An Introduction to Ukrainian Dialectology

by Salvatore Del Gaudio (Author)
Monographs II, 128 Pages

Table Of Content


The idea of writing an introduction to Ukrainian dialectology in a widely understood European language originated in 2006 when I first began to conduct field work in Ukraine. Although at the time I was not directly working with dialects but on the related social phenomenon of Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech (“suržyk”), I realized that most reference manuals on dialectology were quite obsolete, although still informative.

Secondly, without a sound knowledge of Ukrainian, it was difficult to read existing manuals and to become familiar with Ukrainian dialectal concepts and terminology.

For several years, various reasons forced me to postpone my original plan to supply the students of Ukrainian with the first basic English account on Ukrainian dialectology. In the meantime, a series of new introductions to Ukrainian dialectology have finally been published in Ukraine. Nonetheless I hope that my introduction will still be a useful aid to foreign Ukrainianists.

I wish to thank Dawn Marley (University of Surrey, England) for having patiently proof-read my text, Rudolf Muhr (University of Graz, Austria) who was the very first person who read the manuscript, Andriy Danylenko (Pace University, New York) for the precious advice on some specific content issues, Natalija Verbyč (Institute of Ukrainian Language, Department of dialectology, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences) for having checked the dialectal facts. A final word of appreciation goes to Tilmann Reuther (University of Klagenfurt, Austria) for having always supported my publications.

Kyiv, December 2016

Introductory remarks

The reasons which led me to write an introduction to Ukrainian dialectology are multifold. The main motivation was to render available to a wide range of students of Slavic languages, and particularly of Ukrainian, an outline of Ukrainian dialectology and its dialects. The lack of introductory accounts of Ukrainian dialects in more accessible western European languages represents a great limit to all those students of Slavic languages who wish to approach the fascinating world of geographical variation of contemporary Ukrainian. All manuals on Ukrainian dialects in fact, with the exception of a limited number of short American and German contributions, are written in Ukrainian. This represents an obvious hindrance to students of Ukrainian, whose initial level does not always allow a deep understanding of the contents of these books. A basic knowledge of Ukrainian dialects is important to complete the theoretical and practical background of a Slavist, especially if studying the Eastern group of Slavic languages (Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian).

A knowledge of territorial variation is a valuable aid to a better understanding of diachronic (historical variation and its reflection in documents of various geographic provenance) and synchronic language processes. Additionally it helps to better assess some contemporary sociolinguistic issues and various forms of language/dialectal mixture such as, for example, the Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech “suržyk”.

With the purpose of filling this theoretical and practical gap, this guidebook aims to elaborate on the existing dialectological data with some recent studies on the topic. In ← 7 | 8 the main, though, the illustrative material relies on traditional Ukrainian works and on a small number of English and German sources.

This introduction is similarly meant to facilitate the task of those scholars working in related fields who are looking for some basic facts about Ukrainian dialects. It can also be of interest to the layman who simply wishes to gain an insight into Ukrainian dialectology.

At the same time, the book could be used as a support to a reader in Slavic languages approaching this complex research field for the first time. However, this introduction is not addressed to those professional Ukrainianists who have already acquired a solid background in Ukrainian dialectology and in Ukrainian Studies.

The manual is organized into three parts. The first one, after an outline of the Ukrainian language for non-specialists, will introduce the main issues of Ukrainian dialectology.

The second part will exemplify the Ukrainian dialectal territory and the most typical features of the main dialectal areas.

The final part will introduce and briefly discuss some contemporary issues such as the relation between dialects and forms of language mix; the relation between dialectology and sociolinguistics in the Ukrainian linguistic tradition, and the question of the ‘Rusyn’ language.

A glossary of the most frequent Ukrainian dialectal terms with their English equivalents concludes the book. Illustrative materials are provided contextually. Reference works on dialectology can be found in the final bibliography. The Cyrillic titles of reference books have not been transliterated into Latin characters to enable their rapid indentification.

For the sake of clarity, we have mainly avoided the use of abbreviations as is often customary in linguistic publications. The only abbreviations concern the verbal aspect - ← 8 | 9 → imperf. stands for ‘imperfective’ and perf. for ‘perfective’; prep. means preposition; the cases: nom., gen., dat., acc., instr., loc., voc. respectively stand for nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, locative, vocative.

Ukrainian geographical names (toponyms) have been rendered according to the scientific transliteration system, for example, the place name Kyiv (official variant)1 has been transliterated as Kyjiv.

Some ancient ethnonyms which refer to east Slavic tribes have been anglicized, e.g. Polians instead of Poljane as used in Shevelov (1979). The classification of dialects partially relies on the traditional English spelling established by Shevelov (ibid.); in the case of those dialects spoken in the area of the river Dnipro however, the denomination Dnipro dialects has been preferred to the more traditional Dnieper dialects.

The description of dialectal facts is limited to the essential features of each macro-dialectal area. This is particularly true for south-western dialects which show a higher degree of local variation. This choice is easily explained if one considers the introductory character of the present work.

It is known that dialects undergo visible changes within a few decades, especially as a consequence of standardization processes. They may be either affected by standard Ukrainian or, in specific geographical areas, by Russian or other languages (e.g. Polish, Hungarian, Belarusian etc.). For this reason, the correctness and topicality of certain dialectal data need to be proved regularly. ← 9 | 10






















← 10 | 11 →

1       Kiev is the form based on Russian but it is still widely used.

0. The Ukrainian language2

Standard Ukrainian3, according to the traditional subdivision of the Slavic languages, belongs to the East Slavic language group along with Russian and Belarusian. The historical criteria for a classification of East Slavic languages essentially rely on common phonetic-phonological outcomes and, to a lesser extent, on morphological ones. Modern Ukrainian and Russian languages present substantial differences in phonetics, syntax and lexis. Belarusian is ← 11 | 12 historically and typologically closer to Ukrainian. To this classification, some scholars add Rusyn, which for others is just a western Ukrainian dialectal variety claiming the status of a language.4

Ukrainian is the only official language of the Ukrainian state which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The calculation of its native speakers varies according to the census and the criteria used in the sociological and sociolinguistic surveys. The number of Ukrainian native speakers fluctuates between approx. 38 million (about 73%) out of a population of 52 million Ukrainian citizens5, and 45 million native speakers as reported in the Encyclopedia of the Ukrainian Language (2004: 716). This number undoubtedly increases if one considers the large Ukrainian emigrant communities who live in a large number of countries round the world.

