Cyrillic alphabet

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Cyrillic alphabet
Type: Alphabet
Languages: Many Slavic languages, and almost all languages in the former Soviet Union (see Languages using Cyrillic)
Time period: Earliest variants exist circa 940
Parent writing systems: Phoenician alphabet
 Greek alphabet
  Glagolitic alphabet
   Cyrillic alphabet
Sister writing systems: Latin alphabet
Coptic Alphabet
Unicode range: U+0400 to U+052F
ISO 15924 code: Cyrl

The Cyrillic alphabet (pronounced /sɪˈrɪlɪk/, also called azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters) is an alphabet used for several East and South Slavic languagesBelarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Rusyn, Serbian, and Ukrainian—and many other languages of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Eastern Europe. It has also been used for other languages in the past. Not all letters in the Cyrillic alphabet are used in every language with which it is written.

With the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union on January 1, 2007, Cyrillic becomes the third official alphabet of the EU.


[edit] History

History of the Alphabet

Middle Bronze Age 19–15th c. BC

Meroitic 3rd c. BC
Complete genealogy

The layout of the alphabet is derived from the early Cyrillic alphabet, itself a derivative of the Glagolitic alphabet, a ninth century uncial cursive usually credited to two Byzantine monk brothers from Thessaloniki, Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius.

Although it is widely accepted that the Glagolitic alphabet was invented by Saints Cyril and Methodius, the origins of the early Cyrillic alphabet are still a source of much controversy. Though it is usually attributed to Saint Clement of Ohrid, disciple of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius from Bulgarian Macedonia, the alphabet is more likely to have developed at the Preslav Literary School in northeastern Bulgaria, where the oldest Cyrillic inscriptions have been found, dating back to the 940s. The theory is supported by the fact that the Cyrillic alphabet almost completely replaced the Glagolitic in northeastern Bulgaria as early as the end of the tenth century, whereas the Ohrid Literary School—where Saint Clement worked—continued to use the Glagolitic until the twelfth century. Of course, as the disciples of St. Cyril and Methodius spread throughout the First Bulgarian Empire, it is likely that these two main scholarly centres were a part of a single tradition.

Among the reasons for the replacement of the Glagolithic with the Cyrillic alphabet is the greater simplicity and ease of use of the latter and its closeness with the Greek alphabet, which had been well known in the First Bulgarian Empire.

There are also other theories regarding the origins of the Cyrillic alphabet, namely that the alphabet was created by Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius themselves, or that it preceded the Glagolitic alphabet, representing a "transitional" stage between Greek and Glagolitic cursive, but these have been widely disproved. Although Cyril is almost certainly not the author of the Cyrillic alphabet, his contributions to the Glagolitic and hence to the Cyrillic alphabet are still recognised, as the latter is named after him.

The alphabet was disseminated along with the Old Church Slavonic liturgical language, and the alphabet used for modern Church Slavonic language in Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic rites still resembles early Cyrillic. However, over the following ten centuries, the Cyrillic alphabet adapted to changes in spoken language, developed regional variations to suit the features of national languages, and was subjected to academic reforms and political decrees. Today, dozens of languages in Eastern Europe and Asia are written in the Cyrillic alphabet.

As the Cyrillic alphabet spread throughout the Slavic world, it was adopted for writing local languages, such as Old Ruthenian. Its adaptation to the characteristics of local languages led to the development of its many modern variants, below.

The Early Cyrillic alphabet (and the numerical meanings of the letters)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10
20 30 40 50 70 80 100 200 300 400
500 600 800 900 90
60 700 9

Capital and lowercase letters were not distinguished in old manuscripts.

Image:Meletius Smotrisky Cyrillic Alphabet.PNG
A page from the Church Slavonic Grammar of Meletius Smotrytsky (1619).

Yeri (ЪІ) was originally a ligature of Yer and I. Iotation was indicated by ligatures formed with the letter I: ІА (ancestor of modern ya, я), Ѥ, Ю (ligature of I and ОУ), Ѩ, Ѭ. Many letters had variant forms and commonly-used ligatures, for example И=І=Ї, Ѡ=Ѻ, ОУ=Ѹ, ѠТ=Ѿ.

