1.8 - The soft vowels

In addition to the hard vowels presented on page 1.6, Ukrainian also has soft (sometimes known as "iotated") vowels. They consist (roughly) of a "y" sound, as in "yellow", followed by a hard vowel. Click on a letter to hear how it sounds.

[й + е]
[й + і]
[й + у]
[й + а]

Here are some words beginning with these vowels.

Ємен - Yemen
їдиш (also ідиш) - Yiddish
Юкон - Yukon
Ялта - Yalta

Two of the above vowels are also words in their own right:

я means I (me)
є is the present tense of the verb "to be", meaning am/is/are
There isn't a single letter for the iotated о. This is spelt йо, or sometimes ьо, depending on the letter it follows.
Example: Йордан – Jordan, йой – oh!

There is no iotated vowel derived from и.

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