Talk:Ukrainian alphabet

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Non-phonetic spellings[edit]

Are there are any examples of Ukrainian alphabet not being phonetic other than the absence of letters for ʥ/ʤ? I can understand how pidžaryty and bdžola are pronounced differently due to one being the combination of two phonemes and one being one phoneme with a different pronunciation. But does every declination and conjugation remain pronounced as written in "standard" Ukrainian? --iopq


There are definitely a number of phonetic variations in speech. The [x] is sometimes de-voiced towards [ç], and [v] is usually de-voiced to [w] at the end of a word (and in some regional accents is virtually always pronounced [w]). Some vowels tend to become reduced towards a schwa in normal speech, but not nearly to the extent of Russian akanye (see Russian phonology#Unstressed vowels). I'm no expert; these are just some random observations.
But I think phonemically, spelling in Ukrainian is consistent and intuitive. If you can read a word, you can pronounce it—Ukrainian dictionaries have no pronunciation guide.
Interesting example of піджарити and бджола. It seems to me that the placement of the syllable break affects the difference, but I don't know if that is intuitive or memorized. "Pid" is obviously a prefix, but when the word is spoken quickly I think the d-ᴣ almost merges into ʤ. Perhaps the b-ʤ combination forces that to be a single sound. Michael Z. 2005-09-29 05:09 Z

I am aware of the phonetic differences, but I was trying to see if there were any problems with phonemic differences like there are in Russian. In піджарити and бджола the prefix with д adds to the root beginning with ж and is therefore pronounced as two sounds (of course they start to run over each other but you can time a place when д starts but ж hasn't started yet) in бджола you have a root with the original phoneme intact spelled by using two letters because there is no letter that corresponds to that phoneme that actually exists in the language.

There's also o pronounced as u when unstressed. If I heard it I must have forgotten it, but I've read about it.--iopq


Ukranian Orphoepic Dictionary is a dictionary that has transctiption to all the words. As for піджарити - it's absent there since normally смажити/підсмажити is more common expression. But as similar cases you can find there підживляти, підживлення, where під- is prefix, so the transcription is [п’ід͡жжиўл'ати], the ʤ is followed by ʒ. Other general observations: e and и - when unstressed are very difficult to be distiguished in some positions. The letter o is almost clear o (unlike one of the comments above states), it can be a bit close to u, but those case are rare and not many. Another example of a non-phonetic spelling is the 2nd person, singular, for revlective verbs in present...вмиваєшся...-шс- is pronounced as - [sʲ:] - long palat. s. The list is huge, but it is easy to observe that all non-phonetic cases are mostly in position prefix-root or root-suffix. The principle of spelling here is usually morphological. The use of letters є, ї, ю, and я - is traditional, also non-phonetic, because normally they stand for combinations of: й+е, й+і, й+у, й+а or ь+е, ь+у, ь+а meanwhile the same combinations for 'o' do not have a special letter and we write йо and ьо. As you can see Ukrainian orthography is not that phonetic. Romari81 (talk) 14:37, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Palatalization before є[edit]

Give me ONE word where є is rendered as /ʲe/ I don't think it can even COME after a consonant. This is not Russian, guys :)

--Iopq 08:11, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

Лєнь? Is that a native word or borrowed? I suppose it could be used in loan words or quotations: «Російський поліцай сказав "нєт!"», but that doesn't count as part of the language. Michael Z. 2005-10-3 09:25 Z
That word is not even in the dictionary! Yahoo search gives 76 matches. Most of them names. Compare: Лєн gets 232 matches
Google search is so smart it matches the Russian word. Anyway, the official usage should be the same as the letter ї --Iopq 00:09, 5 October 2005 (UTC)
I was thinking Google is too smart too, but realized that if you put it in double quotation marks, Google searches for the exact text; "лєнь": I get 1,210 results. The word isn't in my dictionary either (a poor one), but then it's not exactly a literary term. Michael Z. 2005-10-5 01:24 Z
It's not a term at all. I think it's just used by people who don't know Ukrainian very well. The correct term is ледарство (thanks, mom :D) which IS in the dictionary. -Iopq 03:53, 5 October 2005 (UTC)
My mum, originally from Львів, uses it as a slightly more disparaging synonym for лінюх, a lazy person. Michael Z. 2005-10-6 06:05 Z
Синє. Found this one in uk:Українська абетка, and it also brings to mind блакитнє; there must be other adjectives with that ending. Must remember to translate the history section from there into English, although it will be a bit of a tough slog for me. Michael Z. 2005-10-6 06:05 Z


Finally a valid word :D there's also lĺeća

I can't believe it took me this long to find these Thanks -Iopq 09:43, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Is that ллєча? Does that mean "pouring" (noun)? Couldn't find that in my dictionary, but it has ллєш. Michael Z. 2005-10-17 04:26 Z
It's ллєця. I use a haček to denote post-alveolars (although listening to some samples makes me believe it might be retroflex) and I use the acute to denote palatalization. I use c as the affricate ts.
Oops, I should have realized that. Michael Z. 2005-10-18 00:02 Z

The letter є in Ukrainian does occur after a consonant in adjectives with a soft declination in neuter genter singular. E. g. лiтнє, осiннє, синє, третє and so on. And also in the words such as ллєш, ллє, ллємо, ллєте, ллється — Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.149.96.128 (talk) 13:06, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