The 2001 census fixed the Ukrainian population at about 48.5 million inhabitants: 67.5 % of the population declared Ukrainian as mother tongue; 29.6 % Russian and 3% other languages.

According to the sociolinguistic parameters used in the survey, Ukrainian can either be classified as the second most widely spoken Slavic language after Russian or as the third most widespread language after Russian and Polish. The estimation of these figures may vary because of the high emigration rate of the last two decades. Nonetheless Ukrainian is among the 30 most spoken languages worldwide.6 Ukrainian enjoys the status of a regional language in Transnistria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Croa ← 12 | 13 tia, Bosnia. As mentioned, it is largely spoken in many migrant communities around the world, in particular: Canada, USA, Brazil; in Europe: Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy.7

Standard Ukrainian is regulated by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, particularly by its Institute of Ukrainian Language (Instytut ukrajins’koji movy), Ukrainian language-information fund, and the Potebnja Institute of Linguistics (Instytut Movoznavstva).

Standard Ukrainian retains a varying degree of mutual intelligibility with Belarusian, Russian and other Slavic languages. It is lexically closer to Belarusian with around 84% of common vocabulary than to Russian with which, according to certain surveys8, it only shares 62% of common vocabulary. With Polish standard Ukrainian shares about 70% of common lexemes.

In reality, the percentage of common lexical items Ukrainian shares with either Russian, Polish or Slovak also depends on the dialectal areas. Therefore, the percentage of vocabulary shared with Russian may be significantly higher especially in the north-east and south-east of the country.

Furthermore, the majority of ethnic Ukrainians who declare Ukrainian as their mother tongue, for well-known historical, socio-political and sociolinguistic reasons, show a high command of Russian. In certain areas of the country the fluency and knowledge of Russian is comparable to ← 13 | 14 that of a native speaker, while in others it is limited to a kind of second language.

The Russian used in Ukraine by the majority of its speakers is characterized by a series of idiosyncrasies which lead contemporary sociolinguists to speak of an emerging ‘national’ variety of Russian, also known as Ukrainian-Russian.9

At the same time a series of minority languages coexist, along with Ukrainian, in some parts of the country, e.g. Rumanian in its Moldavian variety, Hungarian etc.

Finally the existence of a Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech, known as suržyk10, and the interaction between dialects and different language varieties render the language situation of Ukraine at the same time interesting but confusing to an external observer.

The two maps11 below will respectively show:

1)the areas where Ukrainian and varieties based on Ukrainian are spoken; ← 14 | 15

2)other major languages spoken along with Ukrainian.

← 15 | 16






















← 16 | 17 →

2       This outline, as mentioned in the introductory lines, is meant for non-specialist readers. The most essential facts about the Ukrainian language are reported. It may appear obvious to an advanced student of Slavic languages but it is not always so evident for the majority of readers or even linguists.

3       Besides the term “Ukrainian” (cf. “ukrajins’ka literaturna mova”) which has established itself as the main ethnonym in the last two centuries, there are a series of historical denominations based on the root RUS’, for example: rus’kyj jazyk or rus’ka mova etc. The adjective rus’kij, (cf. Rusian), designated for many centuries (X-XVII) the historical regions of contemporary Ukraine, whereas the language spoken by those East Slavs now living on the territory of present day Russia were often referred to as Muscovian. The term “Russian” to mean the language spoken by the inhabitants of Russia became prevalent only starting with the epoch of Peter I in the 18th century. In the 19th century, for a number of sociopolitical and historical reasons, which will not discussed here, the term “Little Russians” which had been used to designate Ukrainians since earlier epochs, began to take on a specific connotation. In that period the Russians were called “Great Russians” and the Belarusians – “White Russians”. In the 19th century dialectal tradition, Russian was used as a hyperonym to mean all East Slavic vernaculars. Cfr. Pivtorak (2004: 69-83). http://litopys.org.ua/rizne/ukrtable.htm (07.02.2015).

4       See: Section 3.2.

5       Cf. Danylenko & Vakulenko (1995: 1); Schweier (1998: 94).

6       http://langs.com.ua/movy/demogr.htm;
http://photius.com/rankings/languages2.html (07.02.2015).

7       For an overview of the Ukrainian language in Italy, see: Del Gaudio (2012).

8       Cf. Мови Європи: відстані між мовами за словниковим складом (Languages of Europe: distances according to the vocabulary composition).

9       Its status is still unclear and is the object of debates. It is however undeniable that the Russian used by the average speaker in Ukraine visibly differs from that of Russia. See: Del Gaudio (2012); Del Gaudio & Ivanova (2015b).

10     We shall return later to this point. Cf. Section 3.1.

11     The purpose of Map 1 is to highlight the respective areas regardless of specific etnonyms, cf. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Ukrainians_en.svg.
The languages indicated with different colours in Map 2 have a mere indicative function, i.e. the official language is Ukrainian (or was Ukrainian before the recent events of 2014-2015) throughout the country. Other “minority” languages coexist along with standard Ukrainian, Ukrainian dialectal varieties and different forms of language mix on the highlighted territories. Forms of language mix are not only the Ukrainian-Russian mixed speech "suržyk" or Russian with Ukrainian admixture but also Ukrainian with admixture of other languages, e.g. Polish, Rumanian etc. cf. http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/you-think-lot-people-ukraine-speak-ukrainian-think-again/ri1007.


1. Dialectology: basic concepts

In a generalized way one can define dialectology (from Greek διάλεκτος, dialektos, "talk, dialect"; the particle διά implies separation, diversification, variation and -λογία, -logia “word, study”) as the discipline which studies the dialects of a specific language. The term dialect was first coined in 1577 on the basis of a Graeco-Latin term dialectus (διάλεκτος), i.e. way of speaking of specific people. Dialectal variation is present in most language areas and often has important social implications. The study of dialects deals with the variant features within a language, their history, differences of form and meaning, distribution, and, more generally, the spoken as distinct from their literary forms. The discipline recognizes all variations within the boundaries of any given language; it classifies and interprets them according to historical origins, principles of development, characteristic features, areal distribution, and social correlates.12

The Encyclopedia of Ukrainian defines dialectology as the branch of linguistics which studies:

     a) the dialectal language;

     b) its spatial (diatopic) variation and territorial differentiation;

     c) the history of language-territorial formation and specific language phenomena; ← 17 | 18

     d) the relation and interaction between other forms of existence of the language of the ethnic group, for example: literary language, prostoriččja and social dialects”.13

The spoken language, particularly in its territorial and rural dimension, not only preserves the current state of the language but also those language elements which are no longer in use or are dying out (archaic features or language relics); it may sometimes contain innovative features and neologisms. At the same time elements of different dialects or of the standard language may co-exist at dialectal level. Each language/dialectal element has its own territorial diffusion called area (Ukr. ареал). A dialect is a territorial linguistic formation combining areas which include different levels of dialectal elements. A dialect is delimited on a linguistic map by a bunch of isoglosses.

