Talk:Early Cyrillic alphabet

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The SHA is missing; what is here called OT should be called omega. OT is the the name for the omega with the tripodial t over it.

Otherwise, excellent image.

19:34, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Sha is the last letter on the 3rd row. 09:47, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Table of letters[edit]

I've created a table and images to replace Djinn112's excellent image. I figure this one will be easier to edit. I've tried to incorporate the info from the original image, and also from this image I found in the Ukrainian Wikipedia:

Does everything show up correctly? Are all the diacritics there? Do the nasalization symbols in the IPA for the Yuses appear in your browser? (They don't on my Mac with Verdana specified in the stylesheet, but I think they're specified correctly.)

Since old manuscripts didn't differentiate letter case, I haven't included upper-/lower-case letters in the images, but I did include them in the Unicode column. I used lower-case Kirillica Nova font for the images, since it was simple, included most of the characters, and captured the look of manuscripts. I've left out the "er" near the end, which I think is a differently-drawn Hard Sign. Is the last glyph really a separate letter, or just an ornamental Omega? I think some of the transliterations may need a bit of adjustment. Can anyone supply IPA for the letters' names?

Michael Z. 20:49, 2004 Nov 24 (UTC)


Table and discussion archived to Talk:Early Cyrillic alphabet/Alphabet table

Accents and punctuation in Unicode[edit]

Here they are. Most don't work in any of my web browsers. Needs some work, and more pictures. Have to take the plunge and move that table over soon.

  • I think we should take the plunge and move the table over stat. I'll leave it for the moment, given there's more of your work there than mine, but I'm happy to do it myself, if you prefer?

Several diacritics, adopted from Polytonic Greek orthography, were also used [these may not appear correctly in all web browsers]:

Punctuation marks:

Discussion on punctuation and diacritics[edit]

  • I think this section's really good, except that it also needs images and a guide to the names (in Russian and Greek), I'd guess, as well as an explanation of how they're used, if that's not obvious.
  • I've removed the links to oxia (or oksia) and varia, as the pages don't exist (Varia is about a character of that name in Xena: Warrior Princess and has a disambig header pointing to grave accent for Polytonic Greek orthography).
  • Working for me (in IE6 on WinXP, see screengrab) are:

OwenBlacker 14:39, Feb 1, 2005 (UTC)

About as good as the results in Safari/Mac:

  • punctuation work properly
  • Trema appears as a box character
  • other diacritics display correctly, but without superimposition

In all my fonts that have them, the pneuma appear as tiny half-Н glyphs. Does Unicode have a way to make non-combining accents combine? Michael Z. 2005-02-1 16:51 Z

I've put the table (and the punctuation/diacritics) into the article and archived the earlier discussion from here, as you can see.
Just noticed the Unicode combining accents (though they don't combine for me either):
The combining accent should go after the letter. Arial Unicode MS has a bug, it renders at least some of them correctly if the order is reversed. Hey, these work for me with Lucida Grande as the first font choice! (but the hundred thou and million signs don't) Michael Z. 2005-02-3 02:10 Z
Also there are:
Thought you might be interested ;o)

Refining the table[edit]

I've linked the Unicode letters to the individual letter articles. Dzherv is broken, because it's really a transliterated Glagolitic letter; Tshe and Dje are related glyphs, but not the same letter, methinks. Michael Z. 2005-02-4 05:38 Z

Also corrected the IPA. Used the ligature (U+02A6) for [ts], and corrected the position of the double combining inverted breve (U+0361) for [ks] and [ps]. Yes, it looks wrong in Arial Unicode MS -- that font renders it incorrectly, too far to the left. But it looks right in every other font that has the character (try Lucida Grande, Code2000, Gentium, or TITUS Cyberbit). Michael Z. 2005-02-4 06:30 Z

Foolishly, I've just edited the article without reading your comments here. I've linked Dzherv to Che, as I think it makes more sense to link it to an existing article that (at some point) might contain detail about the character's history, rather than to a non-existant article. In retrospect, I should prolly have created a redirect with possibilities; feel free to revert and do so. — OwenBlacker 19:39, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)

Combining tie characters[edit], I reverted your edit to the lines for ksi and psi. As noted above (and in more detail at Talk:International Phonetic Alphabet#Other symbols), the common font Arial Unicode MS renders the double combining diacritics improperly. Paste the text into a text editor and change the font; you'll find that it appears correctly in every other font that supports these characters. Michael Z. 2005-07-8 18:43 Z


Close front rounded vowel is there in the Slavic language?― 04:58, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Is it Ү ? --Hello World! 15:13, 1 May 2006 (UTC)


I've assessed the article as start. The description of the alphabet itself is well done, but there is very little other information, such as history, usage, evolution, etc. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 03:31, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Suggested changes[edit]

I'm not happy with the way this article is written. It presents the modern version of the alphabet as currently used in "Old Church Slavonic", but the title implies that it is the version used a thousand years ago or so. An article with the current title should be using glyphs directly off of images of the earliest attestations of the language, not current, typeset versions.