About в when not followed by a vowel[edit]

Ve (в) is usually not voiced when not followed by a vowel, and pronounced as /w/. In some regional accents it is virtually always unvoiced. It's either one or the other! /w/ is a *voiced* labialized velar approximant. Plus, I have not heard the unvoicing outside of Russian where it turns to /f/ --Iopq 00:41, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

I've adjusted it. Does this sound right? Michael Z. 2005-10-6 00:45 Z
Ve (в) usually loses its frication when not followed by a vowel, and is pronounced as the approximant /w/. In some regional accents it is virtually always pronounced /w/.
Sounds good. -Iopq 09:45, 6 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't agree. "B" sounds like /w/ if it is in the end of syllabes, любов /lubow/ for example. But if B is before vowel, it always sounds like /v/, вино /vɪno/ —Preceding unsigned comment added by Quutamo (talkcontribs) 12:36, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
It sort of depends on dialect. I've put a note that goes in line with what's said of /w/ at Ukrainian phonology. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 20:00, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for link but I still think that it's wrong. I am a native speaker, live in Ukraine and I never heard that в before vowels would sound like /w/. You can see here in the letter table. You can listen[1] the word "Львів", the 1st "в" sounds like /ʋ/ and the 2nd one - like /w/. This is the standart pronounciation, even on TV news it is pronounced like this.--Quutamo (talk) 21:06, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I suspect that it may be (or have been) a bilabial approximant, not a labiovelar one like the character w implies. We should find a source that specifies what's going on. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 21:33, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Azbuka is a Russian word?[edit]

Someone edited the page replacing azbuka with abetka. It's fine, but azbuka is a word from like the twelfth century... coming from the names of the letters - az, buka (А, Б) When this term got invented there was no Russian or Ukrainian yet! -Iopq 07:36, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

There is the word "азбука" in modern Ukrainian, but it sounds a bit as archaism. "Абетка" is more common. It is more a matter of taste, after all.--AndriyK 11:39, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Cyrillic in Wikipedia[edit]

Please see the new page at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Cyrillic), aimed at

  1. Documenting the use of Cyrillic and its transliteration in Wikipedia
  2. Discussing potential revision of current practices

Michael Z. 2005-12-9 20:44 Z

The last table[edit]

Is it just me, or is there a problem with the table? If so, you can find a good one at Cyrillic alphabet. FilipeS 00:01, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I fixed it some time ago. FilipeS 17:14, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Position of Soft Sign relative to Ju and Ja[edit]

In both the detailed table in Wikipedia under "Letter names and pronunciation", and in Omniglot, Soft Sign is shown last, after Ju and Ja. However, in the first presentation of the alphabet, under "Alphabet", Soft Sign is shown before Ju and Ja. I'm guessing Omniglot is right -- they're pretty reliable. If any Ukrainian speaker wants to comment on this and/or correct whichever portion of the article is wrong (since they conflict, it's likely that one or the other is wrong), that'd be great. Auros 18:47, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't know if their is an official order, but it's always listed at the end of the alphabet in all of my grammar books.--tufkaa 19:06, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

The soft sign was the last letter until 1990. The 3rd official edition of Ukrainian orthography ("Український правопис". Київ, 1990) has moved it to the traditional position of historical Cyrillic alphabet (between Щ and Ю). There are opinions that this has been performed to avoid rendering conflicts with Russian and other modern Cyrillic alphabets. As far as I know, further editions of the spelling rules (4th, 1993; 5th, 1997; 2000; 2005; 2007) follow this new system. The decision to move soft sign is being actively disputed (like "безглуздість перенесення його 1990 року на інше місце вже всім очевидна" -- "nonsence of moving it [i.e. soft sign] in 1990 to another place is already clear to everybody"), but it still stands. -- Kcmamu 16:58, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

In that case, you should also update the full detailed table, lower in the article, to reflect this order. I really don't care which order is used, as long as they're consistent. Auros 17:04, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

The 2007 orthography[2] does keep ь before ю, я, and it looks like Omniglot[3] has been updated to match. Since the orthography is considered authoritative, I'll update our article.

But a question arises of the scope of the orthography's authority or influence. Very significant bodies of Ukrainian publishing disregarded the Soviet orthography in the 1930s in Galicia, and until at least 1991 in the diaspora. Does anyone know if the situation has changed since then? Michael Z. 2008-06-29 20:29 z


Also, this comment is lacking context: "the soft sign was moved to new position before letter ю by academician L. M. Ivanenko from Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics in the last year before Ukraine gained independence (1990-1991), to solve problems with sorting of Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian alphabets in MS-DOS." Did Ivanenko write the 1990 orthography? Michael Z. 2008-06-29 20:38 z

Probably, Ivanenko only PROPOSED to move it. --D.M. from Ukraine (talk) 19:41, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Г[edit]

I am certainly no expert on the matter, but I suspect it should be /ɦ/. The /ʕ/ is relatively rare and is often mistakenly put for /ɦ/. example 203.114.176.86 (talk) 22:03, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes, the issue comes about from either a mistranslation or variance in usage. The term in Ukrainiak that's cognate with "pharyngeal" is semantically closer to the term "guttural" in English. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 22:33, 1 January 2010 (UTC)