Talk:Romanization of Ukrainian

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SMS romanization[edit]

Is "SMS" an actual romanization standard that's codified somewhere, or just a suggested informal system like Volapuk encoding? Michael Z. 2005-05-19 17:48 Z

International Scholarly system[edit]

The article now states: "Representing all of the necessary diacritics on computers requires Unicode."

Is Unicode really needed or will ISO Latin-9 do? -- Petri Krohn 04:03, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

After a quick look it appears that Latin-9 is missing the c-caron.[1] I think Latin-2, Latin-4 (North European,) and Latin-7 (Baltic Rim) should work. Michael Z. 2005-10-12 05:54 Z

Representation of Vowels in IPA[edit]

[2] claims the Ukrainian vowels are ɛ, and ɑ, and ʊ; and not e, and ʌ, and u like in the article. -Iopq 00:39, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

I think all the IPA in the table is the same as in Daniels and Bright (eds.) The World's Writing Systems, page 702. ISBN 0195079930. I'm not 100% clear on the precise nuance of the IPA symbols, but I think all of the above may be well within the range of variation of regional Ukrainian accents. Michael Z. 2005-10-17 03:15 Z
Just checked; WWS uses [a], [e], and [u]. I realize there's a slight discrepancy between this table and the one at Ukrainian alphabet. Michael Z. 2005-10-17 03:21 Z
There's also the issue of phonetic vs. phonemic transcription. You'll notice in the table on the last page of the PDF, the same letter is pronounced differently in different places. I think this is a very precise phonetic transcription that captures all the nuances. The alphabet tables merely present the "generic" phonemic pronunciation of each letter. Don't know if this has any direct bearing on your question, though. Michael Z. 2005-10-17 03:48 Z
The table makes the point that those pronunciations are the generally accepted pronunciations of the letter and the ones given in this table are the VARIATIONS in certain positions. I am not an expert on vowels, but I could imagine that the vowels sound like that in ISOLATION, but sometimes sound like in this table in certain words. I saw in another book a phonetic transcription with over a dozen vowel sounds because of all the dialects. But the IPA transcription SHOULD probably use the sound in isolation when simplifying. -Iopq 23:52, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. I have no idea which transcription is better, so I'll trust your judgement if you decide to change it. I also have a longish article on Ukrainian dialects in my Encyclopedia of Ukraine. I'll have a look at that and see if there's any more insight (I'm not even sure it uses IPA). Michael Z. 2005-10-18 00:00 Z

Check out Bulgarian_language it has the same IPA for some of the vowels. The reason one doesn't match is because it's pronounced differently :)
I'm actually going to go to the library and check out a 1930 book on Ukranian phonology -Iopq 00:14, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I am looking at "A Phonetic Description of the Ukrainian Language" by Ivan Zilyns'kyj. The vowels are u i ɪ ɑ ɛ and the o is between ɔ and o. That's their isolated pronunciations. What's the correct way to list this reference? I'm going to edit the article as well as a whole bunch of Wikipedia articles that got this wrong :D. I'll leave o as just o. But I'm definitely going to change a and e.
A brief survey of the different interpretations, with references, could be useful in Ukrainian language#Phonetics. Michael Z. 2005-10-18 17:34 Z PS: if you haven't seen it yet, please review my recent addition to Ukrainian alphabet.
The number of phonemes is arguable, but many seem to agree on 38 phonemes in view that the palatalized versions of some letters are always before an i so they are in fact allophones to their hard counterparts. I think I'll look around for different opinions on the vowels and listen to the vowel sounds on wikipedia. -Iopq 20:04, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Recent IPA edits[edit]

I have a couple of comments about the recent changes to IPA in this article. Please be patient with me if I misunderstood anything; I'm no linguist.

