12 Languages

12.17 Slavonic languages

12.17.1 Scripts and transliteration

Of the Slavonic languages Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Macedonian are written in the Cyrillic alphabet, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Sorbían, Croatian, Bosnian, and Slovene in the Latin. At the time of writing Serbian is written in either.

See 12.15.1 and Table 12.7 for details of the Cyrillic alphabet. The extra sorts called for by the languages other than Russian that use Cyrillic are Belarusian і (= і) and (= w); Macedonian ѓ (= ǵ), s (= dz), j (= j), Љ (= lj), Њ, (= nj), Ќ (= ), and џ (= ); Serbian Ђ, ђ (= đ), j (=j), Љ (= lj), Њ, (= nj), Ћ, ћ (= ć), and џ (= ); and Ukrainian ґ (= g), є (= ye), i (= i), and ï (= yi). In some Macedonian and Serbian fonts cursive г, n, and m are in the form of superior-barred cursive ī, ū, and ɯ̄ respectively.

Transliteration systems are largely similar for those languages written in Cyrillic, but at the time of writing there is still no internationally agreed, unitary system. Of the three currently most favoured systems, the ALA-Library of Congress, International Scholarly, and British, the ALA-LC system seems to be gaining ground because of its increasing use in national and academic libraries, spurred on by developments in information technology and standardized, machine-readable cataloguing systems.

Wherever possible, adhere to a single transliteration system throughout a single work. In texts using transliterated Russian, as well as Belarusian, Bulgarian, and Ukrainian, authors and editors should avoid mixing, for example, the usual British ya, yo, yu, the Library of Congress ia, io, iu, and the philological ja, jo, ju. (Note that the transliteration of Serbian and Macedonian operates according to different rules.)

12.17.2 Belarusian

In standard transliteration of Belarusian (also called Belorussian), the diacritics ǐ, й, è (or ė, é), and ʹ (soft sign) are used. In specialist texts, the philological system requires č, ë, š, ž. The Library of Congress system requires ligatured i͡a, i͡o, i͡u, z͡h In practice the ligature is often omitted, as many non-specialist typesetters have difficulty reproducing it; this is the case for all languages that employ this system.

12.17.3 Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian

Linguistic nomenclature in the former Yugoslavia is still very contentious. Serbo-Croat was the main official language of Yugoslavia: although the term Serbo-Croat is still used by some linguists in Serbia and Bosnia–Herzegovina, the ISO has assigned codes to Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian. Oversimplifying, Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in Bosnia–Herzegovina use Bosnian, Croats in Croatia and Bosnia–Herzegovina use Croat, while Serbs in Serbia and Montenegro and in Bosnia–Herzegovina use Serbian.

The Roman alphabet used for Bosnian and Croatian is the standard latinica that is to be used for transliterating Serbian even for lay readers: thus четници will be četnici not chetnitsi.

The Cyrillic alphabet is ordered а б в г д ђ е ж з и ј к л љ м н њ о п р с т ħ у ф х ц ч џ ш; both in transliterated Serbian and in Croatian, the latinica order is a b c č ć d dž đ e f g h i j k l lj m n nj o p r s š t u v z ž.

Diacritics for transliterated Serbian are ć, č, š, ž; special characters are Đ đ.

12.17.4 Bulgarian

The ALA-LC system of transliteration uses the diacritics ǐ, й, and the letter combinations zh, kh, eh, sh, sht. It also requires the ligatures i͡a, i͡u, t͡s The philological system requires č, š, ž.

12.17.5 Czech and Slovak

Czech and Slovak are written using the Roman alphabet, which in Czech is a á b c č d ď e é ě f g h ch i í j k l m n ň o ó p r ř s š t ť u ú ů v y ý z ž; in alphabetizing, ignore accents on vowels and on d, n, and t. The Slovak alphabet is a á ä b c č d ď e é f g h ch i í j k l ĺ ľ m n ň o ó ôp r ŕ s š t ť u ú v y ý z ž; in alphabetizing, ignore acute, circumflex, and accents on d, l, n, r, and t.

The diacritics used in Czech are á, é, í, ó, ú, ý, ů, č, ď, ě, ň, ř, š, ť, ž. The palatalization of d, t is always indicated by a háček in upper case (Ď, Ť) and in lower case either by a háček (ď, ť) or—preferably—a high comma right (d’, t’). Slovak uses the diacritics ä, á, é, í, ĺ, ó, ŕ, ú, ý, ô, č, d’, l’, ň, š, t’, ž. The palatalization of d and t is the same as for Czech; that for the Slovak l can be either a háček or high comma right in upper case (Ľ, L’) and a high comma right in lower case (l’).

12.17.6 Macedonian

Macedonian is written in the Cyrillic alphabet, with a transliteration system similar to that used for Serbian. The diacritics used are ǵ, ḱ, č, š, ž, and the apostrophe; the letter combinations lj, nj, dž should not be broken in word division.

12.17.7 Old Church Slavonic

Also called Old Bulgarian, Old Church Slavonic was written in the Cyrillic alphabet as well as the older Glagolitic alphabet. The regional variants that developed from it are known collectively as Church Slavonic.

The diacritics and ligatures used in the Library of Congress’s transliteration of Church Slavonic are ǵ, ḟ, v, ẏ, ż, ě, (with ogonek or right-facing hook on e, o), o͡t, ē, ī, ō, ū, ȳ, ǐ, ę, ǫ (ogonek). In Russian Church Slavonic, ja/ya/ia may correspond to ę and i͡ę, u to ǫ, and ju/yu/iu to i͡ǫ. The philological system uses č, š, ž. Special characters are ′ (soft sign), ″ (hard sign).

12.17.8 Polish

Polish is written in the Roman alphabet, as in English without q, v, and x. It employs the diacritics ć, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż, and Ą, ą, Ę, ę (ogonek, hook right); in addition there is one special character, the crossed (or Polish) l (Ł ł).

Alphabetical order is: a ą b c ć d e ę f g h i j k l ł m n ń o ó p r s ś t u w y z ź ż. The digraphs ch, cz, dz, dź, dż, rz, and sz are not considered single letters of the alphabet for ordering purposes; however, these letter combinations should not be separated in dividing words.

12.17.9 Slovene

Slovene (also called Slovenian) is written in the Roman alphabet and uses the háček on č, š, ž; the digraph is not considered a single letter.

12.17.10 Ukrainian

The philological system requires č, š, ž, ĭ, ï, ′ (soft sign), and the letter combinations je, šč, ju, ja. The Library of Congress system requires ligatured i͡a, i͡e, i͡u, z͡h as with Belarusian, the ligature is often omitted. The Ukrainian и is transliterated as y, not і (which represents Ukrainian і).


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