Short U (Cyrillic)

Cyrillic letter short U
The Cyrillic script
Slavic letters
АБВГҐДЂ
ЃЕЀЁЄЖЗ
З́ЅИЍІЇЙ
ЈКЛЉМНЊ
ОПРСС́ТЋ
ЌУЎФХЦЧ
ЏШЩЪЫЬЭ
ЮЯ
Non-Slavic letters
А́А̀ӐА̄А̊А̃Ӓ
Ӓ̄В̌ӘӘ́Ә̃ӚӔ
ҒГ̧Г̑Г̄Г̣Г̌Ҕ
ӺҒ̌ӶԀԂ
Д̆Д̣ԪԬД̆Ӗ
Е̄Е̃Ё̄Є̈ӁҖ
ӜԄҘӞЗ̌З̱З̣
ԐԐ̈ӠԆӢИ̃Ҋ
ӤИ́ҚӃҠҞҜ
ԞК̣ԚӅԮԒԠ
ԈԔӍӉҢԨӇ
ҤԢԊО́О̀О̆О̂
О̃О̄ӦӦ̄ӨӨ̄Ө́
Ө̆ӪҨԤҦР̌Ҏ
ԖҪС̣С̱ԌТ̌Т̣
ҬԎУ̃Ӯ
ӰӰ́ӲҮҮ́ҰХ̣
Х̱Х̮Х̑ҲӼӾҺ
Һ̈ԦҴҶӴ
ӋҸҼҾ
Ы̆Ы̄ӸҌЭ̆Э̄Э̇
ӬӬ́Ӭ̄Ю̆Ю̈Ю̈́Ю̄
Я̆Я̄Я̈ԘԜӀ
Archaic letters
ҀѺ
ѸѠѼѾ
ѢѤѦ
ѪѨѬѮ
ѰѲѴѶ

Short U ў; italics: Ў ў) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. The only Slavic language using this letter is the Belarusian Cyrillic script. Among the non-Slavic languages using Cyrillic alphabets, ў is used in the Dungan language and in the Siberian Yupik language. It was also used in Uzbek before the adoption of the Latin alphabet in 1992.

History

The letter originates from the letter izhitsa Ѵ ѵ with a breve (Іереѵ̆ская власть, пучина Егеѵ̆ская, etc.) used in certain Ukrainian books at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries. Later, this character was probably in use in the Romanian Cyrillic script, from where it was borrowed in 1837 by the compilers of Ukrainian poetry book Rusalka Dnistrovaja (Русалка днѣстровая). The book's foreword reads “we have accepted Serbian џ . . . and Wallachian [Romanian] ў . . .”.[1] In this book, ў is used mostly for etymological [l] transformed to [w]. Modern Ukrainian spelling uses в ([v]) in that position.

For Belarusian, the combination of the Cyrillic letter U with a breve ў was proposed by P.A. Bessonov in 1870.[2] Before that, various ad hoc adaptations of the Latin U were used, for example, italicized in some publications of Vintsent Dunin-Martsinkyevich, with acute accent ú in Jan Czeczot's Da milykh mužyczkoú (To dear peasants, 1846 edition), W with breve in Epimakh-Shypila, 1889, or just the letter u itself (like in publications of Konstanty Kalinowski, 1862–1863). A U with haček ǔ was also used.[3]

After 1870, both the distinction for the phoneme and the new shape of the letter still were not consistently used until the mid-1900s for technical problems, per Bulyka. Among the first publications using it were folklore collections published by Michał Federowski and the first edition of Francišak Bahuševič's Dudka Biełaruskaja (Belarusian flute, published in Kraków, 1891). For quite a while other kinds of renderings (plain u, or with added accent, haček, or caret) were still being used, sometimes within a single publication (Bahushevich, 1891, Pachobka, 1915), also supposedly because of technical problems.

Usage

Belarusian

The letter is called non-syllabic u or short u (Belarusian: у нескладовае, u nieskladovaje or у кароткае, u karotkaje) in Belarusian because, while resembling the vowel у (u), it does not form syllables. Its equivalent in the Belarusian Latin alphabet is ŭ, although it is also sometimes transcribed as w.

In native Belarusian words, ў represents a [w],[4] as in хлеў, pronounced [xlʲew] (chleŭ, ‘shed’) or воўк [vɔwk] (voŭk, ‘wolf’). This is similar to the w in English cow /kaʊ/.

The letter ў cannot occur before a vowel; when grammar would require this, ў is replaced by в /v/. Compare хлеў ([xlʲew] chleŭ) with за хлявом ([za xlʲaˈvom] za chlavóm, ‘behind the shed’). Also, when a word beginning with у /u/ follows a vowel, so that it forms a diphthong through liaison, it is usually, but not necessary, written with ў instead. For example, у хляве ([u xlʲaˈvʲe] u chlavié, ‘in the shed’) but увайшлі яны ў хлеў ([uvajʂˈlʲi jaˈnɨ w xlʲew] uvajšlí janý ŭ chleŭ, ‘they went into the shed’).

The letter ў is also used to represent the labial-velar approximant /w/ in foreign loanwords.

Monument

In September 2003, during the tenth Days of Belarusian Literacy celebrations, the authorities in Polatsk, the oldest Belarusian city, made a monument to honor the unique Cyrillic Belarusian letter ў. The original idea for the monument came from professor Paval Siemčanka, a scholar of Cyrillic calligraphy and type.

Computing codes

CharacterЎў
Unicode nameCYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER
SHORT U
CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER
SHORT U
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode1038U+040E1118U+045E
UTF-8208 142D0 8E209 158D1 9E
Numeric character referenceЎЎўў
Code page 8551539915298
Code page 866246F6247F7
Windows-1251161A1162A2
ISO-8859-5174AE254FE
Macintosh Cyrillic216D8217D9

See also

Notes

  1. “...приймилисмо сербскоє џ (виџу wydzu) и волоскоє ў (аў, ɑʋ Erazm. Rotterd., 𝖆𝖚, еў, ɛʋ: спѣваў, spiwɑʋ; душеў, duʃɛʋ)...”. Markiyan Shashkevych (1837), Rusalka Dnistrovaya (Mermaid of the Dniester), p V.
  2. Булыка (Bulyka). У нескладовае // Энцыклапедыя літаратуры і мастацтва Беларусі. Т.4. p.377.
  3. Per (Bulyka).
  4. E.g., per Беларуская мова: Вучэб. дапам. / Э. Д. Блінава, Н. В. Гаўрош, М. Ц. Кавалёва і інш.; Пад рэд. М. С. Яўневіча. — Мн. : Выш. школа, 1991. ISBN 5-339-00539-9.
  • The dictionary definition of Ў at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of ў at Wiktionary
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