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Languages > Ukrainian
Most Popular Ukrainian Language Product Types
Ukrainian New Testament, New Version (12 Cass
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Andy's Cherry Tree (Paperback) - Ukrainian
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Language Information

Mova--tse dusha narodu (The language is the soul of the people). For Ukrainians, the proverb is indeed rooted in truth.

Centuries of subjugation and oppression by neighbouring conquerors and imperialists took their land and liberty but not their language which remains a strong symbol of Ukrainian national identity.

Since independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, the language has experienced a revival and rebirth in Ukraine and was named the official language of the Ukrainian Republic after the declaration of statehood on August 24. The Union's policies of Russification repressed and restricted but did not destroy.

Ukrainian, together with Russian and Belarussian, belongs to the eastern group of the Slavic family of Indo-European languages.

Called the most ancient living Slavic language, it is said to the one most closely related to Old Church Slavic, the pre-modern literary language used by all Slavs.

Unique syntactic, morphological and phonological features characterize and separate it from the other East Slavic languages.

The Ukrainian alphabet is Cyrillic but differs slightly from the Russian and Belarussian languages which are also written in modified Cyrillic script.

The language is richly inflected, employing a system of seven cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, instrumental, locative) in which nouns, adjectives and most pronouns decline in the singular and plural, marking the difference between animate and inanimate nouns with separate paradigms, and in three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter).

Verbs possess an "aspect" in which their use may be imperfective, for actions which are considered ongoing, or perfective, used to describe completed actions.

Accent in Ukrainian is unfixed and does not observe strict rules for its placement.

Word order is generally free owing to the system of inflections which keeps roles and relationships defined. Ya mayu khyzhku. Mayu ya knyzhku. Knyzhku ya mayu. These are all grammatically correct ways in which to say "I have a book."

The spoken language is both musical and melodious with a rhythm and meter to its expression.

Today Ukrainian is used by approximately 45 million speakers in Ukraine and hundreds of thousands of immigrants and New World-decendents in numerous diaspora communities, most notably Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina and Australia, among others.

A unique development in the history of the Ukrainian language has been what socio-linguists and philologists have been calling the creation of new variants of Ukrainian in which the dominant language of the new environment (English in Canada or Portuguese in Brazil, for example) influences linguistically the transplanted mother tongue.

Strengthening and increasing the use and prestige of the Ukrainian language in Ukraine continues simultaneously with trends towards renewed and increased use and abilities of the ancestral language among Ukrainians abroad.

--Prepared by Jeffrey Picknicki Morski, University of Winnipeg

Ukrainian is spoken/used in the following countries:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Ukraine, United States of America.

Language Family
Family: Indo-European
Subgroup: Slavic
Branch: Eastern

Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.

Writing Sample

Writing Sample


The river to the blue sea flows
But flows not back again.
The Cossack seeks his fortune too,
But all his search is vain.
Wide in the world the Cossack goes,
And there the blue sea roars,
The Ciossack's heart is boisterous too,
This question it explores:
"Where have you gone without farewell?
To whom has all been left
Of father and old mother now

And of your maid bereft?
These alien folk have alien hearts;
It's hard with them to live!
No one is here to share one's tears
Or gentle words to give."

The Cossack haunts the farther coast,—
And still the blue seas roar.
He hoped to find his fortune there,
But met with sorrow sore.
And while the cranes in coveys seek
The ocean's farther bournes,
The Cossack weeps—the beaten paths
Are overgrown with thorns.


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