The early Cyrillic alphabet is difficult to represent on computers. Many of the letterforms differed from modern Cyrillic, varied a great deal in manuscripts, and changed over time. Few fonts include adequate glyphs to reproduce the alphabet. The current Unicode standard does not represent some significant letterform variations, and omits some characters, such as Cyrillic dotless I, iotified Yat, abbreviated Yer ("Yerok"), and many ligatures.

See also: Glagolitic alphabet.

[edit] Letter-forms and typography

The development of Cyrillic typography passed directly from the medieval stage to the late Baroque, without a Renaissance phase as in Western Europe. Late Medieval Cyrillic letters (still found on many icon inscriptions even today) show a marked tendency to be very tall and narrow; strokes are often shared between adjacent letters.

Peter the Great, tsar of Russia, mandated the use of westernized letter forms in the early eighteenth century; over time, these were largely adopted in the other languages that use the alphabet. Thus, unlike modern Greek fonts that retained their own set of design principles (such as the placement of serifs, the shapes of stroke ends, and stroke-thickness rules), modern Cyrillic fonts are much the same as modern Latin fonts of the same font family. The development of some Cyrillic computer typefaces from Latin ones has also contributed to the visual Latinization of Cyrillic type.

Cyrillic uppercase and lowercase letter-forms are not as differentiated as in Latin typography. Upright Cyrillic lowercase letters are essentially small capitals (with the exception of a few forms such as "а" and "е" which adopted Western lowercase shapes), although a good-quality Cyrillic typeface will still include separate small caps glyphs.<ref>Bringhurst (2002) writes "in Cyrillic, the difference between normal lower case and small caps is more subtle than it is in the Latin or Greek alphabets,..." (p 32) and "in most Cyrillic faces, the lower case is close in color and shape to Latin small caps" (p 107).</ref>

Image:Cyrillic upright-cursive.png
Comparison of some upright and cursive letters (Ge, De, I, I kratko(ye), Em, Te and Tse. Top row is set in Georgia font, bottom in Kisty CY)

In the absence of Roman and Italic traditions, Cyrillic type fonts are properly classified as upright (Russian: pryamoy shrift) and cursive (kursivniy). Cursive or hand-written shapes of many letters, especially the lowercase letters, are entirely different from the upright shapes. As in Latin typography, a sans-serif face may have a mechanically-sloped oblique font (naklonniy).

In Serbian and Macedonian, some cursive letters are different from those used in other languages. These cursive letter shapes are often used in upright fonts as well, especially for road signs, inscriptions, posters and the like, less so in newspapers or books. External link: Serbian Cyrillic Letters BE, GHE, DE, PE, TE.

The following table shows the differences between the upright and cursive Cyrillic letters as used in Russian. Cursive glyphs that are bound to confuse beginners (either because of an entirely different look, or because of being a false friend with an entirely different Latin character) are highlighted.

In case your browser does not correctly support cursive Cyrillic forms, you can view an alternative graphical version.
а б в г д е ё ж з и й к л м н о п р с т у ф х ц ч ш щ ъ ы ь э ю я
а б в г д е ё ж з и й к л м н о п р с т у ф х ц ч ш щ ъ ы ь э ю я

[edit] As used in various languages

Image:Cyrillic alphabet distribution map.png
Distribution of the Cyrillic alphabet worldwide. The dark green shows the countries that use Cyrillic as the one main script; the lighter green those that use Cyrillic alongside another official script.

Sounds are indicated using IPA. These are only approximate indicators. While these languages by and large have phonemic orthographies, there are occasional exceptions—for example, Russian его (meaning him/his), which is pronounced [jɪˈvo] instead of [jɪˈgo].

Note that spellings of names may vary, especially Y/J/I, but also GH/G/H and ZH/J.

See also a more complete list of languages using Cyrillic.

[edit] Common letters

The following table lists Cyrillic letters which are used in most national versions of the Cyrillic alphabet. Exceptions and additions for particular languages are noted below.

