Ukrainian language

Title page of Mykola Nakonechny's textbook Ukrains'ka mova (Kharkiv, 1928). Title page of the 1596 Slavonic grammar by Lavrentii Zyzanii.
Title page of the 1918 Ukrainian grammar by Vasyl Simovych.

Ukrainian language [українська мова; ukrainska mova]. The second most widely spoken language of the 12 surviving members of the Slavic group of the large Indo-European language family. Geographically, it is classified with Russian and Belarusian as an East Slavic language. Actually, like Slovak, it occupies a central position: it borders on some West Slavic languages, and it once bordered on Bulgarian, a South Slavic language, before being separated from it by Rumanian and Hungarian. Accordingly, Ukrainian shared in the historical development of all three branches of the Slavic languages. Today Ukrainian borders on Russian in the east and northeast, on Belarusian in the north, and on Polish, Slovak, and two non-Slavic languages—Hungarian and Rumanian—in the west. Before the steppes of southern Ukraine were resettled by the Ukrainians, this was an area of contact with various Turkic languages, such as Crimean Tatar.

Within its geographic boundaries Ukrainian is represented basically by a set of dialects, some of which differ significantly from the others. Generally, however, dialectal divisions in Ukrainian are not as strong as they are, for example, in British English or in German. Traditionally, scholars have divided Ukrainian dialects into three main groups, the northern dialects, the southwestern dialects, and the southeastern dialects, and these have been subdivided further. Standard Ukrainian, which is accepted as such by the speakers of all the dialects and represents Ukrainian to outsiders, is a superstructure built on this dialectal foundation. It is the only form of Ukrainian taught in school and, except for clearly regional manifestations, used in literature. The standard language is based mainly on the Poltava–Kyiv dialects of the southeastern group, but it also contains many features from other dialects, particularly the southwestern ones.

Historical development

Proto-Ukrainian (6th to mid-11th century AD). The formative period of Proto-Ukrainian began with the appearance of distinctive features in the dialects of Common Slavic spoken in and west of the middle Dnieper River Basin that were not shared entirely with adjacent Slavic dialects. Ukrainian arose as a separate language through the accumulation of such features. Phonological changes during the disintegration of Common Slavic resulted in a reduction of the number of vowels from 20 in late Common Slavic to 9 in Proto-Ukrainian and an increase of consonants from 15 to 30 or 31. Most of these changes also occurred in other Slavic dialects, but they differed in essential details, which delimited the Proto-Ukrainian dialects from all adjacent ones; for example, the labialized character of ь distinguished the Proto-Ukrainian dialects from Proto-Polish ones; the preservation of i and the rise of y (from ĭ, ŭ) before j distinguished them from Proto-Russian dialects; the differentiation of o and a in unstressed syllables distinguished them from Proto-Belarusian dialects; and the reflexation of ě as ie (later ė) in the southwest Proto-Ukrainian dialects distinguished them from all adjacent dialects, as well as from the northern Proto-Ukrainian dialects.

The most important phonetic changes in the Proto-Ukrainian dialects (many of which, but not all, were shared with some adjacent Slavic dialects) were (1) the rise of y from ū, (2) the rise of jers (ъ and ь) from u and i respectively, (3) the rise of an only short o and only long a and the subsequent loss of phonemic length and pitch, (4) the palatalization of consonants before ь and ě, and (5) the rise of so-called pleophony.

The roots of the oldest dialectal features can be traced back to the Proto-Ukrainian period. The Rus’ Primary Chronicle mentions seven Slavic tribes that inhabited Ukraine's territory: the Siverianians, Polianians, Dulibians, Derevlianians, Ulychians, Tivertsians, and White Croatians. It is not known whether or not each tribe had its own dialectal peculiarities; there is, however, a clear difference between the dialects of Polisia as far south as Kyiv on the one hand, and those of Galicia and Podilia on the other. The northern dialects preserved kv before ě (from Indo-European oi; eg, kvit vs the southern dialectal cvit ‘flower’), preserved or restored sk before ě (eg, po dъskě vs the southern dъscě ‘on board’), and went farther than the southern dialects in replacing Special font by ž (meža vs the southern meSpecial fonta ‘boundary’). The northern dialects depalatalized soft r; conditioned several changes in vowels by stress (eg, ę > ‘a if stressed but e if unstressed: p’atь ‘five’, but petý gen); and modified e before a weak ъ, which change later resulted in a diphthong under stress (eg, Special font > néslъ > n’uos ‘he carried’, but metъlá > metlá ‘broom’, Standard Ukrainian = nis, mitla). Presumably, the opposition between the northern and southern dialects arose before they were united in what is now Ukrainian. A process of integration (not of differentiation, as with later Ukrainian dialects) occurred, probably for historical reasons—the political dominance of Kyiv and, later, mass migrations caused by the invasions of various Turkic tribes.

In morphology, the Proto-Ukrainian dialects inherited fairly complicated systems of declension and conjugation from Common Slavic. In declension, substantives had several types of inflection with seven cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, locative, and vocative) and three numbers (singular, dual, plural). Each substantive was assigned to a gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter), but the choice of ending was based not on gender but, as inherited from Indo-European, on stems, originally shown by the component that stood between the ending proper and the preceding part of the word, be it the root or a suffix. There were several basic types of stems: o, jo, u, i, a, ja, and consonantal r, s, n, nt, and ū. Because of morphological levelings and, especially, phonetic changes, however, the distinction between stems had already become obscure in Common Slavic and was later obliterated, so it was only by tradition that the distinction was maintained. Thus, the shift of nouns from one group of stems to another and of specific case endings from one stem-type to another began. Since confusions in stem are quite frequent in the oldest extant manuscripts, it can be assumed that the shifts began well into the Proto-Ukrainian period; eg, the original u-stem synъ ‘son’ (cf Lithuanian and Old Indian sūn-u-s), which in the genitive singular should have the ending -u, appears in the Izbornik of Sviatoslav (1073) in two forms, the old synu and the new syna, transferred from the o-stems. Such switches were particularly frequent in nouns of the same gender, and the result was an extensive rearrangement of the declensional types on the basis of gender, a process that even now is not quite complete. The fastest reshuffling occurred in consonantal stems.

