One of the most common questions that Ukrainians receive while visiting abroad is whether they speak Russian or not. However, Ukraine has its own language, which is Ukrainian. Considering that both languages belong to the same language family, there are quite similarities as well as differences between them.
Today, we are going to discuss some of the similarities and differences you might wonder about. If you already know Ukrainian or Russian, you might already be aware of the linguistic similarities. Most of these are due to belonging to the same language family, which is referred to as Slavic Languages.
On the other hand, expressing that both languages are the same is some kind of saying that Dutch is the same as German when you pronounce it in English. So, let’s take a look at these similarities and differences together.
Similarities Between Ukrainian and Russian
We should also consider history and geography while talking about the reasons for the similarities. These two countries are neighbors and Ukraine’s official language was Russian once, during Soviet Union times. Until the 1930s, all schools in Ukraine were teaching in Russian, and once all Ukrainian publications and newspapers were banned by the Soviet Union.
These had quite an influence on Ukrainian but even in those times, Ukrainian and Russian were two different languages with distinct characteristics. If we need to provide concrete evidence in terms of the similarities, we can talk about the following.
Firstly, both languages use the Cyrillic alphabet, which may seem quite similar to foreigners. Moreover, they both have 33 letters in their alphabets with four different letters in each. Since they are both Slavic languages, they also have very similar grammar with some differences.
Differences Between Ukrainian and Russian
The main difference between Ukrainian and Russian is the capability of understanding each other. While Ukrainians can understand Russian to a certain extent, this is not even a question for Russians. This is mainly because of the above-mentioned reasons in the previous section.
Another important difference is phonetics. They are completely different from each other even in the pronunciation of the same letters in the alphabet. Although they share the same words, their meaning can be totally different. For example, the приклад word refers to the English word example in Ukrainian, while it means rifle butt in Russian.
Ukrainian and Russian may seem quite similar at the first glance for those who do not speak them but once you start learning them, you can easily notice the immersive gap and differences.