Slovene alphabet

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The Slovene alphabet (Slovene: slovenska abeceda, pronounced [slɔˈʋèːnska abɛˈtséːda] or slovenska gajica [- ˈɡáːjitsa]) is an extension of the Latin script and is used in the Slovene language. The standard language uses a Latin alphabet which is a slight modification of Serbo-Croatian Gaj's Latin alphabet, consisting of 25 lower- and upper-case letters:

Letter Name IPA English Approx.
A, a a /a/ arm
B, b be /b/ bat
C, c ce /ts/ cats
Č, č če /tʃ/ charge
D, d de /d/ day
E, e e /ɛ/, /e/, /ə/ bed, sleigh, attack
F, f ef /f/ fat
G, g ge /ɡ/ gone
H, h ha /x/ (Scottish English) loch
I, i i /i/ me
J, j je /j/ yes
K, k ka /k/ cat
L, l el /l/, /w/ lid, wine
M, m em /m/ month
N, n en /n/ nose
O, o o /ɔ/, /o/ void, sow
P, p pe /p/ poke
R, r er /r/ (trilled) risk
S, s es /s/ sat
Š, š /ʃ/ shin
T, t te /t/ took
U, u u /u/ sooth
V, v, ve /v/, /w/ vex, west
Z, z ze /z/ zoo
Ž, ž že /ʒ/ vision

Source: Omniglot

The following Latin letters are also found in names of non-Slovene origin: Ć (mehki č), Đ (mehki dž), Q (ku), W (dvojni ve), X (iks), and Y (ipsilon), Ä, Ë, Ö, Ü.


The Slovene alphabet in various fonts (Times New Roman, Arial, Lucida Console and Monotype Corsiva)

The writing itself in its pure form does not use any other signs, except, for instance, additional accentual marks, when it is necessary to distinguish between similar words with a different meaning. For example:

  • gòl (naked) | gól (goal),
  • jêsen (ash (tree)) | jesén (autumn),
  • kót (angle, corner) | kot (as, like),
  • kózjak (goat's dung) | kozják (goat-shed),
  • med (between) | méd (brass) | méd (honey),
  • pól (pole) | pól (half (of)) | pôl (expresses a half an hour before the given hour),
  • prècej (at once) | precéj (a great deal (of))),
  • remí (draw) | rémi (rummy (- a card game)),
  • je (he/she is) | jé (he/she eats).

Foreign words[edit]

There are 5 letters for vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and 20 for consonants. The letters q, w, x, y are excluded from the standard spelling, as are some South Slavic graphemes, ć, đ, however they are used as independent letters in some encyclopedias and dictionary listings; for foreign proper nouns or toponyms are often not transcribed as they are in some other Slavic languages, such as partly in Russian or entirely in Serbian.

In addition, the graphemes ö and ü are used in certain non-standard dialect spellings (usually representing borrowings from German, Hungarian or Turkish) – for example, dödöli (Prekmurje potato dumplings) and Danilo Türk (a politician).

Encyclopedic listings (such as in the 2001 Slovenski pravopis and the 2006 Leksikon SOVA) make use of this alphabet:

a, b, c, č, ć, d, đ, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, š, t, u, v, w, x, y, z, ž.

Therefore, Newton or New York remain the same and are not transliterated to Njuton or Njujork, transliterated forms would seem very odd to a Slovene. However, the unit of force is written as njuton as well as newton. Some geographical names are transliterated (e.g., Philadelphia – Filadelfija; Hawaii – Havaji). Other names from non-Latin languages are transliterated in a fashion similar to that used by other European languages, albeit with some adaptations. Japanese, Indian and Arabic names such as Kajibumi, Djakarta and Jabar are written as Kadžibumi, Džakarta and Džabar, where j is replaced with . Except for ć and đ, graphemes with diacritical marks from other foreign alphabets (e.g., ä, å, æ, ç, ë, ï, ń, ö, ß, ş, ü) are not used as independent letters.


This modern alphabet (abeceda) was standardised in mid-1840s from an arrangement of the Croatian national reviver and leader Ljudevit Gaj that would become the Croatian alphabet, that was in turn patterned on the Czech alphabet. Before the standardization of the current alphabet, š was, for example, written as ʃ, ʃʃ or ſ, č as tʃch, cz, tʃcz or tcz, i sometimes as y as a relict from now modern Russian 'yery' Ы, j as y, l as ll, v as w, ž as ʃ, ʃʃ or ʃz.

In the old alphabet used by most distinguished writers, "bohoričica", developed by Adam Bohorič, the characters č, š and ž would be spelt as zh, ſh and sh respectively, whereas c, s and z would be spelt as z, ſ and s. To remedy this, so that each vocal sound would have a written equivalent, Jernej Kopitar urged development of new alphabets.

In 1825, Franc Serafin Metelko proposed his version of the alphabet called "metelčica". However, it was banned in 1833 in favour of the bohoričica after the so-called Suit of the Letters (Črkarska pravda) (1830–1833), which was won by France Prešeren and Matija Čop. Another alphabet, "dajnčica", was developed by Peter Dajnko in 1824, which did not catch on as much as metelčica; it was banned in 1838. The reason for their being banned is because they mixed Latin and Cyrillic characters, which was seen as a bad way to handle missing characters.

The gajica (see Gaj's Latin alphabet) was adopted afterwards, however it still fails to feature all phonemes of the Slovene language.

Computer encoding[edit]

The preferred character encodings (writing codes) for Slovene texts are UTF-8 (Unicode), UTF-16, and ISO/IEC 8859-2 (Latin-2), which generally supports Central and Eastern European languages that are written in the Latin script.

In the original ASCII frame of 1 to 126 characters one can find these examples of writing text in Slovene:

a, b, c, *c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, *s, t, u, v, z, *z
a, b, c, "c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, "s, t, u, v, z, "z
a, b, c, c(, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, s(, t, u, v, z, z(
a, b, c, c^, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, s^, t, u, v, z, z^
a, b, c, cx, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, sx, t, u, v, z, zx

In ISO/IEC 8859-1 (Latin-1) typical workarounds for missing characters Č (č), Š (š), and Ž (ž) can be C~ (c~), S~ (s~), Z~ (z~) or similar as for ASCII encoding.

For usage under DOS and Microsoft Windows also code pages 852 and Windows-1250 respectively fully supported Slovene alphabet.

In TeX notation, č, š and ž become \v c, \v s, \v z, \v{c}, \v{s}, \v{z} or in their macro versions, "c, "s and "z, or in other representations as \~, \{, \' for lowercase and \^, \[, \@ for uppercase.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]