Cyrillic alphabets: differences and transliteration

Ukrainian, Russian and in general almost all the other languages of the formers USSR Republics, use Cyrillic characters at the place of the most common Latin ones.

Those characters are not completely identical for every language, in fact every language has its own Cyrillic alphabet.

Speaking about Cyrillic, is very popular to hear this word: “transliteration”

In our case, the transliteration is a way for to “convert” the Cyrillic letters in Latin ones.
This procedure is made following a specific transliteration system which vary from language to language.

Now lets see more in detail about our two languages:

Ukrainian and Russian

The Russian and Ukrainian alphabets are very similar but not identical; there are several characters, 5 in Ukrainian and 4 in Russian which are not shared by these two languages:

Ґ, І, Ї, Є, ‘ are Ukrainian and not present in the Russian alphabet.
Ы, Э, Ё, Ъ are Russian and don’t exist in Ukrainian.

And even if many other letters are identical, they may have a different pronunciation:

In both alphabet is present the letter “И” but with a different sound.

the Russian letter “И” is the equivalent of the Ukrainian letter “І”.
the Ukrainian letter “И” is the equivalent of the Russian letter “Ы”.

In fact the letter “И” in Russian is transliterated as the Latin letter “I” and in Ukrainian as “Y”.

One more point is the differences between transliteration systems:

It is possible to see the Russian letter “Я” transliterated as “Ya” or “Ja”, the same happen with many other letters, the reason is the multiplicity of transliteration systems.

With the Ukrainian language can happen the same but there is a difference, exist an Official transliteration system, adopted by the Ukrainian Legal Terminology Commission, which should be the standard for the Ukrainian language.

In the post about the Ukrainian Alphabet, and in general in all posts of our Ukrainian phrasebook, we used exactly that standard.


For to know more about Russian transliteration systems:

Ukrainian phrasebook: Days, Weeks, Months, Years, Seasons

On this post we will speak about: Days, Weeks, Months, Years and Seasons.
It can be very useful to know all these terms since some of them totally differ even from Russian (especially the months).

Parts of the Day

Day in Ukrainian is День Den’, plural Дні Dni.

Morning Ранок Ranok
Midday Полудень Poluden’
Afternoon Полудень Poluden’
Evening Вечір Vechir
Midnight Північ Pivnich
Night Ніч Nich

Days of the week

Week is Тиждень Tyzhden, plural Тижні Tyzhni

Sunday Неділя Nedilia
Monday Понеділок Ponedilok
Tuesday Вівторок Vivtorok
Wednesday Середа Sereda
Thursday Четвер Chetver
Friday П’ятниця Piatnitsia
Saturday Субота Subota

Months of the Year

Month in Ukrainian is Місяць Misiats‘, plural Місяці Misiatsi

January Січень Sichen’
February Лютий Liutyi
March Березень Berezen’
April Квітень Kviten’
May Травень Traven’
Jun Червень Cherven’
July Липень Lypen’
August Серпень Serpen’
September Вересень Veresen’
October Жовтень Zhovten’
November Листопад Listopad
December Грудень Gruden’


Year in Ukrainian is Рік Rik, plural Роки Roky

1970Одна тисяча дев’ятсот сімедисятий рік
Odna tysiacha deviatsot simedyciatyi rik

Одна тисяча дев’ятсот вісiмдесят четвертий рік
Odna tysiacha deviatsot visimdesiat chetvertyi rik

Дві тисячі восьмий рік Dvi tysiachi vos’myi rik.

Дві тисячі дев’ятий рік Dvi tysiachi deviatyi rik


Season in Ukrainian is Пора року Pora roku, plural Пори року Pory roku.

