Languages of Ukraine

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Languages of Ukraine
Official languages

Significant unofficial languages

Indigenous languages

Regional languages

Minority languages


Main foreign languages

  1. Russian
  2. English
  3. German
  4. French
  5. Spanish
  6. Chinese / Italian / Arabic
Sign languages Ukrainian Sign Language
Common keyboard layouts
Cyrillic layout in Windows Vista
Keyboard layout ua vista ext.png
Source Census-2001

The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, an East Slavic language which is the native language of 67.5% of Ukraine's population. Russian is the native language of 29.6% of Ukraine's population and the rest (2.9%) are native speakers of other languages. Ethnologue lists 40 minority languages and dialects; nearly all are native to the former Soviet Union.

According to Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine the state has an obligation to ensure the comprehensive development and functioning of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of social life throughout Ukraine while guaranteeing the free development, use and protection of the Russian language and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine.

Language and daily life[edit]

In an 11–23 December 2015 study by the Razumkov Centre taken in all regions of Ukraine other than Russian-annexed Crimea, and separatist controlled Donetsk, and Luhansk, a majority considered Ukrainian their native language (60%), followed by Russian (15%), while 22% used both languages equally. Two percent held an other native language, for the preferred language of work, an equal amount chose either Ukrainian or Russian (37%) and 21% communicated bilingually. The study polled 10,071 individuals and held a 1% margin of error.[1][2]

Past polling[edit]

In an October 2009 poll by FOM-Ukraine of 1,000 respondents, 52% stated they use Russian as their "Language of communication"; while 41% of the respondents state they use Ukrainian and 8% stated they use a mixture of both.[3]

A March 2010 poll[4] by Research & Branding Group showed that 65% considered Ukrainian as their native language and 33% Russian. This poll also showed the standard of knowledge of the Russian language (free conversational language, writing and reading) in current Ukraine is higher (76%) than the standard of knowledge of the Ukrainian language (69%). More respondents preferred to speak Ukrainian (46%) than Russian (38%) with 16% preferring to speak both in equal manner.

A poll held November 2009 revealed that 54.7% of the population of Ukraine believed the language issue in Ukraine was irrelevant, that each person could speak the language he or she preferred and that a lot more important problems existed in the country; 14.7% of those polled stated that the language issue was an urgent problem that could not be postponed and that calls for immediate resolution; another 28.3% believed that, while the language issue needed to be resolved, this could be postponed.[5]

An August 2011 poll by Razumkov Centre showed that 53.3% of the respondents use the Ukrainian language in everyday life, while 44.5% use Russian.[6]

In a May 2012 poll by RATING 50% of respondents considered Ukrainian their native language, 29% Russian, 20% consider both Ukrainian and Russian their mother tongue and 1% considered a different language their native language.[7]

Current languages[edit]

The languages of Ukraine, according to Ethnologue, are as follows. (Not included are Vlax Romani, Jakati, and Slovak, for which no population data is available):[8]

Regional languages[edit]

As a result of legislation entitled the 'Bill on the principles of the state language policy", which was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in August 2012, languages spoken by at least 10% of an oblast's population were made possible to be elevated to the status of 'regional language'. Whilst Ukrainian remained the country's only 'official' language nationwide, other languages, dependent on their adoption by oblast authorities, became accepted mediums of communication in education, local government offices, courts and official correspondence.[9]

Regional languages in Ukraine
Region Regional languages
Autonomous Republic of Crimea Autonomous Republic of Crimea Crimean Tatar
 Cherkasy Oblast
 Chernihiv Oblast
 Chernivtsi Oblast Romanian (Tarasivtsi village only)[10]
 Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Russian
 Donetsk Oblast Russian
 Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast
 Kharkiv Oblast Russian
 Kherson Oblast Russian[11]
 Khmelnytskyi Oblast
 Kiev Oblast
 Kirovohrad Oblast
Kiev Kyiv City
 Luhansk Oblast Russian
 Lviv Oblast
 Mykolaiv Oblast Russian[12]
 Odessa Oblast Russian
 Poltava Oblast
 Rivne Oblast
Sevastopol Sevastopol City Russian
 Sumy Oblast
 Ternopil Oblast
 Vinnytsia Oblast
 Volyn Oblast
 Zakarpattia Oblast Hungarian (Berehove town only)[10]

Romanian (Bila Tserkva village only) [13]

 Zaporizhia Oblast Russian
 Zhytomyr Oblast

Historical facts[edit]

According to the Russian census 1897 on the territory of the nine Russian guberniyas in modern Ukraine yielded the following results:

Language composition
List of mentioned regions




See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Українці стали частіше розмовляти українською". Українська правда. Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  2. ^ "КОНСОЛІДАЦІЯ УКРАЇНСЬКОГО СУСПІЛЬСТВА : ШЛЯХИ, ВИКЛИКИ, ПЕРСПЕКТИВИ : Інформаційно-аналітичні матеріали" (PDF). Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  3. ^ "ФОМ > Мнения и взгляды населения Украины в сентябре - октябре 2009 года". Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  4. ^ "Маркетинговые, социологические и политические исследования - R&B Group". Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  5. ^ Poll: more than half of Ukrainians did not consider language issue pressing, Kyiv Post (November 25, 2009)
  6. ^ "Опитування: більшість українців спілкуються вдома українською мовою". Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  7. ^ The language question, the results of recent research in 2012, RATING (25 May 2012)
  8. ^ Languages of Ukraine, Ethnologue, 2009.
  9. ^ "Russian becomes regional language in three more regions in Ukraine". 
  10. ^ a b ""Popov: No bilingualism in Kyiv"". 19 September 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  11. ^ "Kherson Regional Council declares Russian a regional language". Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  12. ^ "Russian becomes regional language in Mykolaiv region". Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  13. ^ "Romanian becomes regional language in Bila Tserkva in Zakarpattia region". Retrieved 8 October 2017.