1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Ukrainian
  4. >
  5. О vs. У, Й vs. і vs. ї?


О vs. У, Й vs. і vs. ї?

Hi everyone, I would like to know the difference in the pronunciation between О та У? And Й та і та ї? Дякую

September 28, 2015



O is pronounced as "oh" (examples: молоко, фото). У is pronounced as a long o sound, kind of like "ooh" (example: друзі). Й is quite similar to the English "y" (example: дайте). І is pronounced like "eee" (example: друзі). Ї is pronounced like "yee" (Й plus І) (example: її). If a native speaker has anything to add or correct, feel free!


There is a difference between І and И. As the English approximations can be extremely inaccurate sometimes, I'll use IPA: The Ukrainian "і" is represented by /i/ in IPA, while the "и" is represented by /ɪ/ in IPA.

The "о" is also different from the у: it is /ɔ/, while "у" should be pronounced as /u/.


As other poster already pointed out И and І in Ukrainian are two different distinct letters and sounds.


О- Latin ō, like in "oh". Examples: Погано, м'ясо, що

У- Latin ū, like the o in "who". Examples: Українська, у, учитель

Й- Latin j sound (ia, iu), like the j in hallelujah. Examples: Його, український, знайти

И- Latin i sound, similar to the i in bit/fit but a small difference I can't describe. Examples: України, вони, гривня

І- Latin ī sound, like the ee in meet. Examples: Історія, дні , і

Ї- J+ī sound, like the yea in year. Examples: Історії, їти, Україна

You probably already know this but: J is the equivalent of Y in English, but in phonetics and most languages it is used for a Y (as in you) sound. Anyway, I believe that depending on what case it's in, the ї can be pronounced either j+ī (jee) or j+i (jih) but for now it is pretty much j+ī (jee).


There's no їти in Ukrainian. It's either йти (to go) or їсти (to eat) ;)


Very good explanation !

Learn Ukrainian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.