Top 20 what language does the ukraine speak

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Video What language does the ukraine speak

Contrary to what some people believe, Ukrainian and Russian are not the same language. Despite sharing a common ancestor and the Cyrillic script, Ukrainian and Russian are two distinct languages. They are somehow similar, yes, but not one and the same. To help you understand the relationship between the two, we are going to look at their shared history and both their differences and similarities.

Table of Contents

Was Ukrainian really called Little Russian?

In short, yes. The Ukrainian language was formerly called Little Russian, but the term is now considered pejorative. Let’s see how all the events leading to this name unfolded.

First, you should know that Ukrainian, the same as Russian, is an East Slavic language of the Indo-European language family. Its origins can be traced back to the Old East Slavic language used in Kievan Rus between the 10th and the 13th century. After the fall of the Kievan Rus, the language developed into what was called the Ruthenian language. Along with it, in the territory of modern Ukraine, the Kyiv version of Church Slavonic was also used in liturgical services.

From here on, there are several theories regarding the development of the Ukrainian language and its divergence from Russian, but what’s most important is that their common ancestor, Old East Slavic, spanned a territory hundreds of kilometers wide. Considering how other languages came to be and how much migration influences the process, it’s obvious that the separation happened gradually.

The development of the Ukrainian language after the 13th century

Here’s how other languages influenced (what would later be known as) Ukrainian in the following centuries:

  • during the 13th century, the princes of the Kingdom of Ruthenia invited German settles over which resulted in many German words being adopted into the Ukrainian language;
  • after the fall of the Kingdom of Ruthenia in 1394, Ukrainians became subordinated to Lithuania and then Poland which further influenced the language. Furthermore, the Polish rule also offered significant exposure to the Latin language which has its own share of impact;
  • the German influence also continued under the Polish rule not only through Germans but also through Yiddish-speaking Jews;
  • contact with Tatars and Turks also inspired the language and brought in some new Turkic words.

Due to heavy borrowings from so many languages, by the mid-17th century, Ukrainian and Russian became so different that the negotiations for the Treaty of Pereyaslav had to be done using translators.

'Ukrainian language' by Gleb Albovsky©

As a result of Ukraine’s centuries-long political subordination, Ukrainian had almost no literary expression until de 18th century when the modern literary Ukrainian language was born.

The Russian language – a short history

Russian, known as Русский язык (romanized: Russkiy yazyk) to Russians, is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan and it is also used as a second language in other former Soviet countries. Additionally, Russian is one of the six official United Nations languages and the 8th most spoken language in the world with a total of 260 million speakers.

Naturally, the origin story of the Russian language continues from where we left it off with Ukrainian – in the 13th century when their divergence began. As the territory of today’s Ukraine fell under Lithuanian rule, the eastern land came under the rule of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

Moscow and Novgorod, and later the growing Muscovy, were all home to Church Slavonic (descendant of Old Church Slavonic), which was the literary language until the Petrine era when its use was limited to biblical and liturgical texts. Then, the westernizing policies of Tsar Peter I the Great brought entire blocks of specialized vocabulary from the languages of Western Europe. By 1800, many spoke French and even German on a daily basis. This is why 19-century some Russian novels contain entire paragraphs in French with no translation given – because it was believed that educated people would not need one.

Nevertheless, it was the 19th-century poet Aleksandr Pushkin who determined the further development of the Russian language we know today. His writings, in which he combined the colloquial and Church Slavonic styles, were decisive in establishing the best style for literary use.

Later, the Soviet period brought Russian worldwide prestige which declined after the 1991 collapse. Despite each USSR constituent republic having its own official language, Russian had a unified role and superior status. This is why there are so many people speaking Russian outside Russia.

How similar are Ukrainian and Russian?

The misconception that Russian and Ukrainian are the same sometimes stems from the fact that Russian is widely spoken in Ukraine. The numbers can differ slightly according to various sources, but it’s generally agreed that 60% of Ukrainians consider Ukrainian their native language, while 15% consider Russian to be their native language. Moreover, 22% consider both to be their native languages.

It’s also worth noting that most Ukrainian speakers can also speak Russian, even if it’s as a second language. To an untrained ear, that may sound like Ukrainian when it is in fact, Russian. On top of that, some people use a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian called Surzhyk.

So how similar are Ukrainian and Russian? They share about 62% lexical similarity. What many people don’t know is that Ukrainian has a higher lexical similarity with Polish, Slovak and Belarusian, than it does with Russian – especially with Belarusian.

'Russian language' by Dimitry B©

Since most Ukrainian speakers also speak Russian or have extensive exposure to it, ‘asymmetric intelligibility’ is the best term to describe the relationship between the two languages. In other words, Ukrainian speakers can often understand Russian, while Russian speaker doesn’t understand Ukrainian, especially Russian speakers from outside Ukraine.

