- This topic has 4 voices and 13 replies.
- July 1, 2016 at 2:43 am #347032
So I got bored one day and went on an impressively long Wikipedia adventure, only to end up reading about the bohoričica alphabet. For those who don’t know, the bohoričica was an orthography developed by the protestant scholar Adam Bohorič and described in his grammar book Articae Horulae Succisivae. His system was used to write Slovene texts from the 16. to the 19. century when the modern slovene alphabet, based on the gajica, was introduced. You see, the bohoričica was ditched during the so called črkarska pravda or abecedna vojna, a period in the 19. century when Slovene cultural workers wanted a new Slovene alphabet. The most prominent figure of this period was Jernej Kopitar, a respected linguist, who demanded that the new alphabet have one letter for one sound, unlike the bohoričica which used digraphs (like the polish cz, read as č). Some were in favour of reforming the old orthography, most notably Prešeren, but they nevertheless accepted the gajica in the end.
So, just for fun I set about trying to reform the bohoričica myself.
First of all, the alphabet:
Aa Bb Dd Ee Ęę Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Rr Şſ Ss Tt Uu Vv Zz
Şh ſh / Sh sh / Zh zh
Lh lh / Vh vh
Ll ll / Nn nn / Rr rr
The letters not discussed represent the same sounds as in modern Slovene.
The letter Ęę represent the schwa sound (the polglasnik). Examples: Trg – Tęrg / Smrt – Şmęrt / Pes – Pęſ / Dež – Dęsh / Trst – Tęrſt / Sem – Şęm.
This letter was actually used to represent the short E by some writers after Bohorič apparently, so it’s not completely new to our language.
The letter Hh is used only in conjuction with other letters to create new sounds. It’s never used by itself.
The letter Ş ſ represent the modern S. The digraph Şh ſh represent the modern Š.
S s represent Z. Sh sh represent Ž.
Z z represent C. Zh zh represent Č.
The following digraphs were created by me and were not present in Bohorič’s original grammar book.
The digraph Kh kh represent the modern H sound (hoteti – khoteti). This is by far the most important inovation since one of the biggest problems with the old bohoričica was that words such as shujšati could be read as žujšati, and shema as žema. This way it shouldn’t be a problem since they would be written as ſkhujſhati and ſkhema. The h now influences the k rather than the ſ or s or z.
Both Lh lh and Vh vh represent the W sound and are used when the change occures, as in modern Slovene. Volk – Volhk (Vowk), Vol – Volh (Vow), Stanislav – Ştaniſlavh (Stanislaw), Pravd – Pravhda (Prawda).
The digraphs Ll ll, Nn nn, Rr rr represent the softened versions of the original letters. Polje – Polle, Celje – Celle, Kranj – Krann, Konj – Konn, Brigadirji – Brigadirri, Komentarji – Komentarri. Not sure about this one, though I did read somewhere that this is how Valvasor represented the slovene pronounciation he heard when touring the land (the soft n atleast).
The Lord’s Prayer (Ozhe Naſh):
Ozhe naſh, ki ſi v nebeſikh,
poſvezheno bodi tvoje ime,
pridi k nam tvoje kralleſtvo,
sgodi ſe tvoja volla
kakor v nebeſikh tako na semlli.
Daj nam danęſ naſh vhſakdanni krukh
in odpuſti nam naſhe dolhge,
kakor tudi mi odpuſhzhamo ſvojim dolhshnikom,
in ne vhpelli naſ v ſkuſhnnavo,
temvezh reſhi naſ khudega.
So what do you think? It seems pretty odd and klunky but it still has some charm in my opinion. Note that I made this without investing much time into research and only wanted to share my little hobby with all of you, I’m not actually proposing this as a new alphabet. I would be very satisfied to hear your feedback.
What did your national alphabet look like before it was reformed, if it was noticeably changed? Do you think this type of writing looks good or is it just too old-fashioned?July 1, 2016 at 2:51 am #364028
A mistake I missed:
Pravda – Pravhda
If anyone is interested in the original bohoričica the Wikipedia page does a fairly good job at explaining how it worked.July 1, 2016 at 12:44 pm #364029
Damn this fh letter is weird , i am Polish btw.July 1, 2016 at 1:57 pm #364030
Boris V.Participant@dedushkaJuly 1, 2016 at 5:18 pm #364026
@Dzik Yeah, the lower case ſ seems odd nawadays. I’m not sure, but I believe it came from German. You can still see it in the Jägermeister / Jägermeiſter logo.
