Beginner Ukrainian Guide - A Comprehensive Guide

May 5th, 2023 - Vera

Ukrainian is a beautiful and complex language that is spoken by over 40 million people worldwide. It is the official language of Ukraine, and is also spoken by Ukrainian communities in other countries such as Canada and the United States. If you are interested in learning Ukrainian, it can be a challenging but rewarding experience. In this beginner’s guide, we will cover some of the basics of the Ukrainian language to help you get started.

The Ukrainian Alphabet

The Ukrainian alphabet is based on the Cyrillic script, which is also used for languages such as Russian and Bulgarian. There are 33 letters in the Ukrainian alphabet, which includes 7 vowels and 26 consonants. Here is the alphabet with each letter’s name and pronunciation:

А а - a (as in father)
Б б - be (as in best)
В в - ve (as in vine)
Г г - he (as in go)
Ґ ґ - ghe (as in gun)
Д д - de (as in dog)
Е е - ye (as in yes)
Є є - yeh (as in yet)
Ж ж - zhe (as in measure)
З з - ze (as in zoo)
И и - y (as in yes)
І і - i (as in ill)
Ї ї - yi (as in yippee)
Й й - y (as in yes)
К к - ka (as in kite)
Л л - el (as in look)
М м - em (as in mom)
Н н - en (as in name)
О о - o (as in more)
П п - pe (as in pen)
Р р - er (as in red)
С с - es (as in sun)
Т т - te (as in top)
У у - u (as in boot)
Ф ф - ef (as in fish)
Х х - kha (as in Scottish loch)
Ц ц - tse (as in sits)
Ч ч - che (as in cheese)
Ш ш - shcha (as in ship)
Щ щ - shchya (as in sheep)
Ю ю - yu (as in yule)
Я я - ya (as in yard)

Some of these letters may look familiar to English speakers, while others may be completely new. It is important to learn the Cyrillic script if you want to read and write in Ukrainian. There are many resources available online and in language textbooks that can help you learn the alphabet.

Basic Ukrainian Phrases

Once you have learned the Ukrainian alphabet, you can start practicing some basic Ukrainian phrases. Here are some common phrases that you may find useful:

Привіт (Pryvit) - Hello
Доброго ранку (Dobroho ranku) - Good morning
Доброго дня (Dobroho dnia) - Good afternoon
Добрий вечір (Dobryi vechir) - Good evening
До побачення (Do pobachennia) - Goodbye
До зустрічі (Do zustrichi) - See you later
Як справи? (Yak spravy?) - How are you?
Дуже добре, дякую (Duzhe dobre, dyakuyu) - Very well, thank you
Так (Tak) - Yes
Ні (Ni) - No
Будь ласка (Bud’ laska) - Please
Дякую (Dyakuyu) - Thank you
Дуже дякую (Duzhe dyakuyu) - Thank you very much
Не має за що (Ne maie za scho) - You’re welcome
Я не розумію (Ya ne rozumiyu) - I don’t understand
Мене звати… (Mene zvaty…) - My name is…
Скільки це коштує? (Skilky tse koshtuye?) - How much does this cost?
Де знаходиться туалет? (De znakhodytsia tualet?) - Where is the restroom?

These phrases will be helpful in basic communication with Ukrainian speakers, but keep in mind that there are many variations of the language and some phrases may differ depending on the region or dialect.

Grammar Basics

Ukrainian grammar can be complex, but it is important to have a basic understanding of the language’s grammar rules in order to form sentences correctly. Here are a few basic rules to keep in mind:

Nouns: In Ukrainian, nouns have gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter) and number (singular or plural). The gender of a noun can often be determined by its ending, and plural nouns are formed by adding the suffix -и (-y) to the end of the word.

Verbs: Verbs in Ukrainian have different forms depending on the subject, tense, and mood. Ukrainian has six tenses (present, past, future, perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect), and three moods (indicative, imperative, and subjunctive).

Adjectives: Adjectives in Ukrainian also have gender and number agreement with the nouns they modify. They are usually placed before the noun they modify, and the endings of the adjectives will change depending on the gender and number of the noun.

Word Order: In Ukrainian, the word order is subject-verb-object (SVO) for declarative sentences. However, the word order can be changed for emphasis or to create different sentence structures.

As you continue to learn the language, you will become more comfortable with its grammar rules and be able to form more complex sentences.

Resources for Learning Ukrainian

There are many resources available for those who want to learn Ukrainian. Here are a few options:

Textbooks: Language textbooks are a great resource for learning Ukrainian grammar and vocabulary. Some popular textbooks include “Beginner’s Ukrainian” by Yuri Shevchuk and “Ukrainian for Speakers of English” by Olena Bekh.

Online Courses: There are many online courses and apps available for learning Ukrainian. Some popular options include Duolingo, Babbel, and Mango Languages.

Language Exchange Programs: Language exchange programs allow you to practice speaking with native Ukrainian speakers in exchange for practicing their language. Some popular language exchange programs include iTalki and Tandem.

Language Immersion Programs: Immersion programs allow you to fully immerse yourself in the Ukrainian language and culture. Some popular options include Study Ukrainian in Lviv and Ukrainian Language School in Kiev.


Learning Ukrainian may seem like a daunting task, but with the right resources and approach, it can be a rewarding experience. By starting with the basics of the alphabet, common phrases, and grammar rules, you will be on your way to becoming proficient in Ukrainian. Remember to practice speaking and listening as much as possible, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes - they are a natural part of the learning process. With time and dedication, you can become fluent in Ukrainian and open up a whole new world of opportunities for communication and cultural exchange.

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