1.1 - Ukrainian alphabet

In its written form the Ukrainian language uses the Cyrillic script and has an alphabet consisting of 33 letters:

АБВГҐ
ДЕЄЖЗ
ИІЇЙК
ЛМНОП
РСТУФ
ХЦЧШЩ
ЬЮЯ  

Three of the letters, Ґ, Є and Ї, are unique to Ukrainian.

Under Soviet rule, the letter Ґ was officially excluded from the alphabet, as part of an attempt by the Soviet authorities to bring Ukrainian closer to Russian. It has, however, been reintroduced into current standard Ukrainian.

There are three different names for the alphabet in Ukrainian:

  • АЛФАВІТ (pronounced ALFAVIT), which is the equivalent of the English "alphabet", and reflects the first two letters of the Greek alphabet (alpha, beta)
  • АБЕТКА (pronounced ABETKA), reflecting the first two letters of the modern Ukrainian alphabet
  • АЗБУКА (pronounced AZBUKA), reflecting the first two letters of the Old Church Slavonic alphabet (az, buky). This name is no longer in use in the standard language.

If you wish to read Ukrainian, you need to learn the alphabet thoroughly. This unit will help you to do so.

Although this course is designed primarily to help you read in Ukrainian, it is important to be familiar with the sound of each letter. For this reason, the initial course units involve a substantial amount of listening. On the next page you can listen to the sounds of the letters of the complete alphabet.

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Part of the collection of resources at UkrainianLanguage.org.uk
© 2007 Marta Jenkala