What was the old Polish alphabet like, or was it more or less the same as it is today? Would you change anything?
@Perun Thank you. In comparison both Glagolitic and Cyrillic are much older. The bohoričica is just an orthography of the Latin script, created during the Reformation. Older texts exist in Slovene but they didn’t follow a unified standard until Bohorič came along. The Latin script was the first script used to write in Slovene (Brižinski Spomeniki). Glagolitic was present, mostly in the Primorska region. I don’t know of any historic Cyrillic texts in our language though.
I was actually thinking of trying to create a Glagolitic orthography for the Slovene language since I’m not aware of one existing already. It will take some time to research thoroughly. Think I should go for it?July 1, 2016 at 9:26 pm #363912
@Kust I didnt study any texts older than 100 years but seems like alphabet was just simpler , for example z was used as ś, z, ź, ž. For me alphabet is ok but sadly in language people start using borrowed words from English and dont use old pure slavic words but i think it exist in every language.July 2, 2016 at 10:44 am #363910
@Dzik Great to know! Was there a way to tell when the z should be read in a certain way or did you just have to know the words? In the original bohoričica certain letters had the same upper case version. For example both the s ( ſ ) and z ( s ) had S as the upper case version (so Sſ and Ss). The Ş I used above was a later invention. Did anything similar occur in Polish texts?
I’m a purist myself so I know that feeling. It’s sad to see how people use English words but don’t even understand older slavic words that aren’t used as often.July 2, 2016 at 11:47 am #363908
@Kust On the beginning there was only latin letters so you have to know words and also every scribe was using different signs to mark letter and later they start adding some new letters because it was too complicated. I dont really know about using upper case with normal letters , maybe on the beginning of writing but later not because i cant even find info about it i think bohoričica is nice thing cause you can read text without knowing any special signs like i have read Ojcze Nasz earlier.July 2, 2016 at 3:34 pm #363904
@Dzik Same in older Slovene texts. Even after Bohorič though, writers would use his orthography but add letters or disregard his rules. Apparently even Trubar, another Protestant scholar and Bohorič’s contemporary changed things up a bit. As for the upper case letters maybe you’ve seen both u and v having V as their upper case version (Vu and Vv)? So Ucho/ucho would be written as Vcho/ucho, but it would still be read as a u in both cases. I think this was very common across Europe. The Italians still do this with public signs, for aesthetic reasons.
Indeed, the fact that it uses only basic letters (except maybe Ş and ſ) is neat. Also, did you understand our Oče Naš when you read it? Are you able to read the words without too much trouble if it is written this way?July 2, 2016 at 4:26 pm #363900
@Kust I have read it easily but i didnt understand every word. Bohoričica is still easier for me to read than regular slovenian alphabet.July 2, 2016 at 7:01 pm #363902
@Dzik Oh good, so it’s not completely incomprehensible. As a Pole do you think you would understand other slavic languages better if they used this style of writing (digraphs rather than single letters such as š, ž, č)?
Also, I just realised that this conversation could be described as “A bone and a boar discussing alphabets”July 2, 2016 at 8:04 pm #363894
@Kust ah so Kust is kość , i already know that č is cz and š sz so its hard to tell but i sent this prayer to my friend and he said that only this ſh but i didnt send him a explanation of these letters so in both alphabets i need to know these letters.July 2, 2016 at 9:02 pm #363895
@Dzik Hah, I bet he read it as an F; “Oče naf, ki fi v nebefih”. And yeah the ſh looks like an weird m now that I look at it. Interestingly though some people with a lisp pronounce their s as an f. I wonder if this has any connection to why the ſ and f look so similar.
And yes, kust is a dialectal form of the standard kost. I took it from a rhime from my family’s place of origin. It is to honour the glorious Zasavska region, proud home of the expression “mat ku*ba” similar to the Polish “ku*wa mać”August 9, 2016 at 8:28 pm #396930
I am fine with the current system. I do see cool usage of Bohoričica and old Slovene writing style in a same usage as English and Germans use in pub’s etc. To explain what i mean is like many English pubs use the old writing “Ye olde” and so forth and how German inns still use Gothic writing or Irish with there’s etc. In a same manner Bohoričica and the most widespread writing used since Trubar till 19th century. My fifty bucks. Haha.August 18, 2016 at 7:10 am #410760
@Povhec It has its charm, doesn’t it? It would be really cool to see it used for something again.
“Ta Naſha Kerzhma”
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