Today I'm delighted to feature a guest post by Lesley Vos about basic Ukrainian phrases.
If you've got Ukrainian friends or are planning a trip to the country, then the 100+ phrases you learn here are sure to come in handy!
By the time you finish this post, you'll be ready to have your first conversations and deal with common situations in Ukraine with confidence. Enjoy!
Over to Lesley…
Let’s face it…
Even if you’re planning a trip to Ukraine, you’re not probably thinking of learning Ukrainian unless you expect to stay a long time.
It’s one thing if you’re visiting for a number of months, but it’s hard to motivate yourself to put in so much effort learning Ukrainian if you’re just visiting for a few days.
But whether you’re planning a short or a long trip to Ukraine, learning a little of the language is a worthwhile thing to do!
Yes, most young people in Ukraine speak English; and they are responsive, hospitable, and ready to help.
But if you speak some basic Ukrainian, your chances of enjoying the trip and understanding the local culture are significantly higher!
Plus, the appreciative smiles you receive from the locals will more than justify your efforts to learn the basics!
In this post, you’ll learn 100+ common words and basic Ukrainian phrases so you can have your first interactions in the language.
To make it easier for you, I’ve divided the phrases up into the main sections that form the building blocks of conversation:
- Saying Hello In Ukrainian
- Basic Ukrainian Phrases For Getting To Know People
- Ukrainian Question Words
- Getting Around In Ukraine
- Asking For Directions
- Having A Bite To Eat
- Asking For Help
- Dealing With Problems
- Being Polite
- Getting Emotional In Ukrainian
- Essential Everday Ukrainian Words
- Saying Goodbye
- Ukrainian Idioms
By the end of this post, I bet you’ll have fallen in love with this beautiful language!
(Note: All of the examples in this post are written in the Cyrillic alphabet, which Ukrainian uses. However, we’ve also included transliterations in case you don’t read Cyrillic yet!)
Saying Hello In Ukranian
Ukrainian is a rich language with dozens of words to meet and greet people.
Of course, you don’t have to know them all when want to say hi; but being familiar with the most common ones will help you make a positive impression.
1. Привіт! (pry-vIt) — Hello!]
2. Вітаю! (vi-tA-ju) — Greetings
3. Доброго ранку! (dO-bro-ho rAn-ku) — Good morning!
3. Доброго дня! (dO-bro-ho dnja) — Good afternoon!
4. Доброго вечора! (dO-bro-ho vE-cho-ra) — Good evening!
5. Як ся маєш? (jak sjA mA-jesh) — How are you doing?
6. Як справи? (jak sprA-vy) — How are you?
7.Добре, дякую! (dO-bre, djA-ku-ju) — I’m fine, thanks!
8. А в тебе? (a v tE-be) — And you?
9. Не дуже (ne dU-zhe)— So-so.
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Basic Ukrainian Phrases For Getting To Know People
Ukrainians are open-minded people, happy to make new friends.
Try these expressions to introduce yourself and get to know locals.
10.Дозвольте представитися (do-zvOlʹ-te pred-stA-vy-ty-sja) — Let me introduce myself.
11. Мене звати… (me-nE zvA-ty) — My name is…
12. Як тебе звати? (jak te-bE zvA-ty) — What is your name?
13. Радий познайомитися! (rA-dyj po-zna-jO-my-ty-sja) — Nice to meet you!
14. Я з… (ja z…) — I’m from…
15. Звідки ти? (zvI-dky tY) — Where are you from?
16. Скільки тобі років? (skILʹ-ky to-bI rO-kiv) — How old are you?
17. Мені 25 років (me-nI 25 rO-kiv) — I am 25.
18. Де ти живеш? (dE tY zhy-vEsh) — Where do you live?
19. Дуже приємно! (dU-zhe pry-jEm-no) — Nice to meet you!
20. Я іноземець (ja i-no-zE-metsʹ) — I am a foreigner.
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Ukrainian Question Words
Naturally, if you’re going to keep a conversation going you can’t just talk about yourself! You’ll need to be able to ask a few questions too! Here are the Ukrainian question words you’ll need to learn?
21. Хто…? (khto) — Who?
22.Що…? (scho) — What?
23. Коли…? (ko-LY) — When?
24. Який…? (ja-kYj)/ Яка…? (fem.) (ja-kA) — Which?
25. Де…? (de) — Where?
26. Як…? (jak) — How?
27. Чому…? (cho-mU) — Why?
28. Скільки…? (skIL’-ky) — How much?
