Cyrillic script

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"Cyrillic" and "Cyrillic alphabet" redirect here. Cyrillic script_sentence_0

For national variants of the Cyrillic script, see Cyrillic alphabets. Cyrillic script_sentence_1

For other uses, see Cyrillic (disambiguation). Cyrillic script_sentence_2

Cyrillic script_table_infobox_0

CyrillicCyrillic script_header_cell_0_0_0
TypeCyrillic script_header_cell_0_1_0 Alphabet (impure) and BicameralCyrillic script_cell_0_1_1
LanguagesCyrillic script_header_cell_0_2_0 See Languages using Cyrillic

Official script in:


7 sovereign states


Co-official script in:


8 sovereign statesCyrillic script_cell_0_2_1

Time periodCyrillic script_header_cell_0_3_0 Earliest variants exist c. 893 – c. 940Cyrillic script_cell_0_3_1
Parent systemsCyrillic script_header_cell_0_4_0 Egyptian hieroglyphsCyrillic script_cell_0_4_1
Child systemsCyrillic script_header_cell_0_5_0 Old Permic scriptCyrillic script_cell_0_5_1
Sister systemsCyrillic script_header_cell_0_6_0 Cyrillic script_cell_0_6_1
DirectionCyrillic script_header_cell_0_7_0 Left-to-rightCyrillic script_cell_0_7_1
ISO 15924Cyrillic script_header_cell_0_8_0 Cyrl, 220

Cyrs (Old Church Slavonic variant)Cyrillic script_cell_0_8_1

Unicode aliasCyrillic script_header_cell_0_9_0 CyrillicCyrillic script_cell_0_9_1
Unicode rangeCyrillic script_header_cell_0_10_0 Cyrillic script_cell_0_10_1

The Cyrillic script (/sɪˈrɪlɪk/ sə-RIL-ik) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic, Turkic, Mongolic and Iranic-speaking countries in Southeastern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, North Asia and East Asia. Cyrillic script_sentence_3

In the 9th century AD the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon I the Great, following the cultural and political course of his father Boris I, commissioned a new script, the Early Cyrillic alphabet, to be made at the Preslav Literary School in the First Bulgarian Empire, which would replace the Glagolitic script, produced earlier by Saints Cyril and Methodius and the same disciples that created the new Slavic script in Bulgaria. Cyrillic script_sentence_4

The usage of the Cyrillic script in Bulgaria was made official in 893. Cyrillic script_sentence_5

The new script became the basis of alphabets used in various languages, especially those of Orthodox Slavic origin, and non-Slavic languages influenced by Russian. Cyrillic script_sentence_6

For centuries Cyrillic was used by Catholic and Muslim Slavs too (see Bosnian Cyrillic). Cyrillic script_sentence_7

As of 2019, around 250 million people in Eurasia use it as the official alphabet for their national languages, with Russia accounting for about half of them. Cyrillic script_sentence_8

With the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union on 1 January 2007, Cyrillic became the third official script of the European Union, following Latin and Greek. Cyrillic script_sentence_9

Cyrillic is derived from the Greek uncial script, augmented by letters from the older Glagolitic alphabet, including some ligatures. Cyrillic script_sentence_10

These additional letters were used for Old Church Slavonic sounds not found in Greek. Cyrillic script_sentence_11

The script is named in honor of the two Byzantine brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, who created the Glagolitic alphabet earlier on. Cyrillic script_sentence_12

Modern scholars believe that Cyrillic was developed and formalized by the early disciples of Cyril and Methodius, particularly by Clement of Ohrid. Cyrillic script_sentence_13

In the early 18th century, the Cyrillic script used in Russia was heavily reformed by Peter the Great, who had recently returned from his Grand Embassy in Western Europe. Cyrillic script_sentence_14

The new letterforms, called the Civil script, became closer to those of the Latin alphabet; several archaic letters were abolished and several letters were designed by Peter himself. Cyrillic script_sentence_15

Letters became distinguished between upper and lower case. Cyrillic script_sentence_16