First of all, I must say that when I edited the IPA representation I didn't realize that there is already a discussion about this going on. So I just edited the table in a way I thought correct instead of proposing these changes in the discussion first. --Daniel Bunčić 22:44, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
  • The apostrophe (’)—isn't the apostrophe always followed by a sound like [ja], [je], [ji], [ju]? The apostrophe's function is to prevent that sound from palatalizing the previous letter (eg, prevent [ja] from becoming [ʲa], etc), so it doesn't actually have its own intrinsic phonetic value [j].
This is the traditional way the apostrophe (just as the 'hard sign' in Russian) is described. I doubt that this is true. If a consonant is followed by [j], it is certain to be palatalized (or at least 'semi-palatalized') in any language in the world. Try to pronounce a consonant before [j] without altering the usual tongue position the consonant would have in another position. You won't manage. So phonetically the consonants before the apostrophe are not hard. And phonologically, this is a neutral position, so it doesn't matter if they are hard or soft. What does the apostrophe really do then? Its only function is to indicate that there has to be a [j] between the consonant before it and the vowel after it. Consequently, instead of defining that <я> and <ю> are usually pronounced [a] and [u], but [ja] and [ju] after an apostrophe, it is much more elegant to say that <я> and <ю> are pronounced [a] and [u] and <’> is pronounced [j]. It gives the same result but needs less rules and exceptions. (NB. Yes, <я> and <ю> are pronounced [ja] and [ju] word-initially, too. But note that the set of vowel letters that are pronounced with a [j] in word-initial position is different.)
I know that an encyclopedia is not the place to put original research. But although I don't remember to have read this, I am not the only one to analyze the function of the apostrophe this way, and besides, the aim of an encyclopedia article on the Ukrainian writing system is to explain non-Ukrainians how it works, so the easiest way to do this should be the best one. --Daniel Bunčić 22:44, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Palatalization—is it necessary to show consonants in both normal and palatalized forms (e.g. [d] and [dʲ])? I think the [ʲ] is always added because of what follows the consonant letter (e.g., ь=[ʲ], or я=[ʲa]). Alternately, if we consider that [d] becomes [dʲ], then the vowels can be shown as e.g., only [ja] and not also [ʲa].
The problem is that this would imply that <я> is pronounced [ʲa], but [ʲa] is not a sound. This is a misconception that teachers of East Slavic languages have to spend a lot of time on to get it out of their students’ heads. Beginners often think of <я> as a letter for [ja] and consequently pronounce Надя/Nadja as ['nadja]. So it would really be better to say clearly that the regular pronunciation of <я> is [a]. --Daniel Bunčić 22:44, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Semi-palatalization—can we simplify the table by leaving out the semi-palatalized consonants (bʲ, vʲ, ɦʲ, gʲ, ʒʲ, kʲ, mʲ, pʲ, rʲ, fʲ, xʲ, ʧʲ, ʃʲ, ʃʧʲ) which I don't think are phonemic in Ukrainian, and aren't indicated in the orthography? Most articles about Ukrainian only describe palatalization in dʲ, zʲ, lʲ, nʲ, sʲ, tʲ, ʦʲ, ʣʲ. I'm a Ukrainian-speaker, but the existence of those semi-palatals has always been totally confusing to me.
These semi-palatals are confusing to me, too. Coming to Ukrainian from Russian, I have not really heard any phonetic difference. Of course the semi-palatals are different from their 'fully palatal' Russian counterparts phonologically, as they are not separate phonemes. But their pronunciation seems to me completely identical. --Daniel Bunčić 22:44, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
буряк is an example where rʲ is phonemic and indicated in the orthography and you can see it's different from бур'ян where it's hard -Iopq 03:39, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I know it's different, but the difference is not the pronunciation of the <р>. My phonetic transcription would be буряк [bu'rʲak] vs. бур'ян [burʲ'jan]. (By the way, the two cannot be considered minimal pairs because the former consists of five sounds and the latter of six.)
I'm sorry I have to argue about such things with native speakers, myself having learned Ukrainian only as a foreign language. But contrary to common thought, native speakers are not natural experts at the linguistics of their language. (They are experts at their language, of course, but not at linguistics. Otherwise we would not need linguistic departments at all.) Which does not mean that I am necessarily right, of course. But phonetic reality is often contrary to intuition. An example from my language: Most speakers of German would claim they pronounce the word Hauptbahnhof 'railway station' with two [h]'s and a [t] in it (namely, [ˈhaʊptbaːnˌhoːf]), but in fact the normal pronunciation of this word is something like [ˈhaʊpːaˌnoːf]. --Daniel Bunčić 22:44, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