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Getting Around In Ukraine
Once in Ukraine, you won’t want to miss the chance to walk and see the beauty of the cities and countryside.
These words will help you to understand what buildings you see in front of you or ask people how to get there.
29. Вулиця (vU-ly-tsja) — Street
30. Вокзал (vok-zAL) — Railway station
31. Пошта (pO-shta) — Post office
32. Кафе (ka-fE) — Cafe
33. Ресторан (re-sto-rAn) — Restaurant
34. Ринок (rY-nok) – Market
35. Супермаркет (su-per-mAr-ket) — Supermarket
36. Музей (mu-zEj) — Museum
37. Лікарня (li-kAr-nja) — Hospital
38. Метро (me-trO) — Metro
39. Автобус (av-tO-bus) — Bus
40. Трамвай (tram-vAj) — Tramway
41. Таксі (ta-ksI) — Taxi
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Asking For Directions In Ukrainian
Ok, so know you know the names of the places you want to go, but what if you get lost?
These are Ukrainian phrases to help you ask for directions:
42. Де це? (dE tse) — Where is it?
43. Це далеко? (tse da-LE-ko) — Is it far from here?
44. Туди чи сюди? (tu-dY chy sju-dY) — Is it this or that way?
45. В яку сторону… (v jakU stO-ro-nu) — Which side…
46. Як пройти до… (jak proj-tY do) — How to go to…
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Having A Bite To Eat In Ukrainian
Do you know anything about Ukrainian cuisine?
If not, you’re in for a treat!
When in Ukraine, make sure to visit the local cafes and ask for some of the following delicious foods and drinks:
(Note: If you don’t know what they are you can good the names of the foods to see what they look like!)
47. Борщ — Borsch
48. Пампушки — Pampushky
49. Сало — Salo
50. Сметана — Smetana
51. Вареники — Varenyky
52. Галушки — Halushky
53. Ковбаса — Kovbasa
54. Голубці — Holubtsi
55. Сирники — Syrnyky
56. Медовуха — Medovukha
Some other food and eating-related words and phrases might come in handy are:
57. Я голодний (ja ho-LOd-nyj) — I am hungry
58. Я хочу пити (ja khO-chu pY-ty) — I am thirsty
59. Принесіть, будь ласка… (pry-ne-sItʹ, budʹ LAs-ka)— Bring me, please…
60. Я візьму… (ja vizʹ-mU) — I’ll take…
61. Меню (me-njU) — Menu
62. Сніданок (sni-dA-nok) — Breakfast
63. Обід (o-bId) — Lunch
64. Вечеря (ve-chE-rja) — Dinner
65. Десерт (de-sErt)— Dessert
66. Вино (vy-nO) — Wine
67. Вода (vo-dA) — Water
68. Сік (sik)— Juice
69. Сир (syr) — Cheese
70. Фрукти (frUk-ty) — Fruits
71. Риба (rY-ba) — Fish
72. М’ясо (mjA-so) — Meat
73. Хліб (khlib) — Bread
74. Сіль (silʹ) — Salt
75. Смачного! (sma-chnO-ho) — Enjoy your meal!
Notice that Ukrainian letters Г and Х can have the same transliteration which is /h/ (although we use /kh/ for Х here).
However, these are two different sounds: Г sounds somewhere between /g/ and /h/, while Х is more literally a /h/.
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Asking For Help In Ukrainian
76. Вам допомогти? (vam do-po-moh-tY) — Do you need help?
77. Допоможіть мені, будь ласка do-po-mo-zhItʹ me-nI budʹ LAs-ka) — Help me, please.
78. Котра година? (kot-rA ho-dY-na) — What time is it?
79. Дозвольте… (doz-vOLʹ-te) — Let me… (Allow me…)
80. Чи можу я…? (chy mO-zhu ja) — May I…
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Dealing With Problems In Ukrainian
Of course, not every conversation will go smoothly.
What should you do when you don’t understand something?
Or if you need to ask someone for help?
It’s important to know some basic phrases you can use for dealing with problems when they arise.
If you need someone to speak more slowly or to repeat something, the best thing to do is just ask them!
Don’t worry about your accent: no one will laugh at you if you speak slowly or make mistakes!
81. Я вас не розумію (ja vas ne ro-zu-mI-ju) — I don’t understand you.
82. Ви розумієте мене? (vy ro-zu-mI-je-te me-nE) — Do you understand me?
83. Я не знаю (ja ne znA-ju) — I don’t know
84. Повторіть, будь ласка! (pov-to-rItʹ budʹ LAs-ka) — Could you repeat, please?
