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Cyrillic alphabet
Romanian-kirilitza-tatal-nostru.jpg
Type Alphabet
Spoken languages Many East and South Slavic languages, and almost all languages in the former Soviet Union (see Languages using Cyrillic)
Time period Earliest variants exist circa 940
Parent systems
Sister systems Latin alphabet
Coptic alphabet
Armenian alphabet
Glagolitic alphabet
Unicode range U+0400 to U+04FF
U+0500 to U+052F
U+2DE0 to U+2DFF
U+A640 to U+A69F
ISO 15924 Cyrl
Cyrs (Old Church Slavonic variant)
Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.

The Cyrillic (pronounced /sɨˈrɪlɪk/) script writing system is an alphabet developed in the 9th century[1] in Bulgaria, and used in the Slavic national languages of Belarusian, Bulgarian, Russian, Rusyn, Bosnian, Serbian, Macedonian, and Ukrainian, and in the non-Slavic languages of Moldovan, Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Tuvan, and Mongolian. It also was used in past languages of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Siberia.

The Cyrillic alphabet is also known as azbuka, derived from the old names of the first two letters of most variant Cyrillic alphabets. Since the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union on 1 January 2007, Cyrillic became the third official alphabet of the European Union, following the Latin and Greek alphabets.

Cyrillic is one of the two alphabets (together with Glagolitic) used in the Church Slavonic language, especially the Old Church Slavonic variant (see Early Cyrillic alphabet). Hence, expressions such as “И is the tenth letter of the Cyrillic alphabet” typically denote that meaning; moreover, not every Cyrillic-based language uses every letter of the alphabet.

Contents

History

A page from Azbuka, the first Russian textbook, printed by Ivan Fyodorov in 1574. This page features the Cyrillic alphabet.

The Cyrillic alphabet was based on the Greek uncial script, augmented by ligatures and consonants from the older Glagolitic alphabet for sounds not found in Greek. Tradition holds that Cyrillic and Glagolitic were formalized either by the two Greek [2][3][4] brothers born in Thessaloniki, Saints Cyril and Methodius who brought Christianity to the southern Slavs, or by their disciples.[2][3][4]. Paul Cubberly posits that while Cyril may have codified and expanded Glagolitic, it was his students at the Preslav Literary School in the First Bulgarian Empire that developed Cyrillic from Greek in the 890s as a more suitable script for church books.[5] Later the alphabet spread among other Slavic peoples - Russians, Serbs and others, as well as among non-Slavic Vlachs and Moldavians.

The Cyrillic alphabet came to dominate over Glagolitic in the 12th century. The literature produced in the Old Bulgarian language soon began spreading north and became the lingua franca of Eastern Europe where it came to also be known as Old Church Slavonic.[6][7][8][9][10] The alphabet used for the 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 East and South Slavic territories, it was adopted for writing local languages, such as Old Russian. Its adaptation to the characteristics of local languages led to the development of its many modern variants, below.

The early Cyrillic alphabet
А Б В Г Д Е Ж Ѕ З И І
К Л М Н О П Ҁ Р С Т Ѹ
Ф Х Ѡ Ц Ч Ш Щ Ъ Ь Ѣ
Ѥ Ю Ѧ Ѫ Ѩ Ѭ Ѯ Ѱ Ѳ Ѵ

Capital and lowercase letters were not distinguished in old manuscripts.

A page from the Church Slavonic Grammar of Meletius Smotrytsky (1619).

Yeri (Ы) was originally a ligature of Yer and I (Ꙑ). Iotation was indicated by ligatures formed with the letter I: (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 ⁄ ОУ=Ѹ, ѠТ=Ѿ.

The letters also had numeric values, based not on the native Cyrillic alphabetical order, but inherited from the letters' Greek ancestors.

Cyrillic numerals
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
А В Г Д Е Ѕ З И Ѳ
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
І К Л М Н Ѯ О П Ч
100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900
Р С Т Ѵ Ф Х Ѱ Ѡ Ц

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. In accordance with Unicode policy, the standard does not include letterform variations or ligatures found in manuscript sources unless they can be shown to conform to the Unicode definition of a character.

The Unicode 5.1 standard, released on 4 April 2008, greatly improves computer support for the early Cyrillic and the modern Church Slavonic language.

