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Ukrainian Alphabet [UK. GRAMMAR PORTAL]

Вітаю!

Ukrainian is an East Slavic language spoken primarily in Western Ukraine and Central Ukraine by 40 million people making it the third most spoken Slavic language by number of native speakers in the world!

Alphabet

Ukrainian is written in a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet (like Russian, Serbian, etc.). It consists of 33 letters some of which are similar to the Latin ones. Below is all 23 consonants and 10 vowels following this template:

  • Uppercase Lowercase - Letter Name - Closest English Equivalent

УКРАЇНСЬКА АБЕТКА

  • А а - ah - Cat
  • Б б - beh - Book
  • В в - weh/veh - Vet/When*
  • Г г - heh - How
  • Ґ ґ - geh - Gate
  • Д д - deh - Door
  • Е е - eh - Red
  • Є є - yeh - Yes
  • Ж ж - zheh - Measure
  • З з - zeh - Zoo
  • И и - ih - PIt (but longer)
  • І і - ee - Meet
  • Ї ї - yih - Year (but longer
  • Й й - yot - Yes
  • К к - kah - Couch
  • Л л - el - Loose
  • М м - em - Moose
  • Н н - en - No
  • О о - oh - Goat
  • П п - peh - Put
  • Р р - er - Like the thrilled r in Spanish or Italian
  • С с - es - Soon
  • Т т -te - Take
  • У у - oo - Do
  • Ф ф - ef - Forget
  • Х х - kha - ch in the Scottisch "loch"
  • Ц ц - tse - Cats
  • Ч ч - cheh - Chase
  • Ш ш - shah - Shy
  • Щ щ - shcha - Strong/Fish ch*urch
  • ь -myakih znak (м’який знак) - Softens the previous consonant (more below)
  • Ю ю - yoo - You
  • Я я - yah - Yard
  • ' - apostrof (апостроф) - Strengthens the following vowel (more below)

В can be pronounced the initial sound at the start of when or in vet* but most people ignore this rule and pronounce it like a V. It is usually pronounced the W at the start of a word, before of a consonant or at the end of a word.

М’який знак

The м’який знак (ь) makes some consonants sound softer, as if there was a y sound before it (even though there isn't). So below will be a pronunciation exercise to help you learn the difference. But first, here is the list of consonants that have a different sound after the м’який знак.

  • Нн
  • Тт
  • Дд
  • Цц
  • Дз дз (pronounced like Meds, not a letter but still has a unique sound)
  • Сс
  • Зз
  • Лл
  • Рр

Pronuncation Exercise

Try saying these phonetic English sounds and compare the way your tongue goes in each one. (Note the r is a thrill like Spanish unlike English). Also, try to pronounce them as one syllable, if you don't know how; Put your thumb on your chin and try to make your your chin only goes down once.

  • Nah - Nyah
  • Tah - Tyah
  • Dah - Dyah
  • Tsah - Tsyah
  • Dzah - Dzyah
  • Sah - Syah
  • Zah - Zyah
  • Lah - Lyah
  • Rah - Ryah

The first one is how you pronounce the initial sound followed by -а (на), the second (minus the -ah) is what it sounds like after м’який знак (нь)

Апостроф

The апосроф' (apostrophe), emphasises/stresses the vowel after it and stops softing of consonants (like the acute á accent in Spanish and the hard sign in Russian combined). Here are some examples:

М'ясо (meat) - pronounced: mYAHsoh Комп'ютер (computer) - pronounced: komPYOOter

Video

This video shows the pronunciation and examples for all 33 letters.

Introduction To Ukrainian Grammar

The Grammar Portal

The Language Portal

September 10, 2016

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FrancescoBellati

Very clear and accurate post!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alan2k02

Thanks for the post !!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BhabaniPrasad

very very helpfull and thanks 4 d post


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TseDanylo

You are very welcome :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BhabaniPrasad

it could be best if there is an ukrainian example to understand the letter.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JC_El_Mejor

Really informative and fun, even mesmerisingg I'd dare to say :-) Thank you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DarynaAvdi

The letter "Г" is definitely not pronounced as H in "How", not even close. H in "How" sounds close to the Ukrainian sound "Х". Г sounds as a mid between H (How) and G (Great).

В may sound like W only before consonants and at the end of the word. But if you would pronounce it like V all the time nobody would notice.

И is indeed somewhat like I in Pit, but only somewhat.

There are two additional sounds, that are not included in the Ukrainian alphabet: дз (is mentioned in the article) and дж (is alike to J in Jam).

The word "Cat" as example for A is a mistake.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VimZeNevim

Thanks! Díky! :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xxxAllyxx

really good and helpful


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HosseinMalekSaba

This language is Wonderful!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alejandroriano3

This post was incredibly helpful. Thank you so much!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeff504205

Goes to fast for me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/helendiach

Cute and helpful. thanks


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JosephChiu6

In the linked video, the "el" character Л is written like a triangular shape reminiscent of lambda -- are both forms used or am I missing some subtleties?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/weisseroseeli

дуже дякую! It helped me a lot for my speaking


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrQ264947

Thank you. This is so valuable as a primer


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SantiagoChau

Sorry, the ь in Ukrainian sounds as a "ya" like if I just put нь it sounds "Nya"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TseDanylo

No, it really doesn't. That would be spelt "ня" for example "кухня" (kitchen) "нь" is basically "ня" without the "а"

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