An isogloss is a conventional line on a map marking an area having a distinct linguistic feature. Moreover, dialects often share elements common to other languages, particularly if these are cognate.

The definition of “dialect” and the distinction between “dialect and language” are not always as easy as may appear at first sight, or as certain western European dialectal traditions seem to imply.

The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics (1997: 96-97) defines a dialect as “any distinct variety of a language, especially one spoken in a specific part of a country or other geographical area”. ← 18 | 19

Crystal speaks of regional or socially distinctive variety of language, blending the geographic dimension with the social one. For the reasons just expressed, dialectology, also ‘linguistic geography’ or dialect geography, is defined as “the systematic study of all forms of dialect, but especially regional dialect”, where the regional and geographic components are being emphasized (Cf. Crystal 2008: 142-143). In contrast with the tendency typical of the English speaking countries of fusing the later findings of sociolinguistics (social dialectology) with the geo-linguistic approach of traditional dialectology, in the east Slavic dialectological tradition, the two disciplines are clearly kept separated and the diatopic dimension is still dominant.14

Apart from the famous saying that “a dialect is a language without an army and a navy”, a few criteria have been suggested to distinguish dialects from languages.

A widely accepted framework adopted in west European (Anglo-American) dialectology relies on three criteria that may, in some instances, contradict one another. These can be summed up in the following points:

     1. Mutual intelligibility;

     2. Cultural criterion;

     3. Political status.

Mutual intelligibility is one of the most accredited criteria, although not the only one and not always appropriate. One assumes that a speaker from one part of a country will be able to understand someone from another geographical area of the same country and within the boundaries of the same national language. Within this perspective, language is seen as a collection of mutually intelligible dialects. The reality is more complex. There are cases of mutual intelligibility, or at least some degree of it, among ← 19 | 20 different official languages, e.g. Scandinavian; some Slavic languages, e.g. Belarusian and Ukrainian) etc.; between some Romance languages, for example Italian and Spanish. On the other hand, there are cases where dialects of a single national language are not mutually intelligible. Italian dialects, for example, may not be mutually intelligible from one end to another of the Italian Peninsula. Furthermore, mutual intelligibility may not be equal in both directions (Chambers & Trudgill 1998: 3-4). This may often depend on the inclination, level of education, linguistic sensibility and language exposure of a speaker of a certain language and/or variety to a similar one.

Another fundamental concept related to the criterion expressed above is that of dialect continuum: within a language, speakers of Dialect A can understand and be understood by speakers of Dialect B, and C by B, and so on, but at the extremes of the continuum speakers of A and Z may be mutually unintelligible. The A and Z communities may therefore feel justified in supposing or arguing that A and Z are different languages. If politics intervenes and the speakers of A and Z come to be citizens of different countries, the dialects may well be socially revalued as ‘languages’ (in due course with their own dialects and standard variety).15 If language differences cause only minimal problems in communication, there is a tendency to call this discrepancy varieties of a single language: such is the case with British English, Australian English, American English; Russian in the Russian Federation and in some post-Soviet states, e.g. Ukrainian Russian, Belarusian Russian etc. or German in Austria, Switzerland, Germany. The cultural criterion takes into account the opinion of speakers and how these consider their language variety in relation to a more standard form of speech. This could also ← 20 | 21 be the already mentioned case of Scandinavian languages which show a high degree of mutual intelligibility. Nevertheless, a very small number of Danes or Norwegians would claim, for example, that their language is a substandard dialect of Swedish. Each language – Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic – has its own, separate literary standard, even though the language forms themselves show a fairly high degree of mutual intelligibility. A similar situation could be observed for Ukrainian in relation to Belarusian or to some of the Slavic languages of former Yugoslavia.

The political status attributed to a particular variety is also a criterion in differentiating language from dialect. This factor is external to the form of the language and sometimes even in conflict with the culture of the speakers. There are cases in which languages which are not mutually intelligible, or only partially, may be called dialects simply because they are spoken within a single political entity and this leads the rulers of that particular state to consider them as such. This was, for example, the case with Ukrainian and Russian in the days of the Russian Empire, where Ukrainian (known as Little Russian) was considered a substandard variety of Russian (known as Great Russian). This could also be said to be the case with the so-called dialects of Chinese in the People's Republic of China.16

For all these reasons, it is useful, often for practical purposes, to regard certain varieties as dialects of a language (Cf. Chambers & Trudgill 1984: 3).

A dialect that it is related and regarded as a subdivision of a particular language is endowed with its own system and fulfills the communicative function among the people of ← 21 | 22 this territory. It has its own ‘norm’, although the latter is less stable than that of the standard language.

The distinction between a dialect and a language seems to have been of minor concern in Ukrainian, and more widely, East Slavic dialectal literature.17 In most reference books in fact there is no explicit reference to the criteria which would differentiate a ‘dialect’ from a ‘language’. Notwithstanding this shortcoming, a specific Ukrainian and East Slavic framework seems to rely on two basic criteria:

     1) Structural criteria (структурні критерії);

     2) Historical-cultural criteria (історико-культурні критерії).

As to the structural-functional criteria, one can say that a dialect is the language spoken on a specific territory endowed, just like any language, with structural and systemic features. It fulfils the people’s communicative needs and functions on a determinate territory. Dialect has its own micro-norm, which is less stable and subject to change compared with the standard language.18 The structural criteria imply a hierarchy: from the smallest unit (hovir) to a larger dialectal entity.19 The former is considered to be a less rigid language microsystem which is territorially confined to one, or more rarely, two local settlements.

The historical-cultural criteria involve extra-linguistic factors such as the sense of belonging to a particular language and its cultural group (ethnic language consciousness) and the conditions which historically affected a par ← 22 | 23 ticularly territory, its geo-political boundaries and its culture. This point partially overlaps with the “cultural criterion” already discussed in connection with the west European framework.