West European typography culture was also adopted. Cyrillic script_sentence_17

The pre-reform forms of letters called 'Полуустав' were notably kept for use in Church Slavonic and are sometimes used in Russian even today, especially if one wants to give a text a 'Slavic' or 'archaic' feel. Cyrillic script_sentence_18

Letters Cyrillic script_section_0

Cyrillic script spread throughout the East Slavic and some South Slavic territories, being adopted for writing local languages, such as Old East Slavic. Cyrillic script_sentence_19

Its adaptation to local languages produced a number of Cyrillic alphabets, discussed below. Cyrillic script_sentence_20

Capital and lowercase letters were not distinguished in old manuscripts. Cyrillic script_sentence_21

Yeri (Ы) was originally a ligature of Yer and I (Ъ + І = Ы). Cyrillic script_sentence_22

Iotation was indicated by ligatures formed with the letter І: (not an ancestor of modern Ya, Я, which is derived from Ѧ), Ѥ, Ю (ligature of І and ОУ), Ѩ, Ѭ. Cyrillic script_sentence_23

Sometimes different letters were used interchangeably, for example И = І = Ї, as were typographical variants like О = Ѻ. Cyrillic script_sentence_24

There were also commonly used ligatures like ѠТ = Ѿ. Cyrillic script_sentence_25

The letters also had numeric values, based not on Cyrillic alphabetical order, but inherited from the letters' Greek ancestors. Cyrillic script_sentence_26

The early Cyrillic alphabet is difficult to represent on computers. Cyrillic script_sentence_27

Many of the letterforms differed from those of modern Cyrillic, varied a great deal in manuscripts, and changed over time. Cyrillic script_sentence_28

Few fonts include glyphs sufficient to reproduce the alphabet. Cyrillic script_sentence_29

In accordance with Unicode policy, the standard does not include letterform variations or ligatures found in manuscript sources unless they can be shown to conform to the Unicode definition of a character. Cyrillic script_sentence_30

The Unicode 5.1 standard, released on 4 April 2008, greatly improves computer support for the early Cyrillic and the modern Church Slavonic language. Cyrillic script_sentence_31

In Microsoft Windows, the Segoe UI user interface font is notable for having complete support for the archaic Cyrillic letters since Windows 8. Cyrillic script_sentence_32

Letterforms and typography Cyrillic script_section_1

The development of Cyrillic typography passed directly from the medieval stage to the late Baroque, without a Renaissance phase as in Western Europe. Cyrillic script_sentence_33

Late Medieval Cyrillic letters (still found on many icon inscriptions today) show a marked tendency to be very tall and narrow, with strokes often shared between adjacent letters. Cyrillic script_sentence_34

Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, mandated the use of westernized letter forms () in the early 18th century. Cyrillic script_sentence_35

Over time, these were largely adopted in the other languages that use the script. Cyrillic script_sentence_36

Thus, unlike the majority of modern Greek fonts that retained their own set of design principles for lower-case letters (such as the placement of serifs, the shapes of stroke ends, and stroke-thickness rules, although Greek capital letters do use Latin design principles), modern Cyrillic fonts are much the same as modern Latin fonts of the same font family. Cyrillic script_sentence_37

The development of some Cyrillic computer typefaces from Latin ones has also contributed to the visual Latinization of Cyrillic type. Cyrillic script_sentence_38

Cyrillic uppercase and lowercase letter forms are not as differentiated as in Latin typography. Cyrillic script_sentence_39

Upright Cyrillic lowercase letters are essentially small capitals (with exceptions: Cyrillic ⟨а⟩, ⟨е⟩, ⟨і⟩, ⟨ј⟩, ⟨р⟩, and ⟨у⟩ adopted Western lowercase shapes, lowercase ⟨ф⟩ is typically designed under the influence of Latin ⟨p⟩, lowercase ⟨б⟩, ⟨ђ⟩ and ⟨ћ⟩ are traditional handwritten forms), although a good-quality Cyrillic typeface will still include separate small-caps glyphs. Cyrillic script_sentence_40

Cyrillic fonts, as well as Latin ones, have roman and italic types (practically all popular modern fonts include parallel sets of Latin and Cyrillic letters, where many glyphs, uppercase as well as lowercase, are simply shared by both). Cyrillic script_sentence_41

