Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet

Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet
Type Alphabet
Languages Moldovan/Romanian
Time period ca. 1930–today
Parent systems
Sister systems Romanian Cyrillic alphabet
Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols.

The Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet is a Cyrillic alphabet designed for the Moldovan language in the Soviet Union and used from 1938 to 1989 (and still today in Transnistria). Its introduction was decided by the Central Executive Committee of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on May 19, 1938. Its structure is based on the Russian Cyrillic alphabet (excluding three Russian letters and adding another), and does not have a direct resemblance to the historical Romanian Cyrillic alphabet used from the Middle Ages until the second half of the 19th century in the Principalities of Vallachia and Moldavia[1] and until 1932 in the Soviet Union.



The Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet was used during the Stalin era as a way to separate culturally the Moldovans of the Moldavian ASSR from the Romanians of Romania. Following the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, it was established as the official alphabet of the Moldavian SSR until 1989, when a law returned to the standard Latin-based Romanian alphabet.

There were several requests to switch back to the Latin alphabet, which was seen "more suitable for the Romance core of the language," in the Moldovan MSSR. In 1965, the demands of the 3rd Congress of Writers of Soviet Moldavia were rejected by the leadership of the Communist Party, the replacement being deemed "contrary to the interests of the Moldavian people and not reflecting its aspirations and hopes".[2]

The Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet is still the official and the only accepted alphabet in Transnistria for this language.


All but one of the letters of this alphabet can be found in the modern Russian alphabet, the exception being the character zhe (ж) with breve: Ӂ ӂ (U+04C1, U+04C2).

The following chart shows the Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet compared with the Latin alphabet currently in use.

Cyrillic letter: Equates to Latin letter: Name As employed in this context: IPA
а a а   /a/
б b бе   /b/
в v ве   /v/
г g, gh ге gh used before i or e, elsewhere g /ɡ/
д d де   /d/
е e, ie е ie after a vowel or if it alternates with ia, elsewhere e /e/, /je/
ж j же   /ʒ/
ӂ g ӂе Before i and e /dʒ/
з z зе   /z/
и i, ii[citation needed] и ii used at end of word, i elsewhere /i/
й i "и" скурт before and after vowels /j/
к c, ch ка ch before i and e, c elsewhere /k/
л l ле   /l/
м m ме   /m/
н n не   /n/
о o о   /o/
п p пе   /p/
р r ре   /r/
с s се   /s/
т t те   /t/
у u у   /u/
ф f фе   /f/
х h ха   /h/
ц ţ це   /ts/
ч c че Before i and e /tʃ/
ш ş ше   /ʃ/
ы â, î ы â in middle of word, î at beginning and end of word /ɨ/
ь i семнул моале At end of word (usually) /ʲ/ (i.e. palatalization of preceding consonant)
э ă э   /ə/
ю iu ю   /ju/, /ʲu/
я ea, ia я ea after a consonant or е, ia elsewhere /ja/, /ʲa/

Example text

In Cyrillic script:

Привя ын заре кум пе мэрь
Рэсаре ши стрэлуче,
Пе мишкэтоареле кэрэрь
Корэбий негре дуче.

    In Latin script:

Privea în zare cum pe mări
Răsare şi străluce,
Pe mişcătoarele cărări
Corăbii negre duce.

(from Mihai Eminescu, "Luceafărul")

See also



  1. ^ Denis Deletant, Slavonic letters in Moldova, Wallachia & Transylvania from the tenth to the seventeenth centuries, Ed. Enciclopedicӑ, Bucharest 1991
  2. ^ Michael Bruchis. The Language Policy of the CPSU and the Linguistic Situation in Soviet Moldavia, in Soviet Studies, Vol. 36, No. 1. (Jan., 1984), pp. 118-119.

External links

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