I don't know much about the original alphabet that shows up in those old birchbark manuscripts, but I do know a lot about the current version. The capital letters are almost all missing. Why? There is no discussion of the "breath mark" that appears over all initial vowels, capital or lower case. There is no discussion about the letters that take two different forms depending on their place in the word (word-initial vs. medial or final) [examples: ya and ou]. There is no discussion about the various forms that the stress-accent marks take, or the way the double-dotted I functions.

Regarding the "ornate omega": This is the capital version of the previous glyph (OT). In some versions of this glyph, the little "hat" part looks like a truncated T.

I think the table could benefit from a new column providing the translation of teh meaning of the name of the letter (where known).

I think the best solution is to divide this content into two pages, one for the ancient version and one for the modern. I'll tag the page next. Cbdorsett 04:15, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

The origin of the gerv[edit]

How can the modern Serbian letter ћ be the origin of the Old-Slavonic gerv? As far as I know, travelling into past was not invented.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

It isn't. The Serbian letter Tshe is used to transliterate Glagolitic Djerv into Cyrillic today, because there was no Cyrillic Djerv in the past. Michael Z. 2007-09-23 16:00 Z
Well, how come it still stands as a "source" after 6 months ?! And what exactly is "Bulgar alphabet" suppose to designate? ^_^ Why are phonetic transcriptions so confidently given for a language of which no definite communis opinio has been reached for phonetic values of several imporant phonemes (e.g. yat and jery)? Jery was a digraph (not a ligature 'ы') in both Cyrillic and Glagolitic (ie. something like 'ъі'), and most likely represented some kind of diphtong. 'ь' and 'ъ' are almost always transliterated with breves not inverted circumflexes, and jery as 'y' not 'ū'.. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 06:48, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Buki and Vedi[edit]

I think that cyrillic buki hasn't developed from greek beta but rather from glagolitic buki which is essentially an image of a tree. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:51, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Bulgar alphabet?[edit]

The article heavily talks about the obscure Bulgar alphabet. The Bulgar alphabet is nonexistent on Wikipedia, not mentioned in any citations (i.e. in external links or bibliography), and the letters that are designated as (possibly) of Bulgar origin quite often have Greek or Glagolitic parallels, i.e. origins. The Bulgar alphabet, I guess, is supposed to be some late obscure form of the Orkhon Script, but without any references it should be removed. Or please, do add definite references. Szabi (talk) 18:58, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Come to think about how ridiculous the name 'Cyrillic' for this particular writing is since it has nothing to do with St. Cyrill and contrary to what the article states Kliment didn't name it like that, as far as I know the name 'Cyrillic' first appeared in the 17th century. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:05, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Please don't add material which is not verifiable, that is, without citing a reliable source. Please discuss editing the article—if you personally dislike the established name for this alphabet, I suggest you take that to a chat group. Michael Z. 2008-05-21 16:58 z

Please Update/Correct History of Cyrillic Alphabet[edit]

Attribution of creation to St. Clement of Ohrid has been considered as coming from an unreliable source since 1970, at least. [See: Jensen, Hans. Sign, Symbol and Script. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1970. pp. 502. -- though this source disseminates the incorrect idea that Cyrillic came before Glagolitic]. The Wikipedia article, "Cyrillic Alphabet," contains a more accurate historical description, pointing up the "unsettled" nature of the scholarship, and so, eschews any real detail. An excellent discussion of the history of the Cyrillic alphabet can be found in Terence R. Carlton's Introduction to the Phonological History of the Slavic Languages (Columbus: Slavica Publishers, 1990) amongst pp. 50-53. Carlton especially discusses the St. Clement "legend" in detail on pp. 52-53. Thank you. Altobasso (talk) 20:38, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

"Hebrew speculation"?[edit]

Kwami, I don't think it's outrageous for this article to include Hebrew shin as well as the Glagolitic. I think your deletion here and at tse was abrupt and a bit judgemental. It's not wild speculation to say "Glagolitic, ultimately from Hebrew shin". -- Evertype· 12:55, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

