Zhelekhivka

Zhelekhivka. A revised version of the phonetic kulishivka orthography, introduced by Yevhen Zhelekhivsky in his Ukrainian-German dictionary (2 vols, 1885–6; repr 1982). Its 34-letter alphabet officially replaced etymological spelling in Galician and Bukovynian schools in November 1892, and its orthographic and lexical norms (many of them based on the southwestern dialects) were laid out in Stepan Smal-Stotsky and Theodor Gartner's 1893 Ruthenian school grammar. The zhelekhivka was retained in Galicia until the early 1920s. In Russian-ruled Ukraine it was used after 1905 mainly by Mykhailo Hrushevsky in editing Literaturno-naukovyi vistnyk and in his own works. It did not become widely accepted there, however, because of the impact of the orthography propagated by Borys Hrinchenko in his seminal Ukrainian-Russian dictionary (4 vols, 1907–9).

The zhelekhivka's main phonetic and morphological traits were (1) je and ji (ï) after dentals (eg, njis ‘he carried’ [but nis ‘nose’], ljektsija ‘lesson’) to indicate soft pronunciation; (2) the soft sign within the consonant clusters sv, cv, zv before ja and i to indicate soft pronunciation (eg, s'viatyj, c'vit, z'vir ‘holy, bloom, animal’); (3) 'o and, elsewhere, ë after dentals and instead of jo to indicate soft pronunciation (eg, l'on, sëmu ‘flax, this (dative)’; (4) an apostrophe after the prefixes z-/s- before vowels (eg, z’java, z’oraty ‘apparition, to plow’); (5) separation of the reflexive particle sja from the verb; (6) g and l' in Greek, Latin, and German loanwords (eg, fil'ol'ogija ‘philology’); (7) v instead of postvocalic l, corresponding to the dialectal pronunciation of l as ŭ (eg, horivka ‘whiskey’); (8) hardened (dialectal) suffixes -skyj, -zkyj, -ckyj, -sko, and a softened n' before them (eg, ruskyj, don'skyj ‘Ruthenian, Don’); (9) y- instead of i- in the initially stressed position (eg, ýnčyj ‘different’); (10) neuter noun endings -nje, -tje instead of -nnja, -ttja (eg, pysanje, žytje ‘writing, life’); (11) the endings -nyje, -anyje in Church Slavonicisms (eg, voznesenyje ‘ascension’); (12) -yja instead of -ija in loanwords (eg, stacyja, sesyja ‘station, session’); (13) -y instead of -i in all singular nouns in the locative case and in feminine nouns in the dative case (eg, na kony, na zemly, na poly ‘on the horse, on the land, on the field’); (14) the endings -y, -yj, -em, -ex in feminine plural nouns of the third declension and in a separate group of plural nouns (eg, visty, vistyj, liudem, v očex ‘news (nom), news (gen), people (dat), in the eyes (loc)’); (15) hard endings in third-person verb forms (eg, xodyt, xodjat ‘he walks, they walk’); (16) -a- instead of -o- in the roots of imperfective verbs (eg, zarabljaty ‘to earn’); (17) the archaic infinitive ending -čy in verbs with the laryngeal -h-, and the velar -k- (eg, sterečy, pečy ‘to guard, to bake’) and archaic retention of -h-, -k- in the first person singular (eg, mohu, peku ‘I can, I bake’); and (18) in past-tense verbs (and in the present tense of buty ‘to be’), the first- and second-person singular and plural endings -jem, -jes', -s'mo, -s'te (eg, buvjem, buvjes', bulys'mo, bulys'te ‘I was, you [sing] were, we were, you [pl] were’).

Oleksa Horbach

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




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