Languages of Ukraine
|Languages of Ukraine|
Distribution of Ukrainian and Russian languages by region, 1989 and 2001
|Significant unofficial languages||
|Main foreign languages||
|Sign languages||Ukrainian Sign Language|
|Common keyboard layouts||
The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, an East Slavic language which is the native language of 67.5% of Ukraine's population. Russian is the native language of 29.6% of Ukraine's population and the rest (2.9%) are native speakers of other languages. Ethnologue lists 40 minority languages and dialects; nearly all are native to the former Soviet Union.
According to Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine the state has an obligation to ensure the comprehensive development and functioning of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of social life throughout Ukraine while guaranteeing the free development, use and protection of the Russian language and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine.
Language and daily life
In an 11–23 December 2015 study by the Razumkov Centre taken in all regions of Ukraine other than Russian-annexed Crimea, and separatist controlled Donetsk, and Luhansk, a majority considered Ukrainian their native language (60%), followed by Russian (15%), while 22% used both languages equally. Two percent held an other native language. For the preferred language of work, an equal amount chose either Ukrainian or Russian (37%) and 21% communicated bilingually. The study polled 10,071 individuals and held a 1% margin of error.
In an October 2009 poll by FOM-Ukraine of 1,000 respondents, 52% stated they use Russian as their "Language of communication"; while 41% of the respondents state they use Ukrainian and 8% stated they use a mixture of both.
A March 2010 poll by Research & Branding Group showed that 65% considered Ukrainian as their native language and 33% Russian. This poll also showed the standard of knowledge of the Russian language (free conversational language, writing and reading) in current Ukraine is higher (76%) than the standard of knowledge of the Ukrainian language (69%). More respondents preferred to speak Ukrainian (46%) than Russian (38%) with 16% preferring to speak both in equal manner.
A poll held November 2009 revealed that 54.7% of the population of Ukraine believed the language issue in Ukraine is irrelevant, that each person can speak the language he or she prefers and that a lot more important problems exist in the country; 14.7% of those polled stated that the language issue was an urgent problem that cannot be postponed and that calls for immediate resolution; another 28.3% believed that, while the language issue needs to be resolved, this could be postponed.
In a May 2012 poll by RATING 50% of respondents considered Ukrainian their native language, 29% Russian, 20% consider both Ukrainian and Russian their mother tongue and 1% considered a different language their native language.
As a result of legislation entitled the 'Bill on the principles of the state language policy", which was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in August 2012, languages spoken by at least 10% of an oblast's population were made possible to be elevated to the status of 'regional language'. Whilst Ukrainian remained the country's only 'official' language nationwide, other languages, dependent on their adoption by oblast authorities, became accepted mediums of communication in education, local government offices, courts and official correspondence.
|Region||Regional languages||Region||Regional languages|
|Autonomous Republic of Crimea||Crimean Tatar||Luhansk Oblast||Russian|
|Cherkasy Oblast||Lviv Oblast|
|Chernihiv Oblast||Mykolaiv Oblast||Russian|
|Chernivtsi Oblast||Romanian (Tarasivtsi village only)||Odessa Oblast||Russian|
|Dnipropetrovsk Oblast||Russian||Poltava Oblast|
|Donetsk Oblast||Russian||Rivne Oblast|
|Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast||Sevastopol City||Russian|
|Kharkiv Oblast||Russian||Sumy Oblast|
|Kherson Oblast||Russian||Ternopil Oblast|
|Khmelnytskyi Oblast||Vinnytsia Oblast|
|Kiev Oblast||Volyn Oblast|
|Kirovohrad Oblast||Zakarpattia Oblast||Hungarian (Berehove town only)
Romanian (Bila Tserkva village only) 
|Kyiv City||Zaporizhia Oblast||Russian|
According to the Russian census 1897 on the territory of the nine Russian guberniyas in modern Ukraine yielded the following results:
- Language composition
- Ukrainian - 14,931.5 (73%)
- Russian - 2,146.1 (11%)
- Jewish - 1,871.8 (9%)
- German - 451.3 (2%)
- Polish - 375.9 (2%)
- Belorussian language - 208.5 (1%)
- Romanian - 185.7 (1%)
- Other - 1%
- List of mentioned regions
- Poltava Governorate
- Kharkov Governorate
- Podolie Governorate
- Kiev Governorate
- Volyn Governorate
- Yekaterinoslav Governorate
- Chernigov Governorate
- Kherson Governorate
- Taurida Governorate
- Ukrainian Census (2001)
- FOM-Ukraine opinion polls (bottom of page), FOM-Ukraine (Russian)
- PROJECT «PRACTICE OF THE USE OF UKRAINIAN AND RUSSIAN LANGUAGE IN UKRAINE», Research & Branding Group (March 2010)
- Poll: more than half of Ukrainians do not consider language issue pressing, Kyiv Post (November 25, 2009)
- , tsn.ua - Razumkov Centre (Ukrainian)
- The language question, the results of recent research in 2012, RATING (25 May 2012)
- Languages of Ukraine, Ethnologue, 2009.
- "Russian becomes regional language in three more regions in Ukraine". ukrinform.ua.
- "Russian becomes regional language in Mykolaiv region". KyivPost.
- "Popov: No bilingualism in Kyiv", Kyiv Post, September 19, 2012
- "Kherson Regional Council declares Russian a regional language". KyivPost.
- "Romanian becomes regional language in Bila Tserkva in Zakarpattia region". KyivPost.
- Linguistic composition of the population, according to the Ukrainian census of 2001
- Languages of Ukraine by Ethnologue
- Суржик - проблема української мови
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