So, 'кіт' can be used to mean 'cat', 'the cat' and 'a cat'? Do Ukrainians use articles?
No, we don't have a concept of articles, so for us it's not that кіт means both "the cat" and "a cat", we don't even differentiate between "the cat" and "a cat", so кіт doesn't really mean either, it just means "cat" and that's all... So hard to explain :) But if you want to translate to English then yes, кіт can be translated to both "the cat" and "a cat" depending on the context.
When we want to achieve a specification obtained by using "the" in English we just literally say "this cat" (цей кіт) or "that cat" (той кіт), while "a cat" will definitely just be кіт
If you want to transcribe it with English letters then probably yes, it's the closest spelling you can find :) The "i" sound should be long and you open your mouth wide as when smiling, definitely different from the short "i" sound as in, let's say, "kit" in English.
Does Cyrillic «е» cause palatalization of the previous consonant in Ukrainian? Is «де» /de/ or /dʲe/?
In Ukrainian "Е" does not bot "Є" does (unlike Russian, where "Е" does but "Э" does not)
You may just think of it like this: the Ukranian "е" is like Russian "э", and the Ukr. "и" is like Rus."ы". So what should they do now to spell the sounds which are spellt "и" and "е" in Russian? They take the Latin "i" and invent a new letter for the other :)
I want to caution you against thinking the Ukrainian alphabet is just a slightly different version of the Russian one. Although it might be helpful to keep things straight in your mind, the Russian sound represented by ы does not correspond to the Ukrainian и. They are different sounds (even though neither exists in English as a separate phoneme).
They are different, but quite close to each other. Moreover, both languages have either actually, it depends on the dialect. And on the position in a word: the Russian unstressed ы sounds almost like the Ukrainian и.
The short answer is no. Palatalization in Ukrainian is caused by "i." There are some words in Ukrainian in which the "e" changes to "ьо" in different cases: колір - color, кольору - color (genitive).
I think that in all Slavic languages, words that end with vowels like here are pronounced as only two sounds, not three (d-a-y), which is what mostly native English speakers tend to pronounce it (hablo>hablou, de > dei ... which is not correct) =)
Yes, you are right, our sounds are simple and don't change depending on whether the letter is at the end of the word ("veto") or in the middle ("bottle"), for us it's just a plain old "o" in, let's say, вето :)
No, no, not like "de" in "defence", that one sounds more like "də", and our "e" is more like ɛ, like "fe" in "defence" :)
When you say it you open your mouth wide as if you were smiling. It is similar to the Spanish "e", as in, say, "comemos".
It can be either a hard "d" sound or a soft "d" sound depending on what comes after.
To make a soft "d" sound, you have to pronounce it with the middle of your tongue raised and conversely to make it hard you need to have the middle of your tongue lowered.
Д will make a soft "d" sound when it’s followed by one of the six letters ь, є, ї, і, ю, я unless there is an apostrophe in between.
Thank you so much, the way it is set up I am struggling with sounds, that was a big help!