The Ukrainian language is the official language of Ukraine and is a Slavic language along with other ones such as Polish and Slovak. Ukrainian uses the phonetic Cyrillic alphabet when written, which consists of thirty-three letters.
It is widely agreed that Ukrainian can be traced back to Kyivan Rus, a tenth-century state that was founded by Vikings who had taken over a group of East Slavic tribes. The language that was spoken there is known as Ruthenian and is the predecessor to Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian. Ruthenian is also known as Old Ukrainian and was greatly influenced by political events in the region where it was spoken. The Ukrainian language flourished in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but started declining with invasions from Polish and Russian forces in different parts of the country. The use of the Ukrainian language was often discouraged or banned while the area was occupied by different states, specifically those from Russia.
The bans on the language started being lifted after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, when Ukrainian was officially recognized as its own language. It started being widely used in education and written language with the establishment of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). Today it is spoken throughout Ukraine, especially in the western part of the country.
Ukrainian language, alphabet and pronunciation