Besides the two basic criteria mentioned above, a third criterion sometimes suggested in East Slavic dialectology to distinguish a dialect from a language is the degree of literacy.20 According to this criterion, dialects, by definition, are characterized by the absence of an independent written language; a writing system is either non-existent or very limited, and it is often based on the standard language. There is no literary production with the exception of some folk songs, proverbs, sayings and some individual poetic forms. Nevertheless if this criterion can be applied to specific dialect situations and it seems to work for the East Slavic dialects in which a dialect is in essence a territorially limited oral speech variety with a restricted or non-existent literary tradition, the same cannot be said of other language realities.21

Accepting the widely acknowledged definition that dialectology is the study of a language in its territorial (vernacular) forms, some dialectological approaches distinguish:

     1) territorial dialects;

     2) social dialects.

Territorial dialects presuppose variation in space (territory), whereas the speech specificity of social and/or professional groups is called a social dialect. However, dialectology, as a descriptive branch of linguistics, traditionally investigates and describes territorial dialects. ← 23 | 24

1.1. Dialectology as a discipline

The scientific study of dialects in Europe dates from around the mid-19th century, when philologists using data preserved in texts began to work out the historical or diachronic development of the Indo-European languages. Early dialectologists were particularly interested in lexical variation. Aims and research objects of early dialectology often overlap with the tasks of language history and historic grammar. In the second half of the 19th century, dialectology benefitted from the research methods of linguistic geography and cartography.

It is generally possible to identify at least two bases for dialectology. Dialectology is considered as “a natural outgrowth of the comparative study of language differences and similarities across both time and space” (Francis 1983: 48). Another view is that dialectology begins from dialect geography, a discipline established by scholars such as Georg Wenker (1876) and Jules Gilliéron (1897-1901) in the late 19th century. These early researchers gave the impulse for the development of most of the national dialectal surveys in Italy22, southern Switzerland, Spain, England and other countries in the following decades. Dialect geography as a discipline experienced rapid success until the mid-20th century.

From the 1960s onwards, the fervent dialectological activity, with some exceptions, began to modify its original research objectives. Dialect research took a new direction, ← 24 | 25 focusing on urban dialectology rather than rural. This change can be explained by a series of interrelated factors such as criticisms of the way dialectological data were being collected, the development of new technology in recording data (tape-recorder), the rise of sociolinguistics as a strictly related discipline.23 As to critics, it was argued, firstly, that dialectology should not just be interested in a very small proportion of the population, i.e. old, rural and male, but also include the young, women and those living in towns and cities.

Secondly, critics argued that one-word answers to questionnaires24 were too distant from everyday language to provide a really accurate account of how people used language. They suggested that dialectology should study continuous and relaxed conversation which not only would provide examples of more everyday language but also highlight variability within the speech of the individual. Moreover, a practical hindrance to the further development of large dialect-geography surveys has to do with the lack of appropriate financing along with the difficulty in finding capable and enthusiastic practitioners (Cf. Chambers and Trudgill 1984: 23-35).

In the part of Ukraine which was subject to the Russian empire, an impulse to the development of dialectology was given by the advance of Russian dialectology in the 19th century. In this period the first fragmented descriptions of dialectal facts began to be published. This was connected with a renewed ethnographic interest in the everyday life of ← 25 | 26 country people. If the attitude towards dialects had been negative in the first half of the 19th century, by the mid-nineteenth century dialects were nolonger considered a “distortion” of the literary language; on the contrary a sense of respect towards the way of speaking of country people began to prevail. The publication of the Explanatory Dictionary of the Spoken Great Russian Language (Tolkovyj slovar’ živogo velikorusskogo jazyka, 1863-1866) by Dal’ undoubtedly played an important role in the evaluation of dialects. This dictionary, which contains about two hundred thousand entries, recorded about eighty thousand dialectal words including Ukrainian and Belarusian.

A further step towards the establishement of dialectology as an independent research branch within the Russian empire was provided by the substantial contributions of Karskij (1860-1931), Šachmatov (1864-1920), and the work of the Moscow Dialectological Commission (MDK).25 One of the main achivements of this linguistic circle was the drawing of the first “dialectal map of the Russian language” (Ušakov, Durnovo, Sokolov, 1915) which included the Ukrainian and Belarusian dialectal territories.26

1.2. Studies on Ukrainian dialects

Ukrainian dialectology is no exception to the general framework presented above. It began to take shape as a discipline around the middle of the 19th century within the framework of the Russian linguistic tradition.27 There were also attempts at describing specific dialectal characteristics prior to this period; for example Šafons’kyj in the second half of the 18th century (Hrycenko 2004: 150). ← 26 | 27

Early studies of specific dialectal phenomena were not systematically carried out. One of the main concerns of dialectology was the classification and genetic explanation of dialectal facts. In the second half of the 19th century, thanks to the contributions of linguists and dialectologists such as Potebnja, Mychal’čuk28 (1877) and others, Ukrainian dialectology gradually acquired the status of an independent discipline.

In the first part of the 20th century a decisive contribution to the development of Ukrainian dialectology was given by the works of Vsevolod Hancov (1924; 1925) and Olena Kurylo (1924; 1925; 1928).29 The collection of dialectal data was carried out on the basis of largely discussed questionnaires elaborated by Kryms’kyj, Tymčenko, Larin. The methodology of dialectal studies changed substantially during the last century. From the early, impressionistic approach, dialectologists switched to a concentration on exhaustiveness and precision, especially in phonetic description which was apparent as early as the 1930s and 1940s. The phonemic and structural approach is most clearly manifested in studies by Fedot Žylko (1955; 1966) and Ljudmila Kalnyn (1973).

The linguistic-geographic school was most outspokenly represented in the studies of Petro Buzuk, Vasyl S. Vaščenko (both on the Poltava region), and Ivan Pan’kevyč (1938, for Transcarpathia). Pan’kevyč (1938) used the method of linguistic-geography in investigating Ukrainian dialects of Carpathian Rus’ and neighbouring lands. ← 27 | 28

Particularly original and influential in Ukrainian dialectology was what may be called the genetic school, which combined attention to features of a given dialect, elements of linguistic geography, and the use of dialectal material in an attempt at the historical reconstruction of the origin of a given dialect and the Ukrainian language as a whole. The founders of this trend were the already mentioned Vsevolod Hancov and Olena Kurylo; they were later joined by Ivan Žilynskyj, Władysław Kuraszkiewicz, Tetjana Nazarova and others (cf. Shevelov 1984: 666-667).

1.2.1. Dialectal atlases

The problems of dialectal classification and territorial distribution created the premises for a series of geo-linguistic works.

