Cyrillic alphabet

Alphabet used for Russian, Serbian (see Serbo-Croatian language), Bulgarian and Macedonian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and many non-Slavic languages of the former Soviet Union, as well as Khalka Mongolian (see Mongolian language).

The history of the Cyrillic alphabet is complex and much disputed. It is clearly derived from 9th-century Greek uncial capital letters, with the non-Greek letters probably taken from the Glagolitic alphabet, a highly original alphabet in which (along with Cyrillic) Old Church Slavonic was written. A commonly held hypothesis is that followers of Sts. Cyril and Methodius developed Cyrillic in the southern Balkans around the end of the 9th century. The 44 original Cyrillic letters were reduced in number in most later alphabets used for vernacular languages, and some wholly original letters introduced, particularly for non-Slavic languages.

* * *

      writing system developed in the 9th–10th century AD for Slavic-speaking peoples of the Eastern Orthodox faith; it is the alphabet currently used for Russian and other languages of the republics that once formed the Soviet Union and for Bulgarian and Serbian. Based on the medieval Greek uncial script, the Cyrillic alphabet was probably invented by later followers of the 9th-century “apostles to the Slavs,” St. Cyril (or Constantine), for whom it was named, and St. Methodius. As the Slavic languages were richer in sounds than Greek, 43 letters were originally provided to represent them; the added letters were modifications or combinations of Greek letters, or (in the case of the Cyrillic letters for ts, sh, and ch) they were based on Hebrew. The earliest literature written in Cyrillic was a translation of the Bible and various church texts.

      The modern Cyrillic alphabets—Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Serbian—have been modified somewhat from the original, generally by the loss of some superfluous letters. Modern Russian has 32 letters (33, with inclusion of the soft sign—not strictly a letter), Bulgarian 30, Serbian 30, and Ukrainian 32 (33). Modern Russian Cyrillic has also been adapted to many non-Slavic languages, sometimes with the addition of special letters.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cyrillic alphabet — Infobox Writing system |name=Cyrillic alphabet type=Alphabet time=Earliest variants exist circa 940 languages=Many East and South Slavic languages, and almost all languages in the former Soviet Union (see Languages using Cyrillic) fam1=Phoenician …   Wikipedia

  • Cyrillic alphabet —  Alphabet widely used for Slavonic languages. It is named after St. Cyril, who is popularly credited with its invention. Some of the characters vary slightly between Russian, Bulgarian, and other languages …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Cyrillic alphabet — noun an alphabet derived from the Greek alphabet and used for writing Slavic languages (Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and some other Slavic languages) • Syn: ↑Cyrillic • Derivationally related forms: ↑Cyrillic …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cyrillic alphabet — noun An alphabet developed in the 9th century<ref name= Paul Cubberley 1996 >Paul Cubberley (1996) The Slavic Alphabets . In Daniels and Bright, eds. The Worlds Writing Systems. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0 19 507993 0.</ref> in… …   Wiktionary

  • Cyrillic alphabet — /sərɪlɪk ˈælfəbɛt/ (say suhrilik alfuhbet) noun an old Slavic alphabet based mainly on Greek uncials, originally used for writing Old Church Slavonic and adopted with some modifications for the writing of Russian and some other Slavic languages… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Cyrillic alphabet — Кириллица, древнеславянская азбука; Шрифт для славянских языков …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • Cyrillic alphabet variants — This is a list of national variants of the Cyrillic alphabet.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,… …   Wikipedia

  • Early Cyrillic alphabet — Type Alphabet Languages Old Church Slavonic, Church Slavonic, old versions of many Slavic languages …   Wikipedia

  • Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet — Moldovan Type Alphabet Languages Moldovan/Romanian Time period ca. 1930–today Parent systems Phoenician alphabet …   Wikipedia

  • Serbian Cyrillic alphabet — The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet ( sr. српска/Вукова ћирилица, srpska/Vukova ćirilica , literally Serbian/Vuk s Cyrillic alphabet ) is the official and traditional alphabet used to write the Serbian language. It is an adaptation of the Cyrillic… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.