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Encyclopedia > Romanization of Ukrainian

Romanization or Latinization of Ukrainian denotes a system for representing the Ukrainian language in Latin letters. Ukrainian is natively written in its own Ukrainian alphabet, a variation of Cyrillic. Ukrainian (украї́нська мо́ва, ukrayins’ka mova) is the official language of Ukraine. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... The Ukrainian Alphabet (Українська азбука, Ukrajins′ka azbuka or абетка, abetka in Ukrainian) is used to write Ukrainian, the official language of Ukraine. ... The Cyrillic alphabet (or azbuka, from the old name of the first letters) is an alphabet used to write six natural Slavic languages (Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian) and many other languages of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Eastern Europe. ...

Romanization may be employed to represent Ukrainian text or pronunciation for non-Ukrainian readers, on computer systems that cannot reproduce Cyrillic characters, or for typists who are not familiar with the Ukrainian keyboard layout. Methods of romanization include transliteration, representing written text, and transcription, representing the spoken word. Pronunciation refers to: the way a word or a language is usually spoken; the manner in which someone utters a word. ... Computers and other typing devices offer many different keyboard layouts, for people to be able to input data in different languages. ... In linguistics, romanization or latinization is a system for representing a word or language with the Roman (Latin) alphabet, where the original word or language used a different writing system. ... Transliteration in a narrow sense is a mapping from one system of writing into another. ... Transcription is the conversion into written, typewritten or printed form, of a written source - such as the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica articles of which are transcribed into the Wikipedia - or spoken language source, such as the proceedings of a court hearing. ...


Conventional romanization of proper names

In some contexts, it is common to write well-known proper names using an established conventional form, rather than strictly transliterating them. A conventional Latin-alphabet spelling may be transliterated using a different system or originate in another intermediate language, such as Polish, transliterated from Russian, transliterated into German, etc. For example, although the spelling of Ukraine's capital city is Kyiv in official documents and on maps, many English-speakers are more familiar with the transliteration from Russian, Kiev. The title of Kyiv's entry on Wikipedia has been hotly debated. Kiev (Київ, Kyiv, in Ukrainian; Киев, Kiev, in Russian) is the capital and largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper river. ...

Ukrainian personal names are usually rendered into English phonetically. The most common method is similar to BGN/PCGN transliteration, except the soft sign and apostrophe are dropped, iotified diphthongs я, є, ий, ій, ї, йо, ю (scientific transliteration: ja, je, yj, ij, ji, jo, ju) are rendered with i or y in different contexts, doubled letters are often simplified to one. Soft Sign (Ь, ÑŒ) is a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet (Russian: мягкий знак (mÄ­ahkiy znak) [], Ukrainian: м’який знак (miakyy znak) [], Belarusian: мяккі знак (miakki znak) []). It is named so because it usually indicates softening, or palatalization, of the preceding consonant or of the group of them. ... An apostrophe ( ’ ) is a punctuation and sometimes diacritic mark in languages written in the Latin alphabet. ... Iotation is a form of palatalisation which occurs in Slavic languages. ... In phonetics, a diphthong (Greek δίφθογγος, diphthongos, literally with two sounds) is a vowel combination usually involving a quick but smooth movement from one vowel to another, often interpreted by listeners as a single vowel sound or phoneme. ...

Romanization systems

Here are some commonly-used systems for romanizing Ukrainian. Some of these are revised periodically, and so this list includes the date of the latest version.


Transliteration is the letter-for-letter representation of text using another writing system. Depending on the purpose of the transliteration, it may be necessary to be able to reconstruct the original text. Or it may be preferable to have a transliteration which sounds like the original language when read aloud. Transliteration in a narrow sense is a mapping from one system of writing into another. ... A writing system, also called a script, is a type of symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in language. ...

National 1996
The official system of Ukraine, also employed by the UN and many countries' foreign services. It is currently widely used to represent Ukrainian geographic names, which were almost exclusively romanized from Russian before Ukrainian independence in 1991. Based on English orthography.
Requires only ASCII characters.
International Scholarly system
Also called "scientific transliteration", this system is most often seen in linguistic publications on Slavic languages. It was codified in 19th century Prussian Instructions for libraries (Preußische Instruktionen, or PI), and is based on the Croatian Latin alphabet.
Representing all of the necessary diacritics on computers requires Unicode.
ISO 9:1995
ISO 9 is a standard from the International Organization for Standardization, which supports most Cyrillic alphabets in a single transliteration table. It is derived from the Scholarly system, and is meant to be usable by readers of most European languages. Each Cyrillic character is represented by exactly one unique Latin character, so the transliteration is reliably reversible.
ISO 9 considers only graphemes and disregards phonemic differences. So, for example, "Г" (Ukrainian He or Russian Ge) is always represented by the transliteration "G".
Representing all of the necessary diacritics on computers requires Unicode.
ALA-LC Romanization Tables 1997
American Library Association and Library of Congress. Used by US and Canadian libraries for representing bibliographic information.
Requires Unicode for connecting diacritics, but these are often omitted in practice.
United States Board on Geographic Names & Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use. Pronunciation is intuitive for English-speakers.
Requires only ASCII characters.
SMS is used for sending messages in mobile networks. This system uses all Latin letters (including q, x, w) to make texts as short as possible. See also Volapuk encoding.
Requires only ASCII characters.

