Day “E”. How to change Russian alphabet for the last 300 years

“E” or “E”? – That is the question

230 years ago, on Saturday, 18 (29) November 1783, in the house of the President of the Academy of Sciences Ekaterina Dashkova, there was another meeting of academics. On the agenda stood the question of the Russian alphabet. The Protocol included the opinion of the Duchess: “Not only are not supposed to cut the ABC, but also will certainly need to enter a new letter”. This letter was “E”.

Not the first and not the last letter, which was carried out a fierce debate. Once our alphabet consisted of 43 letters. Now they are 33. We brought in all of the examples of changes in the Russian alphabet.

Peter’s reform of 1708

The first and most mass dismissal letters. The exile was to be 9:

Moreover, abolished all the accent marks, so-called Titley. And introduced stricter write letters instead of former splendor. Lomonosov about it said: “Under Peter the Great are not alone boyars and boyar, but the letters threw off the wide coats and dressed in summer clothes”.

Peter’s reform of 1710

Under pressure from the clergy to the Tsar-the carpenter returned all of the resolved reform of 1708, the letters, except 3:

Introduced: Lomonosov, despite admiration for the figure of Peter, the letter “e” hated and not even included in its alphabet. “Again false, or rather, the old “E” on the other side obrechenno, in the Russian language is not necessary!” And stubbornly continued to write something like “this” and “experiment”.

Reform 1735

Continued the work of Peter.

Now we call it “And brief”. But earlier was supposed to indicate: “And with a brief”. The fact that a dash over a letter called “short”. This is a translation of the Latin term “breve” is “short”. Finally, it is entrenched only in 1934

Reform 1758

The most stupid. For mysterious reasons returned:

Usually used to refer to the sound “and” Greek words “Miro”, “Synod” and “hypostasis”. Because it is shaped like a whip with a handle, the expression “prescribe izhitsa” still sometimes remains in demand in terms of “get the belt”. Lived right up to Soviet times. But only as the designation of the series of locomotives.

Reform 1783

Ekaterina Dashkova at the same meeting of the Academy of Sciences asked those present to write a few words, including “hedgehog” and “tree”. Monsters like “Oy” were subject to ridicule. The result – new letter:

His contribution after Ekaterina Romanovna made our weekly actively engaged in 2006 in a campaign to “eficacia” of the Russian language.

The reform of 1918

Was undertaken in 1912, is Considered the most revolutionary, but Peter still far. Banished once and for all:

Writing “feet” something that resembled a particularly anxious topic of sex people – no wonder scolds Chichikov nozdryov it flucom. “Yat” drove the pleasure – the most hated letter. Error on it was considered unforgivable.


Maxim krongauz, doctor of philological Sciences, Professor, head of the Center of sociolinguistics Ranepa:

– Removal of “extra” letters no impoverishes the language. We are talking about bringing graphics, that is, writing letters to phonetics, that is how we say it. Living spoken language changes much faster than written. And sooner or later the problems begin and those who in virtue of his office, writes a lot, and those who only learns to read and write. So reform, especially that which took place in 1917-1918, was helpful. One of the results of the latter can be called a successful campaign of the Bolsheviks in literacy – new rules turned out to be easier to learn for those who are just “from the plow”.

As in the Russian alphabet appeared the letter “y”?

On the other hand, there is such a moment: a similar reform a few knocks already mastered the letter people. They become illiterate partly the same as the first-graders. So the question arises: why it is now necessary to conceive of such reform? Incidentally, this also applies to the notorious “eficacia”. It is clear that the letter is optional. If your labour team decided to use it – your right. We can only welcome such meticulousness. But when the power of, say, the Governor of the Ulyanovsk region, trying to pin “E” almost at the level of the law – this is an inflection.
In the end, the Belarusian language is much more similar to phonetics. Isn’t that convenient for us? Try to read any text in Belarusian. Many things will become clear.

The exceptions are those rules that you have to learn, just make up the culture of language, disciplinary us and are a tradition. For example, the British have learned to accept your not very comfortable traditions, such as the absence of mixers in the bathrooms, as something pleasant. Or, at least, can be proud of their features. In this they can follow the example and not complain about difficulties in learning “Zhi-Shi” write with the letter “I” and proper use of the letter “E”.

Valery Kaverin, doctor of philological Sciences, associate Professor of the faculty of:

– The letter for the language phenomenon is external, the symbol language of facts, their “clothes”. Therefore, the change of graphics, spelling, punctuation rather reflects the evolution of the linguistic system, and not Vice versa. For example, corrected Peter’s reform of 1708-1710. the letters were not labeled special sounds of Russian speech, and therefore was not needed. However, the decision to remove graphic characters is correct. Thus, the abolition by Peter the accents, the vast majority of unnecessary, led to the disappearance of the icon “quick” above the letter “Y”, which, of course, impoverished Russian schedule: such word forms as “my” – “my”, “slop” – “wash”, “warrior” “war” ceased to differ on the letter.

The emergence of new letters, due to the need to designate arose in the phonetic position, obviously, is justified and enriched graphics. This is true for the letters “e” and the letter “E”.

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