Ukrainian is one of the Slavic languages. This means that it resembles in syntax and vocabulary languages such as Polish, Russian, and Belorussian. It belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. There are a number of theories concerning its origin, but linguists tend to agree that Ukrainian evolved from a proto-Slavic tongue spoken around the 8th century AD.
The literary form of Ukrainian developed in the 18th and 19th centuries through the writings of Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko, Ivan Nechuy-Levytsky, and their contemporaries. Shevchenko's popularity in Ukraine can be compared to that of Shakespeare in England or Dante in Italy. The same can be said of the Galician poet Ivan Franko, after whom universities, theaters, cities and provinces (Ivano-Frankivsk) thousands of streets, and several villages (Frankove, Ivana Franka, etc.) are named. Thus, the artists' work influenced the development of the region's language.
In more recent history, Ukraine has been ruled by Austria-Hungary and Russia. Fearing uprisings, these empires discouraged the use of the Ukrainian language. However, in the early 1920s Ukraine became the independent Ukrainian SSR and the language has since grown in usage. Today, it has approximately 42 million speakers.
Information for LearnersEdit
Written Ukrainian uses the Ukrainian абетка (abetka, one of the words for alphabet). It shares many characters and pronunciation rules with other Slavic languages, though a comprehensive list of the commonalities is outside the scope of this Wikibook.
Ukrainian pronunciation is clear and articulated. In terms of pronunciation clarity it resembles Russian. However, Ukrainian makes more frequent use of I vowels where Russian might use O/E vowels (for example, Peter´s: Russian - PetrOV, Ukrainian PetrIV).