Common Cyrillic letters
Upright Cursive Name Sound
А а А а A /a/
Б б Б б Be /b/
В в В в Ve /v/
Г г Г г Ge /g/
Д д Д д De /d/
Е е Е е Ye /je/
Ж ж Ж ж Zhe /ʒ/
З з З з Ze /z/
И и И и I /i/
Й й Й й Short I /j/
К к К к Ka /k/
Л л Л л El /l/
М м М м Em /m/
Н н Н н En /n/
О о О о O /o/
П п П п Pe /p/
Р р Р р Er /r/
С с С с Es /s/
Т т Т т Te /t/
У у У у U /u/
Ф ф Ф ф Ef /f/
Х х Х х Kha /x/
Ц ц Ц ц Tse /ʦ/
Ч ч Ч ч Che /ʧ/
Ш ш Ш ш Sha /ʃ/
Щ щ Щ щ Shcha /ʃʧ/
Ь ь Ь ь Soft Sign /ʲ/
Ю ю Ю ю Yu /ju/
Я я Я я Ya /ja/

The soft sign ь is not a letter representing a sound, but modifies the sound of the preceding letter, indicating palatalisation ('softening'). In some languages, a hard sign ъ or apostrophe negates palatalisation.

[edit] Slavic languages

[edit] Belarusian

Main article: Belarusian alphabet
The Belarusian alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з І і Й й
К к Л л М м Н н О о П п Р р С с Т т У у Ў ў
Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я

The Belarusian alphabet displays the following features:

  • Г represents a voiced glottal fricative /ɦ/.
  • Yo (Ё ё) /jo/
  • I resembles the Latin letter I (І, і).
  • U short (Ў, ў) falls between U and Ef. It looks like U (У) with a breve and represents /w/, or like the u part of the diphthong in loud.
  • A combination of sh and ch (ШЧ, шч) is used where those familiar only with Russian and or Ukrainian would expect Shcha (Щ, щ).
  • Yery (Ы ы) /ɨ/
  • E (Э э) /ɛ/
  • An apostrophe is used to indicate de-palatalization of the preceding consonant.
  • The letter combinations Дж дж and Дз дз appear after Д д in the Belarusian alphabet in some publications. These digraphs each represent a single sound: Дж /ʤ/, Дз /ʣ/.

[edit] Bulgarian

Further information: Bulgarian language
The Bulgarian alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ж ж З з И и Й й К к
Л л М м Н н О о П п Р р С с Т т У у Ф ф Х х
Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ Ь ь Ю ю Я я

The Bulgarian alphabet features:

  • (Е) represents /ɛ/ and is called "е" [e].
  • (Щ) represents /ʃt/ and is called "щъ" [ʃtə].
  • (Ъ) represents the schwa /ə/, and is called "ер голям" [ˈer goˈlʲam] ('big er').

Тhe Bulgarian names for the consonants are [bə], [kə], [lə] etc. with stressed schwa instead of [be], [ka], [el] etc.

[edit] Macedonian

Main article: Macedonian alphabet
The Macedonian alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Д д Ѓ ѓ Е е Ж ж З з Ѕ ѕ И и
Ј ј К к Л л Љ љ М м Н н Њ њ О о П п Р р С с
Т т Ќ ќ У у Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Џ џ Ш ш

Macedonian alphabet differs from Serbian in the following ways:

  • Between Ze and I is the letter Dze (Ѕ, ѕ), which looks like the Latin letter S and represents /ʣ/.
  • Djerv is replaced by Gje (Ѓ, ѓ), which looks like Ghe with an acute accent (´) and represents /gʲ/,
  • Tjerv is replaced by Kja (Ќ, ќ), which looks like Ka with an acute accent (´), represents /kʲ/,

[edit] Russian

Main article: Russian alphabet
The Russian alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з И и Й й
К к Л л М м Н н О о П п Р р С с Т т У у Ф ф
Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я
  • Yo (Ё ё) /jo/
  • The Hard Sign¹ (Ъ ъ) indicates no palatalisation²
  • Ɨ (Ы ы) /ɨ/
  • E (Э э) /ɛ/


