Ukrainian Latin alphabet

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Frontpage of the book "Ruskoje wesile" (Ruthenian wedding, 1835) by Yosyp Lozynskyi which was a presentation of his Latin alphabet for Ruthenian (Ukrainian) language.

A Latin alphabet for the Ukrainian language (called Latynka) has been proposed or imposed several times in the history in Ukraine, but has never challenged the conventional Cyrillic Ukrainian alphabet. It is currently promoted as a way of facilitating the Ukrainian integration within the European Union.

Characteristics[edit]

The Ukrainian literary language has been written with the Cyrillic script, in a tradition going back to the eighth-century and the introduction of Christianity and the Old Church Slavonic language to Kievan Rus’. Proposals for Latinization, if not imposed for outright political reasons, have always been politically charged, and have never been generally accepted. Although some proposals to create an official Latin alphabet for Ukrainian language have been expressed lately by national intelligentsia. Technically, most have resembled the linguistically related Polish and Czech alphabets.

While superficially similar to a Latin alphabet, transliteration of Ukrainian from Cyrillic into the Latin script (or romanization) is usually not intended for native speakers, and may be designed for certain academic requirements or technical constraints. See romanization of Ukrainian.

History[edit]

Ukrainian was occasionally written in the Latin script as far back as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in publications using the Polish and Czech alphabets. In the nineteenth century, there were attempts to introduce the Latin script into Ukrainian writing, by Josyp Łozynśkyj, a Ukrainian scholar and priest from Lviv (Josyp Łozynski Ivanovyč, Ruskoje wesile, 1834), Tomasz Padura, and other Polish-Ukrainian romantic poets.

The use of the Latin script for Ukrainian was promoted by authorities in Galicia under the Austrian Habsburg Empire. Franc Miklošič developed a Latin alphabet for Ukrainian in 1852, based on the Polish and Czech alphabets (adopting Czech č, š, ž, dž, ď, ť, Polish ś, ź, ć, ń, and ľ following the same pattern). This initiative was taken into interest by Czech politician Josef Jireček, who managed to gain support for the project in the Imperial Ministry of Interior. As part of a Polonization campaign in Galicia during the period of neo-absolutist rule after 1849, Viceroy Agenor Gołuchowski attempted to impose this Latin alphabet on Ukrainian publications in 1859. This started a fierce publicly debated "War of the Alphabets", and in the end the Latin alphabet was rejected. Ukrainian books continued to be published in Cyrillic, while the Latin alphabet was used in special editions "for those who read Polish only" in Galicia, Podlaskie, and the Chełm region.

A Latin alphabet for Ukrainian publications was also imposed in Romanian Bessarabia, Bukovina and Dobrudja, Hungarian Zakarpattia. It was also used by immigrants from these regions in the United States.

In Ukraine under the Russian Empire, Mykhaylo Drahomanov promoted a purely phonemic Cyrillic alphabet (the Drahomanivka) including the Latin letter ј in 1876, replacing the digraphs я, є, ю, ї with ја, је, ју, јі, similar to the earlier Karadžić reform of the Serbian alphabet. The Ems Ukaz banning Ukrainian-language publication doomed this reform to obscurity.

In Soviet Ukraine, during the 1927 orthographical conference in Kharkiv, linguists M. Johansen, B. Tkačenko, and M. Nakonečnyj proposed the application of the more "international" Latin script to Ukrainian, but the idea was opposed by Soviet government representatives. Later, Vasyl Simovych was a proponent of the Latin script during the tentative latinization in the USSR.

Variations[edit]

Abecadło[edit]

Some letters borrowed from Polish and Czech were used in the Ukrainian Łatynka as stated above, which also has a close resemblance to the Belarusian Łacinka. Although never broadly accepted, it was used mostly by Ukrainians living in territories near Poland (where it was called Abecadło).[1] The orthography is explained in Łatynycia, a western Ukrainian publication of the 1900s.

The Ukrainian Latin alphabet: Abecadło
(a western Ukrainian publication, c.1900s)
A a B b C c Ć ć Cz cz D d Ď ď E e F f G g
А а Б б Ц ц Ць ць Ч ч Д д Дь дь Е е Ф ф Ґ ґ
H h I i J j K k L l Ł ł M m N n Ń ń O o
Г г І і Й й К к Ль ль Л л М м Н н Нь нь О о
P p R r Ŕ ŕ S s Ś ś Sz sz T t Ť ť U u W w
П п Р р Рь рь С с Сь сь Ш ш Т т Ть ть У у В в
Y y Z z Ź ź Ż ż
И и З з Зь зь Ж ж

As example, the Introduction of Josyp Łozynśkyj's Ruskoje Wesile ('Ruthenian Wedding', 1834):