However, the native font terminology in most Slavic languages (for example, in Russian) does not use the words "roman" and "italic" in this sense. Cyrillic script_sentence_42

Instead, the nomenclature follows German naming patterns: Cyrillic script_sentence_43

Cyrillic script_unordered_list_0

  • Roman type is called pryamoy shrift ("upright type")—compare with Normalschrift ("regular type") in GermanCyrillic script_item_0_0
  • Italic type is called kursiv ("cursive") or kursivniy shrift ("cursive type")—from the German word Kursive, meaning italic typefaces and not cursive writingCyrillic script_item_0_1
  • Cursive handwriting is rukopisniy shrift ("handwritten type") in Russian—in German: or Laufschrift, both meaning literally 'running type'Cyrillic script_item_0_2

As in Latin typography, a sans-serif face may have a mechanically sloped oblique type (naklonniy shrift—"sloped", or "slanted type") instead of italic. Cyrillic script_sentence_44

Similarly to Latin fonts, italic and cursive types of many Cyrillic letters (typically lowercase; uppercase only for handwritten or stylish types) are very different from their upright roman types. Cyrillic script_sentence_45

In certain cases, the correspondence between uppercase and lowercase glyphs does not coincide in Latin and Cyrillic fonts: for example, italic Cyrillic ⟨т⟩ is the lowercase counterpart of ⟨Т⟩ not of ⟨М⟩. Cyrillic script_sentence_46

A boldfaced type is called poluzhirniy shrift ("semi-bold type"), because there existed fully boldfaced shapes that have been out of use since the beginning of the 20th century. Cyrillic script_sentence_47

A bold italic combination (bold slanted) does not exist for all font families. Cyrillic script_sentence_48

In Standard Serbian, as well as in Macedonian, some italic and cursive letters are allowed to be different to resemble more to the handwritten letters. Cyrillic script_sentence_49

The regular (upright) shapes are generally standardized among languages and there are no officially recognized variations. Cyrillic script_sentence_50

The following table shows the differences between the upright and italic Cyrillic letters of the Russian alphabet. Cyrillic script_sentence_51

Italic forms significantly different from their upright analogues, or especially confusing to users of a Latin alphabet, are highlighted. Cyrillic script_sentence_52

Note: in some fonts or styles, lowercase italic Cyrillic ⟨д⟩ (⟨д⟩) may look like Latin ⟨g⟩ and lowercase italic Cyrillic ⟨т⟩ (⟨т⟩) may look exactly like a capital italic ⟨T⟩ (⟨T⟩), only smaller. Cyrillic script_sentence_53

Cyrillic alphabets Cyrillic script_section_2

Main article: Cyrillic alphabets Cyrillic script_sentence_54

Among others, Cyrillic is the standard script for writing the following languages: Cyrillic script_sentence_55

Cyrillic script_unordered_list_1

The Cyrillic script has also been used for languages of Alaska, Slavic Europe (except for Western Slavic and some Southern Slavic), the Caucasus, Siberia, and the Russian Far East. Cyrillic script_sentence_56

The first alphabet derived from Cyrillic was Abur, used for the Komi language. Cyrillic script_sentence_57

Other Cyrillic alphabets include the Molodtsov alphabet for the Komi language and various alphabets for Caucasian languages. Cyrillic script_sentence_58

Name Cyrillic script_section_3

Since the script was conceived and popularised by the followers of Cyril and Methodius, rather than by Cyril and Methodius themselves, its name denotes homage rather than authorship. Cyrillic script_sentence_59

The name "Cyrillic" often confuses people who are not familiar with the script's history, because it does not identify a country of origin (in contrast to the "Greek alphabet"). Cyrillic script_sentence_60

Among the general public, it is often called "the Russian alphabet," because Russian is the most popular and influential alphabet based on the script. Cyrillic script_sentence_61

Some Bulgarian intellectuals, notably Stefan Tsanev, have expressed concern over this, and have suggested that the Cyrillic script be called the "Bulgarian alphabet" instead, for the sake of historical accuracy. Cyrillic script_sentence_62

