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ⓘ Ukrainian Ye




Ukrainian Ye
                                     

ⓘ Ukrainian Ye

Ukrainian Ye is a character of the Cyrillic script. It is a separate letter in the Ukrainian alphabet, the Pannonian Rusyn alphabet, and both the Carpathian Rusyn alphabets; in all of these, it comes directly after Е. In modern Church Slavonic, it is considered a variant form of Ye. Until the mid-19th century, Є/є was also used in Serbian. Other modern Slavonic languages may use Є/є shapes instead of Е/е for decorative purposes. Then, the letter is usually referred to by the older name Yest and the descriptive name Long E.

In Ukrainian, Є/є commonly represents the sound /je/ or /jɛ/ like the pronunciation of ⟨ye⟩ in ye s". See usage for more detail.

Ukrainian Ye is romanized as ⟨je⟩ or ⟨e⟩. See scientific transliteration of Cyrillic.

                                     

1. History

Letter Є/є was derived from one of variant forms of Cyrillic Ye Е е, known as "long E" or "anchor E". Є-shaped letter can be found in late uncial ustav and semi-uncial poluustav Cyrillic manuscripts, especially ones of Ukrainian origin. Typically it corresponds to the letter Iotated E ѥ of older monuments. Certain old primers and grammar books of Church Slavonic language had listed Є/є as a letter distinct from Е/е and placed it near the end of the alphabet the exact alphabet position varies. Among modern-style Cyrillic scripts known as "civil script" or "Petrine script", Є/є was first used in Serbian books end of the 18th century and first half of the 19th century; sometimes, Serbian printers might be using Э/э instead of Є/є due to font availability. For the modern Ukrainian language, Є/є is used since 1837 orthography of almanach "Русалка Днѣстровая". In Cyrillic numerals, Є is always preferred to E to represent 5.

                                     

2.1. Usage Ukrainian and Rusyn

In Ukrainian and Rusyn as well as in old Serbian orthography, Є/є represents the sound combination /je/ or the vowel sound /e/ after a palatalized consonant.

                                     

2.2. Usage New Church Slavonic

Since the mid-17th century, the Church Slavonic orthography has the following main rules related to the usage of shapes Є and Е:

  • in an initial position, always use Є;
  • otherwise, use Е with the following exceptions
  • in other endings, suffixes and roots of nouns, adjectives, participles, numerals and pronouns, use Є for plural/dual, if there exists a homonymous form in the singular either of the same word or a different one; the actual rule is much more complicated and not well-defined, as there are multiple other ways to eliminate such homonymy;
  • publishers from Kiev also use Є in the genitive case of three pronouns, and Е in the accusative case ;
  • in nouns endings, use -євъ and -ємъ for plural and -евъ, -емъ for singular;
  • as a numerical sign with value 5 use Є, not Е the rule has often been ignored outside of the Russian Empire.

In the modern Church Slavonic alphabet, the 6th letter is typically shown as Єєе one uppercase accompanied with two variants of lowercase.

The different shapes Є and Е exist only in lowercase; thus in all caps and small caps styles, the distinction between Є and Е disappears.

Old Believers print their books using an older variant of New Church Slavonic language. Its orthography combines the fully formal system described above with the older tradition to use Є phonetically after vowels, to represent iotated /je/.



                                     

2.3. Usage Similar characters

The United States Federal Geographic Data Committee uses Ꞓ, a character similar to capital Є, to represent the Cambrian Period in geologic history.

Є is similar to the symbol for the euro currency ⟨€⟩. In a memorandum from the European Commission on the design of the euro sign, Ukrainian Ye was accidentally used to represent the Greek letter Epsilon.

                                     

3. Related letters and other similar characters

  • Э э: Cyrillic letter E
  • Е е: Cyrillic letter Ye
  • Ɛ ɛ: Latin letter Epsilon
  • E e: Latin letter E
  • Ε ε: Greek letter Epsilon
  • Ԑ ԑ: Cyrillic letter Reversed Ze
  • Ꞓ ꞓ: Latin letter Ꞓ
  • Ё ё: Cyrillic letter Yo
                                     
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