  1. In the pre-reform Russian orthography, in Old Russian and in Old Church Slavonic the letter is called yer. Historically, the "hard sign" takes the place of a now-absent vowel, still preserved in Bulgarian. See the notes for Bulgarian.
  2. When an iotated vowel (vowel whose sound begins with /j/) follows a consonant, the consonant will become palatalised (the /j/ sound will mix with the consonant), and the vowel’s initial /j/ sound will not be heard independently. The Hard Sign will indicate that this does not happen, and the /j/ sound will appear only in front of the vowel. The Soft Sign will indicate that the consonant should be palatised, but the vowel’s /j/ sound will not mix with the palatalization of the consonant. The Soft Sign will also indicate that a consonant before another consonant or at the end of a word is palatised. Examples: та (ta); тя (tʲa); тья (tʲja); тъя (tja); т (t); ть ().

Historical letters: before 1918, there were four extra letters in use: Іі (replaced by Ии), Ѳѳ (Фита "Fita", replaced by Фф), Ѣѣ (Ять "Yat", replaced by Ее), and Ѵѵ (ижица "Izhitsa", replaced by Ии); these were eliminated by reforms of Russian orthography.

[edit] Rusyn

Further information: Rusyn language

The Rusyn language is spoken by the Lemko Rusyns in Transcarpathian Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, and the Pannonian Rusyns in Serbia.

The Rusyn alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Ґ ґ Д д Е е Є є Ё ё Ж ж З з
И и I і* Ы ы* Ї ї Й й К к Л л М м Н н О о П п
Р р С с Т т У у Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ѣ ѣ
Ю ю Я я Ь ь Ъ ъ*

*Letters not present in Vojvodinian Rusyn alphabet.

[edit] Serbian

Further information: Serbian language
The Serbian alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Д д Ђ ђ Е е Ж ж З з И и Ј ј
К к Л л Љ љ М м Н н Њ њ О о П п Р р С с Т т
Ћ ћ У у Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Џ џ Ш ш

The Serbian alphabet shows the following features:

  • E represents /ɛ/.
  • Between Д and E is the letter Dje (Ђ, ђ), which represents /ʥ/, and looks like Tshe, except that the loop of the h curls farther and dips downwards.
  • Between И and К is the letter Je (Ј, ј), represents /j/, which looks like the Latin letter J.
  • Between Л and М is the letter Lje (Љ, љ), representing /ʎ/, which looks like a ligature of Л and the Soft Sign .
  • Between Н and О is the letter Nje (Њ, њ), representing /ɲ/, which looks like a ligature of Н and the Soft Sign.
  • Between Т and У is the letter Tshe (Ћ, ћ), representing /ʨ/ and looks like a lowercase Latin letter h with a bar. On the uppercase letter, the bar appears at the top; on the lowercase letter, the bar crosses the top at half of the vertical line.
  • Between Ч and Ш is the letter Dzhe (Џ, џ), representing /ʤ/, which looks like Ts but with the downturn moved from the right side of the bottom bar to the middle of the bottom bar.
  • Ш is the last letter.

[edit] Ukrainian

Main article: Ukrainian alphabet
The Ukrainian alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Ґ ґ Д д Е е Є є Ж ж З з И и
І і Ї ї Й й К к Л л М м Н н О о П п Р р С с
Т т У у Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ю ю Я я Ь ь

The Ukrainian alphabet displays the following features:

  • He (Г, г) represents a voiced glottal fricative, (/ɦ/).
  • Ge (Ґ, ґ) appears after He, represents /g/. It looks like He with an "upturn" pointing up from the right side of the top bar. (This letter was not officially used in the Soviet Union after 1933, so it is missing from older Cyrillic fonts.)
  • E (Е, е) represents /e/ .
  • Ye (Є, є) appears after E, represents /je/.
  • Y (И, и) represents /ɪ/.
  • I (І, і) appears after Y, represents /i/.
  • Yi (Ї, ї) appears after I, represents /ji/.
  • Yot (Й, й) represents /j/.
  • Shcha (Щ, щ) represents ʃʧ.
  • An apostrophe (’) is used to mark de-palatalization of the preceding consonant.