It must be noted here that 'alphabet' is not the same as 'script' (e.g. letter Її exists in the Cyrillic script since its very invention and is still used in Ukrainian, but is absent in the modern Bulgarian alphabet, that is Cyrillic as used in Bulgarian), so the accurate name is actually 'the Bulgarian script'. Cyrillic script_sentence_63

In Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, Czech and Slovak, the Cyrillic alphabet is also known as azbuka, derived from the old names of the first two letters of most Cyrillic alphabets (just as the term alphabet came from the first two Greek letters alpha and beta). Cyrillic script_sentence_64

In the Russian language syllabaries, especially the Japanese kana, are commonly referred to as 'syllabic azbukas' rather than 'syllabic scripts'. Cyrillic script_sentence_65

History Cyrillic script_section_4

Main article: Early Cyrillic alphabet Cyrillic script_sentence_66

The Cyrillic script was created in the First Bulgarian Empire. Cyrillic script_sentence_67

Its first variant, the Early Cyrillic alphabet, was created at the Preslav Literary School. Cyrillic script_sentence_68

It is derived from the Greek uncial script letters, augmented by ligatures and consonants from the older Glagolitic alphabet for sounds not found in Greek. Cyrillic script_sentence_69

Tradition holds that Cyrillic and Glagolitic were formalized either by Saints Cyril and Methodius who brought Christianity to the southern Slavs, or by their disciples. Cyrillic script_sentence_70

Paul Cubberley posits that although Cyril may have codified and expanded Glagolitic, it was his students in the First Bulgarian Empire under Tsar Simeon the Great that developed Cyrillic from the Greek letters in the 890s as a more suitable script for church books. Cyrillic script_sentence_71

Later Cyrillic spread among other Slavic peoples, as well as among non-Slavic Vlachs. Cyrillic script_sentence_72

Cyrillic and Glagolitic were used for the Church Slavonic language, especially the Old Church Slavonic variant. Cyrillic script_sentence_73

Hence expressions such as "И is the tenth Cyrillic letter" typically refer to the order of the Church Slavonic alphabet; not every Cyrillic alphabet uses every letter available in the script. Cyrillic script_sentence_74

The Cyrillic script came to dominate Glagolitic in the 12th century. Cyrillic script_sentence_75

The literature produced in the Old Bulgarian language soon spread north and became the lingua franca of the Balkans and Eastern Europe, where it came to also be known as Old Church Slavonic. Cyrillic script_sentence_76

The alphabet used for the modern Church Slavonic language in Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic rites still resembles early Cyrillic. Cyrillic script_sentence_77

However, over the course of the following millennium, Cyrillic adapted to changes in spoken language, developed regional variations to suit the features of national languages, and was subjected to academic reform and political decrees. Cyrillic script_sentence_78

A notable example of such linguistic reform can be attributed to Vuk Stefanović Karadžić who updated the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet by removing certain graphemes no longer represented in the vernacular, and introducing graphemes specific to Serbian (i.e. Љ Њ Ђ Ћ Џ Ј), distancing it from Church Slavonic alphabet in use prior to the reform. Cyrillic script_sentence_79

Today, many languages in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and northern Eurasia are written in Cyrillic alphabets. Cyrillic script_sentence_80

Relationship to other writing systems Cyrillic script_section_5

Latin script Cyrillic script_section_6

A number of languages written in a Cyrillic alphabet have also been written in a Latin alphabet, such as Azerbaijani, Uzbek, Serbian and Romanian (in the Republic of Moldova until 1989, in Romania throughout the 19th century). Cyrillic script_sentence_81

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, some of the former republics officially shifted from Cyrillic to Latin. Cyrillic script_sentence_82

The transition is complete in most of Moldova (except the breakaway region of Transnistria, where Moldovan Cyrillic is official), Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan. Cyrillic script_sentence_83

Uzbekistan still uses both systems, and Kazakhstan has officially begun a transition from Cyrillic to Latin (scheduled to be complete by 2025). Cyrillic script_sentence_84

