Cyrillic alphabet variants

Cyrillic alphabet variants

This is a list of national variants of the Cyrillic alphabet.

Sounds are indicated using IPA. These are only approximate indicators. While these languages by and large have phonemic orthographies, there are occasional exceptions—for example, Russian его ("yego", ‘him/his’), which is pronounced IPA| [jɪˈvo] instead of IPA| [jɪˈgo] .

Note that transliterated spellings of names may vary, especially "y"/"j"/"i", but also "gh"/"g"/"h" and "zh"/"j".

See also a more complete list of languages using Cyrillic.

Common letters

The following table lists Cyrillic letters which are used in most national versions of the Cyrillic alphabet. Exceptions and additions for particular languages are noted below.

The Bulgarian alphabet features:
*(Е) represents IPA|/ɛ/ and is called "е" IPA| [e] .
*(Щ) represents IPA|/ʃt/ and is called "щъ" IPA| [ʃtə] .
*(Ъ) represents the vowel IPA|/ɤ/, and is called "ер голям" IPA| [ˈer goˈlʲam] ('big er').Тhe Bulgarian names for the consonants are IPA| [bɤ] , IPA| [kɤ] , IPA| [lɤ] etc. instead of IPA| [be] , IPA| [ka] , IPA| [el] etc.


*Letters absent from Pannonian Rusyn alphabet.



The Moldovan language used the Cyrillic alphabet between 1946 and 1989. Nowadays, this alphabet is still official in the unrecognized republic of Transnistria.


The Mongolic languages include Khalkha (in Mongolia), Buryat (around Lake Baikal) and Kalmyk (northwest of the Caspian Sea). Khalkha Mongolian is also written with the Mongol vertical alphabet.


This table contains all the characters used.

"Һһ is shown twice as it appears at two different location in Buryat and Kalmyk"

*Е е = IPA|/jɛ/, IPA|/jœ/
*Ё ё = IPA|/jo/
*Ж ж = IPA|/ʤ/
*Н н = IPA|/n-/, IPA|/-ŋ/
*Ө ө = IPA|/œ/
*Ү ү = IPA|/y/
*Һ һ = IPA|/h/
*Ы ы = IPA|/ei/, IPA|/iː/
*Ю ю = IPA|/ju/, IPA|/jy/


The Kalmyk (хальмг) Cyrillic alphabet is similar to the Khalkha, but the letters Ээ, Юю and Яя appear only word-initially. In Kalmyk, long vowels are written double in the first syllable (нөөрин), but single in syllables after the first. Short vowels are omitted altogether in syllables after the first syllable (хальмг = IPA|/xaʎmag/).


The Cyrillic alphabet is used for the Chuvash language since the late 19th century, with some changes in 1938.

*Ң ң = IPA|/ŋ/ (velar nasal)
*Ү ү = IPA|/y/ (close front rounded vowel)
*Ө ө = IPA|/œ/ (open-mid front rounded vowel)


Tatar has used Cyrillic since 1939, but the Russian Orthodox Tatar community has used Cyrillic since the 19th century. In 2000 a new Latin alphabet was adopted for Tatar, but it is used generally in the Internet.


The Cyrillic alphabet is still used most often for the Uzbek language, although the government has adopted a version of the Latin alphabet to replace it. The deadline for making this transition has however been repeatedly changed. The latest deadline was supposed to be 2005, but was shifted once again a few more years. Some scholars are not convinced that the transition will be made at all.

*В в = IPA|/w/
*Ж ж = IPA|/ʤ/
*Ф ф = IPA|/ɸ/
*Х х = IPA|/χ/
*Ъ ъ = IPA|/ʔ/
*Ў ў = IPA|/ø/
*Қ қ = IPA|/q/
*Ғ ғ = IPA|/ʁ/
*Ҳ ҳ = IPA|/h/


Dungan language

Paleosiberian languages

Cyrillic-based orthographies are in use for several of the Paleosiberian languages in Russia, including Itelmen, Koryak, Nivkh and Yukaghir. [ [ Minority languages of Russia on the Net - Paleoasian languages] ]


See also

*List of Cyrillic letters

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