Learning vocabulary in a foreign language is a fascinating experience, but it can also be stressful. Students are often anxious as to whether they know a sufficient number of words (and the ‘right’ words) for exams, study visits to countries where the language is spoken, or for other purposes. Teachers are concerned that their students should acquire the expected range of vocabulary during a course of study. And yet this process need not be so challenging. Researchers into vocabulary acquisition and language teachers generally agree that learners can function in most everyday situations with a core vocabulary of around 2,000 words.

This website aims to support the acquisition and consolidation of high-frequency core vocabulary for Ukrainian, and also to help more advanced learners build on their knowledge. It can also serve as a check-list for teachers who want to be sure that their students are making good progress in learning basic words.The website has a number of sections, each with a specific purpose.

High frequency words

This section consists of approximately 2,000 basic Ukrainian words. It was compiled by analysing the glossaries and vocabularies presented in a range of Ukrainian language textbooks, digital courses and frequency lists, and identifying those words which are common to most of them. Incidental words (usually occurring in authentic materials) were excluded. The section also contains a small number of lower-frequency words which are relevant to learners studying the language for various purposes (study, research, work, tourism).

The high frequency word list in no way claims to be definitive, as every teacher will have their own idea of what should be included or excluded. It simply aims to provide a starting point for the learning of core basic vocabulary.

Guidance on using the high frequency word list.

Themed lists

(currently limited in number but being expanded)

These are pages containing basic vocabulary which learners need in order to understand and produce language on everyday topics. Each page contains a small number of words (so as not to be too daunting), as well as some simple constructions in which the words can be used (to describe one’s family, home, likes and dislikes etc.).

Most words in the themed lists are also linked to pages dealing with individual words.

Individual word pages

These pages may be used by both beginners and more advanced learners. Each page contains a headword and related parts of speech, with stress marks and limited grammatical information. Words are sorted according to their relevance to beginners or more advanced learners. The pages also contain frequently-used compounds and collocations, related words, etymological information and cultural context.

It is important to emphasise that the website is a learning resource, not a dictionary. Learners will, naturally, also need to use dictionaries, both printed and online versions.

Resources used to compile the high frequency word list

Olesya Palinska and Oksana Turkevych, Крок 1, Українська мова як іноземна А1-А2 (Lviv, 2011)

Yuri Shevchuk, Beginner’s Ukrainian (New York, 2011)

Olena Bekh and James Dingley, Complete Ukrainian (Teach Yourself Ukrainian) (London, 1997, 2010)

Алла Чистякова, Лариса Селіверстова, Тетяна Лагута. Українська мова для іноземців. Підручник для іноземних студентів вищих навчальних закладів (Харків, 2006)

Соломія Бук, 3000 найчастотніших слів розмовно-побутового стилю сучасної української мови (Львів, 2006.)

Oksana Sachyk, Beginning Ukrainian (Tucson, Arizona, 2005)

Robert Delossa et al., Розмовляймо! Let’s Talk (Bloomington, Indiana, 2004)

Вивчайте українську – Learn Ukrainian. Essential words and phrases for absolute beginners. CD-Rom (London, 2000)

Assya Humesky, Modern Ukrainian (Edmonton - Toronto, 1980, 1999)

Ian Press and Stefan Pugh, Colloquial Ukrainian (London, 1999, 2008)

Zirka Derlycia, Everyday Ukrainian, A Practical Basic Course (Guilford, Conn., 1993)

George Foty and Zenon Pohorecky, Ukrainian Words: To Enjoy Everyday Ukrainian Culture (Saskatoon, 1980)

Danylo Husar Struk, Ukrainian for Undergraduates (Edmonton, 1978)

George Duravetz, Ukrainian Conversational and Grammatical, Level 1 (Toronto, 1977)

Halina Makarova, Larissa Palamar, Nataliya Prisyazhnyuk, Learn Ukrainian (Kyiv, 1975)

Yuriy Zhluktenko, Nina Totska, Tetyana Molodid, Ukrainian, A Textbook for Beginners (Kyiv, 1973)

Yar Slavutych, Conversational Ukrainian (Edmonton - Winnipeg, 1959).

Also consulted were:

  • online frequency lists;
  • in-house materials produced for the teaching of Ukrainian for specific purposes and by institutions and agencies (both UK and international);
  • Ukrainian Online Beginners Course (on UCL’s Moodle platform);
  • textbooks intended for students learning Ukrainian on the basis of another Slavonic language: Зеновій Терлак, Олександра Сербенська, Українська мова для початківців  (Львів, 2000); Irena Huk, Mirosława Kawecka, Вивчаємо українську мову (Lublin, 1994).

For the sake of completeness, even glossaries of textbooks containing serious grammatical and lexical deficiencies were consulted (which textbooks shall remain nameless!).

Back Top
Part of the collection of resources at
© 2016 Marta Jenkala