[edit] Non-Slavic languages

These alphabets are generally modelled after Russian, but often bear striking differences, particularly when adapted for Caucasian languages. The first few of them were generated by Orthodox missionaries for the Finnic and Turkic peoples of Idel-Ural (Mari, Udmurt, Mordva, Chuvash, Kerashen Tatars) in 1870s. Later such alphabets were created for some of the Siberian and Caucasus peoples who had recently converted to Christianity. In the 1930s, some of those alphabets were switched to the Uniform Turkic Alphabet. All of the peoples of the former Soviet Union who had been using an Arabic or other Asian script (Mongolian script, etc.) also adopted Cyrillic alphabets, and during the Great Purge in late 1930s, all of the Roman-based alphabets of the peoples of the Soviet Union (with the exception of the Baltic alphabets) were switched over to Cyrillic as well. The Abkhazian alphabet was switched to Georgian script, but after the death of Stalin, Abkhaz also adopted Cyrillic. The last language to adopt Cyrillic was the Gagauz language, which had used Greek script before.

In Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, the use of Cyrillic to represent local languages has often been a politically controversial issue since the collapse of the Soviet Union, as it evokes the era of Soviet rule (see Russification). Some of Russia's languages have also tried to drop Cyrillic, but the move was halted under Russian law (see Tatar alphabet). A number of languages have switched from Cyrillic to other orthographies—either Roman-based or returning to a former script.

Unlike the Roman alphabet, which is usually adapted to different languages by using additions to existing letters such as accents, umlauts, tildes and cedillas, the Cyrillic alphabet is usually adapted by the creation of entirely new letter shapes. In some alphabets invented in the nineteenth century, such as Mari, Udmurt and Chuvash, umlauts and breves also were used.

Bulgarian and Bosnian Sephardim lacking Hebrew typefaces occasionally printed Judeo-Spanish in Cyrillic.<ref> Šmid (2002), pp 113-124: "Es interesante el hecho que en Bulgaria se imprimieron unas pocas publicaciones en alfabeto cirílico búlgaro y en Grecia en alfabeto griego.... Nezirović (1992: 128) anota que también en Bosnia se ha encontrado un documento en que la lengua sefardí está escrita en alfabeto cirilico." Translation: "It is an interesting fact that in Bulgaria a few [Sephardic] publications are printed in the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet and in Greece in the Greek alphabet.... Nezirović (1992:128) writes that in Bosnia a document has also been found in which the Sephardic language is written in the Cyrillic alphabet."</ref>

[edit] Iranian languages

[edit] Ossetian
Further information: Ossetic language

The Ossetic language has officially used the Cyrillic alphabet since 1937.

Ossetian Cyrillic alphabet
А а Ӕ ӕ Б б В в Г г Гъ гъ Д д Дж дж Дз дз Е е Ё ё
Ж ж З з И и Й й К к Къ къ Л л М м Н н О о П п
Пъ пъ Р р С с Т т Тъ тъ У у Ф ф Х х Хъ хъ Ц ц Цъ цъ
Ч ч Чъ чъ Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я
[edit] Tajik
Main article: Tajik alphabet

The Tajik language (or rather the Tajik dialect of Persian) is written using a Cyrillic-based alphabet.

Tajik Cyrillic alphabet
А а Б б Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з И и Й й К к
Л л М м Н н О о П п Р р С с Т т У у Ф ф Х х
Ч ч Ш ш Ъ ъ Э э Ю ю Я я Ғ ғ Ӣ ӣ Қ қ Ӯ ӯ Ҳ ҳ
Ҷ ҷ

[edit] Moldovan

Main article: Moldovan alphabet

The Moldovan language used the Cyrillic alphabet between 1946 and 1989. Nowadays, this alphabet is still official in the unrecognized republic of Transnistria.

[edit] Mongolian

The Mongolic languages include Khalkha (in Mongolia), Buryat (around Lake Baikal) and Kalmyk (northwest of the Caspian Sea). Khalkha Mongolian is also written with the Mongol vertical alphabet, which is being slowly reintroduced in Mongolia.