The Russian government has mandated that Cyrillic must be used for all public communications in all federal subjects of Russia, to promote closer ties across the federation. Cyrillic script_sentence_85

This act was controversial for speakers of many Slavic languages; for others, such as Chechen and Ingush speakers, the law had political ramifications. Cyrillic script_sentence_86

For example, the separatist Chechen government mandated a Latin script which is still used by many Chechens. Cyrillic script_sentence_87

Those in the diaspora especially refuse to use the Chechen Cyrillic alphabet, which they associate with Russian imperialism. Cyrillic script_sentence_88

Standard Serbian uses both the Cyrillic and Latin scripts. Cyrillic script_sentence_89

Cyrillic is nominally the official script of Serbia's administration according to the Serbian constitution; however, the law does not regulate scripts in standard language, or standard language itself by any means. Cyrillic script_sentence_90

In practice the scripts are equal, with Latin being used more often in a less official capacity. Cyrillic script_sentence_91

The Zhuang alphabet, used between the 1950s and 1980s in portions of the People's Republic of China, used a mixture of Latin, phonetic, numeral-based, and Cyrillic letters. Cyrillic script_sentence_92

The non-Latin letters, including Cyrillic, were removed from the alphabet in 1982 and replaced with Latin letters that closely resembled the letters they replaced. Cyrillic script_sentence_93

Romanization Cyrillic script_section_7

There are various systems for Romanization of Cyrillic text, including transliteration to convey Cyrillic spelling in Latin letters, and transcription to convey pronunciation. Cyrillic script_sentence_94

Standard Cyrillic-to-Latin transliteration systems include: Cyrillic script_sentence_95

Cyrillic script_unordered_list_2

  • Scientific transliteration, used in linguistics, is based on the Bosnian and Croatian Latin alphabet.Cyrillic script_item_2_5
  • The Working Group on Romanization Systems of the United Nations recommends different systems for specific languages. These are the most commonly used around the world.Cyrillic script_item_2_6
  • ISO 9:1995, from the International Organization for Standardization.Cyrillic script_item_2_7
  • American Library Association and Library of Congress Romanization tables for Slavic alphabets (ALA-LC Romanization), used in North American libraries.Cyrillic script_item_2_8
  • BGN/PCGN Romanization (1947), United States Board on Geographic Names & Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use).Cyrillic script_item_2_9
  • GOST 16876, a now defunct Soviet transliteration standard. Replaced by GOST 7.79, which is ISO 9 equivalent.Cyrillic script_item_2_10
  • Various informal romanizations of Cyrillic, which adapt the Cyrillic script to Latin and sometimes Greek glyphs for compatibility with small character sets.Cyrillic script_item_2_11

See also Romanization of Belarusian, Bulgarian, Kyrgyz, Russian, Macedonian and Ukrainian. Cyrillic script_sentence_96

Cyrillization Cyrillic script_section_8

Representing other writing systems with Cyrillic letters is called Cyrillization. Cyrillic script_sentence_97

Computer encoding Cyrillic script_section_9

Unicode Cyrillic script_section_10

Main article: Cyrillic script in Unicode Cyrillic script_sentence_98

As of Unicode version 13.0, Cyrillic letters, including national and historical alphabets, are encoded across several blocks: Cyrillic script_sentence_99

Cyrillic script_unordered_list_3

The characters in the range U+0400 to U+045F are essentially the characters from ISO 8859-5 moved upward by 864 positions. Cyrillic script_sentence_100

The characters in the range U+0460 to U+0489 are historic letters, not used now. Cyrillic script_sentence_101

The characters in the range U+048A to U+052F are additional letters for various languages that are written with Cyrillic script. Cyrillic script_sentence_102

Unicode as a general rule does not include accented Cyrillic letters. Cyrillic script_sentence_103

