Ukrainian dialects

In the Ukrainian language there are three major dialectal groups according to territory: the southwestern group [uk] (Ukrainian: південно-західне наріччя, romanizedpivdenno-zakhidne narichchia), the southeastern group [uk] (Ukrainian: південно-східне наріччя, romanizedpivdenno-skhidne narichchia) and the northern group [uk] (Ukrainian: північне наріччя, romanizedpivnichne narichchia) of dialects.

Map of Ukrainian dialects and subdialects (2005).
  Northern group
  South-eastern group
  South-western group
Russian "dialectological map” of 1914. Territory inhabited by Ukrainian-speakers in the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires is shaded in green. The language was called Ruthenian in Austria-Hungary and "Little Russian" or "Malorussian dialect” by the Russian authorities who prohibited its use in education, publishing, or public performance.
"Map of South-Russian accents and dialects" (1871). In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Russian censors required the Ukrainian language to be called "South-Russian" or "Little-Russian".[1]

List of dialectsEdit

Southwestern groupEdit

Southwestern dialects[2][3]
Name Description
Volhynian-Podilian dialects
Podilian [uk; ru] spoken on the terrotory of Podolia, in the southern parts of the Vinnytsia and Khmelnytskyi Oblasts, in the northern part of the Odessa Oblast, and in the adjacent districts of the Cherkasy Oblast, the Kirovohrad Oblast and the Mykolaiv Oblast.[4]
Volhynian [uk; ru] spoken in Rivne and Volyn, as well as in parts of Zhytomyr and Ternopil. It was also spoken around Chełm (Ukrainian: Холм Kholm) in Poland.
Galician-Bukovyna dialects
Upper Dniestrian [uk; ru] considered to be the main Galician dialect, spoken in the Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk Oblasts. Its distinguishing characteristics are the influence of Polish and the German vocabulary, which is reminiscent of the Austro-Hungarian rule.
Pokuttia-Bukovina spoken in the Chernivtsi Oblast of Ukraine. This dialect has some distinct vocabulary borrowed from Romanian.
Hutsul [uk; ru] (Western Carpathian) spoken by the Hutsul people on the northern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains, in the extreme southern parts of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, as well as in parts of the Chernivtsi and Transcarpathian Oblasts.
Upper Sannian [uk; ru] spoken in the border area between Ukraine and Poland in the San river valley. Often confused as Lemko or Lyshak.
Carpathian dialects
Boyko [uk; ru] spoken by the Boyko people on the northern side of the Carpathian Mountains in the Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk Oblasts. It can also be heard across the border in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship of Poland.
Lemko [uk; ru] spoken by the Lemko people, most of whose homeland rests outside the current political borders of Ukraine in the Prešov Region of Slovakia along the southern side of the Carpathian Mountains, and in the southeast of modern Poland, along the northern sides of the Carpathians.
Transcarpathian [uk; ru] spoken people around Uzhhorod, in the Transcarpathian Oblast. It is similar to the Lemko dialect but differs from them, because of the historical influence and integration of Slovakian and Hungarian elements.

Southeastern groupEdit

Southeastern dialects[5]
Name Description
Middle Dnieprian [uk] the basis of the Standard Literary Ukrainian. It is spoken in the central part of Ukraine, primarily in the southern and eastern part of the Kyiv Oblast). In addition, the dialects spoken in Cherkasy, Poltava and Kyiv regions are considered to be close to standard Ukrainian.
Slobozhan [uk] spoken in Kharkiv, Sumy, Luhansk, and the northern part of Donetsk, as well as in the Voronezh and Belgorod regions of Russia.[6] This dialect is formed from a gradual mixture of Russian and Ukrainian, with progressively more Russian in the northern and eastern parts of the region. Thus, there is no linguistic border between Russian and Ukrainian, and thus, both grammar sets can be applied. This dialect is considered a transitional dialect between Ukrainian and Russian.[7]
Steppe [uk] is spoken in southern and southeastern Ukraine. This dialect was originally the main language of the Zaporozhian Cossacks.[8]

