Serbian Cyrillic alphabet | karadžić's reform

Karadžić's reform

Vuk Stefanović Karadžić fled Serbia during the Serbian Revolution in 1813, to Vienna. There he met Jernej Kopitar, a linguist with interest in slavistics. Kopitar and Sava Mrkalj helped Vuk to reform the Serbian language and its orthography. He finalized the alphabet in 1818 with the Serbian Dictionary.

Karadžić reformed the Serbian literary language and standardised the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet by following strict phonemic principles on the Johann Christoph Adelung' model and Jan Hus' Czech alphabet. Karadžić's reforms of the Serbian literary language modernised it and distanced it from Serbian and Russian Church Slavonic, instead bringing it closer to common folk speech, specifically, to the dialect of Eastern Herzegovina which he spoke. Karadžić was, together with Đuro Daničić, the main Serbian signatory to the Vienna Literary Agreement of 1850 which, encouraged by Austrian authorities, laid the foundation for the Serbian language, various forms of which are used by Serbs in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia today. Karadžić also translated the New Testament into Serbian, which was published in 1868.

He wrote several books; Mala prostonarodna slaveno-serbska pesnarica and Pismenica serbskoga jezika in 1814, and two more in 1815 and 1818, all with the alphabet still in progress. In his letters from 1815-1818 he used: Ю, Я, Ы and Ѳ. In his 1815 song book he dropped the Ѣ.[7]

The alphabet was officially adopted in 1868, four years after his death.[8]

From the Old Slavic script Vuk retained these 24 letters:

А а Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ж ж З з
И и К к Л л М м Н н О о П п Р р
С с Т т У у Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш

He added one Latin letter:

Ј ј
Vuk's dictionary

And 5 new ones:

Љ љ Њ њ Ћ ћ Ђ ђ Џ џ

He removed:

Ѥ ѥ (је) Ѣ, ѣ (јат) І ї (и) Ѵ ѵ (и) Ѹ ѹ (у) Ѡ ѡ (о) Ѧ ѧ (мали јус) Ѫ ѫ (велики јус) Ы ы (јери, тврдо и)
Ю ю (ју) Ѿ ѿ (от) Ѳ ѳ (т) Ѕ ѕ (дз) Щ щ (шт) Ѯ ѯ (кс) Ѱ ѱ (пс) Ъ ъ (тврди полуглас) Ь ь (меки полуглас) Я я (ја)