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|Cyrillic letter Ze|
|The Cyrillic script|
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⟩.
History and shape
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 similar to a Greek or Latin letter Z with a tail on the bottom (majuscule: Ꙁ, minuscule: ꙁ).
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 Ꙁ/ꙁ. 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 Ꙁ/ꙁ 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 calligraphy 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).
The letter Ze may represent:
- /z/, the voiced alveolar sibilant (Macedonian, Bulgarian, Bosnian, Serbian, Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian);
- /zʲ/, if followed by ⟨ь⟩ (by ⟨ј⟩ in Bosnian and 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
- 3 : Digit Three
- Ζ ζ : Greek letter Zeta
- Z z : Latin letter Z
- Ʒ ʒ : Latin letter Ezh
- Ȝ ȝ : Latin letter Yogh
- Ҙ ҙ : Cyrillic letter Dhe or Ze with descender
- Ӡ ӡ : Cyrillic letter Abkhazian Dze
|Unicode name||CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER ZE||CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER ZE|
|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|