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A problem in learning Ukrainian after learning Russian

Hi all, anybody's learning Ukrainian after Russian here? I have been learning Russian for about a year and just finished Russian tree in 40 days streak (I think it's too long). I just now started learning Ukrainian for fun and hobby. Well, the main problem I feel here is difficult to memorize the words as many words are similiar but different spelling. Anybody has the same problem with me and how to solve it? Thanks

January 21, 2016



Just keep on. I finished the Ukrainian tree a few months before we released the Russian course—and I can assure you that it took me a week or to to get accustomed to letters corresponding to different sounds.

Still, if you memorize the sound/spelling mapping (which is different), and make yourself keep reading aloud every single sentence thrown at you—it will become less and less of a problem over time. The most important part, I think, is to nail the pronunciation of the most basic words so you get it right every time.

You can also try this post. The formatting has broken, unfortunately. It sure will take some time to fix the vocabulary list...


Спасибо вам большое, все ясно.


I am still learning russian, but I believe that I go to find the same problems.


I like that the Russian tree is long - it gives a way better grounding than some of the trees do. It was excellent revision.

My best suggestion is that maybe you need to consolidate your Russian first?? If you're having that much confusion, then I'd say your Russian maybe needs to be better entrenched. (I started the Ukrainian tree here as soon as it was released, and was very cautious at first because I was worried it might mess up my out-of-practice Russian.)


Thank you, yeah I have been doing your suggestion until now, keep practicing everyday here in Duolingo as well as keep in touch with Russian speaking tourists in Bali. Russian is my priority since there's no any problems when I am talking with Ukrainian in Russian. I learn Ukrainian just for fun and suprising my Ukrainian friends)


I think if your priority is Russian, then yep, I'd totally focus on that until you feel really secure... and maybe get a really good phrase book for Ukrainian and maybe just learn a few phrases to surprise your friends? Or wait and then learn it more thoroughly later?

I'm kind of hoping we'll eventually get Ukrainian for Russian speakers, it feels like it would be a more natural way to learn Ukrainian even for non-native speakers of Russian, as long as they're sufficiently fluent, so we'd see more of the similarities and differences in context. Maybe one day!


I am very confident to have a conversation in Russian already since I am working with many Russian tourists here. Yeah a good Ukrainian phrases book would be helpful, not just a few phrases. Do you have any recommendations for that kind of book or some useful links?

И еще у вас была такая же проблема как у меня когда начали научить украинскии после русского? И как вы решили эту проблему?


Please excuse me for answering entirely in English - to say I'm tired tonight would be a massive understatement.

I don't mean confidence in that sense so much as the language being really deeply entrenched in your memory. I think as much as anything that's a time and practice thing. If you feel that your Russian is being negatively affected by your study of Ukrainian, that seems to suggest that you need more time solely (or at least mostly) on Russian before you study such a closely related language, do you see what I mean?

My Russian is still very far from perfect - ask anyone I've attempted to talk to in Russian here 8-o - but it's been in my head a long time.

I started the Ukrainian tree here the day it came out, at which point I hadn't regularly spoken or written Russian in years. I'd done some of the German and English for Russian speakers trees here on Duolingo, but that was all.

I honestly wasn't sure if it was a good idea or not to stick my toe into Ukrainian. I proceeded really gingerly at first, because I knew how close the two languages are and I was really worried that my Russian wasn't 'strong' enough and would be messed up by me studying Ukrainian.

I only got seriously stuck in when I discovered that if anything, the reverse was true; because Ukrainian has so many similarities with Russian, the Ukrainian tree was actually reminding me of things I once knew with regard to Russian, and the bits that were different didn't bother me or displace my Russian.

In the end, the similarities made the Ukrainian tree really fun for me; I completed it in five days, and at the end of it I felt I remembered more Russian, not less. Little bits and pieces that I'd forgotten I knew came back to me, and my biggest problem was that a lot of the time, I felt like I wanted to translate the Ukrainian to Russian, not English!

(When it came to Polish - that was a lot harder in many ways, because it's that much further removed from Russian. I wasn't worried any more about confusion between it and other Slavic languages, though, because I knew from experience my Russian wasn't going to go anywhere! ;))

That is by no means because I'm a linguistic genius... I'm reeeeally not! It was purely because my Russian, while horribly out of practice, was 1) all basically still there somewhere and 2) had once been at a really high level.

I don't think your Russian is somehow lacking because you're struggling to learn Ukrainian, I just think maybe it's too new, as yet, for you to comfortably be studying two very closely related but definitely different languages. Maybe it's something to try on a regular basis: go back to the Ukrainian tree and see if it still seems like it's going to confuse you. I'm sure at some point, it'll click in a way where its similarity to Russian will be a bonus without the differences being a headache, do you see what I mean?

I mean, these are just my experiences, and yours will certainly be different. It also sounds like you're getting a lot of practice speaking Russian, which in my experience helps a lot. But yeah, I'd say if you are finding that Ukrainian is confusing or difficult or is interfering with Russian, then ditch Ukrainian for a while/maybe just study it a little/study some basic phrases rather than attempting to learn the language as a serious study. Ukrainian isn't going anywhere ;) :D

That's my best suggestion, anyway. I don't know how helpful this is - I hope at least a little. And apologies if I have made less sense than I meant to at any point, I really can't overemphasise how exhausted I am this week. But I wish you all the best :) Удачи!


Thank you Sarah, I really respect you writing a quite long suggestion even when you are tired. Some of your suggestions are useful. My problem has been answered already by Igor / Shady_arc, I feel that my russian is strong enough and I will keep going on until getting used to it.


:) I hope you have fun with it! And yeah, Igor's thread on Ukrainian for Russian speakers was v useful :D


Hi, if you need some help with Ukrainian, I try to help. It is my native language. :)


А русский тоже говорите? Ну помощь конечно мне нужна)


И по русски говорю.

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