85. Я заблукав (ja za-blu-kAv) — I’m lost
86. Я не розмовляю українською (ja ne ro-zmov-ljA-ju uk-ra-jInsʹ-ko-ju) — I don’t speak Ukrainian
87. Що це? (scho tse) — What’s that?
88. Що це означає? (scho tse o-zna-chA-je) — What does it mean?
89. Говоріть повільніше, будь ласка (ho-vo-rItʹ po-vilʹ-nI-she budʹ LAs-ka) — Could you speak slower?
90. Ви говорите англійською? (vy ho-vO-ry-te anh-LIjsʹ-ko-ju) — Do you speak English?
91. Як туди пройти? (jak tu-dY pro-jtY) — How can I go there?
92. Що з вами? (scho z vA-my?) — Are you okay?
93. Що ви хочете? (scho vy khO-che-te) — What do you want?
94. Скільки це коштує? (skILʹ-ky tse kOsh-tu-je) — How much does it cost?
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Being Polite In Ukrainian
No matter what language you speak, politeness goes a long way towards making a positive impression.
Whether you need to make an apology or just want to thank someone, you’re going to use these phrases a lot!:
95. Дякую! (djA-ku-ju) — Thank you!
96. Дуже дякую! (du-zhe djA-ku-ju) — Thank you very much!
97. Будь ласка! (budʹ LAs-ka) — You are welcome!
98. Нема за що! (ne-mA za scho) — My pleasure!
99. Перепрошую… pe-re-prO-shu-ju) — Excuse me…
100. Вибачте! (vy-bach-te) — I’m sorry! (for a mistake)
101. Мені шкода me-nI shko-dA) — I’m sorry (for something bad happened
102. Нічого (ni-chO-ho) — Nevermind
103. Не переживай (ne pe-re-zhy-vAj) — Don’t worry
104. Я розумію (ja ro-zu-mI-ju) — I understand
105. Все гаразд (vse ha-rAzd) — It’s okay
106. Молодець! (mo-lo-dEtsʹ) — Well done!
107. Вітаю! (vi-tA-ju) — Congratulations!
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Getting Emotional In Ukrainian
Once you’ve mastered the most basic phrases, you may want to get more expressive and talk about your emotions in Ukrainian. Here’s how to do it:
108. Я кохаю тебе! (ja ko-khA-ju te-bE) — I love you
109. Овва! (Ov-va) — Wow!
110. На жаль… (na zhAlʹ) — Unfortunately…
111. Шкода (shko-dA) — It’s a pity
112. Агов! (a-hOv) — Hey!
113. Хай йому грець… (khAj jo-mU hretsʹ) — Damn it…
114. Якого дідька? (ja-kO-ho dIdʹ-ka) — What the hell?
115. Тьху на тебе! (tʹkhU na tE-be) — Darn you!
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Essential Everyday Ukrainian Words
There are some words that don’t fit nicely into any one category.
But, they are common, and you probably won’t be able to communicate much without them.
Short and easy to remember, these should be some of the first words you learn in Ukrainian:
116. Так (tak) — Yes
117. Ні (ni) — No
118. Можливо (mozh-LY-vo) — Maybe
119. Завжди (zav-zhdY) — Always
120. Ніколи (ni-kO-ly) — Sometimes
121. Звичайно! (zvy-chAj-no) — Sure!
122. Інколи (In-ko-ly)— Sometimes
123. Сьогодні (s’o-hOd-ni) — Today
124. Завтра (zAv-tra) — Tomorrow
125. Вчора (vchO-ra) — Yesterday
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Saying Goodbye In Ukrainian
Whether you like it or not, the time will come to say goodbye to your new Ukrainian friends!
Their language has lots of different options for how to express yourself in this situation. Here are some of the most useful ones:
126. Бувай! (bu-vAj) — Bye!
127. Па-па! (pa-pA) — See ya!
128. До завтра! (do zAv-tra) — See you tomorrow!
129. До зустрічі! (do zU-stri-chi) — See you soon!
130. До побачення! (do po-bA-chen-nja) — Goodbye!
131. Всього найкращого! (vsʹo-hO na-jkrA-scho-ho) — All the best!
132. Будьте здорові! (bUdʹ-te zdo-rO-vi) — Take care!
133. Гарного вечора! (hAr-no-ho vE-cho-ra) — Have a nice evening!
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Bonus Phrases: Ukrainian Idioms
Among the most fascinating aspects of any language are its idioms.
There are expressions with particular meanings that are different from the meanings of each word on their own, and they can often sound funny and illogical.