For clarity, a simpler table would be better. This article is about romanization in general, and IPA is already a side topic to the subject. If there are some finer points to be made about Ukrainian orthography, phonemics, and phonetics, they probably belong in the article about Ukrainian language. Michael Z. 2005-12-1 00:59 Z

I completely agree, I already felt that the table is not really where it belongs when I edited it, since IPA is not really what one would consider romanization (especially as symbols like ɛɣʒʔ are not really roman letters). But I thought that at least it should be correct, and it can still be moved afterwords. --Daniel Bunčić 22:44, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I suggest they belong in Ukrainian phonology -Iopq 03:40, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
No, IPA is the International Phonetic Alphabet, it has nothing to do with phonology. (Well, almost nothing.) With a few comments on under which circumstances a letter is pronounced which way, one could introduce it in Ukrainian language. --Daniel Bunčić 22:44, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
P.S. Just seen that there already is a similar table at Ukrainian alphabet. Probably it would be best just to 'complicate' that one (as it is a bit simplistic) and then delete the IPA column in this article, with a link to Ukrainian alphabet for information on the original pronunciation of Ukrainian. So the table at Ukrainian alphabet would need an additional column with the scholarly transliteration in order to make it easier to compare that table with the transcription tables. --Daniel Bunčić 23:01, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Souds sensible to me. If there's no objection, I'd be glad to make most of the changes to the tables this weekend. Michael Z. 2005-12-2 23:22 Z
I, for my part, don't object, and as I won't have time in the next days anyway: please do so. --Daniel Bunčić 10:27, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Done. Please check my edits of the tables here and at Ukrainian alphabet. Michael Z. 2005-12-5 19:22 Z
Thanks a lot, it looks very good. It's much better this way than as it used to be. One might consider giving more comments on palatalization and revising the comment on the apostrophe in the way I proposed above. The question is, should an encyclopedia really give all the information you need for the proper pronunciation of a language? On the other hand, once we have a table like this, it should probably tell the whole story. What do you think? --Daniel Bunčić 11:23, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I think Ukrainian alphabet should have enough phonology information to show how the alphabet works, and point to Ukrainian phonology, where the more detailed information belongs. The basic information also belongs at Ukrainian language#Phonetics. Michael Z. 2005-12-6 16:21 Z

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

New article: Scientific transliteration. Michael Z. 2006-02-07 06:00 Z

Different Ukrainian national systems[edit]

[This is prompted by discussion at Portal:Ukraine/Ukraine-related_Wikipedia_notice_board#Transliteration_problem.]

I'd like to fill in the gaps about official systems currently and historically used in Ukraine. Here's some suggested text. Please discuss questions, changes, and additions below. Michael Z. 2007-07-03 23:06 Z

GOST 16876-71[edit]

GOST 16876-71 was the Cyrillic to Latin transliteration standard in the Soviet Union, established in 1971, for Cyrillic-based alphabets, including Ukrainian. The standard was later adopted by COMECON, and was subject to revisions. The 1971 version used only plain Latin characters from the ASCII character set, while the 1983 version used diacritics.

The GOST standard is missing the Ukrainian letter ge (ґ), which was removed from the Soviet orthography in 1933.

[Ukrainian letters not listed in the main GOST 16876-71 article:

Cyrillic: г є і ї '
GOST 16876-71: g je i ji *
GOST (1983) g je i i "

[Was this system in effect at independence? I think, yes, based on the modifications to the standard accepted in 1995 (below)] [Was it officially made obsolete or replaced?]