Perédmowa
W tym opysi skazuju, jaksia wesile po sełach mežy prostym ruskim ludom widprawlaje. Ne mohu jednako utrymowaty, jakoby toj sposób wesile widprawlaty wsiude newidminni był zachowanym; bo hdenekodyj szczoś dodajut, hdeinde szczoś wypuskajut, a znowu hdeinde szczoś widminiajut. Syła w mojej syli było, starał-jemsia w rozmaitych misciach obradki i pisny ruskoho wesila póznaty i pérekonał-jemsia že prynajmni szczo do hołownych obradkiw i pisnéj wsiude tymže samym sposobom wesilesia widprawlaje. I toj sposób opysałjem w nynijszуj knyžoczci dodajuczy jednako hdenekodyj i miscowyi widminy. Moim najperszym i najbohatszym a nawet’ i nihdy newyczerpanym źridłom, z kotorohom tyi widomosty czerpał, było dopytowanie po sełach tych ludej, kotryi czasto na wesilach bywały i wesilnyi ur’ady pistowały. Nykotorych obradkiw był jem sam okozritelnym świdkom.

Jireček's project[edit]

Josef Jireček proposed an alphabet based more closely on Czech orthography (except some Polish letters like ć, ń, ś, ź).

The Ukrainian Latin alphabet: Jireček's project
A a B b C c Ć ć Č č Ch ch D d Ď ď E e F f
А а Б б Ц ц Ц(Ь) ц(ь) Ч ч Х х Д д Д(Ь) д(ь) Е е Ф ф
G g H h I i J j K k L l Ľ ľ M m N n Ń ń
Ґ ґ Г г І і Й й К к Л л Л(Ь) л(ь) М м Н н Н(Ь) н(ь)
O o P p R r Ŕ ŕ S s Ś ś Š š Šč šč T t Ť ť
О о П п Р р Р(Ь) р(ь) С с С(Ь) с(ь) Ш ш Щ щ Т т Т(Ь) т(ь)
U u V v Y y Z z Ź ź Ž ž
У у В в И и З з З(Ь) з(ь) Ж ж

Modern versions[edit]

In modern Ukraine, use of Latin alphabets for the Ukrainian language is very rare. However, discussions of united format of Latynka and its status still continue. The most popular modern versions are Luchukivka (based on Jireček's project and presented by Ivan Luchuk) and Ukrainian Gajica (based on Gajica).

Comparison[edit]

Comparison of two traditional and two modern versions of Ukrainian Latin alphabet in example of the national anthem of Ukraine.

Łozynśkyj's Jireček's Luchuk's[2] Gajica based[3]
Szcze ne wmerła Ukrajiny ni sława, ni wola.
Szcze nam, brattia ukrajinci, usmichneťsia dola.
Zhynuť naszi woriżeńky, jak rosa na sonci,
Zapanujem i my, brattia, u swojij storonci.

Duszu j tiło my położym za naszu swobodu,
I pokażem, szczo my, brattia, kozaćkoho rodu.
Šče ne vmerla Ukrajiny ni slava, ni volia.
Šče nam, brattia ukrajinci, usmichneťsia dolia.
Zhynuť naši vorižeńky, jak rosa na sonci,
Zapanujem i my, brattia, u svojij storonci.

Dušu j tilo my položym za našu svobodu,
I pokažem, ščo my, brattia, kozaćkoho rodu.
Šče ne vmerla Ukrajiny ni slava, ni voľa.
Šče nam, bratťa ukrajinci, usmichneťśa doľa.
Zhynuť naši vorižeńky, jak rosa na sonci,
Zapanujem i my, bratťa, u svojij storonci.

Dušu j tilo my položym za našu svobodu,
I pokažem, ščo my, bratťa, kozaćkoho rodu.
Šče ne vmerla Ukrajiny ni slava, ni volja.
Šče nam, brattja ukrajinci, usmixnetjsja dolja.
Zhynutj naši voriženjky, jak rosa na sonci,
Zapanujem i my, brattja, u svojij storonci.

Dušu j tilo my položym za našu svobodu,
I pokažem, ščo my, brattja, kozacjkoho rodu.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Latynska abetka"
  2. ^ Korotkyj pravopys
  3. ^ Ярослав Михайлишин Транслітерація чи латинська абетка для української мови

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Contemporary literature concerning the Alphabet Wars:

  • Markijan Szaszkewicz. Azbuka i abecadło (1836). Przemyśl.
  • Ivan Franko. Азбучна війна в Галичині 1859 – 'The Alphabet War in Galicia 1859'.
  • J. Łewićki (1834). Review of the Introduction of the Polish Alphabet to Ruthenian Writing.
  • Josyp Lozynskyj (1834). "On the Introduction of the Polish Alphabet to Ruthenian (Ukrainian) Writing", «О wprowadzeniu abecadła polskiego do pismiennictwa ruskiego».
  • M. Šaškevyč. Азбука і abecadło.

External links[edit]