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Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Ukrainian uses a Cyrillic alphabet. It shares some vocabulary with the languages of the neighboring Slavic nations, most notably with Belarusian, Polish, Russian and Slovakian.

Beyond the polemics between several ideological conceptions, the continuous presence of Slavic settlements in Ukraine, since at least the sixth century, provides an underlying ethno-linguistic factual basis for the origins of the Ukrainian language. The westernmost areas of modern-day Ukraine lay to the south from the postulated homeland of the original Slavs.

Immigration of Slavic tribes to the Western Slavic and Southern Slavic portions of Eastern Europe led to the dissolution of Early Common Slavic into three groups by the seventh century (East Slavic, West Slavic, and South Slavic). During this time period, some East Slavic elements could have already provided a Slavic identity to the Antes civilization (of which nothing but an Iranian name is known).

The Ukrainian language is currently emerging from a long period of decline. Although there are almost fifty million ethnic Ukrainians worldwide, including 37.5 million in Ukraine (77.8% of the total population), only in western Ukraine is the Ukrainian language prevalent. In Kiev, both languages are spoken, a notable shift from the recent past when the city was primarily Russian speaking. The

     
 

shift is caused, largely, by an influx of the rural population and migrants from the western regions of Ukraine but also by some Kievans' turning to use the language they speak at home more widely in everyday matters. In northern and central Ukraine, Russian is the language of the urban population, while in rural areas Ukrainian is much more common. In the south and the east of Ukraine, Russian is prevalent even in rural areas, and in Crimea, Ukrainian is almost absent.

Use of the Ukrainian language in Ukraine can be expected to increase, as the rural population (still overwhelmingly Ukrainophone) migrates into the cities and the Ukrainian language enters into wider use in central Ukraine. The literary tradition of Ukrainian is also developing rapidly overcoming the consequences of the long period when its development was hindered by either direct suppression or simply the lack of the state encouragement policies.

Ukrainophone population
The Ukrainian is a language of speech by ethnic Ukrainians that is approximately 36,894,000 people in the world. Most of the countries are either ex-USSR where a lot of Ukrainians migrated. Canada and the United States are also home to a large Ukrainian population. Broken up by country (to the nearest thousand):

Ukraine 31,058,000, Russia 4,363,000, Kazakhstan 898,000, United States 844,000, Moldova 600,000, Brazil 500,000, Hungary 300,000, Belarus 291,000, Canada 175,000, Uzbekistan 153,000, Poland 150,000, Kyrgyzstan 109,000, Slovakia 100,000, Argentina 100,000, Latvia 78,000, Romania 57,600 oth. countries

Language structure
The Ukrainian language has six vowels. A number of the consonants come in three forms: hard, soft (palatalized) and long.

The alphabet of the Ukrainian language consists of 33 letters and is derived from the Cyrillic writing system. The modern Ukrainian alphabet is the result of a number of proposed alphabetic reforms from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in Ukraine under the Russian Empire, in Austrian Galicia, and later in Soviet Ukraine. It was officially established at a 1927 international Orthographic Conference in Kharkiv.

The alphabet comprises thirty-three letters, representing thirty-eight phonemes (meaningful units of sound), and an additional sign—the apostrophe. Ukrainian orthography is based on the phonemic principle, with one letter generally corresponding to one phoneme, although there are a number of exceptions. The orthography also has cases where the semantic, historical, and morphological principles are applied.

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