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A completed Ukrainian tree

I have completed the Ukrainian tree (but only the first run through, I still have more to do ...)

How it has gone

My first week got me through most of the tree at a rapid pace. This was a language I had not previously studied, and although I knew that a lot of it would slip out of my mind quickly I was curious how much I would retain. To assist my learning I made a number of notes.

After a couple of days not studying Ukrainian I came back to it to complete the tree, but both because I had less time per day for it, and because a number of the words had gone out of my mind I had to take the end of the tree slower (comparatively speaking); I think it was probably another three weeks.

I'm already working through the tree again to fix in my mind a number of the words and grammar points. I did pick up a lot of the shorter words, the easier grammar points, and the more frequently encountered words, even going fast. It's probably taken me more time than I could comfortably spare, but less time than the tree deserves.

Why I started out so fast

  1. I had seen that a number of people complete trees quite quickly and I was interested to see how much of the language I myself could retain from this. (Less than I would like, but not as little as I had feared, although the long term is still to be assessed.)
  2. In the German and Spanish trees there have been skills later on that I would have liked to have studied sooner, so I wanted to see if going through fast at first then going back over the material would provide a decent way to remedy this. (I think I now believe that the best way to do this is to use outside resources which can be accessed at any point, rather than in the guided route of the Duolingo tree.)
  3. Currently, I did not want my study of it to overly detract from my learning of Spanish and German. (Which of course it has and will for a little while yet - I was deceiving myself when I said I can dip into Ukrainian quickly and not get hooked.)

After the first week

There were many things I did learn and remember from the first week:

  • The alphabet, and the positions of the letters on the keyboard
  • The construction: "у мене є ..." and "у вас є ..."
  • Some of the more common verbs (more on those in a moment)
  • The pronouns
  • Lots of the more common (and short) words such as це мій ваш твій не як щось "будь ласка"
  • The cardinal numbers (mostly; some still needed practice to to make more sure)
  • The past imperfect tense (although I made frequent careless mistakes with this).

What I distinctly didn't remember was:

  • The less frequently occurring verbs
  • A large number of nouns for which I had only engaged short term memory
  • The months, most of the days
  • Most of the adverbs (which usually take me a while to learn anyway, if my German is anything to go by)
  • Some of the verb endings, particularly -ить -уть -ать -ять
  • Which was the right conjugation's ending, while getting the person right, so for a ви verb I might choose any of: -єте -ете -ите.

Now the tree is complete

Even though it was not my intention immediately, I am already going through again (I started this before I finished the tree) because it seems only fitting to layer a slightly more thorough learning on top of the framework provided by my first speedy look. This (the speed) is still something of an experiment in progress, but it seems to be going okay so far. (I wouldn't go so far as to say it is going well ... I consider my knowledge too tentative to say that.)

One of the disadvantages of going through so fast, without revision, is that you don't get to see so wide a range of sentences. So some words it is possible that I've seen in one context, and perhaps (although unlikely) seen only once in that context. I need to see them again, and I think sooner rather than later.

The verbs

Working through the tree, some of the verbs it is important to get to grips with quickly (because they come up frequently) are those for eating (їсти), drinking (питп), liking (любити), wanting (хотіти), going (іти, їхати), doing (робити), and will (by which I mean the future tense 'will' - буду будеш буде будемо будете будуть).

After those it seemed that the next most common were for think, know, read, travel, cook, work, look for, give, hear, learn, see, buy, play, understand. This might end up being a list of half the verbs on the course, but anyway it's a subjective list, and the others still come up at the end of the course too.

I still have trouble recalling learn, which I think is because I have trouble pronouncing вч-; I find it a lot easier to remember those words which I am more confident about pronouncing.


If you guess a word Duolingo will keep the (new) lesson short (at least in the test group I'm in) and it becomes possible to see words only once in the skill in which they are initially presented. This happens with cognates. As I have some knowledge of English, French, German, and Spanish, there were a few. For examples, the arts skill has: поет (poet), роман (novel), романтична література (romantic literature), фентезі (fantasy), мода (fashion) and many others. The cognates help when reading, but trying to remember that a word was a cognate and the little differences in spelling when you've only seen it once a few days ago is trickier.

For me, there actually seemed to be cognates in (nearly) every skill in the tree, which made it more possible than I expected to complete this first run through quickly.

The tree

The course contributors have done a very good job. The tips and notes are extremely helpful, and good links have been supplied in places. I mostly used http://www.ukrainianlanguage.org.uk/read/index.htm but there were other excellent links too.

I suspect there have been a few simplifications and careful choices in what to include (and not include) in the tree, and where to include them, all of which have facilitated my learning experience. Great job! My thanks go to all the course contributors.


June 16, 2015



I was surprised (and pleased by) the number of cognates in the course. They really helped with improving my reading skills, which is probably why they were chosen. I felt the course did a very good job introducing words in a doable fashion given the inevitable difficulties with a new script. The notes and tips were very good too. They fell down a bit on their lack of flexibility over which English they accepted and they didn't show much sign of accepting reports either. In contrast to the 100 reports I had accepted by Norwegian only a handful were accepted by the Ukranian team. Lack of acceptance of British English was especially obvious. The course struck me as just a taster rather than the solid introduction that other courses have given. But it was a very enjoyable taster. I kept the tree gold while I went through it as I found that I really needed the review when the skills degilded. I will hopefully go back and regild it again once I have finished Esperanto.


Less than a dozen of my reports was accepted :(


When multiple users report the same problem, only the first one gets an e-mail if the report is accepted.


I have wondered a little when the tree will be expanded; I'm sure I've seen people hint that it will be. There's plenty of material for me to review before that happens.

I had four reports accepted, but don't think I made many. (There were more than four, but my acceptance rate seems in keeping with my knowledge and expectation.) One to 'loosen' the grammar (from whom to who), one for a British English alternative - for those two I specified reasons when I submitted the report - and the other two were just valid alternatives.

I really have enjoyed it.


It's хотіти, not хочіти :)


Ah thanks! I knew I would make (at least) one mistake somewhere. :)

And thank you for all your comments on the course. Reading them has been a great help.

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