Slobidska Ukraine dialects

Slobidska Ukraine dialects. Dialects of the northern part of eastern Ukraine, spoken mainly in the southeastern districts of Sumy oblast, Kharkiv oblast, the northern areas of Luhansk oblast, the southern parts of the Kursk region, Belgorod oblast, and Voronezh region, and the northwestern part of Rostov oblast. Their boundaries cannot be defined precisely. These dialects arose from the intermingling in 16th- to 17th-century Slobidska Ukraine of settlers from the middle Dnipro River region, particularly from the northeastern Poltava region, the Chernihiv region, and Right-Bank Ukraine. There are fewer local variations among these dialects than among the Middle Dnipro dialects (see Southeastern dialects). The distinctive phonetic features are the following: the consonants d, t, n, l, z, s are softened before the i that had evolved from the old ō (eg, s't'il, pod'il ‘table, division’); the pronunciation of unstressed e is close to y (eg, ve/ysna ‘spring’), of unstressed y to e (eg, žy/eve ‘lives’), and of unstressed o to u (eg, to/ubi ‘to you’); r tends to be softened (eg, bazar', komar', r'ama ‘market, mosquito, frame’) and the alveolar l appears in parallel with the ordinary l (eg, ŀožka–ložka ‘spoon’). The distinctive morphological features are the following: the unstressed endings of the soft noun group are modified toward the hard group (eg, z'at'ov'i, z'at'om [Standard Ukrainian, SU, z'atevi, z'atem] ‘son-in-law’ dative, instrumental); there is no change of d, t, z, s into the corresponding sibilants ჳ, č, ž, š in the conjugation of the first person singular (eg, xod'u, nos'u [SU xodžu, nošu] ‘I go, I carry’); the third person of second conjugation verbs (if the ending is unstressed) takes the form xode, nose [SU xodyt', nosyt'] ‘he walks, he carries’); and the third person plural of the second conjugation has the same ending as the first conjugation (eg, nos'ut'–nos'ut [SU nos'at'] ‘they carry’). These dialects also have a distinctive vocabulary; eg, hyr'avyj ‘sickly’, blahyj ‘sick’, and burta ‘pile’.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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