But isn’t that what makes them interesting to learn them?
English is rich in idioms, but so is Ukrainian!
Here are a few common ones with their literal as well as real translations:
134. Як кіт наплакав (jak kit na-pLA-kav)
- Literally: Like a cat cried
- Meaning: A drop in the ocean
135. Кіт в мішку (kit v mish-kU)
- Literally: A cat in a bag
- Meaning: A pig in a poke
136. Собаку з’їсти (so-bA-ku zjIs-ty)
- Literally: To eat a dog at something
- Meaning: To be a dab hand at something
137. Вбити двох зайців одним пострілом (vbY-ty dvokh zAj-tsiv od-nYm pO-stri-lom)
- Literally: Kill two hares with one shot
- Meaning: Kill two birds with one stone
138. Перший хлопець на селі (per-shyj khlo-petsʹ na se-LI)
- Literally: The first guy in a village
- Meaning: A big frog (fish) in a little pond
139. Глухий кут (hlu-khYj kut) – A dead end
140. Сісти в калюжу (sIs-ty v ka-ljU-zhu)
- Literally: To sit in a puddle
- Meaning: To be left with egg on one’s face
141. Як корова на льоду (jak ko-rO-va na lʹo-dU)
- Literally: Like a cow on an ice
- Meaning: Like a bull in a china shop
142. Спокійний як удав (spo-kIj-nyj jak u-dAv)
- Literally translation: As calm as a boa
- Meaning: As cool as a cucumber
As you may have noticed, some of these idioms have words with the letter Ї in them (such as з’їсти or сивої).
This is a unique letter of the Ukrainian alphabet, which doesn’t appear in other languages that use Cyrillic.
It’s one of the things that makes Ukrainian so melodic.
Pay attention to its pronunciation: it’s /ji/, not /i/ or /y/, so you might need to practice a bit to sound like a Ukrainian.
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Now You’re Ready For Your Ukrainian Adventure
So there you have it! – 100+ words and basic Ukrainian phrases for you to start an unforgettable trip to Ukraine.
With these phrases, you will be able to have basic conversations in this beautiful language as well as understand the locals and get inspired to learn or improve your Ukrainian.
Lesley Vos, a web writer and blogger behind PlagiarismCheck.org. A self-proclaimed bookworm and coffee addict, she travels a lot through her heart lies in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. See more of her work and say hello on Twitter.
Are you learning Ukrainian? What's your motivation to do so? Let us know in the comments below!
What are some common Ukrainian phrases? ›
- Good morning. — Доброго ранку! [Dobroho ranku!]
- Hello. — Привіт. [Pryvit.]
- Good night. — Надобраніч. [Nadobranich.]
- thank you — дякую [diakuiu]
- please/here you are — будь ласка [bud laska]
Так /tak/ = Yes
“Так” means yes. Sometimes you can hear “da” (it's Russian, but Ukrainians like to use it too) as well.
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Soviet era and late 20th century
In the Soviet Union, the slogan "Slava Ukraini!" was forbidden and discredited via a decades-long propaganda campaign alongside the diaspora Ukrainian nationalists who used it. They were dubbed "Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists", "Banderites", and "Nazi henchmen" by Soviet authorities.
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|Upright||Italics||Most common transliteration|
|З з||З з||z|
|И и||И и||y|
|І і||І і||i|
|Ї ї||Ї ї||yi, i|
What do Ukrainians say instead of Cheers? ›
Budmo! Budmo (pronounced Bood – more) is at the heart of all Ukrainian celebrations and encompasses far more than just saying cheers. Budmo means 'let us be' and is the shortest and the most popular Ukrainian toast.How do you say hello it's nice to meet you in Ukrainian? ›
19. Дуже приємно! (dU-zhe pry-jEm-no) — Nice to meet you!What is said after Slava ukraini? ›
A farewell, a sign-off indicating support to Ukraine during the Russian invasion of 2022, used as a response to slava Ukraini!.What does будьмо mean? ›
Interjection. бу́дьмо • (búdʹmo) cheers (toast)How do you say drink up in Ukrainian? ›
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If you are willing to say best wishes in this beautiful language, say найкращі побажання.How do you say Glory to God in Ukraine? ›
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What does Puka mean in Russian? ›
(transitive, intransitive) to shoot, fire.What does babushka mean in Ukraine? ›
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For instance, letter "B" in Ukrainian represents a sound similar to the English "v".
What does Yom Tov mean in English? ›
Origin of yom tov
Literally, “good day”
До побачення! (do po-bA-chen-nja) — Goodbye!