AlphabetThe alphabet comprises thirty-three letters, representing thirty-eight phonemes (meaningful units of sound) and an additional sign: the apostrophe. Ukrainian orthography (the rules of writing) is based on the phonemic principle, with one letter generally corresponding to one phoneme. The orthography also has cases in which semantic, historical, and morphological principles are applied. In the Ukrainian alphabet the "Ь" could also be the last letter in the alphabet. Twenty letters represent consonants (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ), ten vowels (, , , , , , , , , ), and two semivowels (й/Short I, yot, and ). The soft sign has no meaning when written by itself, but when written after a consonant, it indicates that the consonant is soft (Palatalization (phonetics), palatalized). Also, alveolar consonants are palatalized when followed by certain vowels: , , , , , , , and are softened when they are followed by a "soft" vowel: , , , . See iotation. The apostrophe negates palatalization in places that it would be applied by normal orthographic rules. It also appears after labial consonants in some words, such as "name". And it is retained in transliterations from the Latin alphabet: (Côte d'Ivoire) and (O'Toole (surname), O'Toole). There are other exceptions to the phonemic principle in the alphabet. Some letters represent two phonemes: , or , and , , when they do not palatalize a preceding consonant. The digraph (orthography), digraphs and are normally used to represent single affricates and . Palatalization of consonants before , , is indicated by writing the corresponding letter , , instead (but palatalization before is usually not indicated). Compared to other Cyrillic alphabets, the modern Ukrainian alphabet is most similar to those of the other East Slavic languages: Belarusian alphabet, Belarusian, Russian alphabet, Russian, and Rusyn language#Alphabet, Rusyn. It has retained the two early Cyrillic letters і (i) and I (Cyrillic), izhe () to represent related sounds and as well as the two historical forms Ye (Cyrillic), e () and Ukrainian Ye, ye (). Unique letters are the following: *Ge with upturn, ge (), used for the less-common Voiced velar plosive, velar plosive sound, whereas in Ukrainian the common Cyrillic represents a Voiced glottal fricative, glottal fricative, . *Yi (Cyrillic), yi () or . The apostrophe is similarly used in Belarusian orthography, while the same function is served in Russian by the hard sign (): compare Ukrainian and Belarusian vs. Russian ("object").
Early Cyrillic alphabetThe was a writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire in the tenth century, to write the Old Church Slavonic liturgical language. It was named after Saint Cyril the Philosopher, Saint Cyril, who with his brother Saint Methodius of Thessaloniki, Methodius had created the earlier Glagolitic Slavonic script. Cyrillic was based on Greek uncial script, and adopted Glagolitic letters for some sounds which were absent in Greek — it also had some letters which were only used almost exclusively for Greek words or for their Cyrillic numerals, numeric value: Fita, Ѳ, Omega (Cyrillic), Ѡ, Psi (Cyrillic), Ѱ, Ksi (Cyrillic letter), Ѯ, Izhitsa, Ѵ. The early Cyrillic alphabet was brought to Kievan Rus’ at the end of the first millennium, along with Christianity and the Old Church Slavonic language. The alphabet was adapted to the local spoken Old East Slavic language, leading to the development of indigenous East Slavic literary language alongside the liturgical use of Church Slavonic. The alphabet changed to keep pace with changes in language, as regional dialects developed into the modern Ukrainian, Belarusian language, Belarusian and Russian language, Russian languages. Spoken Ukrainian has an unbroken history, but the literary language has suffered from two major historical fractures. Various reforms of the alphabet by scholars of Church Slavonic, Ruthenian language, Ruthenian, and Russian languages caused the written and spoken word to diverge by varying amounts. Etymological rules from Greek and South Slavic languages made the orthography imprecise and difficult to master. Meletiy Smotrytsky, Meletii Smotrytsky
Nineteenth-century reformsIn reaction to the hard-to-learn etymological alphabets, several reforms attempted to introduce a phonemic Ukrainian orthography during the nineteenth century, based on the example of Vuk Karadžić's Serbian Cyrillic. These included Oleksii Pavlovskyi's 1818 ''Grammar of the Little Russian Dialect'', Panteleimon Kulish's ''Kulishivka'' alphabet used in his 1857 ''Notes on Southern Rus and ''Hramatka'', the ''Drahomanivka'' alphabet promoted in the 1870s by Mykhailo Drahomanov, and Yevhen Zhelekhivskyi's ''Zhelekhivka'' alphabet from his 1886 ''Little-Russian–German Dictionary'', which standardized the letters ї (''ji'') and ґ (''g''). A Ukrainian cultural revival of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries stimulated literary and academic activity in both Dnieper Ukraine and western Ukraine (Austrian-controlled Galicia (Eastern Europe), Galicia). In Galicia, the Polish-dominated local government tried to introduce a Latin alphabet for Ukrainian, which backfired by prompting a heated "War of the Alphabets", bringing the issue of orthography into the public eye. The Cyrillic script was favoured, but conservative Ukrainian cultural factions (the Old Ruthenians and Ukrainian Russophiles, Russophiles) opposed publications which promoted a pure Ukrainian orthography. In Dnieper Ukraine, proposed reforms suffered from periodic bans of publication and performance in the Ukrainian language. One such decree was the notorious 1876 Ems Ukaz, which banned the Kulishivka and imposed a Russian orthography until 1905 (called the ''Yaryzhka'', after the Russian letter yery ы). The Kulishivka was adopted by Ukrainian publications, only to be banned again from 1914 until after the February Revolution of 1917. The Zhelekhivka became official in Galicia in 1893, and was adopted by many eastern Ukrainian publications after the Revolution. The People's Republic of Ukraine adopted official Ukrainian orthographies in 1918 and 1919, and Ukrainian publication increased, and then flourished under Skoropadsky's Ukrainian State, Hetmanate. Under the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Bolshevik government of Ukraine, Ukrainian orthographies were confirmed in 1920 and 1921.
