Do you know that Ukrainian is officially the third most beautiful language in the world?


Back in 1934, it won the bronze in the languages competition for its phonetics, vocabulary, phraseology, and sentence structure. (The first two winners were French and Persian).


Ukrainian is the world's second most melodic language after Italian. Learners admit that it sounds like a nightingale’s song. (Some teachers even share tips on how to learn Ukrainian with songs! Why not, after all?


In 2009, before I've graduated from university and become a web writer for the blog of plagiarism-free content, I had a chance to visit Ukraine and finish summer courses of practical psychology there. Certainly, I couldn't help but learn their language and later described my five reasons to fall in love with Ukrainian in the article at Olly Richards' blog.


Still in doubt if it's worth spending your time to learn Ukrainian? Or, maybe you've got acquainted with this language already and are search for motivation to keep on learning it. Here I want to share my favorite Ukrainian words that will definitely make you fall in love with the language. (And surprise your friends, by all means!)



1) Кохання


Pronunciation: ko-hA-nnja (the stress on a capital letter)


Meaning: love, a tender feeling between a couple, affection for a person. For love to parents, friends, or places, Ukrainians have another word, which is “любов” (lju-bOv).


If you want to say “I love you” in Ukrainian, use the phrase “Я тебе кохаю” (jA tebE ko-hA-ju) for sweethearts or “Я тебе люблю” (jA te-bE ljub-ljU) when saying it to parents or friends.


Brown snail with a spiral shell slowly moves on the pavement


2) Равлик


Pronunciation: rAv-lyk


Meaning: a snail, a tiny (or not) mollusk who has a spirally coiled shell and moves slowly. Sometimes, we call a lazy person by this word, don't we?



3) Люстерко


Pronunciation: ljus-tEr-ko


Meaning: a mirror.


In Ukrainian, they have one more word for a mirror, which is “дзеркало” (dzEr-ka-lo). But it doesn't sound as beautiful and dear, as “люстерко,” does it? Also, these two words describe two different types of mirrors: while “дзеркало” is more general and goes for any reflective surface, “люстерко” is for a small mirror ladies bring in purses or keep on dressing-tables.



4) Серденько


Pronunciation: sEr-den'-ko


Meaning: a pet form for a word “heart,” can be used when you want to call someone “dear” or “darling.” Thus, “My darling” or “My dear” will sound “Моє серденько” (mo-jE sEr-den'-ko) in Ukrainian.



5) Краплинка


Pronunciation: krap-LYn-ka


Meaning: a pet form for a word “drop,” a small quantity of liquid falling from sky while raining. In other words, “a droplet.”



A blue cup with coffee on a white saucer


6)  Горнятко


Pronunciation: gor-njAt-ko


Meaning: a pet form for a word “cup,” often used when speaking about a cup of tea or coffee.


Pay attention to the /g/ sound in the word “горнятко.” Ukrainian Г should be pronounced somewhere between /g/ and /h/. Otherwise, you'll turn it into a different letter of the Ukrainian alphabet, which is Ґ.




7) Посмiшка


Pronunciation: pO-smish-ka


Meaning: smile. No comments here, I suppose. :)

By the way, if you want to say “smilie” or “emoji” in Ukrainian, try another interesting word: “усмiхайлик” (u-smi-hAj-lyk).



Hand holding a small fresh strawberry


8) Полуниця


Pronunciation: po-lu-nY-tsja


Meaning: strawberries, yummy fruit we all love to eat in summer.



9) Насолода


Pronunciation: na-so-LO-da


Meaning: delight, pleasure; enjoyment or satisfaction derived from what you like doing.



Mushroom and ham pizza on a surface smeared with tomato sauce


10) Клаптик


Pronunciation: kLAp-tyk


Meaning: a pet form for a word “piece” (of paper, cloth, etc.)




Did you hear any of aforementioned words?

Ukrainian is the second most widespread Slavic language after Russian, and more than 50 million people speak it around the world. Learning it, you'll get to know a rich culture and customs of the proud nation, kind and responsive to share their heritage with others. My humble piece of advice: never say "the Ukraine" when speaking about this country. Those learning English know that it's a huge grammatical mistake to use the definite article with countries' names but still continue using it to Ukraine.


I can almost hear you crying, "Isn't Ukrainian an extremely difficult language to learn?"


It's all relative. If you know Polish, it might be easy because these two languages share common sounds and roots of words. If you know Russian or Belarusian, it will be even easier because of almost alike alphabets and grammar rules of these Slavic languages. But once you'll learn the Cyrillic alphabet and understand the basic pronunciation rules, the pace will pick up faster!


Ukrainian has only three verbal tenses (past, present, and future) as distinct from English with its 12+ tenses; but get ready to learn a lot of grammatical endings, prefix and suffix rules, as well as numerous contexts of most words.


Are you learning Ukrainian? What are your favorite Ukrainian words or word expressions that make you smile and feel the melody of this European language? Besides aforementioned, mine are:


  • Дякую! (djA-ku-ju) — Thank you!

  • Па-па! (pa-pA) — See ya!

  • Овва! (Ov-va) — Wow!

  • Якого дідька? (ja-kO-ho dIdʹ-ka) — What's the hell?

  • Отакої! (o-ta-kO-ji) — Stone the crows!


Let's share others in comments!



Start learning one of the world's most beautiful languages!


By Lesley Vos, web writer behind

All images taken from Hero Image by Max Vertsanov on Unsplash