A few exceptions include: Cyrillic script_sentence_104

Cyrillic script_unordered_list_4

  • combinations that are considered as separate letters of respective alphabets, like Й, Ў, Ё, Ї, Ѓ, Ќ (as well as many letters of non-Slavic alphabets);Cyrillic script_item_4_19
  • two most frequent combinations orthographically required to distinguish homonyms in Bulgarian and Macedonian: Ѐ, Ѝ;Cyrillic script_item_4_20
  • a few Old and New Church Slavonic combinations: Ѷ, Ѿ, Ѽ.Cyrillic script_item_4_21

To indicate stressed or long vowels, combining diacritical marks can be used after the respective letter (for example, U+0301 ◌́ COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT: ы́ э́ ю́ я́ etc.). Cyrillic script_sentence_105

Some languages, including Church Slavonic, are still not fully supported. Cyrillic script_sentence_106

Unicode 5.1, released on 4 April 2008, introduces major changes to the Cyrillic blocks. Cyrillic script_sentence_107

Revisions to the existing Cyrillic blocks, and the addition of Cyrillic Extended A (2DE0 ... 2DFF) and Cyrillic Extended B (A640 ... A69F), significantly improve support for the early Cyrillic alphabet, Abkhaz, Aleut, Chuvash, Kurdish, and Moksha. Cyrillic script_sentence_108

Other Cyrillic script_section_11

Punctuation for Cyrillic text is similar to that used in European Latin-alphabet languages. Cyrillic script_sentence_109

Other character encoding systems for Cyrillic: Cyrillic script_sentence_110

Cyrillic script_unordered_list_5

  • CP866 – 8-bit Cyrillic character encoding established by Microsoft for use in MS-DOS also known as GOST-alternative. Cyrillic characters go in their native order, with a "window" for pseudographic characters.Cyrillic script_item_5_22
  • ISO/IEC 8859-5 – 8-bit Cyrillic character encoding established by International Organization for StandardizationCyrillic script_item_5_23
  • KOI8-R – 8-bit native Russian character encoding. Invented in the USSR for use on Soviet clones of American IBM and DEC computers. The Cyrillic characters go in the order of their Latin counterparts, which allowed the text to remain readable after transmission via a 7-bit line that removed the most significant bit from each byte—the result became a very rough, but readable, Latin transliteration of Cyrillic. Standard encoding of early 1990s for Unix systems and the first Russian Internet encoding.Cyrillic script_item_5_24
  • KOI8-U – KOI8-R with addition of Ukrainian letters.Cyrillic script_item_5_25
  • MIK – 8-bit native Bulgarian character encoding for use in Microsoft DOS.Cyrillic script_item_5_26
  • Windows-1251 – 8-bit Cyrillic character encoding established by Microsoft for use in Microsoft Windows. The simplest 8-bit Cyrillic encoding—32 capital chars in native order at 0xc0–0xdf, 32 usual chars at 0xe0–0xff, with rarely used "YO" characters somewhere else. No pseudographics. Former standard encoding in some GNU/Linux distributions for Belarusian and Bulgarian, but currently displaced by UTF-8.Cyrillic script_item_5_27
  • GOST-main.Cyrillic script_item_5_28
  • GB 2312 – Principally simplified Chinese encodings, but there are also the basic 33 Russian Cyrillic letters (in upper- and lower-case).Cyrillic script_item_5_29
  • JIS and Shift JIS – Principally Japanese encodings, but there are also the basic 33 Russian Cyrillic letters (in upper- and lower-case).Cyrillic script_item_5_30

Keyboard layouts Cyrillic script_section_12

See also: Keyboard layouts for non-Latin alphabetic scripts Cyrillic script_sentence_111

Each language has its own standard keyboard layout, adopted from typewriters. Cyrillic script_sentence_112

With the flexibility of computer input methods, there are also transliterating or phonetic/homophonic keyboard layouts made for typists who are more familiar with other layouts, like the common English QWERTY keyboard. Cyrillic script_sentence_113

When practical Cyrillic keyboard layouts or fonts are unavailable, computer users sometimes use transliteration or look-alike "volapuk" encoding to type in languages that are normally written with the Cyrillic alphabet. Cyrillic script_sentence_114

See also Cyrillic script_section_13

Cyrillic script_unordered_list_6

Internet top-level domains in Cyrillic Cyrillic script_section_14

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrillic script.