Letterforms 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 letterforms are not as differentiated as in Latin typography. Upright Cyrillic lowercase letters are essentially small capitals (with exceptions: Cyrillic а, е, p, and y adopted Western lowercase shapes, lowercase ф is typically designed under the influence of Latin p, lowercase б is a traditional handwritten form), although a good-quality Cyrillic typeface will still include separate small-caps glyphs.[11]

Comparison of some upright and hand-written letters (Ge, De, I, I kratkoye, Em, Te and Tse. Top row is set in Georgia font, bottom in Kisty CY)

Cyrillic fonts, as well as Latin ones, have roman and italic variants (practically all popular modern fonts include parallel sets of Latin and Cyrillic letters, where many glyphs, uppercase as well as lowercase, are simply shared by both). However, the native font terminology in Slavic languages (for example, in Russian) does not use the words "roman" and "italic" in this sense.[12] Instead, the nomenclature follows German naming patterns:

  • A roman-style font (Cyrillic, Latin, Greek...) is simply called pryamoy shrift ("upright font")—compare with Normalschrift ("regular font") in German
  • An italic font is called kursiv (literally "cursive") or kursivniy shrift ("cursive font")—from the German word Kursive, meaning italic typefaces and not actual cursive
  • Cursive handwriting is rukopisniy shrift ("hand-written font") in Russian—in German: Kurrentschrift or Laufschrift, both meaning literally ‘running font’

Similarly to the Latin fonts, italic and handwritten shapes of many Cyrillic letters (typically lowercase; uppercase only for hand-written or stylish types) are very different from their upright shapes. In certain cases, the correspondence between uppercase and lowercase glyphs does not coincide in Latin and Cyrillic fonts: for example, handwritten Cyrillic m is a possible lowercase counterpart of T instead of M.

The standard Cyrillic letters compared to the ones used in Serbian, in regular shape and italic/cursive

As in Latin typography, a sans-serif face may have a mechanically-sloped oblique font (naklonniy shrift—"sloped," or "slanted font") instead of italic.

A boldfaced font is called poluzhirniy shrift ("semi-bold font"), because there existed fully-boldfaced shapes which are out of use since the beginning of the twentieth century.

A bold italic combination (bold slanted) does not exist for all font families.

In Serbian, as well as in Bulgarian and Macedonian, some italic and cursive letters are different from those used in other languages. These letter shapes are often used in upright fonts as well, especially for advertisements, road signs, inscriptions, posters and the like, less so in newspapers or books. The Cyrillic lowercase B, б, has a slightly different design both in the regular and italic/cursive shape, which is similar to the lowercase Greek letter Delta, δ.

The following table shows the differences between the upright and italic or cursive Cyrillic letters as used in Russian. Those entirely different from their analogues are highlighted.

Also available as a graphical image.
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

Note: in some fonts or styles small cursive Cyrillic д (д) may look like Latin g and small cursive Cyrillic т (т) may look exactly like a capital cursive T (T), only small.

As used in various languages

Distribution of the Cyrillic alphabet worldwide. This map shows the countries in the world that use the Cyrillic alphabet as the official script in dark green and as one of multiple official languages in light green.

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

Note that transliterated spellings of names may vary, especially y/j/i, but also gh/g/h and zh/j.

Derived alphabets

The first alphabet partly derived from Cyrillic is Abur, applied to the Komi language. Other writing systems derived from Cyrillic were applied to Caucasian languages and the Molodtsov alphabet for Komi language.

Relationship to other writing systems

Latin alphabet

A number of languages written in the Cyrillic alphabet have also been written in the Latin alphabet, such as Serbo-Croatian, Azerbaijani, Uzbek and Moldavian. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, official status shifted in some of the former republics from Cyrillic to Latin. The transition is complete in most of Moldova (except Transnistria, where Cyrillic is official) and Azerbaijan, but Uzbekistan still uses both systems. Russia mandated a law that all recognized must be written only in Cyrillic, to try to bring them closer to Russia's statehood. This became controversial in for many languages, and with many, such as Chechen and Ingush, extremely political. In the case of Chechen, the separatist government mandated a Latin script (which, in fact, is noted by many observers such as Johanna Nichols to be a much better representation of the language), which is still used by many Chechens, especially those in the diaspora, who refuse to adopt the Cyrillic alphabet, which they associate with Russian imperialism.

Serbia also uses both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.

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:

See also romanization of Belarusian, Bulgarian, Kyrgyz, Russian, Macedonian and Ukrainian.

Cyrillization

Representing other writing systems with Cyrillic letters is called Cyrillization.