In the early 20th century, cartography and language geography within the former Russian empire was given a strong impulse by the work of the Moscow Dialectological Commission after the publication of its Opyt dialektologičeskoj karty russkogo jazyka v Evrope (1915).30

Fundamental contributions to Ukrainian cartography in the 20th century were made by Zilyns’kyj (1916, 1933), Hancov (1924), Žylko (1955; 1966), Dzendzelivs’kyj (1958; 1960; 1993), Bevzenko (1980), Matvjas (1990), Hrycenko (1984; 1990) and others.

A series of regional Atlases began with Tarnacki. He mapped the western Polissian lexis of 90 settlements in Ukraine, and to a lesser extent, in Belarus’. The aim of this ← 28 | 29 work was to show the lexical differentiation of Polissia (Tarnacki 1939: 72-78).31

Among other important regional Atlases issued after the Second World War, one can mention the Atlas of the Ternopil’ Region by Dejny (1957); Dzendzelivs’kyj’s Linguistic Atlas of Ukrainian Folk Dialects of the Transcarpathian Region of USSR (Λінгвістичний атлас українських народних говорів Закарпатської області УРСР (України): Лексика) which was issued between 1958-1993 in three parts; Vaščenko’s Language geography of the Central Dnipro (Dnieper) Dialects (Лінгвістична географія Наддніпрянщини, 1968).

Among dialectal atlases, which mainly had a regional character, one can mention Stieber's Atlas językowy dawnej Lemkowszczyzny (Linguistic Atlas of the Ancient Lemko Region, 8 issues, 1956-64), the already reported Dzendzelivs’kyj (1958-1993). The Atlas of Ukrainian Dialects in eastern Slovakia by Vasyl’ Latta remained in manuscript as did for a long time the three-volume all-Ukrainian atlas edited by Fedot Žylko and completed by the early 1970s.32 Particularly numerous are the atlases devoted to the Polissian and the Carpathian areas: Kurylenko (2004), Levančėvič (1993), Nazarova (1985), Omel’kovec’ (2003), Ponomar (1997), Tarnacki (1939). For the Carpathian region: Budovskaja (1992), Dzendzelivs’kyj (1958-1993), Hanudel’ (1981-2010), Lyzanec’ (1976), Rieger (1980–1981), Obščekarpatskij dialektologičeskij atlas (Bernštejn et al. 1976). The number of atlases of central and eastern dialects is more limited: Martynova 2000; 2003; Vaščenko 1962; 1968. For word-formation, see Zakrevs’ka (1976).

We schematically report in the table below some of the most well-known dialectal atlases33 ← 29 | 30

Table 1

Authors Atlas type Published at
Аrkušyn (2008) Atlas myslyvs’koji leksyky Zachidnogo Polissja (Atlas of the huntig lexis of West Polissia) Luc’k
Аrkušyn (2008) Atlas zachidnopolis’kych faunonomeniv (Atlas of West Polissian Fauna Nomenclature) Luc’k
AUM (1984-2001) Atlas ukrajins’koji movy. Vol. 1-3. (Atlas of the Ukrainian Language) Kyjiv
Bernštejn et al. (1967) Karpatskij dialektologičeskij atlas (Carpathian Dialect Atlas) Moskva
Čyruk (2010) Atlas entomolohičnoji leksyky Zachidnoho Polissja (Atlas of the Entomological Lexis of west Polissia) Luc’k
Czyżewski (1986) Atlas gwar polskich i ukraińskich okolic Włodawy (Atlas of Polish and Ukrainian Dialects of the district of Włodawa) Lublin
Dejna (1957) Gwary ukraińskie Tarnopolszczyzny (Ukrainian Dialects in the Area of Ternopil’) Wrocław
Dzendzelivs’kyj (1958-1993) Linhvistyčnyj atlas Zakarpats’koji oblasti URSR (Ukrajiny): Leksyka. Ch. 1-3 (Linguistic Atlas of the Ukrainian Folk Dialects of the Transcarpathian region of the USSR (Ukraine): Lexis. Vol 1-3) Užhorod
Hanudel (1981-2010) Linhvistyčnyj atlas ukrajins’kych hovoriv schidnoji Slovaččyny. I-IV (Linguistic Atlas of Ukranian Dialects of eastern Slovakia) Bratislava/ Prjašiv (Prešov)
Herman (1994-1998) Atlas ukrajins’kych hovirok Pivničnoji Bukovyny. I. Fonetyka. Fonolohija. II. Slovozmina. Služebni slova (Atlas of the Ukrainian Dialects of northern Bukovyna. Phonetics. Phonology. Declension) Černivci
Hlukhovceva (2003) Linhvistycznyj atlas leksyky narodnoho pobutu ukrajins’kych schidnoslobožans’kych hovirok (Linguistic Atlas of the Lexis of Everyday Life of the Ukrainian eastern Sloboda Dialects) Luhans’k
Jevtušok (1993) Atlas budivel’noji leksyky zachidnoho Polissja (Atlas of the Construction Lexis of western Polissia) Rivne
Kurylenko (2004) Atlas leksyky tvarynnyctva u polis’kych dialektach (Atlas of the Zootechnic Lexis in the Polissian Dialects) Hlukhiv
Latta (1991) Atlas ukrajins’kych hovoriv schidnoji Slovaččyny (Atlas of the Ukrainian Dialects of eastern Slovakia) Prjašiv (Prešov)
Lyzanec’ (1976) Atlas leksyčnych madjaryzmiv ta jich vidpovidnykiv v ukrajins’kych hovorach Zakarpats’koji oblasti URSR (Atlas of lexical madiarisms and their equivalents in the Ukrainian dialects of the region of Transcarpathia URSR) Užhorod
← 30 | 31
Martynova (2000) Atlas pobutovoji leksyky pravoberež- nočerkas ’kych hovirok (Atlas of the everyday Lexis of the right-bank Čerkasy dialects) Čerkasy
Nazarova (1985) Linhvistyčnyj atlas nyžn’oji Pryp’jati (Linguistic Atlas of the lower Prypjat’ river) Kyjiv
Nykončuk (1994) Leksyčnyj atlas pravoberežnoho Polissja (Lexical Atlas of right-bank Polissia) Kyjiv -Žytomyr
Omelkovec’ (2003) Atlas zachidnopolis’kych nazv likarskych roslyn (Atlas of western Polissian Denominations of Heeling Herbs) Luc’k
Onyškevyč (unpubl.) Atlas of San and Lemko dialects Instytut Ukrajino-znavstva L’viv
Rieger (1980-1981) Atlas gwar bojkowskich. Opracowany głównie na podstawie zapisów S. Hrabca. I-VII (Atlas of Bojko dialects. Elaborated on the basis of S. Hrabec’s Recordings) Wrocław
Rieger,Janów (1996) A Lexical Atlas of the Hutsul Dialects of the Ukrainian Language. Compiled and Edited from the Fieldnotes of Jan Janów and His Students. Cambridge (MA)
Sabadoš (1999) Atlas botaničnoji leksyky ukrajins’koji movy (Atlas of the Botanic Lexis of the Ukrainian Language) Užhorod
Stieber (1956-1964) Atlas językowy dawnej Lemkowszczyzny (Linguistic Atlas of the former Lemko Region) Łódź
Tarnacki (1939) Studia porównawcze nad geografią wyrazów (Polesie-Mazowsze) (Comparative Studies on the Geography of Expressions of Polissia-Mazovia) Warszawa

