Ze (Cyrillic)

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Not to be confused with the Arabic numeral 3, the letter yogh (Ȝ), or the letter ezh (Ʒ).
Cyrillic letter Ze
Cyrillic letter Ze - uppercase and lowercase.svg
Numeric value: 7
The Cyrillic script
Slavic letters
А Б В Г Ґ Д
Ђ Ѓ Е Ѐ Ё Є
Ж З Ѕ И Ѝ І
Ї Й Ј К Л Љ
М Н Њ О П Р
С Т Ћ Ќ У Ў
Ф Х Ц Ч Џ Ш
Щ Ъ Ы Ь Э Ю
Я
Non-Slavic letters
Ӑ Ӓ Ә Ӛ Ӕ Ғ
Ҕ Ӻ Ӷ Ԁ Ԃ
Ӗ Ӂ Җ Ӝ Ԅ Ҙ
Ӟ Ԑ Ӡ Ԇ Ӣ Ҋ
Ӥ Қ Ӄ Ҡ Ҟ Ҝ
Ԟ Ԛ Ӆ Ԓ Ԡ Ԉ
Ԕ Ӎ Ӊ Ң Ӈ Ҥ
Ԣ Ԋ Ӧ Ө Ӫ Ҩ
Ԥ Ҧ Ҏ Ԗ Ҫ Ԍ
Ҭ Ԏ Ӯ Ӱ Ӳ Ү
Ұ Ҳ Ӽ Ӿ Һ Ԧ
Ҵ Ҷ Ӵ Ӌ Ҹ
Ҽ Ҿ Ӹ Ҍ Ӭ Ԙ
Ԝ Ӏ
Archaic letters
Ҁ Ѻ ОУ Ѡ Ѿ Ѣ
Ѥ Ѧ Ѫ Ѩ
Ѭ Ѯ Ѱ Ѳ Ѵ Ѷ

Ze (З з; italics: З з) is a letter of the Cyrillic script.

It commonly represents the voiced alveolar fricative /z/, like the pronunciation of z in "zoo".

Ze is romanized using the Latin letter z.

The shape of Ze is very similar to the Arabic numeral three 3 and the Cyrillic letter E Э.

History and shape[edit]

Ze is derived from the Greek letter Zeta (Ζ ζ).

In the Early Cyrillic alphabet its name was земля (zemlja), meaning "earth". The shape of the letter originally looked like a Greek letter Z similar to modern Latin Z with a tail on the bottom (majuscule: , minuscule: ).

In the Cyrillic numeral system, Ze had a value of 7.

Medieval Cyrillic manuscripts and Church Slavonic printed books have two variant forms of the letter Ze: З/з and /. Some early grammars tried to give a phonetical distinction to these forms (like palatalized vs. nonpalatalized sound), the system had no further development. Ukrainian scribes and typographers were regularly using З/з in an initial position, and / otherwise (a system in use till the end of the 19th century). Typographers from the Great Russia also knew the two shapes, but have used the second form mostly in the case of two З's in row: ЗꙀ (the system in use till mid-18th century).

The civil (Petrine) script knows only one shape of the letter: З/з. However, shapes similar to Z/z can be used in certain stylish typefaces.

In callygraphy and in general handwritten text, lowercase з can be written either fully over the baseline (similar to the printed form) or with the lower half under the baseline and with the loop (for the Russian language, a standard shape since the middle of the 20th century).

Phonetic value[edit]

The letter Ze may represent:

  • /z/, the voiced alveolar sibilant (Macedonian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian);
  • /zʲ/, if followed by ь (by ј in Serbian) or any of the palatalizing vowels, as in Russian зеркало [ˈzʲer.kə.ɫə] (“mirror”);
  • /s/, the voiceless alveolar sibilant (in final position or before voiceless consonants);
  • /sʲ/, if followed by ь in final position or before voiceless consonants;
  • clusters зж and зш are pronounced in Russian as if they were жж and шш, respectively (even if з is the last letter of a preposition, like in Russian без жены “without wife” or из школы “from school”);
  • cluster зч (sometimes also здч) is pronounced in Russian as if it was щ (рассказчик “narrator”, звёздчатый “stellar, star-shaped”, без чая “without tea”);
  • cluster дз can be pronounced (mostly in Ukrainian and Belarusian) as the voiced alveolar affricate /dz/ (Ukrainian дзеркало “mirror”) or its palatalized form /dzʲ/ (Belarusian гадзіннік “clock”), but if д and з belong to different morphemes, then they are pronounced separately.

З-shaped Latin letters[edit]

Zhuang[edit]

A letter that looks like Cyrillic Ze (actually, a stylization of digit 3) was used in the Latin Zhuang alphabet from 1957 to 1986 to represent the third (high) tone. In 1986, it was replaced by j.

Other related letters and similar characters[edit]

Computing codes[edit]

Character З з
Unicode name CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER ZE CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER ZE
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1047 U+0417 1079 U+0437
UTF-8 208 151 D0 97 208 183 D0 B7
Numeric character reference З З з з
KOI8-R and KOI8-U 250 FA 218 DA
Code page 855 244 F4 243 F3
Code page 866 135 87 167 A7
Windows-1251 199 C7 231 E7
ISO-8859-5 183 B7 215 D7
Macintosh Cyrillic 135 87 231 E7

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of З at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of з at Wiktionary