Computer encoding

In Unicode 5.1, letters of the Cyrillic alphabet, including national and historical varieties, are represented by four blocks:

  • Cyrillic 0400–04FF
  • Cyrillic Supplement 0500–052F
  • Cyrillic Extended-A 2DE0–2DFF
  • Cyrillic Extended-B A640–A69F

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 as a general rule does not include accented Cyrillic letters. Few exceptions are:

  • combinations that are considered as separate letters of respective alphabets, like Й, Ў, Ё, Ї, Ѓ, Ќ (as well as many letters of non-slavic alphabets);
  • two most frequent combinations orthographically required to distinguish homonyms in Bulgarian and Macedonian: Ѐ, Ѝ;
  • few Old and New Church Slavonic combinations: Ѷ, Ѿ, Ѽ.

To indicate stressed or long vowels, combining diacritical marks can be used after respective letter (for example, "combining acute accent" U+0301: ы́ э́ ю́ я́ etc.).

Some languages, including Church Slavonic, are still not fully supported.

Unicode 5.1, released on 4 April 2008, introduces major changes to the Cyrillic blocks. Revisions to the existing Cyrillic blocks, and the addition of Cyrillic Extended A (2DE0...2DFF) and Cyrillic Extended B (A640...A69F), significantly improve support for the early Cyrillic alphabet, Abkhaz, Aleut, Chuvash, Kurdish, and Mordvin.[13]

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

Other character encoding systems for Cyrillic:

  • CP866 – 8-bit Cyrillic character encoding established by Microsoft for use in MS-DOS also known as GOST-alternative. Cyrillic characters go in their native order, with a "window" for pseudographic characters.
  • ISO/IEC 8859-5 – 8-bit Cyrillic character encoding established by International Organization for Standardization
  • KOI8-R – 8-bit native Russian character encoding. Invented in the USSR for use on Soviet clones of American IBM and DEC computers. The Cyrillic characters go in the order of their Latin counterparts, which allowed the text to remain readable after transmission via a 7bit line which removed the senior bit from each byte - the result became a very rough, but readable, Latin transliteration of Cyrillic. Standard encoding of early 90ies for UNIX systems and the first Russian Internet encoding.
  • KOI8-U – KOI8-R with addition of Ukrainian letters
  • MIK – 8-bit native Bulgarian character encoding for use in DOS
  • Windows-1251 – 8-bit Cyrillic character encoding established by Microsoft for use in Microsoft Windows. The simplest 8bit Cyrillic encoding - 32 capital chars in native order at 0xc0-0xdf, 32 usual chars at 0xe0-0xff, with rarely used "YO" characters somewhere else. No pseudographics. Former standard encoding in some Linux distributions for Belarusian and Bulgarian, but currently displaced by UTF-8.
  • GOST-main
  • GB 2312 - Principally simplified Chinese encodings, but there are also basic 33 Russian Cyrillic letters (in upper- and lower-case).
  • JIS and Shift JIS - Principally Japanese encodings, but there are also basic 33 Russian Cyrillic letters (in upper- and lower-case).

Keyboard layouts

Each language has its own standard keyboard layout, adopted from typewriters. With the flexibility of computer input methods, there are also transliterating or phonetic/homophonic[14] keyboard layouts made for typists who are more familiar with other layouts, like the common English qwerty keyboard. When practical Cyrillic keyboard layouts or fonts are not available, computer users sometimes use transliteration or look-alike "volapuk" encoding to type languages which are normally written with the Cyrillic alphabet.

See Keyboard layouts for non-Roman alphabetic scripts.

See also

References

  1. ^ Paul Cubberley (1996) "The Slavic Alphabets". In Daniels and Bright, eds. The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507993-0.
  2. ^ a b Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05, s.v. "Cyril and Methodius, Saints"; Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica Incorporated, Warren E. Preece - 1972, p.846, s.v., "Cyril and Methodius, Saints" and "Eastern Orthodoxy, Missions ancient and modern"; Encyclopedia of World Cultures, David H. Levinson, 1991, p.239, s.v., "Social Science"; Eric M. Meyers, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, p.151, 1997; Lunt, Slavic Review, June, 1964, p. 216; Roman Jakobson, Crucial problems of Cyrillo-Methodian Studies; Leonid Ivan Strakhovsky, A Handbook of Slavic Studies, p.98; V. Bogdanovich, History of the ancient Serbian literature, Belgrade, 1980, p.119
  3. ^ a b The Columbia Encyclopaedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05, O.Ed. Saints Cyril and Methodius "Cyril and Methodius, Saints) 869 and 884, respectively, “Greek missionaries, brothers, called Apostles to the Slavs and fathers of Slavonic literature."
  4. ^ a b Encyclopedia Britannica, Major alphabets of the world, Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets, 2008, O.Ed. "The two early Slavic alphabets, the Cyrillic and the Glagolitic, were invented by St. Cyril, or Constantine (c. 827–869), and St. Methodius (c. 825–884). These men from Thessaloniki who became apostles to the southern Slavs, whom they converted to Christianity."
  5. ^ Paul Cubberley (1996) "The Slavic Alphabets". In Daniels and Bright, eds. The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507993-0.
  6. ^ "On the relationship of old Church Slavonic to the written language of early Rus'" Horace G. Lunt; Russian Linguistics, Volume 11, Numbers 2-3 / January, 1987
  7. ^ Schenker, Alexander (1995). The Dawn of Slavic. Yale University Press. pp. 185–186, 189–190. 
  8. ^ Lunt, Horace. Old Church Slavonic Grammar. Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 3–4. 
  9. ^ Wien, Lysaght (1983). Old Church Slavonic (Old Bulgarian)-Middle Greek-Modern English dictionary. Verlag Bruder Hollinek. 
  10. ^ Benjamin W. Fortson. Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, p. 374
  11. ^ 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).
  12. ^ Name ital'yanskiy shrift (Italian font) in Russian refers to a particular font family [1], whereas rimskiy shrift (roman font) is just a synonym for Latin font, Latin alphabet.
  13. ^ n3194r-cyrillic
  14. ^ http://Phonetic.WinRus.com