No, it's not outrageous, but it's both speculative and off-topic. The sources of the non-Greek Glagolitic letters (assuming most of the script is based on Greek) are debated. Cubberley suggests Armenian, rather than different source alphabets (Coptic, Hebrew, etc.) for different letters. The only reason I see for adding Hebrew sources for Glagolitic in the Cyrillic article is to push a particular hypothesis about the origin of Glagolitic, which doesn't belong here. After all, we don't add the Phoenician sources for the Greek-derived letters, even though they're much more certain. I think the various ideas about the origins of Glagolitic (and that article needs to be cleaned up and referenced) should remain on that article until scholars come to accept one particular hypothesis. Otherwise any time that article is revised, this one will become inaccurate. kwami (talk) 13:15, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree. I remember a time when many of the letters supposedly originated from the "Bulgar alphabet". By the way, would you mind fixing the IPA? Symbols like ŭ definitely aren't used. I would, but I'm off for today. BalkanFever 14:00, 17 November 2008 (UTC)


Discussion on giving primacy to Daniels & Bright vs. the Cyril & Methodius legend at talk:glagolitic alphabet. (So far I don't have a more thorough source than D&B.) kwami (talk) 08:53, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Removed letter[edit]

Another editor removed a line from the table of letters, and I thought I would preserve it here so that if a consensus is reached to replace the information, it is preserved.

Early Cyrillic letter Djerv.png Ћ ћ гѥрв gerv, gjerv [d͡ʒɛrv], [djɛrv] đ, dj [d͡ʒ], [dj] Glagolitic djerv Ⰼ ? Revived for Serbian. In Russian, it is used in academic texts to transliterate Glagolitic.

It was removed by User:Kostja with the edit summary: (Removing contradiction)

I didn't think it was particularly contradictory, but I don't actually know much about the history of the early Cyrillic alphabet, so I would ask those who are more informed to judge whether this content was correctly removed. VanIsaacWS 03:26, 4 August 2011 (UTC)


I rewrote the introduction according to the general accepted facts by the scientists. Please do not revert it if you do not like, we just present the fact. It is a fact that the alphabet is based on the Greek, it is a fact that is was developed for the Slavs in general and it is a fact that the first organized country that officially accepted the alphabet is the Bulgarian Empire. Please do not delete facts. Thanks--MacedonianBoy (talk) 14:29, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Umm, isn't that in the article as of now? What do you mean by the "first organized country"? What might be an disorganized country? The alphabet was developed in the First Bulgarian Empire, unlike the Glagolitic one. This is what sources say. Or you have some other facts?--Laveol T 19:16, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Greek origins and Eastern Bulgarian dialect[edit]

Ximhua, please do not modify this facts supported by reliable sources. Your edits appear to be unconstructive and have been reverted or removed. If you believe the information you removed was incorrect, please cite reliable references or sources or discuss the changes on the article's talk page before making them again. Thank you. Jingiby (talk) 14:16, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Щ in Old East Slavic[edit]

Was this letter used at all in Old East Slavic? In (early) Old Church Slavonic, it represented a unique sound that derived from Proto-Slavic *ť / *tj, but that same sound became č in East Slavic so it was presumably spelled with Ч there. So was Щ used for anything in OES and if so, to represent what sound(s)? CodeCat (talk) 02:31, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Vaskots7 edits[edit]

Please note that images uploaded by user Vaskots7 contain a lot of mistakes and original researches. I removed them from the article, please don't bring those errors back to the article.-- (talk) 12:06, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

The images are back. They are redundant with and slightly inconsistent with the textual tables right next to them. Gorobay (talk) 01:20, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Illustration "Old Bulgarian Alphabet.png"[edit]

Old Bulgarian Alphabet.png

I need expert help here: Shouldn't the first line of this illustration read БЪЛГАРЬСКА instead of БЛЪГАРЬСКА? Love —LiliCharlie (talk) 04:44, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

The picture’s correct as is. In modern Bulgarian, you’d be right, but in Old Church Slavonic (“Old Bulgarian”) most sequences of a yer (ъ or ь) followed by an r or l metathesized so that the consonant came first and the yer came second. See the article on Slavic liquid metathesis and pleophony for a detailed, albeit incomplete, discussion of related sound changes. Vorziblix (talk) 21:03, 25 March 2016 (UTC)
All right. This reminds me somewhat of Russian город vs. (Ленин)град and lots of similar cases. Thanks a lot. Love —LiliCharlie (talk) 21:23, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

Meaning of "хѣръ"?[edit]

I don't want to infer anything, but let me point out that "хѣр" ~ χηρ in Khazar (=> probably in Oghur Bulgar, too) meant 'daughter'. It's cognitive with the Oghuz/Kipchak "kız" meaning the same. Can somebody knowing modern Chuvash add how it's in that language (which, as far as I know, is descendant from Old Bulgar)? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:51, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

Also, "фрьтъ" sounds similar to the modern Aromanian word for 'berry', but most likely this is a coincidence, because the origin of the Aromanian word is (probably) the Latin "fructus". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:10, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

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