The adjective had two types of declension: (1) the nominal, that is, the same as in the substantive, most often of masculine and neuter o-stems and of feminine a-stems; and (2) the pronominal, in which the demonstrative pronoun i (jь) was added to the nominal form in the same case as the latter, with subsequent simplifications. For example, the nominal malь ‘small’ became the pronominal malь + jь ‘that small [child, etc]’, in the genitive singular masculine mala + jego, hence malajego, malaago, and, under the influence of the ‘hard’ pronominal declension (togo), later malogo/maloho.

The verb had five tenses—present, perfect, imperfect, aorist, and pluperfect—but no single form for the future tense, which was conveyed periphrastically by means of such auxiliary verbs as imu ‘take’, xoču ‘wish’, and načьnu ‘begin’ + the infinitive. There was also a well-developed system of participles: present active (eg, moga masc, moguči fem), past active (nesъ masc, nesъši fem), and passive in -mъ, , and . The moods were the indicative, conditional (byxъ neslъ ‘I would carry’), and imperative. Besides the infinitive (nesti ‘to carry’) there was the supine, which was used after verbs of motion in space (nestъ). This rather complicated system, which had arisen in Common Slavic and differed essentially from Indo-European, was fairly well preserved in the Proto-Ukrainian dialects and carried over into the 12th century.

Old Ukrainian (mid-11th to late 14th century). The period of Old Ukrainian dates from the same time as the oldest extant Rus’ texts and coincides with the rise and fall of Kyivan Rus’. The year 1387, when Polish supremacy over Galicia and Lithuanian supremacy over most of Ukraine were firmly established, can be considered a conventional cutoff date.

The phonetic changes during this period were (1) the transformation (ca 1125) of y into i after the velars g, k, and x (eg, ruky > ruki ‘hands’), a change limited at the time to northern Ukraine; (2) the spirantization (ca 1200) of g (g > h), which occurred on all of Ukrainian territory (eg, noga > noha ‘foot’); (3) the dispalatalization in the 13th century of labials in the syllable- and word-final position (eg, holub’ > holub ‘pigeon’); and (4) the change (ca 1260 in the territory stretching from Bukovyna to western Volhynia) of i into a vowel intermediate between i and y (denoted in the modern Ukrainian alphabet by the letter и).

The most consequential sound change in the Old Ukrainian period was the loss of the jers. This loss had occurred in some positions earlier, but it reached its culmination between 1144 (the year of the Halych Gospel (1144), which reflects the old situation) and 1161 (the year of the inscriptions on the Cross of Princess Eufrosiniia of Polatsk, which reflects the new situation). The jers were treated in two ways and accordingly are labeled weak or strong: the former were lost without replacement, and the latter coalesced with either e (ь) or o (ъ). The jers were strong before r and l between consonants (eg, vьrxa ‘top’ gen sing, tъrga ‘market’ gen sing > verxa, torga) and before a syllable containing a weak jer (eg, sъnъ ‘sleep’, dьnь ‘day’ > son, den’). All other jers were weak.

Among the many consequences of the loss of the jers, the most important were (1) the introduction of closed syllables and zero morphemes; (2) the alternation of e and o with ø; (3) the appearance of numerous consonant clusters, many of which were gradually simplified in the course of development; (4) a growth in the functional load of the opposition of nonpalatalized and palatalized consonants; (5) the alternation of v- with u- (eg, vnuk : unuk ‘grandson’); (6) the change -e > -a in the sequence -ьje (eg, zelьje ‘grass’ > zilja, Standard Ukrainian zillja); and (7) the change of o and e before a syllable in which a jer was lost (eg, stolъ ‘table’ and pečь ‘stove’). The last change proceeded differently in southern and northern Ukrainian. In the south, e and o in the given position were narrowed (marked sometimes in linguistic studies as ė and Special font), and so began an evolution that resulted in i in modern Ukrainian and gave rise to the alternation of i with e and o (eg, stil : stola gen sing, pič : peči). In the north, e and o in the given position, but only under stress, diphthongized into ie and uo respectively and later were further modified; e changed before ъ only if ъ was originally stressed (eg, Special font ‘carried’ vs médъ ‘honey’, modern northern Ukrainian n’uos, med).

In Old Ukrainian manuscripts the changes in e and o are reflected differently. The new reflexes of e coalesced with the pronounciation of ě (jat’), and from 1161 they were often spelled as ě(Special font). This so-called new jat’ was henceforth the most typical earmark of Ukrainian manuscripts. There was no way of marking directly the new reflexes of o in the traditional alphabet, and this change remained unmarked until the 14th century, when some scribes began using the letter omega (ω) for that purpose (it first appeared in the Hankenstein Codex).

No changes as sweeping as this occurred in Old Ukrainian morphology. In the nominal declension the adaptation of the excess of inherited endings to genders continued. The zero ending in the genitive plural was preserved in feminines in -a, but tended to be eliminated in masculines (eg, zimъ ‘winters’ vs běsovъ ‘devils’). In the genitive singular differentiation on the basis of semantic categories took place: the o-stem ending -a gradually became reserved for substantives denoting concrete and shaped objects, while the u-stem -u was applied to abstract and shapeless objects. The category of person became clear in the accusative singular (but not plural) where the genitive was introduced in names of human beings (eg, jesi slěpilъ brata ‘you blinded your brother’, the older form being bratъ as in the nom). Use of the dual remained strong in substantives, but by the end of the Old Ukrainian period its use had declined in verbs and virtually disappeared in pronouns.

In conjugation two uniquely Ukrainian features emerged. (1) In the 12th century the generalization of ě in plural endings of the imperative began (eg, xvalěte ‘praise’; originally ě characterized only class 1 and 2 verbs, while class 3 and 4 verbs had i). (2) The verb ‘to be’ took the ending -mo in the first person plural (jesmo), and this ending later spread to all verbs. In the 13th century use of the imperfect and aorist began declining, and probably by or in the 14th century they were no longer used in the spoken language. In the 14th century the supine was lost; the ending in the second person singular of the present tense spread at the expense of the older ending -ši (eg, meteš instead of meteši ‘you sweep’); and in the future tense the forms using the auxiliary first person budu (‘will be’ + l-participle) and imu (‘take’ + infinitive) crowded out the constructions using xoču (‘want’) and počьnu (‘will begin’). These developments reflected the tendency of speakers to simplify the morphological system while preserving its essentially conservative character.

Syntax also remained rather conservative, although the use of prepositional phrases, hypotactic constructions, and the instrumental of predication instead of cases in agreement increased. Judging by the extant texts, however, older constructions prevailed.

