The SERBIAN CYRILLIC ALPHABET (Serbian : српска
ћирилица/srpska ćirilica, pronounced ) is an adaptation of
Cyrillic script for the
Serbian language , developed in 1818 by
Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić . It is one of the two alphabets used
to write standard modern Serbian , Bosnian and Montenegrin , the other
being Latin .
Karadžić based his alphabet on the previous "
script, following the principle of "write as you speak and read as it
is written", removing obsolete letters and letters representing
iotified vowels , introducing ⟨J⟩ from the
Latin alphabet instead,
and adding several consonant letters for sounds specific to Serbian
phonology. During the same period, Croatian linguists led by Ljudevit
Gaj adapted the Latin alphabet, in use in western South Slavic areas,
using the same principles. As a result of this joint effort, Cyrillic
and Latin alphabets for
Serbo-Croatian have a complete one-to-one
congruence, with the Latin digraphs Lj, Nj, and Dž counting as single
Cyrillic alphabet was officially adopted in
Serbia in 1868, and
was in exclusive use in the country up to the inter-war period. Both
alphabets were co-official in the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia and later in
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia . Due to the shared
Gaj's Latin alphabet
Gaj's Latin alphabet saw a gradual adoption in Serbia
since, and both scripts are used to write modern standard Serbian,
Montenegrin and Bosnian; Croatian only uses the Latin alphabet. In
Cyrillic is seen as being more traditional, and has the
official status (designated in the Constitution as the "official
script ", compared to Latin's status of "script in official use"
designated by a lower-level act). It is also an official script in
Herzegovina and Montenegro, along with Latin.
Cyrillic alphabet was used as a basis for the Macedonian
alphabet with the work of
Krste Misirkov and
Venko Markovski .
* 1 Official use
* 2 Modern alphabet
* 3 Early history
* 3.1 Early
* 3.2 Medieval Serbian
* 4 Karadžić\'s reform
* 5 Modern history
* 5.1 Austria-Hungary
* 5.2 World War II
* 5.4 Contemporary period
* 7 Differences from other
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 9.1 Sources
* 10 External links
Cyrillic is in official use in Serbia,
Montenegro and Bosnia and
Herzegovina. Although the
Bosnian language "officially accept both
alphabets", the Latin script is almost always used in the Federation
of Bosnia and
Herzegovina , whereas
Cyrillic is in everyday use in
Republika Srpska (and is used only by the Serbs in the country).
Serbian language in
Croatia is officially recognized as a minority
language, however, the use of
Cyrillic in bilingual signs has sparked
protests and vandalism .
Cyrillic is an important symbol of Serbian identity. In Serbia,
official documents are printed in
Cyrillic only even though,
according to a 2014 survey, 47% of the Serbian population write in the
Latin alphabet whereas 36% write in Cyrillic.
Example of proper cursive modern Serbian
Capital letters of the Serbian
The following table provides the upper and lower case forms of the
Cyrillic alphabet, along with the equivalent forms in the
Latin alphabet and the International Phonetic
value for each letter:
History of Serbia SERBIAN CYRILLIC, from Comparative
orthography of European languages. Source: Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
"Srpske narodne pjesme" (Serbian folk poems),
Vienna , 1841
Main article: Early
According to tradition, Glagolitic was invented by the Byzantine
Christian missionaries and brothers Cyril and Methodius in the 860s,
Christianization of the Slavs . Glagolitic appears to be
older, predating the introduction of Christianity, only formalized by
Cyril and expanded to cover non-Greek sounds.
Cyrillic was created by
the orders of Boris I of Bulgaria by Cyril's disciples, perhaps at the
Preslav Literary School in the 890s.
The earliest form of
Cyrillic was the ustav, based on Greek uncial
script, augmented by ligatures and letters from the Glagolitic
alphabet for consonants not found in Greek. There was no distinction
between capital and lowercase letters. The literary Slavic language
was based on the Bulgarian dialect of Thessaloniki.
MEDIEVAL SERBIAN CYRILLIC
Part of the Serbian literary heritage of the Middle Ages are works
Vukan Gospels , St. Sava\'s Nomocanon , Dušan\'s Code ,
Munich Serbian Psalter , and others. The first printed book in Serbian
Cetinje Octoechos (1494).
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić (l. 1787–1864) fled
Serbia during the
Serbian Revolution in 1813, to Vienna. There he met
Jernej Kopitar , a
linguist with interest in slavistics. Kopitar and
Sava Mrkalj helped
Vuk to reform the
Serbian language and its orthography. He finalized
the alphabet in 1818 with the Serbian Dictionary.
Karadžić reformed the Serbian literary language and standardised
Cyrillic alphabet by following strict phonemic principles
Johann Christoph Adelung ' model and
Jan Hus '
Czech alphabet .
