The Ukrainian Language

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Ukrainian - українська мова - is the mother tongue of around two-thirds of the Ukrainian population and is spoken by Ukrainians in many other countries around the world, in both the East and the West. The total number of speakers is approximately 45 million. It is one of the East Slavonic group of languages and uses the Cyrillic script.

Ukrainian is an “inflected” language, which means the endings of words (nouns, adjectives, verbs, pronouns) change, depending on their function in the sentence (subject, object etc.). Because of this, the order of words in a sentence is flexible (unlike, say, in English, French or German).

The core vocabulary of Ukrainian is Slavonic, but Ukraine's complex history has also left its mark on the language, with loan words from Greek, Scandinavian, the Turkic languages, Polish, German, Russian, French, English and others.

The slide shows in this section will help you to take part in a polite conversation, and to start understanding Ukrainian words. There are notes and a vocabulary list to help you. You also need to be familiar with the alphabet. For this see Read Ukrainian! - Unit 1.

We very much hope that you will enjoy your introduction to Ukrainian!

Slide show: Getting started

Slide show: Understanding words

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Part of the collection of resources at UkrainianLanguage.org.uk

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