External links

Letters of the Cyrillic alphabet (see also Cyrillic digraphs)
А
A
Б
Be
В
Ve
Г
Ge
Ґ
Ge upturn
Д
De
Ђ
Dje
Ѓ
Gje
Е
Ye
Ё
Yo
Є
Ye
Ж
Zhe
З
Ze
Ѕ
Dze
И
I
І
Dotted I
Ї
Yi
Й
Short I
Ј
Je
К
Ka
Л
El
Љ
Lje
М
Em
Н
En
Њ
Nje
О
O
П
Pe
Р
Er
С
Es
Т
Te
Ћ
Tshe
Ќ
Kje
У
U
Ў
Short U
Ф
Ef
Х
Kha
Ц
Tse
Ч
Che
Џ
Dzhe
Ш
Sha
Щ
Shcha
Ъ
Hard sign (Yer)
Ы
Yery
Ь
Soft sign (Yeri)
Э
E
Ю
Yu
Я
Ya
Cyrillic non-slavic letters
Ӏ
Palochka
Ә
Cyrillic Schwa
Ғ
Ayn
Ҙ
Dhe
Ҡ
Bashkir Qa
Қ
Qaf
Ң
Ng
Ө
Barred O
Ү
Straight U
Ұ
Straight U
with stroke
Һ
He
Cyrillic archaic letters

A iotified
Ѥ
E iotified
Ѧ
Yus small
Ѫ
Yus big
Ѩ
Yus small iotified
Ѭ
Yus big iotified
Ѯ
Ksi
Ѱ
Psi
Ѳ
Fita
Ѵ
Izhitsa
Ѷ
Izhitsa okovy
Ҁ
Koppa
Ѹ
Uk
Ѡ
Omega
Ѿ
Ot
Ѣ
Yat

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Contents

English

Etymology

Cyrillic + alphabet. Named after Saint Cyril (Ancient Greek Κύριλλος (Kurillos)), who devised a predecessor to Cyrillic script, the Glagolitic alphabet.

Proper noun

Singular
Cyrillic alphabet

Plural
Cyrillic alphabets

Cyrillic alphabet (plural Cyrillic alphabets)

  1. An alphabet devised for writing the Old Church Slavonic liturgical language, and its adaptations used for several Slavic and other languages of Eastern Europe and Asia.

Synonyms

Translations

See also


Simple English

The Cyrillic alphabet (pronounced 'sih-ril-ic') is a native slavic alphabet. Now it used by the Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Rusyn, Bulgarian, Macedonian and in all Serbo-Croatian languages. It was required by Soviet Union for many non-slavic nations in Caucasus, Siberia and in North of Russia. This is the Cyrillic alphabet in print and handwriting:

If your browser does not support Cyrillic text, see this graphical version.
а б в г д е ё ж з и й ј к л м н о п р с т у ф х һ ц ч џ ш щ ъ ы ь э ю я
а б в г д е ё ж з и й ј к л м н о п р с т у ф х һ ц ч џ ш щ ъ ы ь э ю я

The Cyrillic alphabet was invented by Clement of Ohrid who was taught by monks named Kyrillos and Methodios in the 9th century. Clement called his alphabet by name of his teacher "Kyrill" (Latin Cyrillus). It is based on Greek alphabet. Before the Cyrillic alphabet slavic people used the Glagolitic alphabet.

Other pages

bjn:Abjad Sirilikkrc:Кириллица









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