Karadžić's reforms of the Serbian literary language modernised it
and distanced it from Serbian and Russian
Church Slavonic , instead
bringing it closer to common folk speech, specifically, to the dialect
Herzegovina which he spoke. Karadžić was, together with
Đuro Daničić , the main Serbian signatory to the
Agreement of 1850 which, encouraged by Austrian authorities, laid the
foundation for the Serbian language, various forms of which are used
by Serbs in
Montenegro , Bosnia and
Herzegovina and Croatia
today. Karadžić also translated the
New Testament into Serbian,
which was published in 1868.
He wrote several books; Mala prostonarodna slaveno-serbska pesnarica
and Pismenica serbskoga jezika in 1814, and two more in 1815 and 1818,
all with the alphabet still in progress. In his letters from 1815-1818
he used: Ю, я, Ы and Ѳ. In his 1815 song book he dropped the Ѣ.
The alphabet was officially adopted in 1868, four years after his
From the Old Slavic script Vuk retained these 24 letters:
He added one Latin letter:
And 5 new ones:
Ѥ ѥ (је)
Ѣ, ѣ (јат)
І ї (и)
Ѵ ѵ (и)
Ѹ ѹ (у)
Ѡ ѡ (о)
Ѧ ѧ (мали јус)
Ѫ ѫ (велики јус)
Ы ы (јери, тврдо и)
Ю ю (ју)
Ѿ ѿ (от)
Ѳ ѳ (т)
Ѕ ѕ (дз)
Щ щ (шт)
Ѯ ѯ (кс)
Ѱ ѱ (пс)
Ъ ъ (тврди полуглас)
Ь ь (меки полуглас)
Я я (ја)
Orders issued on the 3 and 13 October 1914 banned the use of Serbian
Cyrillic in the
Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia
Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia , limiting it for use in
religious instruction. A decree was passed on January 3, 1915, that
Cyrillic completely from public use. An imperial order
in October 25, 1915, banned the use of Serbian
Cyrillic in the
Condominium of Bosnia and
Herzegovina , except "within the scope of
Serb Orthodox Church authorities".
WORLD WAR II
On April 25, 1941, Grand Mufti
Haj Amin al-Husseini of Jerusalem, who
was made chief architect of the Nazi German offensive in Bosnia, had
Cyrillic outlawed. In 1941, the Nazi puppet Independent State
Croatia banned the use of Cyrillic, having regulated it on 25
April 1941, and in June 1941 began eliminating "Eastern " (Serbian)
words from the Croatian language, and shut down Serbian schools.
Cyrillic script was one of the two official scripts used
to write the
Serbo-Croatian language in
Yugoslavia since its
establishment in 1918, the other being Latin script (latinica).
With the collapse of
Yugoslavia in the 1990s,
divided into its variants on ethnic lines (as it had been in
pre-Yugoslav times) and
Cyrillic is no longer used officially in
Croatia, while in Serbia, Bosnia and
Cyrillic stayed the official constitutional script.
Under the Constitution of
Serbia of 2006,
Cyrillic script is the only
one in official use.
The ligatures ⟨Љ ⟩ and ⟨Њ ⟩, together with ⟨Џ ⟩, ⟨Ђ
⟩ and ⟨Ћ ⟩ were developed specially for the Serbian alphabet.
* Karadžić based the letters ⟨Љ ⟩ and ⟨Њ ⟩ on a design
Sava Mrkalj , combining the letters ⟨Л ⟩ (L) and ⟨Н ⟩ (N)
with the soft sign (Ь).
* Karadžić based ⟨Џ ⟩ on letter "Gea" in the Romanian
Cyrillic alphabet .
* ⟨Ћ ⟩ was adopted by Karadžić to represent the voiceless
alveolo-palatal affricate (IPA : /tɕ/). The letter was based on, but
different in appearance to, the letter Djerv, which is the 12th letter
Glagolitic alphabet ; that letter had been used in written
Serbian since the 12th century, to represent /ɡʲ/, dʲ/ and /dʑ/.
* Karadžić adopted a design by
Lukijan Mušicki for the letter
⟨Ђ ⟩. It was based on the letter ⟨Ћ ⟩, as adapted by
* ⟨Ј ⟩ was adopted from the
Latin alphabet .
⟨Љ ⟩, ⟨Њ ⟩ and ⟨Џ ⟩ were later adopted for use in the
Macedonian alphabet .
