How do you pronounce the names of those cities in Ukrainian?

This topic is extremely mixed up in the West, and to know the right way to write the names of those cities I wanted to ask, how do you pronounce and spell their names in Ukrainian.

Please, elaborate on this issue, and tell me how to pronounce and spell their names in Ukrainian.

Getting only more mixed up after visiting Wikipedia, where Lviv and Kharkiv are written with iv at the end, and Kyiv has both Kiev and Kyiv, with Kiev being the first option.

Why? Just why?

We need more Ordnung on this matter!


English Wikipedia gives correct Ukrainian pronunciation for all cities you've mentioned:

Київ (Kyiv, via Russian Kiev): [ˈkɪjiu̯]
Харків (Kharkiv, via Russian Kharkov): [ˈxɑrkiu̯]
Львів (Lviv, via Russian Lvov): [lʲwiu̯]

Wiki just gives common English pronunciation first, and inside of brackets after "Ukrainian:" you can see Ukrainian pronunciation and spelling:

Kiev (/ˈkiːɛf, -ɛv/)[7] or Kyiv (Ukrainian: Київ, Kyjiv [ˈkɪjiu̯]...

IPA for Ukrainian may be useful for basic understanding of how Ukrainian words are pronounced.

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Kyiv — Ukrainian language. Kiev — Russian language.

Ukrainian city Kyiv, capital of Ukraine, is pronounced "Kyiv". The name "Kiev" is called Russian-speaking Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

Kyiv [ˈkɪjiu̯] — Ukrainian language.
Kiev [ˈkijɛf] — Russian language.
Kharkiv [ˈxɑrkiu̯] — Ukrainian language.
Kharkov [ˈxarʲkəf] — Russian language.
Lviv [lʲʋiu̯] — Ukrainian language.
Lvov [lʲvof] — Russian language.

Transcriptions are given in IPA, as they're given on Wikipedia/Wiktionary (however there're some variations).

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Ukrainian and English have slightly different phonetic alphabets so it is hard to spell out. I will try.

Kyiv is pronounced in Ukrainian as /kiēv/

First Ky- is like ki- in kit. The -iv is pronounced like eve.

Lviv is /lvēv/ or (Lv-eve). The L is a soft consonant though.

Kharkiv is a really tough one to spell out with English phonetic alphabet. I have no idea.

P.S. By phonetic alphabet I mean the one Google uses

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If you want to hear it, you can try forvo.com:

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'Київ', 'Харків', and 'Львів' are written as 'Kyiv', 'Kharkiv', and 'Lviv' in English.

In terms of pronunciation (Source for Kyiv pronunciation):

  • Kyiv: is a combination of a few sounds that are already familiar to English native speakers:

    1. "yi" is a combination of "k" and the pronunciation of the "i/y" sound in such words as "kit", "silk", and "sync"
    2. "iv" is almost identical to the pronunciation of the word "eve"
  • Kharkiv: is pronounced the same way it's written.

  • Lviv: is pronounced the same way it's written.
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