However, all three languages – Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian – are in part mutually intelligible, and already knowing one can help a lot if you want to learn one of the others.

How different are Ukrainian and Russian?

Now that we’ve explained the history behind Ukrainian and Russian, it’s time to look at some more practical examples. A 62% lexical similarity may sound like a lot, but these two languages are not as similar as many might think. Here are some of the most important differences between Russian and Ukrainian.

Alphabet

Both Ukrainian and Russian use the 33-letter Cyrillic alphabet, but there are four letters in Ukrainian missing from Russian (ґ, є, і, ї), and four letters in Russian missing from Ukrainian (ё, ъ, ы, э).

Vocabulary

Learning Russian thinking you will easily understand Ukrainian it’s not a great strategy. While they share a lot of words, some of them are ‘false friends’ and can mean completely different things:

  • час (chas) means ‘time’ in Ukrainian and час (chas) means ‘hour’ in Russian;
  • неділя (nedilia) means ‘Sunday’ in Ukrainian and неделя (nedelya) means ‘week’ in Russian.

On the other hand, it’s true – there are some similar words that mean the same thing, but also different words with different meanings. Let’s look at some examples:

UkrainianRussianEnglish мати matyмать matmother чай chayчай chaytea хліб khlibхлеб khlebbread cічень sichenянварь yanvarJanuary ранок ranokутро utromorning пляшка plyashkaбутылка butylkabottle

Sounds and pronunciation

While to a non-trained ear Russian and Ukrainian might sound the same, they actually have several differences when it comes to pronunciation. For example, Ukrainian has a specific sound for “Г г” (similar to [h] in ‘aha!’) which Russian doesn’t have. For this letter, Russian uses the [g] sound which is similar to the ‘g’ in ‘go’ or ‘guard’. As a consequence, it’s very easy to differentiate a Ukrainian speaker from a Russian speaker as Ukrainians sometimes overlook the usage of [g] instead of [h].

Here are some other relevant pronunciation differences between Ukrainian and Russian:

  • Ukrainian letters ‘И’ and ‘Е’ have very different pronunciations compared to their Russian counterparts, ‘Ы’ and ‘Э’. While in Russian ‘И’ is pronounced [ee], in Ukrainian is pronounced like a short [i], as the ‘i’ in the English word ‘kill’;
  • Ukrainians always pronounce ‘o’ as it is heard whereas Russians pronounce it as [a] or an unclear schwa [ə] depending on the context;
  • Ukrainian uses more soft consonants compared to Russian;
  • Russian [ы] is deeper than Ukrainian [и] and Russian [э] is more open than Ukrainian [е].

Grammar

When it comes to grammar, Russian and Ukrainian have similar principles and categories:

  • both have three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter;
  • both have almost the same set of noun cases that apply to adjectives and pronouns as well;
  • they both share the same major verb conjugations.

However, there’s a big difference when it comes to endings because the exact word forms are often different or at least not entirely the same.

Furthermore, another thing to notice when talking about differences is that while Ukrainian has a vocative case, Russian does not (Russian has six cases and Ukrainian has seven). It used to have a vocative case, but not anymore – except for a few specific words. For example, a rare situation where it is still used is when addressing God.

Last but not least, Ukrainian has three types of future tense, while Russian has only two.

These are only a few of the differences and similarities between Ukrainian and Russian. As you can see, they are very closely related languages that sometimes share a lot, sometimes not. The different vocabulary, pronunciation, and word forms that have arisen over time make the two languages only partially mutually intelligible to people who don’t have much exposure to the other language.

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Top 20 what language does the ukraine speak edit by Top Q&A

What language do they speak in Ukraine? The history of Ukrainian and how its different to Russian and Polish

  • Author: inews.co.uk
  • Published Date: 07/05/2022
  • Review: 4.63 (303 vote)
  • Summary: The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, an East Slavic language, while Russian is the native language for roughly 30 per cent of the …
  • Matching search results: Since most Ukrainian speakers also speak Russian or have extensive exposure to it, ‘asymmetric intelligibility’ is the best term to describe the relationship between the two languages. In other words, Ukrainian speakers can often understand Russian, …

A Word, Please: A few facts about the language of Ukraine, and some words we can use

  • Author: latimes.com
  • Published Date: 04/16/2022
  • Review: 4.59 (494 vote)
  • Summary: Ukrainian is the first language of about 68% of the country’s 44 million residents. About 30% of Ukrainians speak Russian as their first …
  • Matching search results: Ukrainian is the first language of about 68% of the country’s 44 million residents. About 30% of Ukrainians speak Russian as their first language, while just under 3% speak Crimean Tatar, Moldovan, Hungarian, Romanian or any of the other three dozen …

