ORTHOGRAPHY

Contents:

AlphabetRepresentation of non-ASCII characters
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Alphabet

Because the border between the Latin and Cyrillic writing Slavs runs through the middle of Slavic territory, there is a standard orthography for each of them. The Latin version uses 23 letters from the Latin alphabet (all except q, w and x), with eight consonants with a haček for the soft and/or palatal consonants. For the Cyrillic alphabet we use all characters that the various Cyrillic orthographies have in common, with two additions: ј from Serbian and Macedonian as the equivalent of Latin j and Russian й, and ь from Russian, Ukrainian etc. as the Cyrillic equivalent of the haček. Both alphabets are prototype orthographies, and those who cannot write a character on their own keyboard are suggested several alternatives. But let's first have a look at the original:

Latin A B C Č D Ď E F G H I J K L Ľ M N Ň O P R Ř S Š T Ť U V Y Z Ž
Cyrillic А Б Ц Ч Д ДЬ Е Ф Г Х И Ј К Л ЛЬ М Н НЬ О П Р РЬ С Ш Т ТЬ У В Ы З Ж

This orthography is pretty straightforward: every letter represents one phoneme, and every phoneme is represented by one letter. There is only one exception to be remembered: before i and j a consonant is always pronounced soft. Kosti and delanje should actually be read as kosťi and delaňje. The reason we don't write it that way is to avoid an abundancy of unnecessary diacritics in texts.

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Representation of non-ASCII characters

If your are able to write a characer from the prototype alphabets on your own keyboard, then we suggest you to do that. If your keyboard provides a similar alternative (like ż instead of ž, or ń instead of ň), then by all means use it as a substitute. But what happens if both are absent in your own orthography? Here are a few recommendations:

Y and Ы

This character, non-existent in South Slavic and Ukrainian, is not mandatory in Slovianski. Those who do not have these characters on their keyboard, as well as those who are targeting a predominantly South Slavic audience, are advised to use i / и instead.

Latin Č Š Ž

These letters are very important in Slavic. In SMS language the haček is often omitted, but this has a negative impact on understandability.
Poles can of course use cz sz ż. The best asciification is probably cz sz zs. Alternatively, you can also use cx sx zx, which has the advantage of being clear and consistent, but the disadvantage of being unnatural. If you happen to be an esperantist with easy access to Esperanto characters, you can use ĉ ŝ, but the problem with that is that Esperanto lacks .
Other options are better avoided. For example, ch sh zh has the disadvantage that West Slavs would understand ch as h [x], while solutions involving non-letter characters (like c^, c*, c') are considered ugly by most people.
Ján Herkeľ proposed ч ш ж (or ƶ), but this solution is both unpractical and unnecessary.

The soft vowels Ť Ď Ř Ň Ľ

The easiest way of simplifying these is simply removing the haček (which in many fonts look like an apostrophe in f.ex. ľ), which gives d l n r t. This is a perfectly acceptable form of simplification, but in some cases it decreases understandability for West and East Slavs. Therefore, if you cannot write these characters, please consider a few guidelines:

Examles: koň: koń, konj, kon', kon; buřa: buŕa, burja, buria, bur'a, bura; ľubiteľ: ĺubiteĺ, ljubitelj, liubitel', l'ubitel', lubitel.

Cyrillic Ь and Ј

Serbians and Macedonians may not be able to write the soft sign ь on their own keyboard. The best alternative for ль нь is of course љ њ. In the remaining cases (дь рь ть), the best solution is probably just omitting the soft sign. In particular before а, о and у, it is also possible to write ј. Always avoid using ћ and ђ for ть and дь, because etymologically these characters correspond with Slovianski ч дж instead, and besides, they are likely not understood by f.ex. Russians.

On the other hand, Russian, Ukrainians, Belarussians and Bulgarians do not have ј. The logical substitute here is й (syllable-initially/finally) or ь (after a consonant). However, that is not the end of the story, because Cyrillic is not very supportive of sequences where these are followed by a vowel. Instead, in most cases digraphs are used:

All this is demonstated in the following table:

LatinCyrillicSerbianRussianUkrainianBulgarian
Vowel (syllable-initially) (V)V a u o e i а у о е и а у о е и а у о э и а у о е и а у о е и
Vowel (after a consonant) CV a u o e i/y а у о е и/ы а у о е и/ы
J (syllable-finally) Vj(C) j j ј й й й
J (syllable-initially) (V)jV ja ju jo je ji ја ју јо је ји ја ју јо је ји я ю йо е и я ю йо є ї я ю йо (й)е и
J (after a consonant) CjV я ю ьо (ь)е и я ю ьо (ь)е и я ю ьо (ь)е и
^ (after a consonant) C^V ^a ^u ^o ^e i ьа ьу ьо ье и ьа ьу ьо ье и

Examples: конь: коњ; путь: пут (путј); бурьа; буря, бура, бурја; льубитель: љубитељ, любитель; својих: своїх, своих; полье: поље, полє, поле.

Naučny Medžuslovjanski

The best way to represent the additional characters from Naučny Medžuslovjanski is by simply omitting the diacritic. However, this orthography can also be used for flavourisation. For example, to add some specific Northern flavour, å can be written as o and ę as ja. Likewise, to write in a style similar to Novoslovienskij, you might consider representing ě as ie after p b m v t d n and e in the remaining cases.

Most characters from Naučny Medžuslovjanski cannot easily be transliterated into Cyrillic without resorting to antique (ѣ ѧ ѫ) or otherwise uncommon (ѝ ә ԃ) characters and without resorting to diacritics (something Cyrillic tolerates a lot worse than Latin). Do not try to rework them into Cyrillic. Of course, a Cyrillic version of Naučny Medžuslovjanski is possible, but not without sacrificing the idea that simplification can be achieved by removing diacritics. Instead, such an orthography would probably be similar to Old Church Slavonic, which would hardly make the result more understandable for anybody. Therefore, when transliterating characters like á ć ě ė ę è ò ų etc. into Cyrillic, one should ignore the diacritics. The only possible exceptions here are ś ź (сь зь).

Guidelines

As can be seen from the above, there are many possibilities for writing the same word. Each of those can be used. The general guideline is: as long as it is understandable, it is okay. However, a few things in particular are to be avoided:

The Slovianski Transliterator makes it possible to transliterate between several versions.