Basic Ukrainian reading rules

Most consonants can be either soft or hard in Ukrainian (in the table above you two examples for each of these letters to demonstrate both hard and soft variants).

The consonant is hard before other consonants, or the vowels – а е и і о у.

The consonant is soft before the soft sign (ь) or the vowels – я, ю, є, ї.

However, й is always soft.

Soft sign (м’який знак or знак м’якшeння) we use not only to makes the previous letter softer on harder but also to separate a consonant from a vowel in a word (for example, «кін» and «кінь» are two different words).

There is a special sign in Ukrainian language, the apostrophe (апостроф), that is used after a consonant and before a complex vowel (я, ю, є, ї) to prevent the consonant from becoming mild. (об’єкт, під’їзд).

There are two sounds in Ukrainian that are represented by two letters:

  • дз – like “ds” in “goods” (дзвеніти)
  • дж – like “dg” in “hedge” (джміль)

They are pronounced differently from coincidental combinations of the letters д and з or д and ж.

Ukrainian is written as pronounced, but the stress is very unpredictable and stressing the wrong syllable can lead to misunderstandings. You can check stresses in textbook and dictionary.

Exercises:

1.Read the following sound combinations: ба, ву, го, ді, ро, ла, ме, фі, то, ка, не, га, лі, со, же, ви, те, ці, ша, ча, зе

2.Read the following words: Дім, сад, парк, кімна́та, ву́лиця, буди́нок, мі́сто



This course course will help you to start learning Ukrainian in easy and convenient way. You will learn how to read in Ukrainian and understand spoken language, learn basic grammar, vocabulary and useful phrases.

All materials (vocabulary lists, grammar explanation, texts, dialogues, audios, tests and practice exercises with answers) are on our website, so you can access them whenever you want.

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