Owing to extensive contacts with Central Europe and the Turkic peoples of the steppe, many loanwords were added to the vocabulary of Old Ukrainian. The political and religious influence of the Byzantine Empire in Kyivan Rus’, in particular, resulted in the mass borrowing of Greek words and phrases through direct absorption, loan translations (eg, blahoslovyty ‘to bless’ based on the Greek eulogeō), and semantic adaptation. Most of these borrowings, however, did not penetrate into the spoken language of the uneducated masses; others were lost later, after the fall of Constantinople and the reorientation of Ukrainian culture toward Western Europe. Yet their general impact on the flexibility of Ukrainian cannot be denied.

Internecine strife among the princes of Kyivan Rus’ and the Mongol invasions of the 13th and 14th centuries gave rise to the westward migration of much of the population of central and northern Ukraine, a general decentralization of national life, and, consequently, the formation of western and northwestern Ukrainian dialects, for example, the Dniester dialects, Sian dialects, Boiko dialect, and Lemko dialects in the 13th century, and the western Polisian dialects, Bukovyna-Pokutia dialects, and Hutsul dialect in the 14th century.

Early Middle Ukrainian. The period from the late 14th to the third quarter of the 16th century (conventional cutoff dates, 1387 and 1575) coincided with the consolidation of the Lithuanian-Ruthenian state in most of Ukraine, except in Polish-ruled Galicia and Hungarian-ruled Transcarpathia, and with the rise of the Cossacks. Regular incursions by the Crimean Tatars again forced the Ukrainian population to migrate west and northwest, and by the beginning of the 16th century Zhytomyr, Kyiv, and Oster marked the eastern and southern boundary of Ukraine. The influx of most of the Ukrainian-speaking population into a relatively small territory and their subsequent return as Cossack settlers to central Ukraine and expansion into the formerly uncolonized southern and eastern regions left a lasting imprint on the Ukrainian language and assured the relative uniformity of Ukrainian throughout a vast territory, except in the most western and northern parts of Ukraine. The South Volhynian dialects, Podilian dialects, and central Transcarpathian dialects can be traced back to this period, as can the split of most of the Polisian dialects into eastern and central variants (in the 16th century).

Most of the sound changes in this period arose in and were limited to the southern part of the reduced Ukrainian populated territory; they did not spread to the north or the Carpathian Mountains region. The most important consonant changes were (1) the alteration l > w before a consonant after an o that originated fromъ (eg, vъlkъ > vo[w]k, now spelled vovk ‘wolf’); (2) the absorption of j by the preceding dental or postdental, resulting in long palatalized dentals and postdentals (eg, [zil’ja] > [zill’a] ‘herb’, [zbižž’a] ‘grain’); and (3) the beginning of dispalatalization of (short) postdentals, which had been soft since their appearance in Common Slavic. The first of these changes arose in northern Ukraine and spread south and west only in the 17th century. The second originated in Bukovyna and gradually spread north. The third spread independently out from many centers.

The important vowel changes were (1) the complete merging of the older i and y in a middle sound, a change that did not affect the westernmost dialects apart from the Hutsul dialect; (2) the change of the reflex of ě into i, which stopped short of the borders of the eastern and central Polisian dialects; and (3) the change of Special font (the reflex of o before a syllable with a weak jer) into u and further into ü (eg, kotъ > kSpecial fontt > kut > küt, now kit ‘cat’). (Since this u never coalesced with the original u, it may be denoted as u2; it is a phenomenon of the southern dialects.) For the first time in the history of the southern dialects changes arose that were motivated by the stress or lack of it on a given syllable: (1) the assimilative change o > a before a syllable with a stressed a (eg, bohátyj > bahátyj ‘rich’), which originated in the north and stopped short at the then Lithuanian-Polish border; (2) the change of unstressed o into u before a stressed u or (depending on the dialect) in all unstressed syllables (eg, zozúlja ‘cuckoo’, pronounced [zuzúl'a]); and (3) the merging of unstressed e and y, which today characterizes the standard language and all dialects except the eastern and central Polisian dialects.

The most important morphological changes took place in declension. Because of the coalescence of y and i, masculine substantives, originally of o-stems, lost the distinction between the nominative and the accusative plural, except those with stems ending in k, x, and h: for example, previously the nominative plural of sad ‘garden’ and dux ‘spirit’ was sadi and dusi, and the accusative plural was sady and duxy; now the distinction was lost entirely between sadi and sady, and limited to the consonant alternation in dusi ~ duxy: sady, dusy, duxy. Subsequently, the alternation of consonants in the nominative plural was eliminated, and the two case forms merged. Since feminines in -a also had the ending -y in both cases, this change in the masculines was tantamount to the obliteration of masculine-feminine gender distinctions in the plural. Accordingly, a trend toward uniform endings, mostly in o- and a-stems and occasionally in i-stems, in the dative, instrumental, and locative plural arose; for example, instead of sadom, sady, and saděx use of the forms sadam, sadamy, and sadax started expanding. Gender unification among plurals extended also to adjectives.

These processes did not reach completion in the Early Middle Ukrainian period, but the trends were clearly discernible. Other significant developments included the spread, except in the northern dialects, of the ending -ovy in the dative singular of masculines (eg, sadovy ‘orchard’); the replacement of the accusative plural by genitive plural forms in nouns denoting persons (eg, znaju bratenyky by znaju bratenykuv ‘I know the brothers’); and the elimination of -y in monovocalic endings of soft substantives (eg, na zemly was replaced by na zemli ‘on the ground’).

In syntax the notable changes were (1) the transformation of active participles into indeclinable gerunds, (2) the expansion of the instrumental predicative, and (3) the rise of the impersonal sentence with the predicate ending in -no or -to based on the passive participle but capable of taking a direct object in the accusative case (eg, prystavnyka oskarženo ‘the doorman was accused’, 1556).

In the vocabulary of this period, the influences of Lithuanian (mostly via Belarusian) were insignificant, and Belarusian influences themselves were not strong, even though most of Ukraine and Belarus were part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Military and peaceful encounters with the Crimean Tatars, however, particularly after an organized Cossack military had been established, resulted in the absorption of quite a few Turkic words, especially military and commercial terms, into the common language. The most significant development was the expansion of borrowing from Polish, and from Latin, German, and Czech, often via Polish. Loanwords from these languages influenced much more than just Ukrainian administrative, commercial, and cultural terminology: they often replaced established words in the basic vocabulary. As a result of this trend, which continued with undiminished strength for a century and a half, the vocabulary of Ukrainian became closer to that of West Slavic than to that of Russian or Church Slavonic.

