COMMUNICATING WITH UKRAINIANS

Ukrainians usually shake hands when they meet and when they say goodbye. When they first meet someone, they may shake hands and introduce themselves, rather than say "How do you do?"

The Ukrainian language is similar to Russian, but there are differences in pronunciation and vocabulary. Ukrainian has been influenced by Polish, and is a musical and poetic language. It is said that every second Ukrainian is a poet!

Both Ukrainian and Russian use the Cyrillic alphabet, which is a modified form of the Greek alphabet. However, the Ukrainian Cyrillic alphabet has several letters that are different from the version used in Russia. The Ukrainian language is absolutely phonetic. Each letter has a single pronunciation in every usage.

In the transition from Russian to Ukrainian, the spellings of places and names on maps are changing. Kiev is being replaced by Kyiv, Lvov by Lviv, Kharkov by Kharkiv, and Dnieper by Dnipro.

Did you know?

It is easy to tell the difference between modern written Russian and Ukrainian, even if you can't speak the language! Look for the letter "i" which is used in written Ukrainian, but not in Russian, where the "i" sound is represented by a different letter.

Here are some Ukrainian words: The capital letters show the stressed syllables.

   English    Ukrainian
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Click on a Ukrainian word to hear it pronounced