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Mysterious Ukrainian Letter "Ґ"

Let's talk about the history and usage of the letter " Ґ " in the Ukrainian language!

Ukrainian letter G - Ґ

Ukrainian letter Ґ. Ukrainian language
Meletii Smotrytskyi

The letter "ґ" is the most mysterious letter in the Ukrainian alphabet. This letter sometimes disappeared, then appeared in the history of the Ukrainian language. The letter "ґ" began to be used in the Old Slavic language at the beginning of the 16th century. It first appeared in the Peresopnytsia Gospel, and began its history in 1619, when Meletii Smotrytskyi used it in his grammar.


In the photo below you can see the Peresopnytsia Gospel:

Ukrainian letter Ґ in old documents

This is how Georgy Narbut drew the letter "ґ". He is a Ukrainian graphic artist, illustrator, and author of the first Ukrainian state signs:

Ukrainian letters Г and Ґ. Ukrainian language
Letters "г" і "ґ" on the left

In the most famous dictionary of the Ukrainian language by Boris Grinchenko, the author listed about 300 words with the letter "ґ" in 1907-1909. The letter "ґ" was also found in the Ukrainian Collection of spelling rules of 1928. In the 1930s the Soviet authorities banned the letter "ґ" because they believed that it could delay the development of the modern language of the new Soviet Ukraine. Pavlo Tychyna and Boris Antonenko-Davydovych fought for the return of the letter. Pavlo Tychyna - Ukrainian poet, translator, publicist.

Ukrainian language school VERBA
Pavlo Tychyna

Learn Ukrainian language in VERBA school

In 1963 there were many arguments to renovate the removed letter "ґ" from the Ukrainian alphabet. In November 1969, Boris Antonenko-Davydovych spoke openly in defense of the "repressed" letter. But the letter "ґ" officially returned to the Ukrainian language only in the Collection of spelling rules of 1990, when the Soviet government no longer had such an influence on the Ukrainian language. In the photo - Borys Antonenko-Davydovych, a Ukrainian writer, literary translator, and researcher of problems of the development and culture of the Ukrainian language.






Now the sound "ґ" is found both in Ukrainian words and in words of foreign origin. In borrowed words in the surnames and names of people, the sound [g] can be transmitted in two ways: with the letter Г (Вергíлій, Гарсíя, Гéгель, Геóрг, Гéте,Грегуáр, Гуллівéр) or letter Ґ (Верґíлій, Ґарсíя, Гéґель, Ґеóрґ, Ґéте, Ґреґуáр, Ґуллівéр та інших). In the Ukrainian language, there are also words with the letter "ґ". Below is a list of the most popular words with it:


1) ґанок - a porch

2) ґатунок - class

3) ґвалт - ruckus

4) ґвалтувати - to rape

5) ґрунт - soil

6) ґрати - bars

7) обґрунтувати - to justify

8) ґудзик - a button

9) дзиґа - a peg top

10) аґрус - gooseberry

Ukrainian language - letter G (Ґ)

Ukrainian words with letter Ґ (G)

Be careful, if you confuse "Г" and "Ґ", you can get into a funny situation:

Ukrainian letters Г and Ґ - what's the difference?

How to type the letter "Ґ" on the Ukrainian keyboard? Some modern keyboards already have a separate key for the letter "ґ", but usually it is not on the keyboard. To type the letter "ґ" on Windows, you need to press the right Alt (AltGr) + Г comes out. If you hold down the Shift and AltGr + Г keys, we have the capital letter Ґ. On macOS, the letter Ґ is on the key to the left of the letter Я (~`). You can also watch our video about the pronunciation of the letters Г and Ґ in Ukrainian:





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3 comentarios


I hope it finally stays for good. No more oppressed letters. No more oppression. Freedom for Ukraine. Now.

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Sean Watson
Sean Watson
21 ene 2023

what keyboard configuration do you use? The only one I know is on my IPhone. Both the «Ї» and the «г» are made by touching and holding the key. This is not ideal for touch typing. слава мовознавцям


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Contestando a

Yes, unfortunately on iPhone keyboard there is only this method. The good thing is that these letters are not that frequent, so you need to do it rarely. On Swiftkey keyboard on Android, for example, there are separate keys for ї and ґ though)

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