[This is already mentioned at GOST 16876-71, not so relevant here:]
[In 2002, in the Russian Federation, the GOST standard was replaced by international convention ISO 9:1995, known as GOST 7.79-2000.[1]]


State Standards Committee (1995)[edit]

Based on GOST 16876-71, a new transliteration standard was developed by a Committee at the Kyiv National University. The standard was approved by the by the State Standards Committee ("Derzhstandart") of Ukraine on October 18, 1995. It was submitted for inclusion into the international GOST 16876-71 standard, and among other organizations, was supported by the Russian State Standards Committee (GOST) in 1997.

[Anyone know the status of this? How does it work with GOST's adoption of ISO 9?]



Ukrainian National transliteration (1996)[edit]

To end the inconsistencies in the transliteration standards, Committee on Issues of Legal Terminology has been created. On April 19, 1996 the Committee adopted a (so-called) National transliteration system by Decision No. 9. The decision states that the system is binding for the transliteration of Ukrainian names in English in legislative and official acts.

The National system is also employed by the UN and many countries' foreign services. It is currently widely used to represent Ukrainian geographic names, which were almost exclusively romanized from Russian before Ukrainian independence in 1991.

A different official system has been introduced for transliteration of Ukrainian personal names in Ukrainian passport in 2004 and 2007.

The system is based on English orthography. It requires only ASCII characters.


Ukrainian official transliteration for personal names in Ukrainian passport[edit]

The Regulation on Ukrainian passport list rules for transliterating personal names in the passport.

The transliteration rules were set by Decision no. 380/2004 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on March 24, 2004. The rules were modified by Cabinet of Ministers decision no. 858/2007 on June 26, 2007. The transliteration rules are not mandatory. Ukrainian citizens may request an alternative English spelling of full name in the passport.

The Regulation on Ukrainian passport was initially adopted by decision no. 231/1995 on March 31, 1995. (But at that time it was not so detailed and it does not include the transliteration table??? Before 2004 transliteration was done according to the National transliteration system (1996)???)

It requires only ASCII characters.


2010 Clean-up[edit]

Resolution no. 55, January 27, 2010, On clean-up of the romanization of the Ukrainian alphabet introduces a new transliteration table, and amends two passport laws:[3][4][5]

  • Res. 231, March 31, 1995[6]
  • Res. 1873, November 27, 1998[7]

The new, simple table appears to combine the most popular features of earlier passport systems and the 1996 National system for official geographic names. Although geographic names are given in the examples, it's not clear whether this supersedes the National system.


Official Ukrainian transliteration systems
Cyrillic GOST 1971 GOST 1986 Derzhstandart 1995 National 1996 Passport 2004 Passport 2007 Passport 2010
А a a a a a a a
Б b b b b b b b
В v v v v v, w v v
Г g g gh h, gh*^ h, g g h, gh*^
Ґ g g g, h g g
Д d d d d d d d
Е e e e e e e e
Є je je je ie, ye* ie, ye* ie ie, ye*
Ж zh ž zh zh zh, j zh zh
З z z z z z z z
И i i y y y y y
i i i i i i i i
Ї ji i ji i, yi* i, yi* i i, yi*
Й j j j** i, y* i, y* i i, y*
К k k k k k, c k k
Л l l l l l l l
М m m m m m m m
Н n n n n n n n
О o o o o o o o
П p p p p p p p
Р r r r r r r r
С s s s s s s s
Т t t t t t t t
У u u u u u u u
Ф f f f f f f f
Х kh h kh kh kh kh kh
Ц c c c ts ts ts ts
Ч ch č ch ch ch ch ch
Ш sh š sh sh sh sh sh
Щ shh šč shh sch shch shch shch
Ю ju ju ju iu, yu* iu, yu* iu iu, yu*
Я ja ja ja ia, ya* ia, ya* ia ia, ya*
Ь ' ' j*** '
* " '****
  • * The second transliteration is used word-initially.
  • ** Word-initially, after vowels or after the apostrophe.
  • *** After consonants.
  • **** Apostrophe is used before iotated ja, ju, je, ji, jo, and to distinguish the combination ьа (j'a) in compound words from я (ja), for example, Волиньавто = Volynj'avto.
  • *^ gh is used in the romanization of зг (zgh), avoiding confusion with ж (zh).


