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One story about the Russian alphabet (part 1)
The Russian alphabet consists of 33 letters nowadays. However, there were many more letters formerly in the Cyrillic alphabet which, in fact, was based on the ancient Greek. Having taking as a basis some Greek letters, the Cyrillic alphabet was supplemented with brand-new letters which were created to reproduce some peculiarities of the Russian language. In addition, some Slavic letters were doubled, e.g. Greek «о» и «ѡ», transferred to the Russian alphabet, designated short [o] and long [o] sounds of the Greek language, but Russian didn't (and still doesn't) draw a distinction between short and long vowels. The letters Ѯ (Ksi) and Ѱ (Psi) were doublets based on the combination of the letters "ks" and "ps", joined together for transferring of frequent Greek combinations which were not the same in Russian words. and etc.
The war against unnecessary letters in the Russian alphabet had been going on through the ages. Some were excluded during Peter the Great's reforms of 1708-1710. The tsar wanted to change the alphabet just as he changed the basis of society, the system of government, and fashion in Russia. People began writing some letters in other ways, and the alphabet lost some more letters: Ѱ (Psi), ѡ (Omega), Ѥ (Iotated E), Ꙗ (Iotated A), Ѫ, (big Yus) Ѩ and Ѭ (little and big iotified Yus). Я was substituted for (little Yus), and Arabic numerals were introduced. After the death of Peter the I, the Russian Academy of Sciences continued reforms in grammar, and in 1735 did away with Ѯ (Ksi) and S (Dze) in 1735. Moreover, while some letters had been jettisoned, other new ones were created. The same year (1735) the letters Э and Й were brought into usage. The decision had both supporters and opposers. Let's take a look at opinions of learned contemporaries about the letter Э.
Bravo for your excellent writing. And thanks for the interesting information.
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