Re: Old Bulgarian cyrillics - yet unencoded characters?

From: André Szabolcs Szelp (
Date: Tue Mar 31 2009 - 04:25:42 CST

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    Looking at this small sample, I believe that the green one is indeed
    U+0465 as you have suspected, the blue one U+046D and -- more
    controversially -- the red one is actually a(n experimental) glyph
    variant of U+044E!

    It seems quite sure that the dot on the preyotation is simply a font
    style question. (c.f. also the capital one!)

    The question of the red glyph is more subtle. One could either argue
    that it was an experimental glyph variant to reflect the sound value
    of cyrillic ю [ju] (which is _technically_ a і-о ligature) with a
    novel і-у ligature to have a closer phonological match.

    In this case it's not 100% sure whether one should consider the red
    glyph as a historic (relatively short lived [19th century; see also
    below]) glyph variant of classic and current ю or whether it should be
    seen as an own character. This would need forther analysis.

    (c.f. also

    > and the red ones should be
    > U+0456 і +ZWJ+ U+0443 у?

    While this _could_ represent the glyph in question, due to the logic
    of the cyrillic script (by which preyotated character have been always
    separately encoded), this ZWJ solution seems to be counter-intuitive.
    IMHO, either this is to be analysed as a historic glyph variant of ю
    or encoded as a new character.

    The "philosophy" of the font in question was seemingly to move from
    the traditional glyph forms to more "transparent", phonological glyph
    forms as it can be seen by the fact that it is stressing the original
    ligature components vs. the traditional yotated forms by applying the
    dot of the і, also the use of the і-у ligature vs. the і-о ligature
    points this way.

    You have to realise, that the time frame in question is marked by
    letter-form innovations and stife for phonological representation of
    language in the south slavic community (c.f. the genesis of the modern
    Serbian Cyrillic alphabet and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić).

    Also take into account: "Several Cyrillic alphabets with 28 to 44
    letters were used in the beginning and the middle of the 19th century
    during the efforts on the codification of Modern Bulgarian until an
    alphabet with 32 letters, proposed by Marin Drinov, gained prominence
    in the 1870s. The alphabet of Marin Drinov was used until the
    orthographic reform of 1945 when the letters yat (Ѣ, ѣ, called "double
    e"), and yus (Ѫ, ѫ) were removed from the alphabet, reducing the
    number of letters to 30."

    It would be nice, if someone who has read considerable amount of 19th
    century bulgarian printed matter could comment.


    2009/3/31 Leo Broukhis <>:
    > An online friend of mine has posted a scan of
    > "Периодическо списание на Българското книжовно дружество", година I,
    > книжка пета и шеста, Браила, 1872, стр. 205.
    > Do the red and green letters warrant encoding? Or the green letter a
    > variant of U+0465, and the red ones should be
    > U+0456 і +ZWJ+ U+0443 у?
    > Thanks,
    > Leo

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