Some filler words in Ukrainian are also called слова-паразити (parasite words). They are usually frowned upon by refined native speakers. However, the vast majority of Ukrainians use them every day. If you study Ukrainian, you might find them very useful for those situations when you try to remember a word.
So let’s take a closer look at those filler words in Ukrainian! And don’t forget to practice your pronunciation with our audio recordings!
If you have ever talked to a Ukrainian, I bet you have heard ну [nu]. This is our favorite way to fill in the time it takes us to think. It comes in handy when we need to think of a way to say no politely. The closest translation would be well.
Можеш мені допомогти? — Ну, я ще маю свою роботу закінчити.
Can you help me? — Well, I still have my work to finish.
It works even better if you prolong the vowel:
Ти мене любиш? — Ну-у-у… Я тебе не ненавиджу, це точно.
Do you love me? — We-e-ell… I don’t hate you, that’s for sure.
2. Хм… Гм… М-м-м…
You have probably used it without even realizing it. This is the sound you make when a question puzzles you or you don’t know how to finish your sentence. English speakers say it too, though they spell it differently.
Скільки буде 8×9? — Хм… 72?
How much is 8×9? — Hm… 72?
Again, feel free to make the sound as long as you need.
My strict teacher used to call it the ‘idiot sound.’ Its function is similar to the previous ones: to fill in the time while you’re thinking. It is a common answer to obvious questions:
Скільки тривала Тридцятилітня війна? — Е-е-е… 30?
How long did the Thirty Years’ War last? — Ahem… 30?
This one comes in handy whenever you don’t want to answer someone’s question, similar to you see.
Ти не хочеш піти на той документальний фільм? — Розумієш, я сьогодні збиралася зайнятися пранням, тому, мабуть, не вийде.
Don’t you wanna go see that documentary? — You see, I was gonna do laundry today, so I probably won’t have time.
If you finish with a question mark, it can be the one-word synonym to you know what I mean?
Я просто не знаю, як йому це сказати, розумієш? Він такий чутливий!
I just don’t know how to tell him that, you know what I mean? He’s so sensitive!
Do you want to learn more Ukrainian words to sound like a native Ukrainian speaker? Learn some Ukrainian exclamations!
This one word literally means shorter. It is to be used only in informal conversations. Say it at the end of a long story when reaching the conclusion:
Коротше, вони всі вижили. Але були дуже налякані!
At the end of the day, all of them survived. But they were extremely scared!
6. Щось таке
It is a perfect ending to a sentence when you can’t or don’t need to be exact:
На ньому була сіра куртка і чорні джинси, щось таке.
He was wearing a grey jacket and black jeans, or something like that.
Її звати Оля чи Юля, щось таке.
Her name’s Olia or Yulia, something like that.
It is a way to start a sentence after an interruption or to begin a new topic:
Так, то що ми робитимемо на вихідних?
So, what are we gonna do at the weekend?
Also, feel free to introduce a summary with this little word:
Так, тоді Анна бронює столик, Уляна купує квіти, а я замовляю таксі.
Okay, so Anna is booking a table, Uliana is buying flowers, and I am calling a taxi.
By the way, “так” is one of the most used Ukrainian words, as it has many meanings. Learn 10 meanings of the word “так” in Ukrainian language!
8. До речі
You say до речі when you add something to what you are saying, especially something that you have just thought of.
До речі, ми завтра дивимося кіно разом?
By the way, are we watching a movie together tomorrow?
By the way, these two words are written separately.
9. Тупо / Просто
This is one of more emotional filler words, used mostly by young people to emphasize something. Sometimes, it may be translated it as literally:
Коли Артур це сказав, я тупо вибухнула!
When Arthur said it, I literally blew up!
In such a case, it can be replaced with просто which sounds a bit smarter and is used by older people as well:
Він просто постійно скиглить.
He’s literally always whining.
Last but not least, a very (!) informal filler word that doesn’t really mean anything. Типу is very common among youngsters. I guess the closest English word would be like as in these examples:
І він типу: “Ти ок?”
And he’s like, You okay?
Типу ти не знаєш, про що я кажу?
Like you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Check out this Ukrainian Lessons Podcast episode about slang in Ukrainian!
And what about your Ukrainian friends? Have you heard any of these words in their speech? Do you use any filler words in Ukrainian? Share with us in the comments!
Looking for more resources to improve your Ukrainian vocabulary? Check our 1000 most common words in Ukrainian with interactive flashcards.
Also, you can learn Ukrainian step by step with our free Ukrainian Lessons Podcast.