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Dze ( ) is a letter of the old Cyrillic alphabet, used to represent the sound in the Macedonian alphabet.

It is derived from the letter dzelo or zelo of the old Cyrillic alphabet, used historically for Old Church Slavonic, Ukrainian, Russian, and Romanian, and in modern Church Slavonic. The most common early letterform resembles the Latin ( ), but it is also seen reversed ( ) like the Tone Two, or with a tail and a tick ( ).


The letter is based on dzělo () in the Early Cyrillic alphabet, where it had the numerical value 6. The letter Dzělo was itself based on the letter Dzelo in the Glagolitic alphabet. In the Glagolitic alphabet, it was written , and had the numerical value of 8. In Old Church Slavonic it was called " " (pronounced dzeló), and in Church Slavonic it is called " " (pronounced zeló).

The origin of Glagolitic letter dzelo is unclear, however, the Cyrillic Ѕ is probably derived in some way from the Greek > (stigma), which had the same numerical value (6), although had a different pronunciation ( in Greek, in Slavic). Thus the homoglyphic traits of the Cyrillic <Ѕ> and Latin <<A wiki_link="S" href="/S">S> are largely coincidental, although the letters are distantly related: the Latin letter originates directly from the Greek sigma (Σ), whereas the Cyrillic letter originates from the pair of letters Στ (upper case) στ (lower case).</Ѕ>


The initial sound of <Ѕ> in Old Church Slavonic was a soft or , which often corresponds in cognates to a sound in modern Russian, as in мъноѕи ( ), ( ), and растрьѕати ( ).</Ѕ> <Ѕ>However, already in the Old Slavic period the difference between <Ѕ> and <<A wiki_link="Ze_(Cyrillic)" href="/Ze_(Cyrillic)">З> began to be blurred, and in the written Church Slavonic language from the middle of the 17th century <Ѕ> was used only formally.</Ѕ></Ѕ></Ѕ> <Ѕ><Ѕ><Ѕ>The letter's distinguishing features from <<A wiki_link="Ze_(Cyrillic)" href="/Ze_(Cyrillic)">З> were</Ѕ></Ѕ></Ѕ>

  • <Ѕ> had the numerical value of 6, whereas <<A wiki_link="Ze_(Cyrillic)" href="/Ze_(Cyrillic)">З> had the numerical value of 7;</Ѕ>
  • <Ѕ> was used at the beginning of words (for example and their derivatives);</Ѕ>
  • <<A wiki_link="Ze_(Cyrillic)" href="/Ze_(Cyrillic)">З> was used in all remaining cases.

In Russian it was known as or zelo ( ) and had the phonetic value of , or .

In the initial version of Russian civil script of Tsar Peter I (1708), the <Ѕ> was assigned the sound , and the letter <<A wiki_link="Ze_(Cyrillic)" href="/Ze_(Cyrillic)">З> was abolished.</Ѕ> <Ѕ>However, in the second version of the civil script (1710), <<A wiki_link="Ze_(Cyrillic)" href="/Ze_(Cyrillic)">З> was restored, and <Ѕ> was abolished.</Ѕ></Ѕ> <Ѕ><Ѕ>Both versions of alphabet were used until 1735, which is considered the date of the final elimination of <Ѕ> in Russian.</Ѕ></Ѕ></Ѕ>

See also Reforms of Russian orthography.

<Ѕ> was used in the Romanian Cyrillic alphabet (where it represented ) until the alphabet was abolished in favor of a Latin-based alphabet in 1860-62.</Ѕ> <Ѕ><Ѕ> was also used -- albeit rarely -- to the middle of the 19th century in the Serbian civil script, whose orthography was closer to Church Slavonic (compared to Russian).</Ѕ></Ѕ> <Ѕ><Ѕ>Vuk Karadžić's Serbian Cyrillic alphabet (1868) did not include <Ѕ>, instead favoring the digraph <ДЗ> to represent .</ДЗ></Ѕ></Ѕ></Ѕ>

In Ukrainian the sound is written as the digraph <ДЗ> to represent .</ДЗ> <ДЗ>That happened after various linguistic reforms coducted in Russian Empiremarker to eliminate the similarities with Latin.</ДЗ>

Current Usage

<Ѕ> is now only used in the Macedonian alphabet.</Ѕ> <Ѕ>A commission formed to standardize the Macedonian language and orthography decided on December 4, 1944 -- after a vote of 10-1 -- to adopt the letter.</Ѕ> <Ѕ>The letter represents (examples including: ѕид/dzid, 'wall' and ѕвезда/dzvezda, 'star').</Ѕ> <Ѕ>The corresponding sound is used in all dialects of Macedonian, usually at the beginning of a word.</Ѕ>

<Ѕ> is also included on the standard Serbian Cyrillic keyboard, although it is not used in the Serbian Cyrillic Alphabet.</Ѕ>

See also

External links


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