Middle Ukrainian. This period begins with the consolidation of Polish rule throughout Ukraine after the Union of Lublin (1569), except in Transcarpathia and a small Muscovite-ruled northeastern region, and includes the Cossack rebellions, the Cossack-Polish War of 1648–57, the rise and decline of the Cossack Hetman state, and the curtailment of Ukrainian autonomy under Russian rule (conventional cutoff dates, 1575 and 1720). The most significant linguistic development in this period was the formation, on a vast territory, of the southeastern dialect, which later served as the foundation of Modern Standard Ukrainian. This dialect arose in the middle Dnieper River Basin and gradually spread southward to the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea as the steppes were settled by speakers of the southwestern dialect and the northern dialect. Political turmoil and population mobility created conditions that were conducive to the intermingling of new settlers and to the creation of a relatively uniform new ‘synthetic’ dialect.

In phonology the major development was the change of ü into i, which introduced the alternation o : i (eg, Old Ukrainian kotъ > ku2t > küt > kit : kota gen sing ‘cat’), one of the most striking features of modern Ukrainian (the earliest documentation of it dates from 1653). The consonants /g/, /Special font/, and /Special font/ were introduced and/or stabilized to a certain degree during this period. With these two developments the formation of the phonemic and morphophonemic systems of modern Ukrainian was basically completed, and thereafter only minor changes and adjustments took place: (1) the partial dispalatalization of c’, (2) the change e > o after palatalized dentals before a non-palatalized consonant (eg, len > l’on ‘flax’, semyj > s’omyj ‘seventh’) typical of the southeastern dialects, (3) the dispalatalization of r’ in the southwestern dialects (except for some Carpathian dialects), (4) the reintroduction ca 1640 of k and h in the infinitives of verbs of the modern type (eg, stryhty from the older stryčy ‘to cut hair’, and (5) the generalization ca 1720 of č and ž in the present tense of these verbs (stryžu 1st pers sing from the older stryhu 1st pers sing, stryžeš 2nd pers sing).

In morphology several earlier developments became stabilized, and in some cases of competition one competing variant was eliminated. Although they were not limited to the southeastern dialects, these processes were typical of them: (1) the consistent elimination of the ending y in the dative-locative of substantives of the soft declension (eg, na zemli instead of na zemly ‘on the ground’) and the expansion of this -i to the -ovy ending of masculine substantives (eg, bratovy > bratovi ‘brother’); (2) the acceptance of the form ščo ‘what’ in place of the older što; (3) the stabilization of the verbal ending -mo in the first person plural of the present tense (eg, nesemo ‘we carry’); (4) the replacement of -te after a vowel in the second plural imperative by -t’ (eg, nesit’ ‘carry’); (5) the stabilization of past tense forms (original perfect) without an auxiliary verb (eg, ja brav instead of the older bral jesmь ‘I took’); and (6) in the interaction of the adjectival and pronominal declensions, the replacement of disyllabic by monosyllabic and trisyllabic by disyllabic endings (eg, malaja > mala ‘small’ nom sing fem, malajeho > maloho gen sing masc), which except for a few relics led to the decline of nominal forms of adjectives of the type mal (nom sing masc).

By the end of the Middle Ukrainian period the morphological system of the southeastern dialects was almost identical to that of Modern Standard Ukrainian, while the peripheral northern and southwestern dialects to a large extent still preserved the old forms. The syntactic norms of the spoken language did not differ any more substantially from modern Ukrainian either. In vocabulary the language of the Middle Ukrainian period continued to be open to Western, particularly Polish and Latin, influences, even at the height of Ukrainian-Polish political conflicts. In fact, Polish lexical and phraseological influences persisted, although in attenuated form, until the first quarter of the 20th century.

(For developments in the Ukrainian language after 1720, see Standard Ukrainian.)

Phonetics and phonemics. Six vocalic phonemes—four unrounded (low back /a/, mid-front /e/, high-front /i/, and central-high, mid-front /y/) and two rounded (mid-back /o/ and high-back /u/)—characterize the phonetics and phonemics of Modern Standard Ukrainian. All vowels may appear in the stressed or unstressed position, but in unstressed syllables the distinction between /e/ and /y/ is neutralized, and the phonetic environment determines whether the phonetic realization is closer to /e/ or to /y/; eg, in nésenyj ‘carried’ the /e/ in the first syllable is stressed, but in nesé (3rd pers sing) it is unstressed and is slightly shifted towards an y, while in nesý 2nd pers sing imp it is closer to y. No other vowels are subject to qualitative changes in the unstressed position. Stress in Ukrainian is weak in terms of expiratory energy and is marked primarily by lengthening. On the other hand there is no phonemic length outside of stress; ie, the length is a concomitant of the stress. In normal speech, vowels undergo no reduction. This combination of features does not occur in any adjacent Slavic language.

The inventory of consonants in Modern Standard Ukrainian consists of labials, dentals, postdentals, velars, and one pharyngeal. (1) The labials are represented by /b/, /v/, and /m/; /v/ is realized only as /w/ in word- and syllable-final position, while in the prevocalic position the choice of bilabial or labiodental articulation is optional. There is also a labial /f/, but only in foreign words; it is alien to most dialects, where, more often than not, it is replaced by the affricate /xv/. (2) The dentals are /t/, /d/, /s/, /z/, the lateral sonorant /l/, the trill /r/, and the affricates /c/ and /Special font/ (spelled dz). All dentals (/r/ only in the word-final position) appear also in palatalized versions as /t’/, /d’/, /s’/, /z’/, /l’/, /r’/, /c’/, and /Special font’/, so the number of dental phonemes is doubled. (3) The postdentals are /š/, /ž/, and the affricates /č/ and /Special font/ (spelled ). Except for the extraphonemic (automatic) palatalization before i, they are not subject to palatalization. (4) The velars are /k/, /g/ (mostly in foreign words), and /x/. (5) Finally, there is the pharyngeal /h/. The velars and the pharyngeal are subject to nonphonemic palatalization before i.