Spring Весна Vesna
Summer Літо Lito
Autumn Осінь Osin’
Winter Зима Zyma

Ukrainian phrasebook: Cardinal numbers

1 один odyn (m),одна odna (f), одне odne (n)
2 два dva (m, n), дві dvi (f)
3 три try
4 чотири chotyry
5 п’ять piat’
6 шість shist’
7 сім sim
8 вісім visim
9 дев’ять deviat’
10 десять desiat’
11 одинадцять odynadtsiat’
12 дванадцать dvanadtsiat’
13 тринадцять trynadtsiat’
14 чотирнадцять chotyrnadtsiat’
15 п’ятнадцять piatnadtsiat’
16 шістнадцять shistnadtsiat
17 сімнадцять simnadtsiat’
18 вісімнадцять visimnadtsiat
19 дев’ятнадцять deviatnadtsiat
20 двадцять dvadtsiat’
21…23… двадцять один…три… dvadtsiat’ odyn…try…
30 тридцять trydtsyat’
40 сорок sorok
50 п’ятдесят piatdesiat
60 шістдесят shistdesiat
70 сімдесят simdesiat
80 вісімдесят visimdesiat
90 дев’яносто devianosto
100 сто sto
101…106… сто один sto odyn…sto sim…
200 двісті dvisti
300 триста trysta
400 чотириста chotyrysta
500 п’ятсот piatsot
600 шістсот shistsot
700 сімсот simsot
800 вісімсот visimsot
900 девятсот deviatsot
1000 тисяча tysiacha
1001 тисяча один tysiacha odyn
2000-4000 дві, три, чотири тисячі dvi, tri, chotyry tysiachi
5000… п’ять, шість…. тисяч piat’, shist’… tysiach
un milione мільион mil’yon
un miliardo мільярд mil’iard

m= male, f= female, n= neutral

Languages of Ukraine: Ukrainian and Russian

In Ukraine people speak mainly two languages:

– Ucrainian
– Russian

Russian is well know almost everywhere (due to the Soviet times) and is the most widely spoken language in the Eastern side of Ukraine and all along the Crimean peninsula.

In the Western part of the country the first language is Ukrainian.

This show quite clearly the political division of the country:
East pro Russia and West pro Europe, USA…

For all this reasons and others, you may look a bit odd to some people if you talk Ukrainian for es. in Donetsk or Luhansk… and the same if you speak Russian in L’viv. Can also happen they will not understand you or just pretend not to hear.

It is also quite common to hear people speak Russian using in the same time different Ukrainian words, or the opposite.

Anyway, until now, in Ukraine there is just ONE official language:


This means every official document or activity is in Ukrainian.

For this reason is important to know at least some word of this language because, even if it is very similar to the Russian language, many things are totally different.

Cat in Ukrainian is KIT in Russian the same word means Whale.

So we decided to publish several new posts in future about the Ukrainian language; in few words a very short phrasebook:)

If you want us to write about a particular topic, fell free to write us (post a comment), if we can, we will be happy to help you.

Ukrainian phrasebook: Alphabet with transliteration and examples

The Ukrainian alphabet is composed by 34 elements:

10 Vowels:

А, Е, Є, И, І, ї, О, У, Ю, Я.

22 Consonants:

Б, В, Г, Ґ, Д, Ж, З, Й, К, Л, М, Н, П, Р, С, Т, Ф, Х, Ц, Ч, Ш, Щ.

Soft sign: Ь
Hard sign:

Аа a Америка
Бб b Бориспіль
Вв v Вінниця
Гг h, gh Гідропарк, gh if Зг Згода
Ґґ g Ґанок
Дд d Дніпро
Ее e Електричка
Єє ye, ie* Євпаторія, Італієць
Жж zh Житомир
Зз z Запоріжжя
Ии y Дискета
Іі i Італія
Її yi, i* Їжа, Україна
Йй y, i* Йод, Копійка
Кк k Київ
Лл l Луганськ
Мм m Макеевка
Нн n Німеччина
Оо o Одеса
Пп p Полтава
Рр r Ростов
Сс s Севастополь
Тт t Тернопіль
Уу u Україна
Фф f Феодосія
Хх kh Харків
Цц ts Донецьк
Чч ch Чоп
Шш sh Шевченко
Щщ sch Щасливо
Ьь Львів
Юю yu, iu* Юрист, Люди
Яя ya, ia* Ялта, Італія

* At the beginning of the word: Ye, Yi, Y, Yu, Ya
in the other situations: ie, i, i, iu, ia.

For the transliteration we used the Official transliteration system adopted by the Ukrainian Legal Terminology Commission.


For to save time, you can use our free transliterators

Russian transliterator with virtual keyboard
UKR:)landia transliterator 4.1 Russian
Ukrainian transliterator with virtual keyboard
UKR:)landia transliterator 4.1 Ukrainian