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Ukrainian contrasts palatalized "soft" and unpalatalized "hard" consonants. Palatalized consonants, denoted by a superscript ⟨j⟩ / ʲ /, are pronounced with the body of the tongue raised toward the hard palate, like in the /j/ sound in yes. The "hard" vs. "soft" distinction is phonemic for only nine pairs and may otherwise be ignored.
^The "soft" (palatalized) vowel letters ⟨є, ї, ю, я⟩ represent a /j/ and a vowel at the beginning of a word or after a vowel.
^ abThe consonant ⟨щ⟩ represents the two-phoneme cluster /ʃt͡ʃ/ in standard Ukrainian.
^The /w/ phoneme, spelled ⟨в⟩, has two allophones:
Before vowels: a bilabial approximant [β̞] (transcribed here [β] for simplicity), or in some transcriptions a labiodental approximant [ʋ] especially before /i/;
Everywhere else, including word-initially before a consonant: a labialized velar semivowel [u̯] (Жовтобрюх & Кулик (1965:121–122)).
^The contrast between /ɛ/ and /ɪ/ is neutralized when unstressed; actual realizations vary.
^In Ukrainian, geminates are found between vowels: багаття/bɑˈɦɑtʲːɑ/bonfire, подружжя/pɔˈdruʒːɑ/married couple, обличчяface. Geminates also occur at the beginning of a few words: лляний/ˈlʲːɑnɪj/flaxen, forms of the verb литиto pour (ллю /lʲːu/, ллєш/lʲːɛʃ/ etc.), ссати/ˈsːɑtɪ/to suck and derivatives.