[edit] Overview

This table contains all the characters used.

Һһ is shown twice as it appears at two different location in Buryat and Kalmyk

Khalkha Аа Бб Вв Гг Дд Ее Ёё Жж Зз Ии Йй Кк Лл Мм Нн Оо
Buryat Аа Бб Вв Гг Дд Ее Ёё Жж Зз Ии Йй Лл Мм Нн Оо
Kalmyk Аа Әә Бб Вв Гг Һһ Дд Ее Жж Җҗ Зз Ии Йй Кк Лл Мм Нн Ңң Оо
Khalkha Өө Пп Рр Сс Тт Уу Үү Фф Хх Цц Чч Шш Щщ Ъъ Ыы Ьь Ээ Юю Яя
Buryat Өө Пп Рр Сс Тт Уу Үү Хх Һһ Цц Чч Шш Ыы Ьь Ээ Юю Яя
Kalmyk Өө Пп Рр Сс Тт Уу Үү Хх Цц Чч Шш Ьь Ээ Юю Яя
[edit] Khalkha
The Khalkha Mongolian alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з И и Й й
К к Л л М м Н н О о Ө ө П п Р р С с Т т У у
Ү ү Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ Ы ы Ь ь Э э
Ю ю Я я
  • В в = /w/
  • Е е = /jɛ/, /jœ/
  • Ё ё = /jo/
  • Ж ж = /ʤ/
  • З з = /ʣ/
  • Н н = /n-/, /-ŋ/
  • Ө ө = /œ/
  • Ү ү = /y/
  • Ы ы = /iː/ (after a hard consonant)
  • Ь ь = /ĭ/ (extra short)
  • Ю ю = /ju/, /jy/

The Cyrillic letters Кк, Фф and Щщ are not used in native Mongolian words, but only for Russian loans.

[edit] Buryat

The Buryat (буряад) Cyrillic alphabet is similar to the Khalkha above, but Ьь indicates palatalization as in Russian. Buryat does not use Вв, Кк, Фф, Цц, Чч, Щщ or Ъъ in its native words.

The Buryat Mongolian alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з И и Й й
Л л М м Н н О о Ө ө П п Р р С с Т т У у Ү ү
Х х Һ һ Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я
  • Е е = /jɛ/, /jœ/
  • Ё ё = /jo/
  • Ж ж = /ʤ/
  • Н н = /n-/, /-ŋ/
  • Ө ө = /œ/
  • Ү ү = /y/
  • Һ һ = /h/
  • Ы ы = /ei/, /iː/
  • Ю ю = /ju/, /jy/
[edit] Kalmyk

The Kalmyk (хальмг) Cyrillic alphabet is similar to the Khalkha, but the letters Ээ, Юю and Яя appear only word-initially. In Kalmyk, long vowels are written double in the first syllable (нөөрин), but single in syllables after the first. Short vowels are omitted altogether in syllables after the first syllable (хальмг = /xaʎmag/).

The Kalmyk Mongolian alphabet
А а Ә ә Б б В в Г г Һ һ Д д Е е Ж ж Җ җ З з
И и Й й К к Л л М м Н н Ң ң О о Ө ө П п Р р
С с Т т У у Ү ү Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Ь ь Э э Ю ю
Я я
  • Ә ә = /æ/
  • В в = /w/
  • Һ һ = /ɣ/
  • Е е = /ɛ/, /jɛ-/
  • Җ җ = /ʤ/
  • Ң ң = /ŋ/
  • Ө ө = /œ/
  • Ү ү = /y/

[edit] Northwest Caucasian languages

Living Northwest Caucasian languages are generally written using adaptations of the Cyrillic alphabet.

[edit] Abkhaz
Main article: Abkhaz alphabet

Abkhaz is a Caucasian language, spoken in the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia.