The most significant achievement of Ukrainian language geography and cartography is the Atlas of the Ukrainian Language (Атлас української мови), generally abbreviated as AUM (АУМ 1984-2001). The structure of this authoritative work and the way linguistic facts have been mapped give a complete picture of the dialectal differentiation within the Ukrainian language area, and its areal connections with bordering languages.

The Atlas is made up of three imposing volumes. The first one is devoted to the cartographic representation of the Polissia, Central Dnipro (Dnieper) regions and adjacent lands. This territory situated between 28 and 45° of eastern longitude extends from the boundary with Belarusian in the north-west down to the northern part of the regions of Odessa and Mykolajiv. This includes the following areas: a large, eastern part of the region of Vinnycja, Čerkasy, the western part of the Poltava region, almost all the region of ← 31 | 32 → Kirovohrad, part of the Dnipropetrovs’k, and the western part of the region of Charkiv. In addition a small area of the adjacent region of Homel’ (Belarus’) and of Kursk (Russian Federation) are included.

Volume two includes the regions of Volhyn’, Central Dnister area, Transcarpathia (Transcarpathian Ukraine) and neighbouring lands. It more exactly includes the regions of Rivne, Volhyn’, L’viv, Ternopil’, Chmel’nyc’ky, Černivec’, Ivano-Frankivs’k, Transcarpathia, and the western part of Žytomyr and Vinnycja. The Ukrainian dialects spoken in neighbouring lands, such as Belarus’, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and former Yugoslavia are also included in this tome.

The third volume consists of three parts. The first part covers the regions of Donec’k, Sloboda (also Slobids'ka or Slobožanščyna) and contiguous lands. This includes almost the entire region of Charkiv, the Donbas area, the eastern part of the Sumy, the regions of Poltava, Dnipropetrovs’k and Zaporižžja. The Ukrainian dialects spoken in the southern part of the regions of Kursk, Belgorod, Voronež and in the western part of Rostov (Russian Federation) are dealt with here.

The second part covers the “Lower Dnipro, North Black Sea areas and adjacent lands”; in details, this includes: most of the regions of Odessa and Mykolajiv, the southern part of the regions of Kirovohrad and Dnipropetrovs’k, the western part of the region of Zaporižžja, the entire region of Cherson and Crimea. The Ukrainian dialects spoken in the area of Krasnodar (Russian Federation) and in the Republic of Moldova are also assigned to this section.

Finally, the third part of the volume presents comprehensive maps of the areas described in the volumes, showing the whole Ukrainian language territory. At the end of each ← 32 | 33 → volume maps with isoglosses can be viewed. The AUM covers 2359 settlements.

1.2.2. Dialectal dictionaries

Apart from a number of dialectal dictionaries typical of the Soviet period, the quantity of lexicographic works has increased since 1991. In the table below a list of the most popular dictionaries is reported: ← 33 | 34

Table 2

Аrkušyn (2000) Slovnyk zachidnopolis’kych hovirok (Dictionary of west Polissian Dialects)36 Luc’k
Brylyns’kyj (1991) Slovnyk podil’skych hovoriv (Dictionary of Podil Dialects) Chmel’nyc’kyj
Duda (2011) Lemkivs’kyj slovnyk (Lemko Dictionary) Ternopil’
Huzar et al. (1997) Hucul’s’ki hovirky: korotkyj slovnyk (Hucul Dialects: a short Dictionary) L’viv
Korzonyuk (1987) Матерiaли до словника західноволинських говіров (Materials for a Dictionary of west Volhyn Dialects) Kyjiv
Lysenko (1974) Slovnyk polis’kych hovoriv (Dictionary of Polissian Dialects) Kyjiv
Matijiv (2013) Slovnyk hovirok central’noji Bojkivščyny (Dictionary of the Central Bojko Dialects) Kyjiv -Simferopol’
Moskalenko (1958) Slovnyk dialektyzmiv ukrajins’kych hovirok Odes’koji oblasti (Dictionary of Dialectisms of the Ukrainian local Dialects in the Region of Odesa) Odesa
Onyškevyč (1984) Slovnyk bojkivs’kych hovirok (Dictionary of Bojko Dialects) Kyjiv
Saharovs’kyj (2006-2007) Dialektnyj slovnyk Central’noji Slobožanščyny (Charkivščyny), T. 1-2) (Dialectal Dictionary of the Central Sloboda (Charkiv) Region. Vol. 1-2) Charkiv
Saharovs’kyj (2011) Materialy do dialektnoho slovnyka Central’noji Slobožanščyny (Materials for a Dialect Dictionary of the Central Sloboda (Charkiv) Region) Charkiv
Stupins’ka, Bytkivs’ka (2013) Frazeolohičnyj slovnyk lemkivs’kych hovirok (Phraseological Dictionary of Lemko local Dialects) Ternopil’
Šylo (2008) Naddnistrjans’kyj rehional’nyj slovnyk (Regional Dictionary of the Upper Dnister Dialect) L’viv
Tkačenko (1998) Kubanskij govor. Opyt avtorskogo slovarja (Kuban dialect. Experiment of an author’s dictionary) Moskva
Tolstoj, red. (1968) Leksika Poles’ja: Materialy dlja polesskogo dialektnogo slovarja (Polissian Lexis: Materials for the Polissian Dialectal Dictionary) Moskva
Vaščenko (1960) Slovnyk poltavs’kych hovoriv (Dictionary of Poltava Dialects) Charkiv
Verchrats’kyj (1902) Pro hovor halyckych lemkiv (On the Dialect of Galician Lemko) L’viv
← 34 | 35

1.2.3. Handbooks on Ukrainian dialects

Notwithstanding a large number of dialectal studies in Ukraine, the majority of publications on various aspects of Ukrainian dialects have to be searched for in specialized journals and miscellaneous works. Significant articles, for example, were published in the nine issues of the Dialektolohičnyj bjuleten’ (Діалектологічний бюлетень) between 1949-1962.37 In recent years new fundamental contributions on various aspects of contemporary dialectal issues can be found in the volumes “Dialekty v sinchroniji ta diachroniji” under the redaction of Hrycenko (2014; 2015).

