Ukrainian makes contrasts between palatalized "soft" and unpalatalized "hard" consonants. Palatalized consonants, denoted by a superscript ‹j› / ʲ /, are pronounced with the body of the tongue raised toward the hard palate, in a manner similar to the ‹y› sound in yes. All Ukrainian consonants except /j/ have a soft and hard variant, however this distinction is phonemic for only nine pairs—for the others the distinction can be ignored.
↑The "soft" vowel letters ‹є, ї, ю, я› represent a /j/ plus a vowel when initial or following other vowels.
↑In Ukrainian, geminates are found between vowels: багаття /bɑɦɑtʲːɑ/bonfire, подружжя /pɔdruʒʲːɑ/married couple, обличчя face. Geminates also occur at the start of a few words: лляний /lʲːɑnɪj/flaxen, forms of the verb лити to pour (ллю /lʲːu/, ллєш /lʲːɛʃ/ etc.), ссати /sːɑtɪ/to suck and derivatives.