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Ukrainian Language

Ukrainian AlphabetUkrainian language is a state language of Ukraine, national language of Ukrainians, belongs to the Slavonic languages, which enter the Indo-European language family. The written language is based on Cyrillic alphabet.

According to the territory, Ukrainian is mostly widespread in Ternopol region (98,3 %), the least – in the city of Sevastopol (6,8 %). Ukrainian is also used in Russia, Poland (up to 150 thousand people), Canada, Slovakia (about 100 thousand people), Byelorussia, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Transdniestria (about 70 thousand people).

In the north-east the dialects are influenced with Byelorussian and Russian languages. Sometimes these dialects are unified with the north-western ones (like northern dialect or North Ukrainian dialects). Besides, the dialects of Transcarpathia differ a lot from the literary language of Ukraine. On the basis of Carpathian dialects of Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary there is developed the regional literary micro language – Ruthenian language.

In the east and south of Ukraine, in the central regions many Ukrainians speak the mixture of Ukrainian and Russian languages – so-called Surzhyk, which combines Ukrainian grammar and phonetics with the mixed Russian-Ukrainian vocabulary.

The history of Ukrainian is associated with the languages of the nearby countries. Ukrainian is considered historically to belong to Old Russian language as well as Russian and Byelorussian. Though, this point of view has the significant opposition in Ukraine and Russia either.

 In XI—XII centuries, the basis of the written language of Kievan Rus was formed with the Old Slavonic language. The primary literature, generally manuscripts of church liturgical and religious character, was rewritten from the Old Slavonic originals, translated from the Greek and thus brought the influence of Byzantine literature. The rewriters tried thoroughly to keep the peculiarities of the originals, but nevertheless there occurred the mistakes. These mistakes are especially important for the history of Ukrainian language, because they show the influence of the colloquial language, native for the rewriter.

In XVIII—XX centuries the words of West European languages were borrowed through the Russian language (in the eastern part of Ukraine) or through the Polish (in Galicia), or the figures of the Ukrainian culture brought the words of West European origin from these languages.
The closeness of vocabulary with the Polish is explained with the numerous Polish borrowings with the almost total absence of Slavisms, which compose the appreciable part of the Russian vocabulary.

The modern Ukrainian literary language is the mixture of the elements of the three main dialects, with the domination of Poltava dialects. The basis of the vocabulary is formed with the words of the general Slavonic origin, but there are also many words, which emerged in Ukrainian in the period of its independent historical development.

Ukrainian is one of the most melodious languages in the world alongside with Italian and French. The significant place in the world culture belongs to the Ukrainian folksongs, which are notable for the beauty of the word and singing.