Language matters: What learners need to know about Ukrainian

  • Author: blog.duolingo.com
  • Published Date: 05/14/2022
  • Review: 4.19 (366 vote)
  • Summary: What language do they speak in Ukraine? … Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine. It’s a Slavic language, which means it’s related to …
  • Matching search results: Because they come from a common ancestor, there are a lot of similarities between Ukrainian and Russian. For example, the case system described earlier also exists in Russian, though the endings sometimes look different. Both Ukrainian and Russian …

Language in Ukraine

  • Author: ukraine.com
  • Published Date: 04/27/2022
  • Review: 4 (397 vote)
  • Summary: Of course, Ukraine’s official language is Ukrainian, which is spoken by roughly 55% of the population. However, almost 75% of Ukrainians avow the Ukrainian …
  • Matching search results: Because they come from a common ancestor, there are a lot of similarities between Ukrainian and Russian. For example, the case system described earlier also exists in Russian, though the endings sometimes look different. Both Ukrainian and Russian …

Ukrainian – Worldwide distribution – Worlddata.info

  • Author: worlddata.info
  • Published Date: 12/29/2022
  • Review: 3.79 (497 vote)
  • Summary: Ukrainian speaking countries … Ukrainian is the official language in Ukraine and is spoken in 9 other countries as monther tongue by a part of the population.
  • Matching search results: Because they come from a common ancestor, there are a lot of similarities between Ukrainian and Russian. For example, the case system described earlier also exists in Russian, though the endings sometimes look different. Both Ukrainian and Russian …

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Ukraine – Languages – Encyclopedia Britannica

  • Author: britannica.com
  • Published Date: 12/01/2022
  • Review: 3.67 (346 vote)
  • Summary: The vast majority of people in Ukraine speak Ukrainian, which is written with a form of the Cyrillic alphabet. The language—belonging with Russian and …
  • Matching search results: Because they come from a common ancestor, there are a lot of similarities between Ukrainian and Russian. For example, the case system described earlier also exists in Russian, though the endings sometimes look different. Both Ukrainian and Russian …

What Language is Spoken in Ukraine

  • Author: ccjk.com
  • Published Date: 03/19/2022
  • Review: 3.57 (587 vote)
  • Summary: The Ukrainian language is an East Slavic language that comes from the Indo-European family. It is the official language of Ukraine and the …
  • Matching search results: Ukrainian verbs are there in aspect pairs: perfective and imperfective. These pairs are usually made by the prepositional prefix and a root change too. Past tense in the language agrees with its subject in number and gender after having developed …

Language data for Ukraine – Translators without Borders

  • Author: translatorswithoutborders.org
  • Published Date: 10/24/2022
  • Review: 3.34 (322 vote)
  • Summary: There are approximately 20 languages spoken in Ukraine. According to the 2001 census, 67% of the population speak Ukrainian and 30% speak Russian as their …
  • Matching search results: Ukrainian verbs are there in aspect pairs: perfective and imperfective. These pairs are usually made by the prepositional prefix and a root change too. Past tense in the language agrees with its subject in number and gender after having developed …

How different is Russian from Ukrainian?

  • Author: languagetsar.com
  • Published Date: 06/21/2022
  • Review: 3.1 (253 vote)
  • Summary: Both Russian and Ukrainian are Slavic languages from the Indo-European family. Russian is an official language of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kirgizstan, …
  • Matching search results: Today many consider Russian and Ukrainian to be very similar languages. However, Russian people usually don’t understand pure Ukrainian. So while Russian and Ukrainian have impacted each other during the times of Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, …

5 Amazing Reasons To Learn Ukrainian Today

  • Author: storylearning.com
  • Published Date: 09/01/2022
  • Review: 2.96 (109 vote)
  • Summary: 1. Ukrainian Is Spoken By Millions … Ukrainian is the official language of the largest European country, with more than 46 million people speaking it. It takes …
  • Matching search results: “It wasn’t me who chose to learn Ukrainian. It’s Ukrainian that chose me: once I heard it, I couldn’t resist a temptation of starting to learn this language and reveal all secrets of its own. It’s like meeting a girl: you see her, you fall in love …

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How Russia weaponizes the language issue in Ukraine

  • Author: atlanticcouncil.org
  • Published Date: 11/02/2022
  • Review: 2.79 (127 vote)
  • Summary: Critics of Ukraine’s 2019 Language Law claim that it goes too far in … is such that it is not uncommon to hear both languages spoken in a …
  • Matching search results: The prominent role played by Russian-speaking Ukrainians in repelling Putin’s hybrid invasion has done much to alter perceptions of language and identity in today’s Ukraine, leading to the rise of a civic national identity that goes beyond the …

Languages of Ukraine – Young Pioneer Tours

  • Author: youngpioneertours.com
  • Published Date: 12/06/2022
  • Review: 2.79 (83 vote)
  • Summary: The vast majority of people in Ukraine speak Ukrainian, which is written with a form of the Cyrillic alphabet. The language belongs to the Russian and …
  • Matching search results: During the rule of Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union, Russian was the common language of government administration and public life in Ukraine. Although Ukrainian had been afforded equal status with Russian in the decade following the revolution of …

Kennan Cable No.15: Ukraine: Whats a Language For?

