Ukranian sounds are somewhat different from the Russian ones. Here is a brief overview of both spelling conventions and pronunciation differences:
- і corresponds to Russian "и" (the 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 still 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 Э are somewhat different, though it is less audible and the difference may disappear. Let a native Ukranian speaker correct me if I got it wrong
- unstressed Я does not reduce to "ї" (йи), unlike in Russian (where it does)
- г is not a "g" in "go" but a voiced counterpart of English "h" or Russian "х" — I've heard, it depends on a speaker.
- ч is not "palatalized" (sounds like т+ш). Щ means ш+ч, unlike Russian
- в will be like "w" or like "v" depending on the environment
- ц can be both palatalised and non-palatalised, unlike Russian "ц" (always non-palalalized)
- дз, the voiced counterpart of "ц" is a real sound in its right. Same with дж (the voiced counterpart of "ч")
- an apostrophe is used istead of Russian "ъ"
- voicing/devoicing of adjacent consonants is more limited than in Russian
Labial consonants (like Б) are never fully palatalized in Ukranian.
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. In Ukranian, it is not a part of standard pronunciation.
As far as I could tell from the voice recordings in the course, the intonation in Ukranian 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.
Well, as I said, in Russian it is completely OK to use a bit of ц/дз sound there, even for actors who are actually paid for their voice work. Not sure it is included in standard Ukranian.
Hmm.. is it even a good idea to watch films or cartoons dubbed into Ukranian to get a grasp of how a good speaker sounds? Where do they get their actors anyway? :)
I wonder if anyone can contribute with ''sounds''. I mean, if you need anyone to say the words out loud and record it so that you can add them to the sentences? I think a lot of people would be helped that way? Because, I know people that are native Ukrainian that would be willing to help out.
I agree. I'm also doing Duolingo Swedish and we hear the pronunciation of nearly every word. Is it possible to let us do that for the Ukrainian course too, please? To be tackling an unfamiliar script is much tougher with so little help with what the words sound like. I've had to do each lesson 3/4 times and I'm still making very slow progress...
It will not happen anytime soon. The Ukrainian course is among the few where the audio is recorded from a real speaker. As a result, only a few thousand sentences are available.
Courses that have complete audio have well over 40 hours of MP3 files, which is why usually a text-to-speech engine is used to read all that material.