Short U (Cyrillic)
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Short U Cyrillic
Cyrillic letter short U
Cyrillic letter short U - uppercase and lowercase.svg
Phonetic usage:[w]
The Cyrillic script
Slavic letters
Non-Slavic letters
Archaic letters

Short U (? ?; italics: ? ?) 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, ? is used in Dungan, Karakalpak, Mansi, Sakhalin Nivkh, and Siberian Yupik. It is also used in Uzbek – this letter corresponds to O? in the Uzbek Latin alphabet.


The letter originates from the letter izhitsa ⟨? ?⟩ with a breve (? , , 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 (? ?). The book's foreword reads "we have accepted Serbian ? ... and Wallachian [Romanian] ? ...".[1] In this book, ⟨?⟩ is used mostly for etymological [l] transformed to [w]. Modern Ukrainian spelling uses ⟨?⟩ ([v]) in that position.

For Belarusian, the combination of the Cyrillic letter U with a breve ⟨?⟩ 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 mu?yczkoú (To dear peasants, 1846 edition), W with breve ⟨w?⟩ in Epimakh-Shypila, 1889, or just the letter ⟨u⟩ itself (like in publications of Konstanty Kalinowski, 1862-1863). A U with ha?ek ⟨?⟩ 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 Micha? Federowski and the first edition of Franci?ak Bahu?evi?'s Dudka Bie?aruskaja (Belarusian flute, published in Kraków, 1891).[3] For quite a while other kinds of renderings (plain ⟨u⟩, or with added accent, ha?ek, or caret) were still being used, sometimes within a single publication (Bahushevich, 1891, Pachobka, 1915), also supposedly because of technical problems.[]



The letter is called non-syllabic u or short u (Belarusian , u niesk?adovaje[4] or ? , u karotkaje) in Belarusian because although it resembles the vowel ? (u), it does not form syllables.[] Its equivalent in the Belarusian Latin alphabet is ⟨?⟩,[5] although it is also sometimes transcribed as ⟨w⟩.[6]

In native Belarusian words, ⟨?⟩ represents a [w],[7] as in ?, pronounced [xl?ew] (chle?, 'shed') or ? [v?wk] (vo?k, 'wolf'). This is similar to the ⟨w⟩ in English cow /ka?/.

The letter ⟨?⟩ cannot occur before a non-iotified vowel in native words; when that would be required by grammar, ⟨?⟩ is replaced by ⟨?⟩ /v/. Compare ? ([xl?ew] chle?) with ([za xl?a'vom] za chlavóm, 'behind the shed'). Also, when a word starts with ⟨?⟩ /u/ and follows a vowel and so it forms a diphthong through liaison, it is usually, but not necessarily, written with ⟨?⟩ instead. For example, ? ([u xl?a'v?e] u chlavié, 'in the shed') but ? ? ? ([uvaj?'l?i ja'n? w xl?ew] uvaj?lí janý ? chle?, 'they went into the shed').[4][8]

The letter ⟨?⟩ is also sometimes used to represent the labial-velar approximant /w/ in foreign loanwords: this usage is allowed by the 2005 standardization of Tara?kievica. When it is used thus it can appear before non-iotified vowels.[4]


This letter is the 32nd letter of the Uzbek Cyrillic alphabet. It corresponds to O? in the current Uzbek alphabet. It is different from the regular O, which is represented by the Cyrillic letter ?. Furthermore, it is pronounced as either [o] or [ø], in contrast to the letter O, which is pronounced as [?].[9]


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 ⟨?⟩. The original idea for the monument came from professor Paval Siem?anka, a scholar of Cyrillic calligraphy and type.[10]

Computing codes

Character information
Preview Ў ў
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1038 U+040E 1118 U+045E
UTF-8 208 142 D0 8E 209 158 D1 9E
Numeric character reference Ў Ў ў ў
Named character reference Ў ў
Code page 855 153 99 152 98
Code page 866 246 F6 247 F7
Windows-1251 161 A1 162 A2
ISO-8859-5 174 AE 254 FE
Macintosh Cyrillic[11] 216 D8 217 D9

See also


  1. ^ "... ? (? wydzu) ? ? (, Erazm. Rotterd., au, , : , spiw; , du)...". Markiyan Shashkevych (1837), Rusalka Dnistrovaya (Mermaid of the Dniester), p V.
  2. ^ (Bulyka). ? // ? ? . ?.4. p.377.
  3. ^ a b Per (Bulyka).
  4. ^ a b c *Bu?lako?, Jura?, Vincuk Via?orka, ?micier Sa?ko, ?micier Sa?ka. 2005. Klasy?ny pravapis. Zbor pravi?a?: Su?asnaja narmalizacyja [Classical orthography. Set of rules: Contemporary normalization]. (PDF.) Vilnia--Miensk: Audra.
  5. ^ ?. ?. ? ?. -   . . ?, 1929 ; . : « », 1991 [?.]. - ? .
  6. ^ "Romanization Systems Currently Approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) and the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use (PCGN)". National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ E.g., per ? . . / ?. ?. ?, ?. ?. , ?. ?. ? .; . ?. ?. . -- . : . , 1991. ISBN 5-339-00539-9.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Transliteration of Non-Roman Scripts: Uzbek" (PDF). Institute of the Estonian Language. Retrieved 2015.
  10. ^ "?" ? ?]
  11. ^]

External links

  • The dictionary definition of ? at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of ? at Wiktionary

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