и, й / i, ï

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Woods
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и, й / i, ï

Postby Woods » 2015-11-25, 23:28

I just asked myself the question, and I'm too lazy to search for it now - what's the difference between и, й and i, ï in Ukrainian? When is each of the pairs used?

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TheStrayCat
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Re: и, й / i, ï

Postby TheStrayCat » 2015-11-26, 0:04

Hi!

"и" stands for the vowel /ɪ/, while "й" is the consonant /j/. So these two are completely different sounds. Also, "и" is never used word-initially, with the exception of a few very uncommon or dialectal words.

Next, "і" is /i/, "ї" is /yi/. This pair is a lot more likely to cause confusion for the learner due to auditive and visual similarity. The golden rule is that the first one is never used after vowels and vice versa, the second one is never used after consonants (unless there's an apostrophe between them). Both can be word-initial though.

Hope this helps.

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Woods
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Country: BG Bulgaria (България)

Re: и, й / i, ï

Postby Woods » 2015-11-28, 13:12

Hi, thanks.

I'm Bulgarian - we have и and й, but not what we'd call Latin letters (i and ï) in our alphabet. So I know й is not a syllable-forming sound - and therefore you'd call it a consonant, I guess, but in terms of quality и and й in Bulgarian are exactly the same, except that й is shorter.

So I understand that in Ukrainian i would be our и (/i/), ï would be a double /i/ ([ji]), й would be a short i ([j]) and finally и would be something like the Russian ы (the only one that will sound differently, if we don't mind the length, among the four)?

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TheStrayCat
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Re: и, й / i, ï

Postby TheStrayCat » 2015-12-11, 1:06

Oh, I'm sorry for the late reply. I must have overlooked your message!

Yes, when we studied Ukrainian as a school subject, й was regarded as a consonant. Wikipedia also says that it's a consonantal sound, so I'm not mistaken here.

Indeed, Ukrainian и is close to Russian ы, and some bilinguals might pronounce them identically. Technically though, they are different sounds: the former one is the near-close near-front unrounded vowel, and the latter is the close central unrounded vowel.


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