I guess the text of the 1995 resolution includes amendments. Anyone know of a reference to the 1995 version, or know whether it included a transliteration table at all? Michael Z. 2007-07-03 22:05 Z

Yes, the text of the 1995 resolution at the Rada website includes amendments (but not yet 2007 amendments). It's called amendments, but in fact by 2004 Decision the old text was substituted by new, i.e. the old text was totally vanished. I cannot find the original 1995 text at the Rada website. We are looking for Appendix 2 (if such existed) of that regulation. It would be hard to find. There is an alternative fee-based database of Ukrainian law by Liga. 1995 decision is available there (hopefully, in the original edition). We may eventually find someone who has access to that database. --Novelbank 23:00, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Some sources are unclear about GOST's transliteration of х. I've seen kh, h, and ch offered—the table above is my best guess. Michael Z. 2007-07-03 23:18 Z

Some of the notes, which I've tried to copy from the sources, are confusing.

  • Dezhstandart: й=j says "на початку слова, після голосних та апострофа", which I translate as "word-initially, after vowels or after the apostrophe." It seems odd that й would be left out when it occurs after a consonant. Can anyone think of an example?
  • Dezhstandart: ь=j says "після приголосних" ('after consonants'). Where else can the soft sign occur?

 Michael Z. 2007-07-03 23:18 Z

The table for GOST 1971 has an asterisk indicated "*" for the Ukrainian apostrophe—does this mean an asterisk character, or nothing? Michael Z. 2007-07-04 00:00 Z

So Ukrainian "Г" is now offcially transliterated as "G", never as "H" in Ukrainian passports. I guess, it's OK for Russians living in Ukraine. A person with the name "Сергей" wants to be Sergey not "Serhey but does it apply to Ukrainians? --Anatoli (talk) 21:42, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

I have put the table to the article. --D.M. from Ukraine (talk) 19:19, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Is anyone keeping this page updated?[edit]

There doesn't appear to have been any activity here since 2010. Is anyone keeping this page updated?

As it stands, I found it extremely difficult to find the standardised transliteration style used for English Wikipedia. Compare this page to the Wikipedia Russian transliteration standard page. I found the Russian one without any difficulties & it's all laid out ready to use as a reference dependent on whether it's basic, linguistic or technical.

I'm still clicking around trying to work out whether to use this or hidden from plain sight somewhere on this page! Having encountered variations of ï as "yi", "ji", "i" alone in various articles and items, I don't see how an English reader will recognise the a word/name in one article as being the same word/name in another. I think we all comprehend that Ukrainian words/names basically go in one eyeball and out the other for Anglo-Celtic speakers already. Compounding polysyllabic words/names with variations on the transliteration defeats the purpose of informing readers. I know I'm confounded.

Is anyone willing to collaborate on sorting this page out in order to emulate the comprehensible Russian entry? --Iryna Harpy (talk) 04:57, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Ukrainian here is Cyrillic[edit]

and therefore the article is included in Category:Romanization of Cyrillic. I re-removed the re-inserted Category:Romanization (edit) which hosts no other articles about language specific Romanizations of Cyrillic outside the subcategories. Lingufil (talk) 12:10, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

WP:UNDUE changes to the article[edit]

Would editors please be aware of the fact that, per WP:TITLE, the article is on the subject of "Romanization of Ukrainian" and not on "United Nations Romanization Systems for Geographical Names", therefore it is WP:UNDUE to bold the column featuring only that system of transliteration in a table displaying numerous globally recognised systems of transliteration. This article deals with the transliteration of Ukrainian in general. POV pushing one system recognised by one of many official bodies (and most specifically dealing with geographic transliteration conventions) is unacceptable. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 00:24, 10 July 2016 (UTC)