Fedir Nadenenko




Ukrainian Language Transliteration Chart

The Audio Spoken Texts of the songs will help to clarify the rules below.

1. ‘j’ and the apostrophe ’ are pronounced similar to the ‘y’ in English: ‘yes’, ‘say’:

e.g. jabluko (apple), haj (grove), junyj (young),

e.g. n’i (no), d’ido (grandpa), l’ito (summer), z’irka (star) , ts’i (these),
horyt’ (it burns)

N.B. When the apostrophe follows the unvoiced consonants: ‘s’, ‘t’ and ‘ts’, the apostrophe will also be unvoiced:

e.g. dyvljus’ (I look), s’im (seven), t’i (those), ts’i (those) – as the ‘s’, ‘t’ and ‘ts’ are voiceless consonants, the following apostrophe is also voiceless, ie. a whispered, unvoiced ‘j’.

2. z.h compared with zh:
(i) z.h = ‘z’ + ‘h’ – 2 separate sounds
(ii) zh = voiced ‘sh’ as in vision – 1 sound

3. Ukrainian L

2 ways of pronouncing L in Ukrainian:

In the transliterated clusters: La, Le, Lo, Lu and Ly (pronounced as in English: sit – see chart below for Ukrainian И, и), L is pronounced further back in the mouth,
eg. as in English bottle;

The same applies if L is the last letter in a word or syllable, eg. zal (hall), pyl (dust), ry-bal-ka (fishing),
Even when the L is preceded by ‘i’, eg. rozd’il (chapter)

L is pronounced forward in the mouth as in English in 2 cases:

  • When followed by the letter ‘i’ as in leap, eg. L’ito (summer), L’ikar (doctor)

  • When followed by an apostrophe, eg. bil’ (pain), zhal’ (pity)

Imagine pronouncing all
consonants as in Italian,
ie. less aspiration. All
vowels are pure, similar
to Italian. No
Examples taken from Italian
or English languages.
А, аa (as in Italian ‘caro’)
Б, бb
В, вv
Г, гh (as in English ‘house’)
Ґ, ґg (as in English ‘garden’)
Д, дd
Е, еe (as in Italian ‘mezzo’)
Є, єje (2 sounds as in English ‘yes’)
Ж, жZh (a voiced ‘sh’ as in
English ‘vision’)
З, зz
И, иy (as in English ‘sit’)
І, ii (as in English ‘sheet’)
Ï, їji (2 sounds as in English ‘yeast’)
Й, йj (as in English ‘yet’)
K, кk (unaspirated, as in Italian ‘caro’
Л, лL, l (see rule 3. above)
M, мm
Н, нn
O, оo (as in Italian ‘oro’)
П, пp (unaspirated, as in Italian ‘posso’)
Р, рr (rolled as in Italian ‘torre’
C, сs
T, тt (unaspirated, as in Italian ‘tempo’)
У, уu (as in Italian ‘puro’)
Ф, фf
Х, хkh (as in Scottish ‘Loch’)
Ц, цts (as in English ‘nets’)
Ч, чch
Ш, шsh
Щ, щshch (2 sounds as in English ‘moisture’) ie. ‘sh’ plus ‘ch’
Ю, юju (2 sounds, ‘j’ as in English ‘yes’ plus ‘u’ as in Italian ‘puro’)
Я, яja (2 sounds, as in English ‘yap’)
Ь, ь = gentle j (as in ‘say’)