how similar they are! Дуже дякую, вольшое спасибо :) It's really interesting to see it laid out this way. I hope eventually there will be a Russian -> Ukrainian course, which I think could be useful for Russian speakers in Ukraine, and also, from a selfish POV, I feel like any russophones like me for whom Russian is a second (or third or...) language as opposed to native would actually find it incredibly helpful to compare the languages directly and learn Ukrainian via Russian. I can't count the number of times I went to translate the Ukrainian into Russian instead of English because it felt 100% more natural, and I'd love to have big and small differences really bashed into my head by seeing them side by side how they'd be in a Russian -> Ukrainian course.

September 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/lenvm
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I completely agree with this - it makes sense for me to learn a third language through a second whenever possible. For that reason I've been holding off on doing Dutch after completing German, because I think that I'd learn more from a German --> Dutch course. I'm having the same reservations about Portuguese after doing Spanish, though that course is available.

October 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
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It'll be very cool when we have more courses between these languages. I can understand the priority of teaching people English, clearly it's the vital mission of Duolingo, but I'll be really excited to see more languages being taught not from English, for selfish reasons! (Though there are good selfless reasons, too :))

October 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/NerysGhemor

What really struck me about the sound of Ukrainian and what I see of some of its vocabulary is how strongly it reminds me of Polish. Not exactly, by any means, but there seems to be a resemblance, far stronger than there is between Russian and Polish.

Here's a fun place to hear the difference: the Catdog theme in English, Ukrainian, and Russian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ef3hLIrIB24

And now in Polish: https://youtu.be/VF1JzVaDKo8?t=8m37s

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/cherub721
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Thank you! I'd been hoping someone would do something like this. I plan to revisit the Ukranian tree after completing the Russian one.

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AneurinEE
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This looks incredibly helpful, thank you for taking the time to do such a comprehensive post.

September 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Parubok
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Ще кілька хибних наголосів:
а́бо, треба - або́
"У мене́ є", треба - У ме́не є
"У мене́ нема́є", треба - У ме́не нема́є. Але "Мене́ зва́ти" - правильно.

Якщо у вас є час і бажання, додайте, будь ласка, ще про правило милозвучності. От, наприклад, ніхто не каже "Ми іде́мо", правильно буде - Ми йдемо́.

Також не зайвим буде згадати про Кличний відмінок.

Велике дякую за цей ґайд, ніколи ще не зустрічав настільки опрацьованого та ґрунтовного посібника!

October 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
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Дякую! В українському курсі кличного відмінка немає, тому я не став про нього писати. Це не посібник з української мови, а лише вказівки по українському курсу на Duolingo. Сам я українську майже не знаю... Якщо я почну писати про річі, в яких нічого не розумію, буде ще більше помилок.

October 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AntonSherstiuk
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Насправді дуже гарний вийшов посібник, усе чітко та зрозуміло. Ваша українська, до речі, є дуже добра, майже без помилок! Лише дрібничка: "речі", тут чергування "е"-"і") Ви опановували українську через англомовний курс у duolingo?

November 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarmady
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The link on the incubator page is wrong. Please correct the link.

And I prefer to wait a bit more and learn Russian.

September 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Parubok
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а́ле? Наголос має бути на "е" - але́ ))

October 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/frankk1m
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The exact pronunciation of "и" is a little thorny from what I have gathered from a lot of googling on Ukrainian phonetics and phonology. Apparently, the distinction between "и" and "e" is murky in unstressed vowels -- I don't know about the specific phonetic details of how these are realised in such environments, though. It may be that there is a full merger, maybe not, probably also varies by region.

However, this much seems clear: In stressed syllables, "e" is the low-mid front [ɛ], whereas "и" seems to have three main possible realisations -- it can be pronounced [ɨ] in more Russian-influenced speech, although this is proscribed, or, more natively, [ɪ] or [e].

Certainly, it is interesting to see how Russian has influenced the Ukrainian of certain speakers, although features stemming from this linguistic contact seem to be proscribed by grammarians due to political realities.

October 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/futureholder
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Great post! Thanks

September 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/captainvest

"г is not a "g" in "go" but a voiced counterpart of English "h" or Russian «х»—I've heard, it depends on the speaker."

It does depend on the speaker, but [g] is definitely considered standard.

EDIT: Totally misread this. For some reason I thought he was talking about Russian here instead of Ukrainian, which makes a whole lot more sense. Nevermind.

September 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/greg.mort
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He is talking about Ukrainian "Г" there

September 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/captainvest

Oops, you're right. Thanks for the heads up.

September 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mizail
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Дуже гарний пост. ;) У слові "смачний" наголос на "и":

"сма́чний" звучить як російське слово ;)

Наприклад:

  • сма́чно "Дякую. Все було дуже сма́чно."
  • смачни́й, смачна́, смачне́ "Дякую. Борщ був дуже смачни́й". "Вона дала йому смачно́го ляпаса"
October 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
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Fixed.

October 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/frogger2013
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Спаси́бо!

September 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheLangGeek

Danke schön für das! I'll take this into consideration if I ever want to tackle both languages. For now, i'm just going to wait for Russian to be hatched!

September 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/frogger2013
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Is it just me, or did the Russian incubator progress bar go backwards in the last few days? From 99% to 98%?

October 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
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It's gone back and forth several times; I seem to remember it happening with other courses, too. I believe at least one more skill has been added, but I'm guessing other factors might be involved - I'm sure I've seen it moving back and forth on courses where the contributors weren't fiddling.

October 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/nickd717
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Thanks for the awesome post! You guys have been hovering around the 98%/99% level forever now and I hope you can push it over the line soon! I also gave into the temptation to start on Ukrainian when the wait for Russian was starting to seem like an eternity. This helps a lot.

October 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
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We you expecting the course to go 101%, then 102% and move on from there? It is natural that the percentage is going to be about 99% until everything is finished.

October 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/nickd717
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Haha I was just hoping for 100% so I can get started learning! I appreciate your effort.

October 26, 2015
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