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Standard for transliteration of Old Slavonic Glagolitic Script


On the model of the Standard of the Old Slavonic Cyrillic Script of the Belgrade Conference it is necessary to elaborate also a parallel Standard of the Old Slavonic Glagolitic Script (for a PDF version of the Standard of the Old Slavonic Cyrillic Script, adopted in June 2008, with the necessary explanations, glyphs and ligatures, see: or
The authors now present a third, supplemented proposal consisting of a character table containing majuscule and minuscule letters (on the line), but no superscript letters, diacritical and punctuation marks, or numbers. The primary purpose of this partial inventory is to enable the transliteration of the different scripts of the Old Slavonic language and its redactions.
The characters are divided into basic (in black) and functional units (in red), and these constitute the Standard. In addition, the table contains characters for simple transliteration (in green) from Round and Square (Angular) Glagolitsa as well as from the Cyrillic script.
We have tried to create a system of mutually compatible Old Slavonic scripts, enabling automated transliteration. As is known, there are two ways to transliterate one script into another: One is to use search/replace routines that can be automated via macros. In doing so, texts can be transliterated in standard-conform encodings such as Unicode. The drawback of this solution is that macros or similar tools have to be developed, and this separately for each application and/or platform. The second way is to use fonts that are specifically designed for transliteration purposes. Such fonts do not comply with encoding standards like Unicode, but enable the user to transliterate in a convenient way by simple font switching.
There are some minor differences (and similar technical problems) between the Cyrillic and the Round Glagolitic script, and major ones between the Square (Angular) Glagolitsa and the other systems. In particular, some characters no longer exist in the reformed Square Glagolitsa. In these cases we have introduced the relevant units of the earlier system for transliteration purposes.
The present system is fully applicable to all transcribed texts (i.e., those in which the superscripts have been brought down on to the line, and scriptio continua and abbreviations have been resolved).
Two Latin transliterations are offered:
1. The traditional one (of the “broad transliteration” type) for those interested in the content of the text and not in formal aspects of the original. It cannot provide accurate information on the exact graphemic structure of the text, because certain homophonous units are transliterated with one and the same sign.
2. A computerized one (“narrow transliteration” type) which takes account of the character shape and enables one-to-one transliteration from one script (writing system) into another. It also contains letters of the modern Cyrillic script.
Both transliterations are graphetic, not graphemic, i.e., they represent the structure of the writing system only formally. Therefore, e.g., Glagolitic A glag is transliterated in all contexts as “a”, although it may also have the numerical value “1”, or Izica glag (Ižica) is always transliterated as V, even though there are cases in which the same character serves as “u”.
In our table compatibility between scripts is achieved by simple font switching. Since the fonts do not have Unicode codes (in Unicode the Cyrillic, Glagolitic and Latin scripts have different codes), an “expanded” Latin set has been used as the CodePage.
A disadvantage of the Latin transliteration is the existence of a number of standards (ISO, GOST, etc.) which render the same characters in different ways.
You may find all fonts for transliteration and keyboard layout on:
We are indebted to Mateo Žagar, Department of Croatian Studies, Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb, and Viktor Savić, Institute of Serbian Language, SANU, Belgrade, for their useful advice.
The authors recommend organizing an international conference in order to elaborate the Standard of the Old Slavonic Glagolitic Script.
Heinz Miklas
Institute of Slavic Studies, University of Vienna
Zoran Kostić
Foundation of the Holy Monastery Hilandar

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