Thus, the total number of consonantal phonemes is 31 or, if the glide /j/ (alternating in some positions with /i/) is counted as a consonant, 32. Furthermore, 18 consonants may also appear in a lengthened version, 8 of them—/b/, /v/, /m/, /d/, /z/, /s/, /n/, and /j/—only on morphemic boundaries (ie, where two identical consonants occur, one at the end of one morpheme and the second at the beginning of the next morpheme), eg, viddaty = vid + daty ‘to give away’; 10 others — /t’/, /d’/, /s’/, /z’/, /c’/, /n’/, /l’/, /š/, /ž/, and /č/ (if lengthened, the last also undergo palatalization, which is otherwise alien to them) — also appear on morphemic boundaries, but not as a result of the occurrence of two identical consonants, eg, volossja ‘hair’. If the latter 10 are considered as having phonemic value, the number of consonant phonemes rises to 42. This excess of consonants (42) over vowels (6) does not mean, however, that Ukrainian is a ‘consonantal’ language, because it has a large number of open syllables and relatively few consonant clusters.

While oppositions in palatalization and length are limited to certain groups of consonants, the opposition in voicing is much more pervasive and encompasses all consonants except the resonants (/l/, /n/, /r/, /m/, and /j/). In a few cases it applies even to consonant pairs whose members differ in articulation: /x/ and /h/, and, inasmuch as /f/ belongs to the phonemic system of the language, /v/ and /f/.

Both vowels and consonants undergo alternations, most of which are unproductive and are applied traditionally. The only productive ones are the alternations (1) of distinctive /e/ and /y/ with their nondistinctive alternant, depending on stress; (2) of voiceless consonants with corresponding voiced ones before another voiced consonant — eg, borótysja ‘to fight’: borot’bá ‘fight’, pronounced [borod’bá] — but not vice versa; and (3) of dental spirants and affricates with corresponding postdentals before postdentals and vice versa; eg, brjázkaty ‘to clang’: brjažčáty, neséš ‘carry’ 2nd pers sing: neséšsja ‘being carried’ 2nd pers sing, pronounced [nesés’s’a].

All other alternations, although they may be frequent, are unproductive and purely traditional or morphologized; for example, the alternation of nonpalatalized consonants susceptible to palatalization with their palatalized counterparts occurs before the ending -i in substantives, but not in adjectives; eg, krajina ‘country’: kraji[n’]i dat-loc sing, but zelenyj ‘green’ nom sing and zeleni nom pl with no palatalization of n. The most frequent nonproductive alternations of vowels are i : o or e and o, e (nonalternating with i as a rule) : (zero). The former is an earmark of Ukrainian; the latter is shared by most Slavic languages (with variation in the phonetic character of the vowels involved). Both are partially morphologized; eg, i typically replaces o or e in the final syllables ending in a consonant in the nominative singular form vs other cases (pit ‘sweat’, pič ‘stove’: potu, peči gen sing), in the genitive plural with the zero ending in feminine and neuter substantives (eg, noha ‘foot’: nih gen pl), before the suffix -n- in adjectives (eg, ničnyj ‘nightly’: noči gen sing), and in other instances. The same set of morphological conditions determines the alternation of o and e with . But in both cases there is no absolute predictability as to the choice of the alternants.

In consonants the most frequent alternations are those of velars and the pharyngeal with postdentals and with palatalized dentals: k : č : c’, x : š : s’, h : ž : z’. Postdentals typically occur before -e in the vocative, before the endings in verb forms of the present tense (all or in the 1st pers sing), in the imperative (eg, pekty ‘to bake’: peču 1st pers sing, pečy 2nd pers sing imp), and before certain suffixes (eg, ruka ‘hand’: ručka ‘little hand’), while dentals are found in the dative and locative cases ending in -i of nouns (eg, rux ‘motion’: u rusi ‘in motion’) as well as before some suffixes (eg, kozak ‘Cossack’: kozac’kyj attrib), but not in words that were introduced relatively recently (eg, N’ju-Jork ‘New York’: n’ju-jorks’kyj attrib).

Word structure. All words consist of morphemes. Uninflected words consist of one or more morphemes (eg, na ‘on’, na-v-kol-o ‘around’). Inflected words contain two or more morphemes, although the last morpheme may be a phonetic zero (eg, kit- ‘cat’, vesn-a ‘spring’, vy-kon-av-ec’- ‘executor’). Morphemes are subject to morphemic alternations and, consequently, may appear in several manifestations (eg, kit- vs kot-a gen sing, vykonav-ec’ vs vykonav-[c’-a] gen sing).

All morphemes are meaningful in principle. Roots, suffixes, and prefixes carry referential meanings, endings carry grammatical meanings. In individual cases, however, the referential meaning may be blurred, and the separateness of a morpheme is conveyed only by its not belonging to the adjacent morphemes (eg, pys’-m-o ‘writing’, with a referentially desemanticized suffix, kremat-orij- ‘crematorium’, with only the suffix carrying a referential meaning).

The root can be monosyllabic or polysyllabic (eg, sel-o ‘village’, molok-o ‘milk’, skovorod-a ‘frying pan’). As a rule, in nouns it ends in a consonant. The verb also admits roots ending in a vowel. Prefixes can consist of a single consonant or one or two syllables (eg, s-kazaty ‘to say’, do-vesty ‘to prove’, pere-nesty ‘to transfer’). Suffixes are consonantal, monosyllabic, or disyllabic (eg, kin-s’k-yj ‘horse’ adj, robit-nyk ‘worker’, nacional-izacij-a ‘nationalization’). Endings can consist of a vowel, a vowel plus a consonant, or two vowels separated by a consonant (eg, holov-a ‘head’, holov-oju instr sing, holov-am dat pl). Prefixes precede and suffixes follow roots, and endings follow all the other morphemes listed so far (eg, za-mov-l-ennj-a ‘order’).

As in other Slavic languages, endings typically carry several grammatical meanings simultaneously (-a in zamovlennj-a conveys at the same time gender, number, and case). In the derivation process a limited number of what could be suffixes follow endings. These so-called postfixes characterize some verbs and pronouns (eg, smij-a-ty-sja ‘to laugh’ cf smij-u-sja 1st pers sing, jak-yj-nebud’ ‘any one’ cf jak-oho-nebud’ gen sing).

The part played by suffixes is not limited to derivation: more often than not, the suffix determines where the stress occurs and its movement; in the case of the last suffix, it also determines the choice of ending in the basic word form and, by the same token, the paradigmatic type of the word. The suffix -ar, for example, identifies the word as a masculine noun with a zero ending in the nominative singular having the so-called soft type of declension (eg, lik-ar [gen likar’a] ‘physician’). Typically, only affective suffixes may be used in various parts of speech and, within this framework, in various paradigmatic types; eg, kozak: kozač-en’k-o ‘Cossack’, molodyj: molod-en’k-yj ‘young’, pizno: pizn-en’k-o ‘late’, jisty: jist-on’k-y ‘to eat’.

