Ukrainian (native name: украї́нська мо́ва, romanized: ukrainska mova, IPA: [ʊkrɐˈjinʲsʲkɐ ˈmɔʋɐ]) is an East Slavic language of the Indo-European language family. It is the native language of about 40 million people and the official state language of Ukraine in Eastern Europe. Written Ukrainian uses the Ukrainian alphabet, a variant of the Cyrillic script. The standard Ukrainian language is regulated by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NANU; particularly by its Institute for the Ukrainian Language), the Ukrainian language-information fund, and Potebnia Institute of Linguistics. Comparisons are often drawn to Russian, a prominent Slavic language, but there is more mutual intelligibility with Belarusian, Ukrainian's closest relative.
|40 million (2000)|
Speakers: around 45 million (estimated)
|Cyrillic (Ukrainian alphabet)|
Official language in
Republic of Crimea
|Regulated by||National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine: Institute for the Ukrainian Language, Ukrainian language-information fund, Potebnya Institute of Language Studies|
Ukrainian language and Ukrainians with their neighbors in the early 20th century.
Historical linguists trace the origin of the Ukrainian language to Old East Slavic, a language of the early medieval state of Kievan Rus'. Modern linguistics denies the existence of a stage of a common East Slavic language, therefore, referring the Ukrainian language to "East Slavonic" is also more of a tribute to the academic tradition. After the fall of the Kievan Rus' as well as the Kingdom of Ruthenia, the language developed into a form called the Ruthenian language, and enjoyed as such the status of one of the official languages of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for several centuries. Along with Ruthenian, in the territory of modern Ukraine, the Kyiv version (Kyiv Izvod) of Church Slavonic was also used in liturgical services.
The Ukrainian language has been in common use since the late 17th century, associated with the establishment of the Cossack Hetmanate. From 1804 until the 1917–1921 Ukrainian War of Independence, the Ukrainian language was banned from schools in the Russian Empire, of which the biggest part of Ukraine (Central, Eastern and Southern) was a part at the time. Through folk songs, itinerant musicians, and prominent authors, the language has always maintained a sufficient base in Western Ukraine, where the language was never banned.