Ukrainian Alphabet

Ukrainian alphabet (also called azbuka, alfavit or abetka in Ukrainian) is a Cyrillic alphabet. It consists of 33 letters: 10 vowels, 22 consonants and the soft sign Ь.

Origins

Alphabet of Ukraine originates from the old Cyrillic script created by St. Cyril and Methodius, Bulgarian preachers. It was brought to the early medieval state Kievan Rus’ together with the adoption of Christianity at the end of the 10th century, and gradually transformed to the present form.

There were also some unsuccessful attempts to introduce a Latin alphabet for Ukrainian language.

As it is known, Cyrillic script is used in many Eastern European and some Asian Languages (for example, Tajik), but the closest to Ukrainian are Russian and Belarusian alphabets.

Tricky language rules

Nevertheless, some letters are different. For instance letters Ї (pronounced as yi),Є (ye) and Ґ (g) exist only in Ukrainian alphabet. The letter Ґ, by the way, was reintroduced to the Ukrainian alphabet only at the beginning of 1990th, after it was artificially excluded from the alphabet during the Soviet rule.

You may find some of the letters of Ukrainian alphabet quite similar to those used in Latin (no wonder, as they both partly based on the Greek alphabet), namely such letters are: B, E, І, K, M, H, O, P, C, T, X. However, be aware that not all of them have the same pronunciation as in a Latin alphabet.

In addition to 33 letters, there is a special sign <‘> called ‘Apostrophe’. Its usage in Ukrainian language is different from the other languages. It means that the following vowel after the sign (such as Ю, Я, Ї, Є) is pronounces as at the beginning of the word, without palatalization: м’ясо (meat) is pronounced as “myaso”.

On the contrary, the soft sign <Ь> means that the preceding consonant must be softened: льодяник (sugar-candy) is pronounced as “l’odianyk”. Naturally, there are no words that start from Ь, and also no literary words starting from <И>.

Letters

Bellow are the letters of Ukrainian alphabet (capital and small) and corresponding Latin letters according to the norms of transliteration.

А а – A
Б б – B
В в – V
Г г -H
Ґ ґ -G
Д д – D
Е е – E
Є є- Ye (at the beginning of the word), ie (in other cases)
Ж ж -Zh
З з- Z
И и -Y
І і – I
Ї ї – Yi (at the beginning of the word), i (in other cases)
Й й – Y (at the beginning of the word), i (in other cases)
К к – K
Л л – L
М м – M
Н н – N
О о – О
П п – P
Р р – R
С с – S
Т т – T
У у – U
Ф ф – F
Х х – Kh
Ц ц – Ts
Ч ч – Ch
Ш ш – Sh
Щ щ – Shch
Ю ю- Yu
Я я – Ya (at the beginning of the word), ia (in other cases)

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