Learning Ukrainian language is a good point if you’re considering visiting Ukraine or maybe just interested in the music or cuisine of the largest European country – Ukraine.
All the Slavic languages, like Polish, Czech, Croatian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Russian, are pretty close to each other . And studying their dialects (that can unexpectedly have the same features with those from another side of the Slavic-speaking area) it becomes even harder to give any clear classification and to say rigorously which of them are the closest to each other. But the truth is simple, the more Slavic languages you learn, the better you understand the others.
When it comes to Ukrainian comparing with other literary languages, in its phonetic features it’s closest to Sorbian (minor Slavic languages spoken in Germany) and Belarusin. Talking about the vocabulary, Ukrainian has the most words in common with Belarusin (84%), Polish (70%) and Slovak (68%).
For those who have some knowledge of Russian, here’re some cool features of Ukrainian not found in Russian:
- Future tense form is constructed without any auxiliary words, just one word, and that’s it! E. g. “I [will be sitting]“ (it’s 3 words in English) in Russian will be “я [буду сидеть]” (2 words), but in Ukrainian it’s “я [сидітиму]“. You just add the ending “-му” (-mu) to the verb “sydity” (сидіти) = sit.
- You’re definitely tired of 6 noun cases in Russian. In Ukrainian we’ve got one more, but don’t be afraid of it, it’s a really cool one! When you’re respecting good old Carnegie’s advices and calling people by names, you use this 7th Vocative case with special ending. E.g. “thanks, Mark” will be “дякую, Марку” (dyakuyu, Marku) and when you’re just about to say to some other person, not directly to Mark, that “Mark has come” you say “Марк прийшов” (Mark pryyshow) => compare Marku and Mark.
- If you have ever seen anything written in Serbian, Russian, Ukrainian or Bulgarian language, you surely loved the letters that are called Cyrillic. And Ukrainian language has some new for you in comparison to Russian. They are І, Ї, Ґ, Є. The last two are not found in any other languages in the world. Ukrainians are really proud of these two, e. g. there’s such a book-store chain called ” Є “.
- Pronunciation is a bit different from Russian. “ Г ” letter is not like ” G ” as in Russian, but rather like English or German ” H “. The ” О ” in unstressed syllables never becomes ” A “, but remains close to ” O “. So generally Ukrainian is easier than Russian to pronounce and spell correctly. “Read how it’s written” rule usually works here.
- To Russians it makes no difference between “better” and “the best“. They both are “лучший” , but in Ukrainian the difference is strict, it’s “кращий” and “найкращий“.