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Introduction to Ukrainian language and culture
Introduction to Ukrainian language and culture

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4.1 Breaking the alphabet down

You’ll learn the alphabet bit by bit. Each week, we’ll cover some different sounds, but if you can’t wait to explore it, here it is in full.

Table 4: Ukrainian alphabet
Printed letter Name Transcription Pronounced as
А, а a a a: in balm
Б, б be b b in boy
В, в ve

v before vowels;

w before consonants and in the end of words

v in vase

w in will

Г, г he


There is no exact equivalent in English. It is a bit like [h] in house.

Ґ, ґ ge


This sound is very rare in Ukrainian.

g in gas
Д, д de d d in dog
Е, е e e e in best
Є, є ye ye ye in yes
Ж, ж zhe zh zh in pleasure
З, з ze z z in zest
И, и y y y in sit
І, і i i i in wheat, seen
Ї, ї yi yi

yi in yeast

Й, й yo

y before vowel;

Short i before consonants and in the end of words

y in York;

Short i in my, I.

К, к ka k k in sky
Л, л el l l in lesson
М, м em m m in May
Н, н en n n in note
О, о o o o: in hot
П, п pe p p in sport
Р, р er r r (rolled)
С, с es s s in class
Т, т te t t in top
У, у u u u: in book
Ф, ф ef f f in festival
Х, х kha kh kh as in Scottish loch
Ц, ц tse ts ts in cats
Ч, ч che ch ch in chair
Ш, ш sha sh sh in shout
Щ, щ shcha shch shch in parish church

miakyi znak –

soft sign

soft sign ‘softens’ previous consonant
Ю, ю yu yu or u

yu in Ukraine,

u Luke

Я, я ya ya or a

ya yak