The Abkhaz alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Гь гь Ҕ ҕ Ҕь ҕь Д д Дә дә Џ џ Џь џь
Е е Ҽ ҽ Ҿ ҿ Ж ж Жь жь Жә жә З з Ӡ ӡ Ӡә ӡә И и Й й
К к Кь кь Қ қ Қь қь Ҟ ҟ Ҟь ҟь Л л М м Н н О о Ҩ ҩ
П п Ҧ ҧ Р р С с Т т Тә тә Ҭ ҭ Ҭә ҭә У у Ф ф Х х
Хь хь Ҳ ҳ Ҳә ҳә Ц ц Цә цә Ҵ ҵ Ҵә ҵә Ч ч Ҷ ҷ Ш ш Шь шь
Шә шә Щ щ Ы ы

[edit] Turkic languages

[edit] Azerbaijani
Main article: Azerbaijani alphabet

The Cyrillic alphabet was used for the Azerbaijani language from 1939 to 1991.

[edit] Bashkir

The Cyrillic alphabet was used for the Bashkir language after the winter of 1938.

The Bashkir alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Ғ ғ Д д Ҙ ҙ Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з
И и Й й К к Ҡ ҡ Л л М м Н н Ң ң О о Ө ө П п
Р р С с Ҫ ҫ Т т У у Ү ү Ф ф Х х Һ һ Ц ц Ч ч
Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ә ә Ю ю Я я
[edit] Chuvash

The Cyrillic alphabet is used for the Chuvash language since the late 19th century, with some changes in 1938.

The Chuvash alphabet
А а Ӑ ӑ Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ӗ ӗ Ж ж З з
И и Й й К к Л л М м Н н О о П п Р р С с Ҫ ҫ
Т т У у Ӳ ӳ Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ Ы ы
Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я
[edit] Kazakh

Kazakh is also written with the Latin alphabet (in Turkey, but not in Kazakhstan), and modified Arabic alphabet (in the People's Republic of China, Iran and Afghanistan).

The Kazakh alphabet
А а Ә ә Б б В в Г г Ғ ғ Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з
И и Й й К к Қ қ Л л М м Н н Ң ң О о Ө ө П п
Р р С с Т т У у Ұ ұ Ү ү Ф ф Х х Һ һ Ц ц Ч ч
Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ Ы ы İ і Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я

The Cyrillic letters Вв, Ёё, Цц, Чч, Щщ, Ъъ, Ьь and Ээ are not used in native Kazakh words, but only for Russian loans.

[edit] Kyrgyz

Kyrgyz has also been written in Latin and in Arabic.

The Kyrgyz alphabet
А а Б б Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з И и Й й К к
Л л М м Н н Ң ң О о Ө ө П п Р р С с Т т У у
Ү ү Х х Ч ч Ш ш Ы ы Э э Ю ю Я я
[edit] Uzbek

The Cyrillic alphabet is still used most often for the Uzbek language, although the government has adopted a version of the Latin alphabet to replace it. The deadline for making this transition has however been repeatedly changed. The latest deadline was supposed to be 2005, but was shifted once again a few more years. Some scholars are not convinced that the transition will be made at all.

The Uzbek Cyrillic alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з И и Й й К к
Л л М м Н н О о П п Р р С с Т т У у Ф ф Х х Ч ч
Ш ш Ъ ъ Э э Ю ю Я я Ў ў Қ қ Ғ ғ Ҳ ҳ
  • В в = /w/
  • Ж ж = /ʤ/
  • Ф ф = /ɸ/
  • Х х = /χ/
  • Ъ ъ = /ʔ/
  • Ў ў = /ø/
  • Қ қ = /q/
  • Ғ ғ = /ʁ/
  • Ҳ ҳ = /h/

[edit] Romanization

There are various systems for Romanization of Cyrillic text, including transliteration to convey Cyrillic spelling in Latin characters, and transcription to convey pronunciation.

Standard Cyrillic-to-Latin transliteration systems include:

Serbian is written in both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. There is also a Latin alphabet for Belarusian, and some non-Slavic languages, such as Azerbaijani, Uzbek or Moldavian have confronted permanent romanization after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In Serbian there is a one-to-one correspondence between Vuk Karadžić's Serbian Cyrillic and Ljudevit Gaj's Croatian Gajica (derived from the Czech alphabet. See Serbo-Croatian language#Writing systems.) The Belarusian Latin alphabet is traditionally based on Polish and is called Łacinka, but, because of the political realities in the former USSR, Belarusian is usually romanized by analogy to Russian.