Unified orthographyIn 1925, the Ukrainian SSR created a Commission for the Regulation of Orthography. During the period of Ukrainization in USSR, Soviet Ukraine, the 1927 International Orthographic Conference was convened in Kharkiv, from May 26 to June 6. At the conference, a standardized Ukrainian orthography and method for transliterating foreign words were established, a compromise between Galician and Soviet proposals, called the Kharkiv Orthography, or ''Skrypnykivka'', after Ukrainian Commissar of Education Mykola Skrypnyk. It was officially recognized by the Council of People's Commissars in 1928, and by the Lviv Shevchenko Scientific Society in 1929, and adopted by the Ukrainian diaspora. The Skrypnykivka was the first universally adopted native Ukrainian orthography. However, by 1930 Stalin's government started to reverse the Ukrainization policy as part of an effort to centralize power in Moscow. In 1933, the orthographic reforms were abolished, decrees were passed to bring the orthography steadily closer to Russian. His reforms discredited and labelled "nationalist deviation", Skrypnyk committed suicide rather than face a show trial and execution or deportation. The Ukrainian letter Ge with upturn, ge ґ, and the phonetic combinations ль, льо, ля were eliminated, and Russian etymological forms were reintroduced (for example, the use of -іа- in place of -ія-). An official orthography was published in Kyiv in 1936, with revisions in 1945 and 1960. This orthography is sometimes called ''Postyshivka'', after Pavel Postyshev, Stalin's official who oversaw the dismantling of Ukrainization. In the meantime, the Skrypnykivka continued to be used by Ukrainians in Galicia and the worldwide diaspora. During the period of Perestroika in the USSR, a new Ukrainian Orthographic Commission was created in 1987. A revised orthography was published in 1990, reintroducing the letter ge ''ґ''. It also revised the alphabetical order, moving the soft sign ''ь'' from the end of the alphabet, to a position before the letter ''ю'', which helps sort Ukrainian text together with Belarusian (following a proposal by L. M. Ivanenko of the Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics).
Letter names and pronunciationTransliteration is according to the scholarly transliteration system used in linguistics. For other systems, see romanization of Ukrainian, romanisation of Ukrainian. Notes: The pronunciation of varies depending on context; it is labial before back vowels and labiodental before front vowels. It is also vocalised to in the syllable coda. Ge (ґ) was officially banned in the Soviet Ukraine from 1933 to 1990;Vakulenko, S.
Letterforms and typographyIn print, several letter case, lowercase Cyrillic letters resemble smaller versions of their corresponding letter case, uppercase forms. Handwritten Cyrillic cursive letterforms vary somewhat from their corresponding printed (typeset) counterparts, particularly for the letters г, д, и, й, and т. Unlike Latin script, in lieu of separate roman type, roman and italic type, italic fonts, a Cyrillic type face (, ) has upright ((, ) and cursive (курсивний, ) font forms (the latter of which later came to be called (, (). Several lowercase letters in the cursive printed form bear little resemblance to the corresponding lowercase letters in the upright printed form, more closely resembling the corresponding handwritten lowercase cursive forms instead, particularly for the letters г, д, и, й, п, and т. Quoted text is typically enclosed in unspaced guillemets (“angle-quotes”) as in Russian, or in lower and upper quotation marks as in Polish or German. ''Reference:'' Robert Bringhurst, Bringhurst, Robert (2002). ''The Elements of Typographic Style'' (version 2.5), pp. 262–264. Vancouver, Hartley & Marks. .
Encoding UkrainianThere are various character encodings for representing Ukrainian with computers.
ISO 8859-5ISO 8859-5 encoding is missing the letter ''ґ''.
KOI8-UKOI8-U stands for ''Код обміну інформації 8 бітний — український'', "Code for information interchange 8 bit — Ukrainian", analogous to "ASCII". KOI8-U is a Ukrainianized version of KOI8-R.
Windows-1251Windows-1251 works for Ukrainian alphabet, as well as for other Cyrillic alphabets.
UnicodeUkrainian falls within the Cyrillic (U+0400 to U+04FF) and Cyrillic Supplementary (U+0500 to U+052F) blocks of Unicode. The characters in the range U+0400–U+045F are basically the characters from ISO 8859-5 moved upward by 864 positions. In the following table, Ukrainian letters have titles indicating their Unicode information and HTML entity. In a visual browser you can hold the mouse pointer over the letter to see this information.
Web pages and XMLElements in HTML and XML would normally have the Ukrainian language indicated using the IETF language tag
lang="uk"in HTML and
xml:lang="uk"in XML). Although indicating the writing system is normally not necessary, this can be accomplished by adding a script subtag, for example to distinguish Cyrillic Ukrainian text (
uk-Cyrl) from Romanization of Ukrainian, romanized Ukrainian (
See also*Bulgarian alphabet * *Cyrillic alphabets *Euro-Ukrainian alphabet *Greek alphabet *Montenegrin alphabet *Romanization of Belarusian *Romanization of Bulgarian *Romanization of Greek *Romanization of Macedonian *Romanization of Russian *Romanization of Ukrainian *Russian alphabet *Scientific transliteration of Cyrillic *Serbian Cyrillic alphabet
References* Peter T. Daniels and William Bright, eds. (1996). ''The World's Writing Systems'', pp 700, 702. Oxford University Press. . * Volodymyr Kubijovyč ed. (1963). "Ukrainian Writing and Orthography" in ''Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopædia'', vol 1, pp 511–520. Toronto, University of Toronto Press. .
Further reading* Meletiy Smotrytsky, Meletiy Smotrytskyy (1619). ''Slavonic Grammar''.