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Glagolitic alphabet

The Glagolitic alphabet is an alphabet created by Saint Cyril in order to translate the Bible into the Slavonic language. It is also called Glagolitsa, Bukvitsa, Hieronymian, Illyrian, and Slovenish.

The Glagolitic alphabet was almost entirely replaced during the Middle Ages by its descendant, the Cyrillic alphabet. Nowadays, it's only used for Old Church Slavonic in the service-books of Dalmatian Roman Catholics of the Slavonic rite[?].

While based mainly on mediaeval Greek, there are some letters of uncertain or unknown origin. Even the tradition that the alphabet was designed by the Greek monks Saint Cyrcil and Saint Methodius is not universally accepted. A less common belief is that the Glagolitic was created by St. Jerome, hence the name Hieronymian.

The alphabet has two variants: round and square. The round variant is dominated by circles and smooth curves, and the square variant features a lot of right angles, and sometimes trapezoids. See an image of both variants (incomplete) (http://kodeks.uni-bamberg.de/AKSL/Schrift/GlagolVergleichAlphabet.htm).

The name comes from the Slavonic glagol, meaning word (which was also the name for the letter "G"). Since glagolati also means to speak, the Glagolitsa are poetically referred to as "the marks that speak".

The following table lists each letter in order, giving a picture (round variant), its name, its approximate sound in SAMPA, the Greek letter that it was used to transliterate (if applicable), and the modern Cyrillic letter that it directly gave rise to (if any).

PictureNameSoundRelation to GreekRelation to modern Cyrillic
Az/a/AlphaA
Buki/b/Be
Vedi/v/BetaVe
Glagol/g/GammaGhe
Dobro/d/DeltaDe
Jest/E/EpsilonE
Zhivete/Z/Zhe
Dzelo/dz/Macedonian Dze
Zemlja/z/ZetaZe
Izhe/i/EtaI
I/i/IotaUkrainian I
Dzherv/dZ/Serbian Šerv
Kako/k/KappaKa
Ljudi/l/LambdaEl
Mislete/m/MuEm
Nash/n/NuEn
On/O/OmicronO
Pokoj/p/PiPe
Rtsi/r/RhoEr
Slovo/s/SigmaEs
Tverdo/t/TauTe
Uk/u/Omicron UpsilonU
Fert/f/PhiEf
Kher/x/ChiHa
Oht/o/OmegaOnly used to transcribe Greek
Tsi/ts/Tse
Cherv/tS/Che
Sha/S/Sha
Shta/St/Shcha
Jer/w/, /@/The hard sign
Jery/1/Jery
Jerj/j/The soft sign
Jat/j{/Removed from Bulgarian in 1945
?/jO/Obsolete
Ju/ju/Ju
Jus Malij/E~/Obsolete
Jus Malij Jotirovannij/jE~/Obsolete
Jus Bolshoj/O~/Obsolete
Jus Bolshoj Jotirovannij/jO~/Obsolete
Thita/f/ThetaOnly used to transcribe Greek
Izhitsa/v/, /i/UpsilonRemoved from Russian in 1917

I'm not sure of the name of the letter between Jat and Ju.

Note that Jery is simply a ligature of Jer and I. The order of Izhe and I varies from source to source, as does the order of the various forms of Jus.



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