This situation represents a limitation for those foreign students or even scholars who just want to gain a quick overview of Ukrainian dialects.

A lack of up-to-date manuals was also lamented by Ukrainian students until relatively recent years. Since 2010 there has been a rapid increase in the publication of a whole series of textbooks, study-guides and minor manuals on Ukrainian dialectology, mainly addressed to university students and meant for didactic purposes and use in seminars. Most of these recent introductions to Ukrainian dialectology, partially replacing those classic manuals, published in the Soviet period, do not substantially provide new factual material.

The most used traditional books on Ukrainian dialectology are in increasing order of difficulty: Bevzenko (1980); Žylko (1955; 1966) and Matvijas (1990). It should however be pointed out that they were addressed to different readerships and written in different periods. ← 35 | 36

Žylko’s works are generally considered a compromise between a monograph and a handbook on Ukrainian dialectology. Žylko is usually recommended also by dialectologists of the Institute of Ukrainian Language of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences as a main reference on Ukrainian dialectology. This book probably represents the most valid account of different aspects of Ukrainian dialectology and is illustrated with several maps which were particularly useful in the decades preceding the publication of the Atlas of the Ukrainian Language (AUM). Nevertheless Žylko’s description, may not always be suitable for the practical purposes of Ukrainian students-beginners, and even less so for a foreign student approaching Ukrainian dialectology for the first time.

Matvijas’ monograph “Ukrajins’ka mova i jiji hovory” (1990) is probably the most recent broad overview of Ukrainian dialects.

Bevzenko’s “Dialektolohija” (1980), probably, still remains the best preliminary insight into Ukrainian diatopic variation: it clearly summarizes the main features of Ukrainian dialects in an accessible way. For this reason, it is still widely used in University courses despite the increased number of contemporary textbooks and manuals.

Additional short accounts on Ukrainian dialectology are Hrycenko’s contributions in the latest editions of “The Encyclopaedia of Ukrainian” (Hrycenko 2004: 146-151; 2007: 154-156).

Apart from the above-mentioned books whose approach is theoretical-practical, a few more manuals meant for classroom work are listed in the following table: ← 36 | 37

Table 3

Moskalenko (1965-66) Materialiv dlja praktyčnych zanjat’ z ukrajins’koji dialektolohiji z metodyčnymy rekomendacijamy (Materials for Practical Classes on the Ukrainian Dialectology with methodological references) The book supplies dialectal texts from the region of Odesa.
Bevzenko (1970) Praktyčni zanjattja z ukrajins’koji dialektolohiji (Practical Classes on Ukrainian dialectology) The textbook provides a large number of exercises drawn from dialectal texts and questions covering main dialectal topics.
Mohyla (1974) Ukrajins’ka dialektolohija (Ukrainian Dialectology) The book provides substantial theoretical material and tests for the student. The practical part relies heavily on Bevzenko’ s work.
Bevzenko (1977) Hovory ukrajins’koji movy (Dialects of the Ukrainian Language) This textbook was a significant step forward for practical use by students. It is still widely used for didactic purposes.
Bevzenko (1987) Ukrajins’ka dialektolohija: zbirnyk prav i zavdan’ (Ukrainian Dialectology: collection of excercizes) This textbook covers all the theoretical aspects covered in the manual issued by the same author in 1980.
Hlibčuk (2000) Praktyčni zavdannja z ukrajins’koji dialektolohiji (Practical Assignments on the Ukrainian Dialectology) The textbook contains a number of exercises covering all main aspects of Ukrainian dialectology: phonetic, morphological and lexical. Moreover, the book is complemented with a glossary of dialectal terminology.
Serdeha & Saharovs’kyj (2011) Ukrajins’ka dialektolohija (Ukrainian Dialectology) The textbook compactly provides an overview of previous works on Ukrainian dialectology. It combines theoretical and practical parts. It is orientated to the elementary needs of classroom work. Main aspects of dialectal grammar are dealt with. A large number of exercises and references complements this practical approach to the study of Ukrainian dialects.
← 37 | 38

Outside Ukraine, among surveys on Ukrainian dialects Shevelov’s contributions should be mentioned. Ample space is dedicated to some historical aspects of Ukrainian dialects in his seminal work a “Historical phonology of the Ukrainian language” (1979: 35-40). Short classifications and accounts of their idiosyncratic features can be consulted in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Shevelov 1984: 666-667), and in the chapter devoted to “Ukrainian” in the volume “Slavonic Languages” edited by Comrie and Greville (Shevelov 1993: 993-996). Some of the most representative features of Ukrainian dialects are concisely reported in the volume “The Slavic Languages” (Sussex & Cubberley 2006: 517-521).

In the German speaking countries a few short descriptions of Ukrainian dialects39 can be consulted in the third volume of Sociolinguistics/Soziolinguistik by Ammon et al. (2006: 1861). A very few lines on Ukrainian dialects can be found in the “Einführung in die Slavischen Sprachen” (Schweier 2012: 106-108).

In the voluminous and comprehensive second volume “Die slavischen Sprachen. Ein internationaler Handbuch zu ihren Strukturen, ihrer Geschichte und ihrer Erforschung” edited by Kempgen et al. (2014), explicit contributions on Ukrainian dialects are absent. The only exception is represented by Rieger’s contribution in which the author proposes a survey on Ukrainian dialectal Atlases within the context of East Slavic dialectal Atlases (Rieger 2014: 2074-2082).

Finally, it is worth underlining that the main phonetic features (without experimental data) are traditionally well outlined in Ukrainian handbooks. Lexis and phraseology are also well illustrated. Studies on derivation and morpho-syntax are generally more limited. ← 38 | 39

1.3. Conceptual-terminological peculiarities of Ukrainian dialectology

The structural approach to the study of Ukrainian dialects, distinctive of the first half of the 20th century, reached its full expression in the 1960s.40 It is characterized by a series of conceptual differentiations which are somewhat extraneous to the west European and English dialectological traditions.