The orthography of a language is the set of rules of how to write correctly in the writing system of a language. ... There are 95 printable ASCII characters, numbered 32 to 126. ... The international standard ISO 9 establishes a system for the transliteration into Latin characters of Cyrillic characters constituting the alphabets of Slavic and non-Slavic languages. ... Logo of the International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO or iso) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards bodies. ... A grapheme designates the atomic unit in written language. ... In spoken language, a phoneme is a basic, theoretical unit of sound that can distinguish words (i. ... Ge or He (Г, г) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, pronounced differently in different languages. ... Library of Congress, Jefferson building The Library of Congress is the unofficial national library of the United States. ... Volapuk encoding (Russian: кодировка воляпюк (or волапюк, kodirovka volapyuk)) is a slang term for rendering the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet by the Latin ones. ...


Transcription is the representation of the spoken word. Phonological, or phonemic, transcription represents the phonemes, or meaningful sounds of a language, and is useful to describe the general pronunciation of a word. Phonetic transcription represents every single sound, or phone, and can be used to compare different dialects of a language. Both methods can use the same sets of symbols, but linguists usually denote phonemic transcriptions by enclosing them in slashes / ... /, while phonetic transcriptions are enclosed in square brackets [ ... ]. Transcription is the conversion into written, typewritten or printed form, of a written source - such as the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica articles of which are transcribed into the Wikipedia - or spoken language source, such as the proceedings of a court hearing. ... Phonology (Greek phone = voice/sound and logos = word/speech) is a subfield of grammar (see also linguistics). ... In oral language, a phoneme is the theoretical basic unit of sound that can be used to distinguish words or morphemes; in sign language, it is a similarly basic unit of hand shape, motion, position, or facial expression. ... Phonetic (pho-NET-ic) is a nationwide voicemail-to-text messaging service available for most digital mobile phones in which a subscriber is provided a custom voice mailbox for the purpose of receiving all incoming voice messages as actual transcribed text for reading via short messaging (also known as SMS... In phonetics and phonology, a phone is a speech sound considered as a physical event without regard to its place in the sound system semantics of a language. ...

The International Phonetic Alphabet precisely represents pronunciation. Requires a special Unicode font.

The International Phonetic Alphabet. ...

Table of romanization systems

Common systems for romanizing Ukrainian
Cyrillic National 1 Scholarly ISO 9 ALA/LC 4 BGN/PCGN SMS IPA
А а a a a a a a [ʌ]
Б б b b b b b b [b]
В в v v v v v v [v] or [w]
Г г h, gh 2 h g h h h [ɦ]
Ґ ґ g g g g gh [g]
Д д d d d d d d [d]
Е е e e e e e e [e]
Є є ie, ye 3 je ê i͡e 4 ye je [je]
Ж ж zh 1.1 ž ž z͡h 4 zh g [ʒ]
З з z z z z z z [z]
И и y y i y y y [ɪ]
І і i i ì i i i [i]
Ї ї i, yi 3 ji ï ï yi ji [ji]
Й й i, y 3 j j ĭ y j [j]
К к k k k k k k [k]
Л л l l l l l l [l]
М м m m m m m m [m]
Н н n n n n n n [n]
О о o o o o o o [o]
П п p p p p p p [p]
Р р r r r r r r [r]
С с s s s s s s [s]
Т т t t t t t t [t]
У у u u u u u u [u]
Ф ф f f f f f f [f]
Х х kh 1.1 x or ch h kh kh x [x]
Ц ц ts 1.1 c c t͡s 4 ts c [ʦ]
Ч ч ch 1.1 č č ch ch q [ʧ]
Ш ш sh 1.1 š š sh sh w [ʃ]
Щ щ sch 1.1 šč ŝ shch shch wq [ʃʧ]
Ю ю iu, yu 3 ju û i͡u 4 yu ju [ju]
Я я ia, ya 3 ja â i͡a 4 ya ja [jʌ]
Ь ь ’ 1.2 j [◌ʲ]
 ’  ” 1.2 - - -

Notes for the Ukrainian National system

  1. Transliteration can be rendered in a simplified form:
    1. Doubled consonants ж, х, ц, ч, ш are simplified (e.g. Запоріжжя—Zaporizhia).
    2. Apostrophe and soft sign are omitted, except for ьо and ьї which are always rendered as ’o and ’i.
  2. gh is used in the romanization of зг (zgh), avoiding confusion with ж (zh).
  3. The second variant is used at the beginning of a word.

Notes for ALA/LC

  1. When applied strictly, ALA/LC requires the use of two-character combining diacritics, but in practice these are often omitted.

See also

A writing system, also called a script, is a type of symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in language. ... There exist many possible systems for transliterating the Cyrillic alphabet of the Russian language to English or the Latin alphabet. ... It has been suggested that Ukrajinśka Łatynka be merged into this article or section. ...

External links

  • Transliteration of Non-Roman Scripts A collection of writing systems and transliteration tables, by Thomas T. Pederson. PDF reference charts for many languages' transliteration systems. Ukrainian PDF.
  • Ukrainian National transliteration (in Ukrainian).
  • Working Group on Romanization Systems, under the United Nations Conferences on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Ukrainian PDF.
  • ALA-LC Romanization Tables Scanned text of the 1997 edition of the ALA-LC Romanization Tables: Transliteration Schemes for Non-Roman Scripts. Ukrainian PDF.
  • Transliteration history - history of the transliteration of Slavic languages into Latin alphabets.
  • Transliteration from Russian and Ukrainian Language into german letters



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