  • Author: wilsoncenter.org
  • Published Date: 06/11/2022
  • Review: 2.66 (106 vote)
  • Summary: Like most countries, Ukraine is multilingual. More than eleven languages are spoken in Ukraine as native languages. … The 2001 census (see figure1)3 identified …
  • Matching search results: First and foremost, there is dialogue at stake. Arranging dialogue has always been problematic in Ukrainian society. We are a very tolerant society, but we cannot organize a productive dialogue leading to a commonly accepted resolution of the …

For Russian-Speaking Ukrainians, Language Clubs Offer Way to Defy Invaders

  • Author: nytimes.com
  • Published Date: 03/24/2022
  • Review: 2.55 (144 vote)
  • Summary: Many Ukraine citizens speak Russian as their first language. … with the Ukrainian language, the transition is not without trepidation for …
  • Matching search results: First and foremost, there is dialogue at stake. Arranging dialogue has always been problematic in Ukrainian society. We are a very tolerant society, but we cannot organize a productive dialogue leading to a commonly accepted resolution of the …

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Author: guides.library.illinois.edu
  • Published Date: 02/26/2022
  • Review: 2.49 (51 vote)
  • Summary: Ukrainian (украї́нська мо́ва, ukrayins’ka mova, [ukraˈjinʲsʲka ˈmɔʋa]) is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is …
  • Matching search results: In the anarchy of the Khmelnytsky Uprising and following wars, Ukrainian high culture was sent into a long period of steady decline. In the aftermath, the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy was taken over by the Russian Empire. Most of the remaining Ukrainian …

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For Russian-speaking Ukrainians, language clubs offer way to defy invaders

  • Author: japantimes.co.jp
  • Published Date: 12/16/2022
  • Review: 2.36 (88 vote)
  • Summary: Many Ukraine citizens speak Russian as their first language. … with the Ukrainian language, the transition is not without trepidation for …
  • Matching search results: In the anarchy of the Khmelnytsky Uprising and following wars, Ukrainian high culture was sent into a long period of steady decline. In the aftermath, the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy was taken over by the Russian Empire. Most of the remaining Ukrainian …

Why many Ukrainians speak Russian as their first language

  • Author: theconversation.com
  • Published Date: 09/02/2022
  • Review: 2.09 (199 vote)
  • Summary: The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic made Ukrainian the official language in 1989. After Ukraine became an independent state in 1991, the …
  • Matching search results: When Christianity came to Kyivan Rus, the dominant language in the region was Church Slavonic, which was used to write religious and official texts. However, modern Ukrainian is primarily based not on the written language of those times but on the …

Ukraine agonizes over Russian culture and language in its social fabric

  • Author: npr.org
  • Published Date: 07/28/2022
  • Review: 2.13 (84 vote)
  • Summary: About a third of Ukrainians have named Russian as their mother tongue — in the last census, in 2001, and in more recent surveys — and the …
  • Matching search results: In 2014, Moscow claimed persecution of Russian-speakers to justify its annexation of Crimea. Similar claims have factored heavily into the eight years of bloody conflict between Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region and the …

What Languages Are Really Spoken in Ukraine?

  • Author: kievtourguide.com
  • Published Date: 12/06/2022
  • Review: 2 (146 vote)
  • Summary: 67.5% of Ukrainians cite Ukrainian as their primary language while 38% note Russian as being their chosen language, with the majority of Russian …
  • Matching search results: But don’t get me wrong, this isn’t due to lack of care but the already complicated linguistic culture of Ukraine. And though spoken English may not be perfect, many Ukrainians of the younger generations will be able to understand your questions or …

What language do they speak in Ukraine?

  • Author: en.as.com
  • Published Date: 03/13/2022
  • Review: 1.89 (78 vote)
  • Summary: About 30 percent of Ukrainians consider their first language Russian, the second largest group. Russian and Ukrainian, along with Belarusian …
  • Matching search results: But don’t get me wrong, this isn’t due to lack of care but the already complicated linguistic culture of Ukraine. And though spoken English may not be perfect, many Ukrainians of the younger generations will be able to understand your questions or …

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