20.4 - Hyphenation

As well as dividing a word into syllables onto two lines of handwriting or printing, the hyphen (дефіс) in Ukrainian is used to link the components of compound words.

Some compound hyphenated words have already been presented in previous units, including adjectives like національно-етнічний (on page 17.6), place names like Переяслав-Хмельницький (16.6), pronouns like який-небудь (18.7) and adverbial phrases like по-моєму (19.4).

There are also many hyphenated words consisting of either two nouns or a modifier and noun, for example.

шеф-редактор editor-in-chief
рахунок-фактура invoice
студент-правник law student
фінно-угрознавство Finno-Ugric studies
соціал-демократ a social democrat
Івано-Франківськ Ivano-Frankivsk *
контр-адмірал rear-admiral

* name of town derived from the name of the writer Ivan Franko

The hyphen is also used in a variety of other situations, and young native speakers learning Ukrainian are drilled in the vexed question «Чи це слово слід писати через дефіс?». For the purposes of reading, however, the priority is to recognise the grammatical function of the components connected by the hyphen, so that the compound word as a whole can be understood.

Exercise 20.4A

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© 2007 Marta Jenkala