From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A unicase or unicameral alphabet is one that has no case for its letters. Persian, Kannada, Tamil, Arabic, Old Hungarian, Hebrew, Georgian and Hangul are unicase alphabets, while (modern) Latin, Greek, Cyrillic and Armenian have two cases for each letter, e.g., B/b, Β/β, Б/б, Բ/բ. Rules for case usage vary — apart from the general rule of capitalizing the first letter of proper nouns, each language has its own rules, e.g., English "Tuesday" vs. French "mardi" and the German rule of capitalizing the first letter of all nouns.

It is believed that all alphabets with case were once unicase[citation needed]. Latin, for example, used to be written without case in imperial Roman times; it was only later that scribes developed new sets of symbols for running text, which became the lower case of the Latin alphabet, while the letterforms of Ancient Rome came to be called capitals.

The Georgian alphabet, in contrast, went the other way: the medieval Georgian alphabet with its two cases gave in to a unicase set. The ecclesiastical form of the Georgian alphabet, Khutsuri, had an upper case called Asomtavruli (like the Ancient Roman capitals) and a lower case called Nuskhuri (like the medieval Latin scribal forms). Out of Nuskhuri came a secular alphabet called Mkhedruli, which is the unicase Georgian alphabet in use today.

A unicase version of the Latin alphabet was proposed by Michael Mann and David Dalby in 1982 as a variation of the Niamey African Reference Alphabet. This version has apparently never been actively used. Another example of unicase Latin alphabet is the Initial Teaching Alphabet.

The International Phonetic Alphabet only uses lowercase Latin (and Greek) letters and some scaled uppercase letters, effectively making it a unicase alphabet, although it is not used for actual writing of any language.

See also[edit]


  • Georgian Nuskhuri, Unicode 4.1.0, [1]