Letters are the basis of any language of the world, because we use their combination when we reflect, express or write. The Russian alphabet is interesting not only as a “building material”, but also as a history of its formation. So, the question arises: who created the alphabet of the Russian language? Most people will say without hesitation that the main authors of the Russian alphabet are Cyril and Methodius. However, only few people know that they not only created the letters of the alphabet, but began to use the signs in writing, and also translated a huge number of church books.
How did the Russian alphabet appear?
From 9 to 10 centuries, one of the largest states was the Great Moravia. At the end of 862, its prince Rostislav wrote a letter to the Emperor of Byzantium Mikhail with a prayer for permission to conduct divine services in the Slavonic language. At that time, the inhabitants of Moravia had a common language, but there was no written language. Greek or Latin was used. Emperor Mikhail satisfied the request of the prince and sent a mission to Moravia in the person of the two learned brothers. Cyril and Methodius were well educated and belonged to a noble family. They became the founders of the Slavic culture and writing. However, one does not need to think that until that moment people have remained illiterate. They used letters from the Veles book. It is still not known who invented letters or signs in it.
It is a curious fact that the brothers created the letters of the alphabet even before coming to Moravia. About three years it took them to create Russian alphabet and arrange letters in the alphabet. The brothers managed to translate the Bible and liturgical books from the Greek language, henceforth the liturgy in the church was conducted in a language understood by the local population. Some letters of the alphabet were very similar to Greek and Latin characters. In 863, the alphabet was created, consisting of 49 letters, but later it was abolished to 33 letters. The originality of the created alphabet is that each letter transmits one sound.
It is interesting why the letters in the Russian alphabet have a certain sequence? The creators of the Russian alphabet considered letters from the point of view of numbers order. Each letter defines a digit, so the alphanumeric characters are arranged in the increasing direction.
Who Invented the Russian Alphabet?
In the 1917-1918 years, the first reform was carried out, aimed at improving the spelling of the Slavonic language. The Ministry of Public Education decided to correct the books. The ABC or the Russian alphabet was regularly changed, so the Russian alphabet appeared, which we are using now.
The history of the Russian language holds numerous discoveries and secrets:
- The alphabet of the Russian language has the letter “E”. It was introduced by the Academy of Sciences in 1783 by Princess Vorontsova-Dashkova, who headed it at that time. She asked the academicians why in the word “iołka” the first syllable is transmitted by two letters. Not having received an answer that satisfied her, the princess created an order to use the letter “Ё” In the writing.
- Anyone who came up with the Russian alphabet did not comment on the mute letter “yer”. It was used until 1918 after solid consonants. To write “yer” (in Russian “еръ”) the treasury of the country spent more than 400 thousand rubles, so the letter costs a lot.
- Another complex letter in the Russian alphabet is “и” or “i”. Philology-reformers could not decide which sign to leave, so significant were the evidence of the importance of their use. This letter in the Russian alphabet was read alike. The difference between “и” or “i” in the semantic load of the word. For example, “мір” in the meaning of “universe” and “peace” in the meaning of the absence of war. After decades of controversy, the creators of the alphabet left the letter “и”.
- The letter “э” in the Russian alphabet was formerly called “turnaround э”. M.V. Lomonosov did not recognize it for a long time, because he considered it to be borrowed from other languages. But it successfully took root among other letters in the Russian alphabet.
Russian alphabet is full of interesting facts, almost every letter has its own story. But the creation of the alphabet was reflected only in scientific and educational activities. The innovators had to teach people the new letters and, above all, the clergy. Dogmatics closely intertwined with the clergy and politics. Unable to withstand endless persecution, Cyril dies, and so in a few years died Methodius. The gratitude of the descendants cost the brothers too much.
The alphabet did not change for a long time. In the last century, according to the old Russian alphabet, children were enrolled in school, so it can be said that modern names of letters came into general use only during the reign of Soviet government. The order of the letters in the Russian alphabet remained the same from the day of its creation since the signs were used to form numbers (although we have been using Arabic numerals for a long time).
The Old Slavonic alphabet, created in the ninth century, became the basis for the formation of writing in many peoples. Cyril and Methodius made a tremendous contribution to the history of the development of the Slavic languages. Already in the ninth century it was understood that not every nationality has the honour to use its own alphabet. We use the legacy of brothers up to the present day.