Gagauz alphabet

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The modern Gagauz alphabet is a 31-letter Latin-based alphabet modelled on the Turkish alphabet. Previously, during Soviet rule, Gagauz's official script was Cyrillic.

Gagauz was first written in Greek letters in the late 1800s.[1][2]

The current 31-letter Gagauz alphabet, used for the Gagauz language, is a Latin-based alphabet modelled after the Turkish.


It appears that the first alphabet to be used for the language was the Greek alphabet[1] in the late 19th century. For example, orientalist Otto Blau claims that plays of Euripides had been translated into the Gagauz language and had been written with Greek letters.[2]

Beginning in 1957, Cyrillic was used up until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1996 the Republic of Moldova officially introduced a Latin-based alphabet.[3] This is modelled after the modern Turkish alphabet, with the addition of three letters: ⟨ä⟩ to represent the sound of [æ] (as ⟨ə⟩ in Azeri), ⟨ê⟩ to represent the [ə] (schwa) sound, which does not exist in Turkish, and ⟨ț⟩ or ⟨ţ⟩ to represent the sound [ts] as in Romanian. On the other hand, unlike Crimean Tatar, Turkish, and some other Turkic languages, Gagauz does not have the letter ⟨ğ⟩, which had become completely silent in the Gagauz language.

Latin alphabet[edit]

In their standard order, the letters of the Gagauz alphabet are:

A, Ä, B, C, Ç, D, E, Ê, F, G, H, I, İ, J, K, L, M, N, O, Ö, P, R, S, Ş, T, Ţ, U, Ü, V, Y, Z.

Note that dotted and dotless I are separate letters, each with its own uppercase and lowercase form. I is the capital form of ı, and İ is the capital form of i. The Gagauz alphabet has no q, w or x. Instead, those characters are transliterated into Gagauz as k, v and ks, respectively.

A a Ä ä B b C c Ç ç D d E e Ê ê
[ɑ] [æ~ɛ] [b] [dʒ] [tʃ] [d] [e] [ə]
F f G g H h I ı İ i J j K k L l
[f] [g, ɟ] [x, h~ħ] [ɯ~ɨ] [i] [ʒ] [k, c] [l, ʎ]
M m N n O o Ö ö P p R r S s Ş ş
[m] [n, ɲ] [o] [ø] [p] [r] [s] [ʃ]
T t Ţ ţ U u Ü ü V v Y y Z z
[t] [ts] [u] [y] [w, vʲ] [j] [z]

Cyrillic alphabet (historical)[edit]

А а Ӓ ӓ Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё
Ж ж Ӂ ӂ З з И и Й й К к Л л М м
Н н О о Ӧ ӧ П п Р р С с Т т У у
Ӱ ӱ Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ
Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я


  1. ^ a b M. Ciachir. Basarabialâ gagauzlarân istoriassi / Chișinău: 1933, p. 133
  2. ^ a b Măcriș, Anatol. Găgăuzii / Bucharest: Editura PACO, 2008, p. 71.
  3. ^ HOTĂRÎRE (Judgment) Nr. 816, Moldovan Parliament, 24 April 1996 (Romanian/Moldovan and Russian).