Quite a few suffixes require certain phonetic changes in the preceding phoneme, most often in the root. Particularly affected is the final velar/pharyngeal of the preceding morpheme, most often with the suffix -n- in the derivation of adjectives from other parts of speech (eg, muzyk-a ‘music’: muzyč-n-yjmusical’). There are also cases of fusion of consonants on the boundary of a morpheme with the succeeding suffix (eg, rob-it-nyk ‘worker’ + the collective suffix -stv-(o)—robitny-ctv-o, where c cannot be assigned entirely to either the preceding or succeeding morpheme). As a result of these peculiarities, morphemes in Ukrainian appear not only in their ‘regular’ form, but also as a set of relationships based on that form.

The primary function of prefixes is to point to spatial relations, while other modifications in the meaning of a word are conveyed mostly by suffixes. Hence, prefixes are especially typical of verbs, and suffixes appear mostly in nouns. But since words are derived as a rule not from roots alone, but from entire stems, prefixes occur widely in nouns, and nominal suffixes enter some verbs. But in such cases they usually occur together with other affixes characterizing the derived part of speech. The prefix po-, for example, is basically verbal (eg, xodyty ‘to walk’: poxodyty ‘to walk for a while’), but it is transferred to substantives (eg, poxodžennja ‘origin’ along with the suffix -en’-) and adjectives (eg, poxidnyj ‘derivative’ along with the suffix -n-); the suffix [-e-] belongs basically to substantives (eg, značennja ‘meaning'), although it is transferred to adjectives (značennevyj, along with the suffix -ev-).

As a rule, neither suffixes nor prefixes have completely definite meanings; they have a variety of connotations. Thus, the same affix in different words may have different meanings (eg, kerivnyk ‘leader’ [a person], ličyl’nyk ‘meter’ [an instrument]) and sometimes even contrary meanings (eg, zlizty na derevo ‘to climb up a tree’, zlizty z dereva ‘to climb down [off] a tree’). There are only a few suffixes with narrow and precisely defined meanings, but these are usually not very productive (eg, the suffix -yzn(a) meaning an inheritance: didyzna ‘ancestral inheritance’, materyzna ‘maternal inheritance’).

Word compounds are fairly frequent in Ukrainian, but they play a subordinate part in word formation. In substantives, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, compounds are usually formed by connecting two stems with so-called linking vowels: -o-, -e- (in substantives), and -y- (in cases where the first part is a numeral); eg, syn’-o-zelenyj ‘blue-green’, zeml-e-trus ‘earthquake’, šest-y-kutnyk ‘hexagon’. Word juxtaposition, in which the first component becomes part of the compound without undergoing any change (if there is an ending, it also becomes part of the compound; eg, žalju-hidnyj ‘pitiful’, kil’ka-poverxovyj ‘several-storied’), is not very productive in the inflectional parts of speech, except in the derivation of compound numerals (eg, dvisti sorok p'jat’ ‘245', dvisti sorok p'jat’ox ‘245' gen), but it is normal in the derivation of prepositions (eg, ponad ‘above’, z-pid ‘from under’), particles (xiba ž bo ‘unless’), and interjections (tap-talap ‘plop’). The derivation of substantives, especially of the names of states, institutions, organizations, and positions, allows for several types of abbreviation.

Parts of speech and inflection. Each word belongs to a certain part of speech, which is characterized by its function and its inflection or lack thereof. The substantive, adjective, numeral, pronoun, and verb can be inflected. There are three chief types of inflection: (1) nominal, (2) adjectival and pronominal, and (3) verbal. Some numerals have a special type of inflection.

Substantives are inflected (declined) by number and case. (For gender in substantives, see Gender.) Number (singular vs plural) is basically a semantic category, but it is also used for the grammatical agreement of adjectives in the broad sense, and of verbs with substantives. The cases reflect the syntactic role of the substantive in the utterance. The nominative case usually indicates the syntactic independence of the substantive and is the form in which it functions as the subject of a sentence. The other cases indicate syntactic dependence on a verb or other part of speech. The accusative and dative cases mostly show objective relations. The genitive and instrumental cases express temporal, spatial, and causative relations, although in special instances they indicate the substantive as an object. All of the dependent cases are used with and without prepositions. The last dependent case, the locative, is used only with prepositions and shows almost exclusively temporal and spatial relations. In addition, masculine and feminine substantives in the singular have a special vocative case, which is occasionally replaced by the nominative case in informal speech.

Each case is characterized by its ending or endings. Often the same endings occur in the dative and the locative sing (eg, knyzi from knyha ‘book’), in the nominative and accusative (lyst, lysty ‘letter’ sing and pl), and in the genitive and accusative (xlopcja, from xlopec’ ‘boy’, duba from dub ‘oak’). In certain declensions the endings are the same in the genitive, dative, and locative singular, in the nominative and accusative plural (eg, jabluni from jablunja ‘apple tree’, tini from tin’ ‘shade’), and in the genitive singular and nominative and accusative plural (xaty from xata ‘cottage’). Cases with the same ending are sometimes distinguished by the accent (gen sing xáty, nom and acc pl xatý), but more often by the type of inflection that the substantive belongs to and by the place and role of the given form in the sentence.

The inflectional type of each substantive has no direct semantic or syntactic connotations. It is assigned to each substantive on the basis of the latter's gender and ending. Substantives with -a endings are usually feminine; those with zero endings are either masculine or feminine; those with -o endings are either neuter or masculine; and those with -e, and -a endings are neuter (a residual type of neuter ending in -a uses the insertions -at- and -en- in the oblique cases).

Some cases have two endings for the same inflectional type. Sometimes the second endings are relics of old usage and are employed in certain particular words (especially in the nom pl: eg, vuxa from vuxo ‘ear’, but oči from oko ‘eye’), or are determined by certain suffixes (eg, the vocative konju from kin’ ‘horse’, but xlopče from xlopec’ ‘boy’; the loc sing na jazyci from jazyk ‘tongue’, but na dubku from dubok ‘oaklet’), or by accent (the gen sing do stolá and do stólu from stil ‘table’). Sometimes their use depends on semantic categories. The chief of these, although they do not affect the endings consistently, are the personal category (eg, acc sing baču komyn ‘I see a chimney’ vs baču xlopcja ‘I see a boy’, but also baču duba ‘I see an oak’; the loc sing na xlopcevi from xlopec’ ‘boy’ vs na kinci from kinec’ ‘end’), and the category of ‘having form’ (wholeness) as opposed to ‘lack of form’ (eg, gen sing učnja, metra, cvjaxa from učen’ ‘pupil’, metr ‘meter’, cvjax ‘nail’, but nastupu, jačmenju from nastup ‘advance’, jačmin’ ‘barley’).