See also:

External links:

  • Transliteration of Non-Roman Scripts, a collection of writing systems and transliteration tables, by Thomas T. Pederson. Includes PDF reference charts for many languages' transliteration systems.

[edit] Computer encoding

Further information: Cyrillic characters in Unicode
Cyrillic characters in Unicode chart (PDF)
430 абвгдежзийклмноп
440 рстуфхцчшщъыьэюя
450 ѐёђѓєѕіїјљњћќѝўџ
460 ѠѡѢѣѤѥѦѧѨѩѪѫѬѭѮѯ
470 ѰѱѲѳѴѵѶѷѸѹѺѻѼѽѾѿ
480 Ҁҁ҂҃҄҅Ӽ҈҉ҊҋҌҍҎҏ
490 ҐґҒғҔҕҖҗҘҙҚқҜҝҞҟ
4A0 ҠҡҢңҤҥҦҧҨҩҪҫҬҭҮү
4B0 ҰұҲҳҴҵҶҷҸҹҺһҼҽҾҿ
4C0 ӀӁӂӃӄӅӆӇӈӉӊӋӌӍӎ
4D0 ӐӑӒӓӔӕӖӗӘәӚӛӜӝӞӟ
4E0 ӠӡӢӣӤӥӦӧӨөӪӫӬӭӮӯ
4F0 ӰӱӲӳӴӵӶӷӸӹӺӻӼӽӾӿ
500 ԀԁԂԃԄԅԆԇԈԉԊԋԌԍԎԏ
510 ԐԑԒԓԔԕԖԗԘԙԚԛԜԝԞԟ
520 ԠԡԢԣԤԥԦԧԨԩԪԫԬԭԮԯ

In Unicode, the Cyrillic block extends from U+0400 to U+052F. The characters in the range U+0400 to U+045F are basically the characters from ISO 8859-5 moved upward by 864 positions. The characters in the range U+0460 to U+0489 are historic letters, not used now. The characters in the range U+048A to U+052F are additional letters for various languages that are written with Cyrillic script.

Unicode does not include accented Cyrillic letters, but they can be combined by adding U+0301 ("combining acute accent") after the accented vowel (e.g., ы́ э́ ю́ я́). Some languages, including modern Church Slavonic, are still not fully supported.

Punctuation for Cyrillic text is similar to that used in European Latin-alphabet languages.

Other character encoding systems for Cyrillic:

[edit] Keyboard layouts

Cyrillic keyboard layouts:

[edit] Russian

Image:KB Russian.svg

People who do not have a Cyrillic keyboard sometimes use a phonetic (transliterated) layout where 'А' is obtained by pressing 'A', Russian 'Б' by pressing 'B', 'Д' by pressing 'D', 'О' by pressing 'O' etc. See also Russian keyboard: standard and phonetic.

[edit] Bulgarian

Image:Keyboard Layout Bulgarian BDS.png

The Bulgarian BDS layout.

Image:Keyboard Layout Bulgarian Phonetic.png

The Bulgarian Phonetic layout. Although not standard, this layout is widespread because of its similarity to the QWERTY layout. It is a Phonetic not Transliteration layout, and produces cyrillic symbols.

Both layouts are in widespread use.

Transliteration using Roman script is used only in informal electronic written communication, mainly because of a long history of compatibility issues with different encodings, history of lack of native OS support and user laziness.

[edit] Notes


[edit] References

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Letters of the Cyrillic alphabet
Ge upturn
Ukrainian Ye
Ukrainian I
Short I
U short
Hard sign (Yer)
Soft sign (Yeri)
Cyrillic Non-Slavic Letters
Cyrillic Schwa
Bashkir Qa
Barred O
Straight U
Straight U
with stroke
Cyrillic Archaic Letters
A iotified
E iotified
Yus small
Yus big
Yus small iotified
Yus big iotified
Izhitsa okovy

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Cyrillic alphabet

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