Alternations of consonants in Ukrainian

Alternations of consonants in Ukrainian

Part I

In Ukrainian, historical alternations are caused by phonetic changes such as palatalization.

  1. The oldest alternation of consonants, which took place in all Slavic languages, was a change of velar consonants г, к, x to soft hushing sounds ж’, ч’, ш’.

г, к, xж‘, ч‘, ш

E.g.: могти́ – я мо́жу (to be able)

лягти́ – я ля́жу (to lay perf.v.)

пла́кати – я пла́чу (to cry)

сміх – смішни́й (laugh – funny)

Rule1: In nouns before the suffixes -к-, -oк, -ин- with the meanings of diminutive and endearment:

E.g.: нога́ – ні́жка (leg)

          рука́ – ру́чка (hand)

          ву́хо – ву́шко (ear)

У дити́ни мале́нькі ні́жки.

The child has small legs.

Rule2: In the Voc. c. of masculine nouns (II declension) before the ending -e:

E.g.:  друг – дру́же (friend)

          коза́к – коза́че (Cossack)

          чолові́к – чолові́че (man)

Rule3: In all personal forms of verbs of the present tense:

E.g.: пекти́ – я печу́ (to bake)

бі́гти – я біжу́ (to run)

Ді́вчинка пече́ пе́чиво.

The girl is baking cookies.

future tense forms of the perfective aspect:

E.g.: спекти́ – я спечу́ (to bake perf. v. – I’ll bake)

прибі́гти – я прибіжу́ (to come running – I’ll come running)

passive participles before the suffix -ен-:

 E.g.:       запе́чене м’я́со (baked meat)

На столі́ стої́ть запе́чене м’я́со.

There is baked meat on the table.

  1. During the Proto-Slavic period, there was also a change of г, к, х to з’, ц’, с’ before the ending i (former ѣ):

г, к, хз’, ц’, с’ before i

E.g.: нога́ – на нозі́

          рука́ – на руці́

          ву́хо – у ву́сі

сере́жка у ву́сі

earring in the ear

Rule1: Feminine gender nouns (I declension) in the singular in the Dat. c. and Loc. c.

        E.g.: кві́тка – кві́тці (Dat. c.) – на кві́тці (Loc. c.) (flower)

               підло́га – підло́зі – на підло́зі (floor)

Rule2: Masculine andneutral gender nouns (II declension) in the singular in the Loc. c.

E.g.: ву́хо – у ву́сі

        рік – у ро́ці (year)

Note to remember:

Practice the rules with us by completing the following task.

Put the words into Dat. and Loc. Cases:


кві́тка – кві́тці – на кві́тці





Put the verbs into I person singular:

пла́кати – я

могти́ –

бі́гти –

берегти́ –

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