Northern groupEdit

Northern (Polissian) dialects[9]
Name Description
Eastern Polissian [uk] spoken in Chernihiv (excluding the southeastern districts), in the northern part of Sumy, and in the southeastern portion of the Kyiv Oblast as well as in the adjacent areas of Russia, which include the southwestern part of the Bryansk Oblast (the area around Starodub), as well as in some areas in the Kursk, Voronezh and Belgorod Oblasts.[10] No linguistic border can be defined. The vocabulary approaches Russian as the language approaches the Russian Federation. Both Ukrainian and Russian grammar sets can be applied to this dialect. Thus, this dialect can be considered a transitional dialect between Ukrainian and Russian.[7]
Central Polissian [uk] spoken in the northwestern part of the Kyiv Oblast, in the northern part of Zhytomyr and the northeastern part of the Rivne Oblast.[11]
Western Polissian [uk] spoken in the northern part of the Volyn Oblast, the northwestern part of the Rivne Oblast as well as in the adjacent districts of the Brest Voblast in Belarus. The dialect spoken in Belarus uses Belarusian grammar, and thus is considered by some to be a dialect of Belarusian.[12]

West Polissian dialects include Podlachian subdialects [uk] spoken in Podlachia in Poland.[13] They are also known as Siedlce dialects (because of the name of Siedlce Governorate, where the subdialects were mostly investigated),[14] and Khakhlatska mova (Ukrainian: хахлацька мова, "khokhols' language").[15]

Emigre dialectsEdit

Ukrainian is also spoken by a large émigré population, particularly in Canada (Canadian Ukrainian), The United States, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia. The founders of this population primarily emigrated from Galicia, which used to be part of Austro-Hungary before World War I, and belonged to Poland between the World Wars. The language spoken by most of them is based on the Galician dialect of Ukrainian from the first half of the twentieth century. Compared with modern Ukrainian, the vocabulary of Ukrainians outside Ukraine reflects less influence of Russian, yet may contain Polish or German loanwords. It often contains many loanwords from the local language as well (e.g. снікерси, snikersy, for "sneakers" in the United States[16]).

Disputed status of some dialectsEdit


Balachka is spoken in the Kuban region of Russia, by the Kuban Cossacks. The Kuban Cossacks being descendants of the Zaporozhian Cossacks are beginning to consider themselves as a separate ethnic identity. Their dialect is based on Middle Dnieprian with the Ukrainian grammar. It includes dialectical words of central Ukrainian with frequent inclusion of Russian vocabulary, in particular for modern concepts and items. It varies somewhat from one area to another.[7]


The Rusyn language is classified as a dialect of Ukrainian by the Ukrainian government. However Rusyn is considered by some linguists to be a separate language.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gardiner, Sunray Cythna (1965). German Loanwords in Russian, 1550–1690. Published for the society by B. Blackwell. p. 8. denote White Russian.
  2. ^ "Південно-західне наріччя. Українська мова. Енциклопедія". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  3. ^ Southwestern dialects. Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine
  4. ^ "Подільський говір. Українська мова. Енциклопедія". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  5. ^ "Південно-східне наріччя. Українська мова. Енциклопедія". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  6. ^ "Слобожанський говір. Українська мова. Енциклопедія". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  7. ^ a b c "map".
  8. ^ "Степовий говір. Українська мова. Енциклопедія". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  9. ^ "Північне наріччя. Українська мова. Енциклопедія". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  10. ^ "ІЗБОРНИК. Історія України IX-XVIII ст. Першоджерела та інтерпретації. Нульова сторінка". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  11. ^ "Середньополіський говір. Українська мова. Енциклопедія". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  12. ^ "Maps of Belarus: Dialects on Belarusian territory". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  13. ^ Arkushyn 2019, p. 115-116.
  14. ^ Lesiv 1997, p. 291.
  15. ^ Arkushyn 2019, p. 118.
  16. ^ "The Lexicon of the Third-Wave Ukrainian Diaspora – Forgotten Galicia". 14 August 2017. Retrieved 2018-10-25.


External linksEdit