In the adjectival-pronominal declension the number and gender, as well as the case, have a purely formal function, as a means of agreement. This declension has only one type for all words, except for a few variations in certain forms of the pronoun (eg, fem gen sing čornoji, syn’oji, jakoji from čornyj ‘black’, synij ‘blue’, jakyj ‘which’, but cijeji, tijeji, čyjeji from cej ‘this’, toj ‘that’, čyj ‘whose’), and always keeps the accent in the same place throughout the entire paradigm (with a few exceptions in some pronouns). The pronouns ja ‘I’, ty ‘thou’, my ‘we’, vy ‘you’, and sebe ‘oneself’ do not belong to this type; they have a suppletive declension (eg, ja ‘I’, gen mene, instr mnoju). The pronouns vin ‘he’, xto ‘who’, and ščo ‘what’ belong to the adjective declension in indirect cases but have another root in the nominative (vin—joho, xto—koho, ščo—čoho).

In Ukrainian the moods of the verb are relatively underdeveloped and undifferentiated. They include the indicative, which expresses real and often unreal actions; the conditional, which expresses both potential and unreal actions; and the imperative. The tenses are even less developed and distinct. Neither the conditional, the infinitive, nor the participle has tense forms, and in the indicative the present is often used to denote also the future and the past. Conjugation is limited practically to the present tense, and persons are indicated chiefly by endings containing consonants: in the second person singular, -t’ (or the simple stem) in the third person singular, -mo in the first person plural, and -te in the second person plural; these consonants are usually preceded by the vowels -e- or -y-, which are distinguished only if stressed. The third person plural is marked by -t’ preceded by -u- or -a- (eg, berut’, kryčat’ from braty ‘to take’, kryčaty ‘to shout’). The first person singular has the ending -u. Only three verbs have a different conjugation: jisty ‘to eat’, daty ‘to give’, and (rozpo)visty ‘to tell’ (jim, jisy, jist’, jimo, jiste, jidjat’). The verb buty ‘to be' has no personal forms in the present: je(st’) is used for all persons.

The personal form is used chiefly in agreement with the subject. The past tense and the more rarely used pluperfect (which actually shows an impeded action), however, lack personal forms and agree (in the singular) with the gender of the subject (eg, vin upav ‘he fell’, vona upala ‘she fell’, vono upalo ‘it fell’). The future tense of imperfective verbs is formed from the infinitive + the future tense of the verb buty ‘to be’ or by the consonant -m- with the usual personal endings added to the infinitive (eg, budu braty or bratymu ‘I shall take’, budeš braty or bratymeš ‘thou shall take’). The conditional mood is formed from the past indicative + the particle b(y). The second person singular and first and second person plural of the imperative are used as a rule without a subject. In the singular the imperative has the ending -y when the ending is accented, and a zero ending when the accent is on the root; similarly, in the plural the endings are -im(o) and -it’ or -mo and -te (eg, berý, berím, berít’ from braty ‘to take’, stan’, stán’mo, stán’te from staty ‘to stand’).

The typical system of the Slavic verb with its two stems—the infinitive stem (the infinitive, the past, and the conditional mood, originally aorist-stem) and the present-tense stem (the present tense, the future of perfective verbs, the imperative)—has been retained in Ukrainian but is greatly simplified in many verbs. The infinitive ends in -ty (eg, braty ‘to take’, mohty ‘to be able to’, pekty ‘to bake’). The only widely used participles are passive ones in -nyj, -tyj, and non-passive -lyj (eg, vzjatyj from vzjaty ‘to take’, davanyj from davaty ‘to give’, rozkvitlyj from rozkvitnuty ‘to bloom’). There are also indeclinable gerunds in -čy and -šy (eg, beručy, bravšy from braty ‘to take’) and an indeclinable impersonal form in -no or -to (eg, prošeno, from prosyty ‘to ask’, vzjato, from vzjaty ‘to take’).

The only really productive category running through all forms of the verb is the aspect—perfective and imperfective. In principle every verb is found in these two aspects, which are formed by the use of different suffixes and prefixes or, less frequently, by accent changes. The iterative meaning is usually not expressed independently and is not distinguished from the usual durative form.

Structure of utterance. All utterances are characterized by an intonation appropriate to the character of the message. The organization of utterances consisting of more than one word relies on grammatical ties and word order. The more obvious these principles of organization, the weaker the intonation, whose role is essentially facultative. There are two kinds of grammatical ties, agreement and government. Agreement takes place between adjectives, including adjectival pronouns and some numerals, and substantives, and between verbs and the nouns that serve as sentence subjects. It is manifested in the categories of case, number, gender (where applicable), and person (when the verb applies to a personal pronoun); eg, mala rička ‘small river’, maloji ričky gen sing, male misto ‘small city’, mali mista nom pl, dytyna plače ‘the child cries’, dity plačut’ ‘the children cry’, ty plačeš ‘thou art crying’. Government is based on the fact that to convey a certain meaning words may have an inherent requirement for a certain case, or for a certain preposition and the case form, of the dependent noun; eg, braty + acc, xotity + gen; ie, beru čaj ‘I take (some) tea’, xoču čaju ‘I want (some) tea’. Government can also require the infinitive, but since the infinitive is not declined, one can speak here of zero-government; eg, xoču pyty ‘I am thirsty’, literally ‘I want to drink’. Likewise, if adjectives are replaced with adverbs, which cannot be inflected, one can speak of zero-agreement; eg, micne koxannja ‘strong love’—micno koxaje ‘he/she loves strongly’. Agreement and government run through all constituent words in an utterance and make it a syntactic unity, often to a redundant degree.