DIFFERENCES FROM OTHER CYRILLIC ALPHABETS
There are non-italic and italic glyphs of some letters б, г,
д, п, т in different languages; note that both forms of д are
quite acceptable in handwritten Russian cursive
Cyrillic does not use several letters encountered in other
Cyrillic alphabets. It does not use hard sign (ъ) and soft
sign (ь), but the aforementioned soft-sign ligatures instead. It does
not have Russian/Belorussian Э, the semi-vowels Й or Ў, nor the
iotated letters Я (Russian/Bulgarian ya), Є (Ukrainian ye), Ї (yi),
Ё (Russian yo) or Ю (yu), which are instead written as two separate
letters: Ja, Je, Jи, Jo, Jy. J can also be used as a semi-vowel, in
place of й. The letter Щ is not used. When necessary, it is
transliterated as either ШЧ or ШT.
Serbian and Macedonian italic and cursive forms of lowercase letters
б , г , д , п , and т , differ from those used in other Cyrillic
alphabets (in Serbian ш can optionally be underlined, whereas in
Macedonian it is never underlined). That presents an obstacle in
Unicode modeling, as the glyphs differ only in italic versions, and
historically non-italic letters have been used in the same code
positions. Serbian professional typography uses fonts specially
crafted for the language to overcome the problem, but texts printed
from common computers contain East Slavic rather than Serbian italic
Cyrillic fonts from Adobe, Microsoft (
Windows Vista and
later) and a few other font houses include the Serbian variations
(both regular and italic).
If the underlying font and Web technology provides support, the
proper glyphs can be obtained by marking the text with appropriate
language codes. Thus, in non-italic mode:
* бгдпт, produces бгдпт, same (except for the shape of б)
* бгдпт, producing бгдпт
* бгдпт gives бгдпт, and
* бгдпт produces бгдпт.
Unicode unified different characters in same script, OpenType
locl (locale) support must be present to display the correct variant.
Mozilla Firefox ,
LibreOffice (currently under Linux
only), and some others provide required
OpenType support. Starting
from CSS 3, web authors also have to use this: font-feature-settings:
'locl';. Of course, font families like
GNU FreeFont , DejaVu , Ubuntu
, Microsoft "C*" fonts from
Windows Vista and above must be used.
Yugoslav manual alphabet
Romanization of Serbian
* ^ A B C D Ronelle Alexander (15 August 2006). Bosnian, Croatian,
Serbian, a Grammar: With Sociolinguistic Commentary. Univ of Wisconsin
Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-299-21193-6 .
* ^ Tomasz Kamusella (15 January 2009). The Politics of Language
and Nationalism in Modern Central Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN
978-0-230-55070-4 . In addition, today, neither Bosniaks nor Croats,
but only Serbs use
Cyrillic in Bosnia.
* ^ Entangled Histories of the Balkans: Volume One: National
Ideologies and Language Policies. BRILL. 13 June 2013. pp. 414–.
ISBN 978-90-04-25076-5 .
* ^ A B Cubberley, Paul (1996) "The Slavic Alphabets". in Daniels,
Peter T., and William Bright, eds. (1996). The World's Writing
Systems. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507993-0 .
* ^ The life and times of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, p. 387
* ^ Vek i po od smrti Vuka Karadžića (in Serbian),
Radio-Television of Serbia, 7 February 2014
* ^ Andrej Mitrović, Serbia's great war, 1914-1918 p.78-79. Purdue
University Press, 2007. ISBN 1-55753-477-2 , ISBN 978-1-55753-477-4
* ^ Ana S. Trbovich (2008). A Legal Geography of Yugoslavia\'s
Disintegration. Oxford University Press. p. 102.
* ^ David J. Jonsson (2006). Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad.
Xulon Press. p. 90.
Sabrina P. Ramet (2006). The Three Yugoslavias: State-building
and Legitimation, 1918-2005. Indiana University Press. pp. 312–.
ISBN 0-253-34656-8 .
Enver Redžić (2005). Bosnia and
Herzegovina in the Second
World War. Psychology Press. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-0-7146-5625-0 .
* ^ Alex J. Bellamy (2003). The Formation of Croatian National
Identity: A Centuries-old Dream. Manchester University Press. pp.
138–. ISBN 978-0-7190-6502-6 .
* ^ David M. Crowe (13 September 2013). Crimes of State Past and
Present: Government-Sponsored Atrocities and International Legal
Responses. Routledge. pp. 61–. ISBN 978-1-317-98682-9 .
* ^ Yugoslav Survey. 43. Jugoslavija Publishing House. 2002.
Retrieved 27 September 2013.
* ^ Article 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia
* ^ Janko Stamenović. "Serbian
Cyrillic Letters BE, GHE, DE, PE,
TE* (collection of related items from
Unicode mailing list)".
Unicode 8.0.0 ch.02 p.14-15
* Sir Duncan Wilson , The life and times of Vuk Stefanović
Karadžić, 1787-1864: literacy, literature and national independence
in Serbia, p. 387. Clarendon Press, 1970. Google Books
* Omniglot – Serbian, Croatian