The term "dialect", as mentioned in the introductory section, implies a series of debatable issues. Its definition is even more complex in East Slavic dialectology, and particularly in Ukrainian. In these languages, in fact, it functions as a kind of hyperonym to which minor dialectal units are hierarchically subordinated. Many of these conceptual units remain misleading for the majority of readers approaching Ukrainian dialectology for the first time. Therefore some basic terms of Ukrainian dialectology will be introduced and discussed.41 All other classificatory concepts, particularly those which are less frequent today, will be reported in the glossary at the end of the book. Familiarity with the Ukrainian dialectal terminology will be a useful interpretational key to easily access Ukrainian dialectal works.

Ukrainian dialectology distinguishes between at least three main, and some minor, conceptual terms: ← 39 | 40

If we compare some fundamental definitions of dialectal units in Ukrainian:

     1) The language of one or more inhabited centres/communities is called hovirka. A group of related hovirky, sharing common features, forms a hovir. Hovory (hovors) which share common features belong to particular group of hovory. Large dialectal groupings of the language, to which different hovory (dialects) belong and which are shaped by common phonetic, grammatical and lexical features are called dialectal groups. Moreover, the scholarly literature also uses the term nariččja, with which refers to a larger dialectal grouping. Another well-known term is pidnariččja used in reference to a smaller dialectal group than that covered by the term nariččja. […] The term dialect is mainly used as a synonym for the term “hovir”, and sometimes also as a synonym of a group of hovors. At the same time the term dialect may sometimes be used as a general, familiar concept indicating different territorial varieties of the language (hovirka, hovir, nariččja and pidnariččja) differing one from another to a certain extent42 (Cf. Žylko 1955: 3-4). ← 40 | 41

     2) A group of uniform hovirky, related to one another by a series of specific language features, differentiating them, more or less clearly, from other groups of hovirky, is called hovir.
A hovir is a territorially delimited dialectal formation characterized by a certain number of dialectal features. On a dialectal map hovory are delimited one from another by a bunch of isoglosses which intensify in the border areas. In the meaning of hovir one also uses the term dialect, although the latter also designates a group of related hovory, characterized by a system of common features, clearly differentiating this group from another group of hovory
43 [Cf. Bevzenko 1980: 6].

     3) The Ukrainian dialectal language is made up of larger and smaller units, each of which appears on a specific, delimited territory. The smallest territorial dialectal ← 41 | 42 unit is hovirka. […] The hovirka covers one or more inhabited centres. The hovirky are differentiated one from another by a minimal number of dialectal traits. The hovirky are delimited not on the basis of the language features characterizing them but on the number of traits forming a microsystem. A group of related hovirky forms a larger territorial unit called hovir or dialect. Hovory are differentiated on the basis of a relatively larger number of phonetic, grammatical and lexical dialectal features. The totality of related hovory or dialects forms the largest dialectal, territorial unit, i.e., nariččja44 (Matvijas 1990: 9).

The clearest explanation for the western European reader appears to be that of Žylko. He specified that the word dialect in colloquial usage is a kind of ‘hyperonym’, covering all types of dialectal units and subunits, e.g. pidnariččja; in this respect the term has a similar use to the western European dialectlogical tradition. Furthermore, on the basis of the compared citations, one needs to point out that

         the hovirka (говірка) functions as a real communicative system45. In other words, it is the minimal territorial, structured dialectal unit which includes the ← 42 | 43 language of one and, sometimes, more inhabited localities, on whose territory there is no significant variation. A group of related minimal dialectal units, i.e. hovirky, sharing similar characteristics but slightly differing from other groups of hovirky, form the hovory.

         A hovir or dialect can be therefore defined as a territorially well delineated, major dialectal unit unifying a group of smaller units (hovirky). It is characterized by a specific number of similar dialectal features, e.g. phonetic, accentuation, grammatical, lexical, phraselogical etc. On a dialectal map, these larger dialectal units (hovory) are delimited by a belt of isoglosses which tend to intensify in the area where they border other dialectal groups [Bevzenko 1980: 6]. The term dialect can be used as a synonym of hovir. Nevertheless, this word may also designate a group of kindred hovory characterized by a system of common features, differentiating them from another group.

         In other words, dialect, in Ukrainian dialectology, besides being used as a synonym for “hovir”, may also indicate, as a kind of ‘hyperonym’, the largest dialectal unit in the subdivision of the language territory in vast dialectal areas, e.g. the northern dialects, the south-western dialects etc. In this sense, however, Ukrainian dialectology tends to use the term “nariččja” (наріччя). This covers an entire group of dialects on a large territorial scale, showing a series of common linguistic features distinct from the general characteristics of another dialectal group or nariččja. Thus the nariččja roughly corresponds to the largest dialectal partition or dialectal group (main vernacu ← 43 | 44 → lar; a sort of a generalized dialectal-territorial variation), e.g. the Polissian dialectal group or northern dialects etc.

         A slightly smaller unit that the nariččja and subordinated to the latter is the pidnariččja.

The specificity of Ukrainian terminology can be conceptually expressed in English only with a certain degree of approximation. Therefore, the term hovirka can be approximately rendered in English as a ‘local dialect’ of a single (distinct) inhabited community. Nariččja would be the equivalent of a larger territorial group of dialects, and pidnariččja is a subgroup of the latter. The English word dialect has evidently a larger semantic field, covering both the Ukrainian concepts of “hovory” and “hovirky”, even though for the latter the word patois46 or local dialect (cf. Ukr. misceva hovirka) may sometimes be used.


II, 128
ISBN (Book)
Publication date
2018 (November)
Ukrainian Dialects Variation in Ukrainian Dialectology
Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2017., II, 128 pp., 11 fig. col., 7 tables.

Biographical notes

Salvatore Del Gaudio (Author)

Salvatore Del Gaudio is Professor at the Chair of Comparative-Typological Linguistics and Romance Languages at the University of Kyiv, Borys Hrynčenko, Ukraine. He also cooperates with the department of Slavic Languages, Institute of Linguistics, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. He studied foreign languages and literatures, Linguistics/Sociolinguistics in Naples and Berlin. He holds a PhD in Slavic (Ukrainian) Studies from the University of Vienna, Austria.


Title: An Introduction to Ukrainian Dialectology