The making of the Ukrainian language

After the demise of Kievan Rus in the 13th century, the unique dialectal characteristics between Ukrainian and Belarusian and Russian became prominent. However, it was not until the end of the 18th century that the Ukrainian literary language emerged from the vernacular language.

Where is Ukrainian spoken?

Containing numerous words borrowed from Polish and fewer from Church Slavonic than Russian, Ukrainian is spoken in countries like Moldova, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, and Slovakia, where there are affluent Ukrainian communities.

Literary Ukrainian Language

The first-ever Ukrainian works written in Kievan Rus between the 11th and the 13th century were produced in Church Slavonic and are part of the shared cultural heritage of the Russians and Belarusians. After the Mongol invasion of the 13th century, Ukrainian literature saw a decline that continued until the 16th century, when it saw a miraculous revival. Before the dawn of the 19th century, the Ukrainian language had become the primary means of literary expression. It was the start of a prolific Ukrainian writing era.

  • 1798 – Ivan Kotlyarevsky heralds the era of Ukrainian epic poetry with his Eneida, a burlesque travesty of Virgil’s Aeneid famous for transforming the classic heroes into Ukrainian Cossacks.
  • 1834 – Hryhorii Kvitka-Osnovianenko starts off the era of modern Ukrainian prose, with his novel Marusya.
  • 1917 – Ukrainian gains equal status with Russian as a language of the administration
  • 1930s – Attempts of massive russification hindered the affirmation of Ukrainian as the sole official language of the land.
  •  1989 – Ukrainian becomes the official language of Ukraine.
  • 1996 – Its status as the country’s sole official language is enshrined in the Ukrainian constitution.

Ukrainian Dialects

There are three main dialects in Ukrainian, varying per region:

  • Southwestern (південно-західне наріччя or pivdenno-zakhidne narichchia): Podilian, Volhynian, Upper Dniestrian, Pokuttia-Bukovina, Hutsul, Upper Sannian, Boyko, Lemko, Transcarpathian
  • Southeastern (південно-східне наріччя or pivdenno-skhidne narichchia): Middle Dnieprian, Slobozhan, Steppe
  • Northern (північне наріччя or pivnichne narichchia): Eastern Polissian, Central Polissian, Western Polissian

The sound of Ukrainian language

моя кохана (Moya kokhana)My love (name of endearment)
Це моя кохана (Tse moya kokhana)This is my favourite.
Кошеня, котик (Koshenia, kotyk)Kitty-cat, kitten
Берегиня (beregynya)In pre-Christian tradition, “beregyna” meant “mermaid” (from the word “bereg” meaning “shore”). In modern language, this word is used chiefly figuratively, meaning “housewife”, but also “native home” – one that has preserved the ancestral spiritual and material wealth.
Надихати (nadykhaty)Inspire, uplift spiritually
Затишок (zatyshok)A quiet, cosy place, safe from the wind; figuratively, it means an imperceptible place.

Population vs. Internet Penetration

Ukraine’s population:

43,293, 804

Internet Users:

31,100,000 (31.10 million)

Internet penetration:

71.8%

Data according to
worldometers.info & dataportal.com

Interesting Facts

Ukrainian is the 26th most widely spoken language globally by the number of speakers.

It is the first language of 37 million people and the second language of 15 million of the world’s population.

According to the dictionary of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, modern Ukrainian has 256,000 words and is included in the list of languages still evolving at present.

The first Ukrainian ABC book (Азбука) was printed by Ivan Fedorov in 1574, in Lviv.

Ukrainian Translation Tips

One of the particularities of the Ukrainian language is inflexion. A word may have dozens of endings (suffixes), making it challenging to manage specific terminology with generic QA tools.

Word order in Ukrainian is very different from English, for example. So, don’t break sentences apart.

Context is king. Make sure to give your translators as much context as possible. A simple English word such as “Email” may be translated differently if the word appeared on a button on an email platform to send an email, or if it denoted a communication technology solution, or a request to provide an email address on an online form.

Your Ukrainian Translation Service Partner

Need help translation government-issued documents or perhaps a touch of creativity to your marketing materials? You can count on Pangea Global. We know exactly how to bring your content to life in Ukrainian. Just drop us a line!

Our Ukrainian language services include translation and localization from and to Ukrainian, with a focus on rendering this language’s uniqueness into 75+ target languages. Our services span legal and certified translation, marketing translation and localization, technical and scientific translation, pharmaceutical, healthcare translation, finance translation and localization, and content creation. We know exactly how to bring your content to life in Ukrainian. Just drop us a line!