Yeru or Eru (Ы ы; italics: Ы ы), usually called Y [ɨ] in modern Russian or Yery or Ery historically and in modern Church Slavonic, is a letter in the Cyrillic script. It represents the close central unrounded vowel /ɨ/ (more rear or upper than i) after non-palatalised (hard) consonants in the Belarusian and Russian alphabets, and after any consonant in most of Rusyn standards, where it represents the unrounded close-mid back unrounded vowel sound.
The letter is usually romanised into English and most other West European languages as ⟨y⟩: Krylov (family name, Крылов). That spelling matches Polish, which uses ⟨y⟩ to represent a very similar sound. Russian ⟨ы⟩ is used to transliterate Polish ⟨y⟩ into Cyrillic: Maryla (Марыля). However, Latin ⟨y⟩ may be used for other purposes as well (such as for ⟨й⟩, or as part of digraphs, e.g. ⟨я⟩).
Like many other Cyrillic letters, it was originally from a ligature ꙑ (which is represented in Unicode as Yeru with Back Yer), formed from Yer ⟨ъ⟩ and ⟨і⟩ (formerly written either dotless or with two dots) or Izhe (⟨и⟩ which formerly resembled ⟨н⟩). In Medieval manuscripts, it is almost always found as ⟨ъі⟩ or ⟨ъи⟩. The modern form ⟨ы⟩ first occurred in South Slavic manuscripts following the loss of palatalization of word-final and preconsonantal consonants, so the letters ⟨ъ⟩ and ⟨ь⟩ became confused; since the end of the 14th century, ⟨ы⟩ came to be used in East Slavic manuscripts.
While vowel letters in the Cyrillic alphabet may be divided into iotated and non-iotated pairs (for example, ⟨а⟩ and ⟨я⟩ both represent /a/, the latter denoting a preceding palatalised consonant), ⟨ы⟩ is more complicated. It appears only after hard consonants, its phonetic value differs from ⟨и⟩, and there is some scholarly disagreement as to whether or not ⟨ы⟩ and ⟨и⟩ denote different phonemes.
There are no native Russian words that begin with ⟨ы⟩ (except for the specific verb ыкать: "to say the ⟨ы⟩-sound"), but there are many proper and common nouns of non-Russian origin (including some geographical names in Russia) that begin with it: Kim Jong-un (Ким Чен Ын) and Eulji Mundeok (Ыльчи Мундок), a Korean military leader; and Ytyk-Kyuyol (Ытык-Кюёль), Ygyatta (Ыгыатта), a village and a river in Sakha (Yakutia) Republic respectively.
In the Ukrainian alphabet, yery is not used since the language lacks the sound /ɨ/. In the Ukrainian alphabet, yery merged with [i] and was phased out in the second half of the 19th century. According to the Ukrainian academician Hryhoriy Pivtorak, the letter was replaced with so called "Cyrillic i" ⟨и⟩, which in Ukrainian represents the sound [ɪ], which appeared by the merger of the earlier sounds [ɨ] and [i]. Ukrainian also had newly developed the sound [i] from various origins, which is represented by ⟨i⟩ ("Cyrillic dotted i"). Yery could be found in several earlier versions of the Ukrainian writing system that were introduced in the 19th century among which were "Pavlovsky writing system", "Slobda Ukraine (New) writing system", and "Yaryzhka".
In Rusyn, it denotes a sound that is a bit harder[clarification needed] than [ɨ] and similar to the Romanian sound î, which is also written â. In some cases, the letter may occur after palatalised consonants (синьый "blue", which never happens in Russian), and it often follows ⟨к⟩, ⟨г⟩, ⟨ґ⟩ and ⟨х⟩.
In Turkic languages
The letter ⟨ы⟩ is also used in Cyrillic-based alphabets of several Turkic and Mongolic languages (see the list) for a darker vowel [ɯ]. The corresponding letter in Latin-based scripts are ⟨ı⟩ (dotless I), and I with bowl (Ь ь).
Related letters and other similar characters
- И и : Cyrillic letter I
- Й й : Cyrillic letter Short I
- Ъ ъ : Cyrillic letter Yer
- Ь ь : Cyrillic letter Soft sign
- Ҍ ҍ : Cyrillic letter semisoft sign
- Ѣ ѣ : Cyrillic letter yat
- I ı : Latin letter Dotless I
- Ь ь : Latin letter I with bowl
- Ư ư : Latin letter U with horn, the 26th letter of the Vietnamese alphabet.
- Y y : Latin letter Y
|Unicode name||CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER YERU||CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER YERU||CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER YERU
WITH BACK YER
|CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER YERU|
WITH BACK YER
|UTF-8||208 171||D0 AB||209 139||D1 8B||234 153 144||EA 99 90||234 153 145||EA 99 91|
|Numeric character reference||Ы
|Named character reference||Ы||ы|
|KOI8-R and KOI8-U||249||F9||217||D9|
|Code page 855||242||F2||241||F1|
|Code page 866||155||9B||235||EB|
- Larysa Pavlenko Historical grammar of the Ukrainian language (Історична граматика української мови). The editorial and publishing department of the Volyn National University of Lesia Ukrainka. Lutsk, 2010. pages 47-48
- Hlushchenko, V. Yer, yery (ЄР, ЄРИ). Ukrainian Language. Encyclopedia (Izbornik).
- Hryhoriy Pivtorak. Orthography (ПРАВОПИС). Izbornik.
- "Tuvan language, alphabet and pronunciation". omniglot.com. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
- Campbell, George L.; King, Gareth (24 July 2013). Compendium of the World's Languages. Routledge. ISBN 9781136258459. Retrieved 14 June 2016 – via Google Books.
- Russian: An interactive online reference grammar, by Dr Robert Beard