As a rule, endings bear the grammatical ties between words. Except in formal expressions, therefore, a fixed word order in utterances did not develop in Ukrainian. It is mandatory only for prepositions to precede nominal phrases (eg, na stoli ‘on the table’); for conjunctions to stand between the phrases they connect (bat’ko j syn ‘father and son’); and for some particles to stand initially (xaj skaže ‘let him say), others to succeed the first word in an utterance (Otake to stalosja ‘That is what happened’), and still others to precede the word to which they refer (til’ky ty ‘only thou’). Otherwise one can order words in an utterance with relative freedom. In the neutral word order the subject precedes the predicate (eg, vin ide ‘he goes’), governing words precede governed words (beru kartu ‘I take the map’), and adjectives precede their substantives (bilyj budynok ‘white building’). Statistically, however, this is not the prevalent order, particularly in the case of the subject-predicate order. Often it is replaced by the emphatic word order, in which the most important word appears at the end of the utterance (eg, Ne znaju, jak dovho tam lyšatymet’sja nadija, literally ‘I do not know how long there will remain hope’). In narrations of parallel events it is replaced by the narrative word order, in which the predicate is at the beginning of the sentence (eg, Svitylo sonce, kryčaly ptaxy, vijav viterec’, literally ‘Shone the sun, called the birds, blew the wind’).

The use of passive and possessive types of sentences is limited in Ukrainian. Impersonal sentences of various types, however, are extensively used. While as a rule the subject is in the nominative case, in impersonal sentences it is in the dative (eg, Meni sumno ‘I am sad’) or the instrumental; the latter occurs in such subjectless sentences as Napysano stattju ‘The article is written’, which may be, but is usually not, supplemented by the agent in the instr: Petrom ‘by Peter’). Certain unproductive impersonal sentences do not admit any mention of an agent (eg, Smerkaje ‘Dusk is falling’).

Vocabulary. The circumstances in which Standard Ukrainian evolved have largely determined the peculiarities of its vocabulary. It did not develop in an urban environment; hence, it is based mostly on the peasant vernacular. In the second half of the 19th century many writers modeled their language as a matter of principle on rural folk speech. This ‘populist’ trend accounts for the highly developed vocabulary in Standard Ukrainian of rural life and labor, in which synonyms abound. A great number of locutions are obviously of peasant origin: eg, u kopy vklasty ‘to make up into sheaves = to beat [mercilessly]’, mov korova zlyzala jazykom ‘as if a cow had licked it up with her tongue = disappeared without a trace’.

In the absence of a single urban center whose spoken Ukrainian could serve as a model for the literary language, the intelligentsia relatively frequently absorbed expressions of local and foreign origin into their vernacular. As a result many words with the same meaning as already accepted words passed into the literary language (eg, čoven and lodka ‘boat’, misto and hórod ‘city’, pojizd and potjah ‘train’). Many such words are considered localisms and are used only to provide local color (eg, western Ukrainian gazda for the standard hospodar ‘master of the house’, and kryminal for vjaznycja ‘prison’); many others are accepted as having equal stylistic status (eg, southeastern Ukrainian leleka, northeastern čornohuz, and western busol and buz’ko ‘stork’).

Many words, including synonyms connected with concepts of urban life, entered Ukrainian standard vocabulary not via peasant dialects but from the languages of nations bordering on or ruling various Ukrainian territories. Thus Ukrainian, which originally showed little social differentiation, has gradually evolved into a language based on the speech of (1) the peasantry, (2) the intelligentsia and professionals, (3) neighboring colonizing nations, and (4) various urban social groups (jargon and slang).

After the October Revolution of 1917, concerted efforts to develop a scientific and technical terminology based on the popular language were made, particularly by special terminological institutes affiliated with the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Since the onset of Stalinism, however, the application of this terminology has been hampered and even paralyzed by the Soviet policy of linguistic Russification. Nonetheless, the vocabulary and phraseology of modern literary Ukrainian have developed far beyond their rural origins and constitute a rich and complex system derived from various linguistic sources.

Today the vocabulary of Standard Ukrainian has two characteristic features. (1) It is relatively close to the speech of the people without being confined to the language spoken in any one locality. At first Standard Ukrainian developed mainly from the dialects of the Poltava and southern Kyiv regions. Soon, however, quite a few words from other dialects, particularly those of Galicia via the Galician intelligentsia, were absorbed into it. Hence, its vocabulary ceased to be connected with any one dialect or dialectal group, although Kyiv-Poltava elements still undoubtedly predominate. The Galician dialects have contributed a particularly large number of abstract terms, names of objects, and words associated with urban life (eg, zasada ‘principle’, vlastyvist’ ‘peculiarity’, zarozumilist’ ‘arrogance’, vidčuvaty ‘to feel’, rozpuka ‘despair’). As a result, certain homonyms arose (eg, aby ‘if only’ and ‘in order’; vidčyt account’ and ‘lecture’). (2) Ukrainian includes many loan words, particularly from German, Turkish, Tatar, and Polish, and in more recent times many Europeanisms, especially with Latin or Greek components (eg, konto ‘account’, kolit ‘colitis’, akcija ‘action’, demokratija ‘democracy’, pilot ‘pilot’, and generator ‘generator’). (In general, the number of borrowings has far exceeded the number of loan translations and neologisms replacing foreign words, a point on which Ukrainian differs significantly from Czech, for example.) These words have usually had a nominative function and have gradually undergone the normal course of phonetic, morphological, and other forms of naturalization; hence they, do not have a special stylistic function that would cause them to stand out, even when they have autochthonous synonyms (eg, evoljucija—rozvytok ‘evolution’, avijacija—litunstvo ‘aviation’). In this respect Ukrainian is fundamentally different from such double-layered languages as Russian, with its Church Slavonic elements, and English, with its Latin and French elements. For stylistic expression, it has drawn more on its own resources than on a blend with another literary language. Certain 20th-century poets have introduced Church Slavonicisms into their poetic language (eg, Mykola Bazhan: brennyj ‘perishable’, suščyj ‘real’, lža ‘lie’, lanyta ‘cheek’, and Mykhailo Orest: rekty ‘to speak’, diva ‘virgin’, and stokrat ‘a hundred times'), but few of these have been incorporated into the vernacular. Church Slavonicisms, like other foreign elements, in Ukrainian have had for the most part specifically nominative functions and have been used mainly to express church or religious concepts (eg, vladyka ‘bishop’, xram ‘temple’, svjaščennyj ‘sacred’). By and large the poetic genres in Modern Standard Ukrainian are distinguished by semantics and imagery rather than by peculiarities of vocabulary. The total number of words in contemporary Ukrainian is about 170,000.

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George Yurii Shevelov

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]