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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Lena here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Russian questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: What’s the Russian alphabet called and where does it come from?
Russian uses a writing system called Cyrillic script. Besides Russia, Cyrillic script is used in parts of Europe and Central Asia, although each country has its own modified Cyrillic alphabet.
The Russian alphabet consists of 33 letters. There are 10 vowels, 21 consonants, and 2 other signs that don’t have any sound on their own, but modify the consonants that come before them. These are the soft and hard signs.
Cyrillic script got its name from the Byzantine missionary Saint Cyril, who created the older Glagolitic alphabet with his brother Methodius. It was originally used with the literary Old Church Slavonic language, with early writings dating back to the 9th century.
During the 18th century, Peter the Great revised the alphabet, creating new standardized forms that were modeled closely on western Latin letterforms. The Russian alphabet underwent a few other reforms after that, two of which happened quite recently in the 20th century.
Something worth mentioning is that the Russian you see in newspapers and on TV is not the Russian you'll see written with pen and paper. This is because Russian people often write in cursive. Just like English cursive letters sometimes look very different from print, so do Russian letters! Keep this in mind if you see something written down that looks unfamiliar to you.


How was it? Pretty interesting right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
До встречи! (Do vstrechi!) “See you soon!”