Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fun with Old Cyrillic!

Being without a laptop and thus without a cyrillic keyboard has left me reflecting on the Cyrillic alphabet itself. When I talk to most people, one of the biggest barriers to learning Russian tends to be Cyrillic, which is seen as an impenetrable wall of linguistic impossibility. After reading about the history of the alphabet, I think this assertion is very wrong. If anything, Old Cyrillic (Modern Cyrillic's отец) was a lot tougher.

For example, the phrase "Hello, my name is Stephen." is this in modern Cyrillic:
Привет, Меня зовут Степан.

In Old Cyrillic the phrase would probably be
Пiвѥт, Мѥнѧ зовѹт Стѥан.

It is a little off because some old Cyrillic letters aren't fully coded yet. Also, old Cyrillic had Greek letters and was very fond of the ъ. Today, the influence of old Cyrillic can be seen in the Cyrillic of Ukraine which holds on to the i.

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