Wikipedia notes that бути can be conjugated as such:

я      єсьми | ми єсьмо
ти     єси   | ви єсьте
він,         |
вона,  єсть  | вони суть
воно         |

It says that these conjugation are "considered archaic in Standard Ukrainian (albeit those are still used in dialects)"

My question is, which dialects/circumstances are these conjugations used in? Is it similar to how Early-Modern English conjugations are used today? (i.e. to sound purposely Shakespearean or archaic)

2 Answers 2


In the dialect of the Pokuttya region, the present-day Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, the present tense forms of "бути" were used together with participles in -в, -ла, -ло, -ли to form the past tense in the same way as in English you take have + past participle to form present perfect. Also, they were used to mean the present tense ("am, is, are").

The point was, those forms of "бути" were not used in their full forms, as in your chart, they became shortened and used as clitics attached to the first word in a clause:

Зробив-єc, що-м ти казав? — "Have you done what I told you?"

Нащо-с такий дурний! — "Why are you so silly!"

Не видів-єм їх ніде. — "I haven't seen them anywhere."

As one can see it,

єсьми > -єм after consonants and > after vowels

єси > -єc after consonants and > -c after vowels

The 3rd p. sg. & pl. were not used, the 1st p. pl was -(є)смо, the 2nd p. pl was -(є)сте.

The example sentences were taken from the book "Казки Покуття" ('Pokuttya Fairy Tales'), pages 33-34. The fairy tales were collected in Pokuttya in the second half of the 19th century by Henryk Oskar Kolberg (1814 – 1890), a Polish ethnographer, folklorist, and composer.


One of the most vivid examples of use would be суть.

It underwent a grammaticalization process (namely, specialization) and exists in the form суть and a derived form, сутність. Both mean "essence, essentiality, core content" (noun).

По суті, нічого ще не зроблено в житті — Олесь Гончар
In essence, nothing yet has been done in [your] life

The same word суть is also used in its original meaning, even today (let alone the fact many native speakers use it without deep understanding):

вони суть програмісти — they are programmers

Also, the archaic forms are natural part of Church Slavonic which is used in Christian rituals.
For example, the famous Lord's Prayer begins with the words:

Ѿче нашъ иже¹ єси на небесѣхъ (Church Slav.)
Отче наш, іже єси на небесіх (Modern adaptation)
Our Father who is in heaven (Eng.)

¹ іже is an archaic form of which.

  • У західних діалектах Буковини й Закарпаття минулий час (перфект) вживається зі скороченими, клітичними формами теперішнього часу від «бути»: я-м ходила < я єсми ходила, ти-с була < ти єси була, тощо.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 9:16
  • I cannot find any prooflinks now, once I read some folk-tales with such a past tense, if I find them, I'll post it as an answer.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 9:25

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