Europe and Slavic Alphabets, Bibles and Links


In the 16th century, the first printed modern Hungarian texts were published. The Kaldy Bible was published in 1626. He lived 1573-1634. The modern literary language with many more modern words appeared in the 18th and the 19th centuries. Hungarian then replaced Roman/Latin as the official language of Hungary between 1844 and 1849 and then again in 1867. The Hungarian alphabet uses 44 letters.


Modern Romanian: 31 letters (based on Roman alphabet) Bucharest Bible (1688) based on Bulgarian Cyrillic was updated in 1921 by Dumitru Cornilescu.


Spoken in Germany and Austria The German alphabet, like English and French has 26 letters plus it has an umlaut (oom-lowt) i.e. two dots over a, o, u, Fällen (Fellen) schön (shern) Tür (tuer) also ß (es-zett) pronounced as "s", causing preceding vowel to be long as in straße (strarssa). The Slovenian alphabet (just south of Austria) uses 25 letters.

Croatia and Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia, Russia, Bulgaria and Macedonia

Most South Slavic areas were under the Turkish Ottoman Empire from the 1400s to the 1800s. Many inhabitants of what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted Islam. During that time the Serb community crystallized around the Serbian Orthodox Church and came to identify themselves as “Srpski (Serb)” while Roman Catholic believers in the Turkish lands and adjoining Austro-Hungarian possessions came more and more to use the name “Krvatski (Croat)” Croatian Dictionaries Serbian Cyrillic (30 letter alphabet) was published in 1818 by Vuk Karadzic (1787 - 1864). Gaj's Latin-derived 30 letter alphabet was published in 1835 with the aim of matching each letter up with those Cyrillic letters. Vuk Karadzic's Cyrillic script (pronounced Kirillitsa ćirilica in Croatian) or (chirilitsa ћирилица in Serbian) was officially adopted in 1868. Both Serbian and Croatian alphabets enabled a one-for-one conversion, something that couldn't be done in Croatian using the old Latin 23 letter alphabet (known as Latinski / латински). The Illyrian movement promoted this new Croatian orthography (alphabet). Danicza Horvatzka (Morning Star Croatia) newspaper was published in 1835. It closed following the revolutions of 1848. The New Testament (Novi Zavjet) was first translated into modern Serbo-Croat in Cyrillic by Karadzic in 1847, and the Old Testament by Danicic was added in 1868 and republished in 1994. Another translation of the Bible (Sveto Pismo) which includes the deuterocanonical books of the Catholic tradition was made in 1942 by Archbishop Dr Ivan Saric (1871-1960). He also published articles praising the "new age" of Hitler as thousands of Serbs and Jews were murdered. He died in Madrid in Spain. Most Croatian speaking Christians are Catholic, with Orthodox and evangelical Protestant minorities. Croatia was part of Yugoslavia from 1918 to 1991. Montenegrin alphabet 33 letters (only 30 are officially recognized) Bosnian uses both the Roman and Cyrillic alphabets (30 letters), with Roman in everyday use. Modern Russian: 33 letters Modern Bulgarian: 30 letters Modern Macedonian: 31 letters 2 million people Click here for Cyrillic lists, Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Macedonian (side by side)

Greece, Italy and Albania

Modern Greek: 24 letters Modern Italian: 21 letters Albanian alphabet also used in Kosovo 36 letters The New Testament was translated in Albanian in 1827

The Czech Republic, formerly known as Bohemia, and Slovakia

Czech alphabet 42 letters Prague Bible (1488) translated from the Vulgate In 1613, the Kralice Bible was published, said to be the "definitive" Protestant Czech Bible the way the KJV became the "definitive" Protestant English Bible. Due to its wide usage it had a major impact on the Czech language and alphabet. Slovakian alphabet 46 letters

Sweden and Finland

Swedish and Finnish alphabets 29 letters Gustav Vasa Bible was published in Sweden in 1540-1541


Polish alphabet 32 letters The Jakub Wujek Bible (1599) was the main Polish Catholic Bible, based on the Vulgate. Note, Poland is a Roman Catholic country (about 87% of its population). Polish Commission of National Education set up to print Polish textbooks in 1773

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia

Lithuanian alphabet 32 letters Latvian alphabet 33 letters in 1908 Modern Estonian orthography is based on the Newer Orthography created by Eduard Ahrens in the second half of the 19th century based on Finnish orthography. The Older Orthography it replaced was created in the 17th century by Bengt Gottfried Forselius and Johann Hornung based on standard German orthography. Earlier writing in Estonian had by and large used an ad hoc orthography based on Latin and Middle Low German orthography. Some influences of the standard German orthography — for example, writing 'W'/'w' instead of 'V'/'v' persisted well into the 1930s.

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