Cyrillic script for English (Саирилик скрипт фор Иңглиш)

I created a newer version of this adaptation, which is more compact and unique than this one. Feel free to check it out!

Cyrillic is one of the most widely used alphabets in the world, besides Latin, and it was only a matter of time before I had a go at using it to write English phonetically.

Adaptation process

Adaptation was fairly easy, as many Latin letters can be easily substituted for their Latin counterparts. For some of the letters, I used digraphs or Cyrillic letters from the Serbian and Bashkir orthographies, and also took some inspiration from an earlier Latin script orthography called BEO.

In Cyrillic for English, ‘ь’ is used as a vowel to write the schwa /ə/. Although it is primarily used to modify the sound of consonants in most Cyrillic orthographies today, it once represented a vowel a long time ago, and it seemed more natural that I use it as a vowel in my adaptation. Also, since there appears to be no letter for /w/ in Cyrillic, I used the vowel letter for ‘U’ as a stand-in.



/p/ П п (port)/b/ Б б (born)/f/ Ф ф (free)/v/ В в (van)/m/ М м (muse)
/t/ Т т (tree)/d/ Д д (drive)/θ/ Ц ц (thank)/ð/ Ҙ ҙ (the)/n/ Н н (new)
/k/ К к (call)/g/ Г г (get)/x/ Х х (loch)/ɣ/ ГҺ гһ/ŋ/ Ң ң (sing)
/s/ С с (soon)/z/ З з (zoo)/ʃ/ Ш ш (share)/ʒ/ Ж ж (azure).
/tʃ/ Ч ч (change)/dʒ/ Џ џ (joke)...
/ɹ/ Р р (run)/l/ Л л (laugh)/h/ Һ һ (house)/w/ У у (way)/j/ Й й (yell)

Special contractions

In Cyrillic for English, the letter ‘щ’ is used to write the consonant cluster ‘st’, which is the closest approximation to its typical pronunciation in the languages that use Cyrillic.

/st/ Щ щ (post)


/a/~/ʌ/ А а (sun)/æ/ Я я (can)
/ə/~/ɜ/ Ь ь (sure)/ɛ/ Е е (red)
/ɪ/ И и (bid)/iː/ Й й (bead)
/ɔ/ О о (pot)/ɔː/ ОО оо (call)
/ʊ/ У у (pull)/uː/ ОУ оу (pool)


/aɪ/ АИ аи (side)/aʊ/ АУ ау (now)
/ɔɪ/ ОИ ои (toy)/oʊ/ ОЬ оь (dough)
/eɪ/ ЕИ еи (say)/ɪə/ ИЬ иь (hear)
/ʊə/, /wə/ УЬ уь (tour)/juː/ Ю ю (news)

Syllable structure

Cyrillic is a linear alphabet that works just like Latin does.

E.g. /stɹakt/ = стракт

Sample texts

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Юнивьрсьл Дикляреишьн оф Һюмьн Раитс

Ол һюмьн бйңс ар борн фрй янд икуьл ин дигнити янд раитс. Ҙеи ар ендауд уьц рйзьн янд коншьнс янд шуд якт тоьуьрдс уан ьнаҙьр ин ь спирит оф браҙьрһуд.

(Артикьл 1 оф ҙи Юнивьрсьл Дикляреишьн оф Һюмьн Раитс)

Excerpt from a short story I wrote a while ago

For comparison, you can view the original one here.

Аи һяд ь щреинџ дрйм ҙят наит.

Ин ҙят дрйм, Аи фаунд маиселф ьуеикьниң, лаииң он софт грйн грас, ин ь фянтьси 8-бит уьрлд сьраундьд баи компютьрс. Ҙь луминьнс оф блиңкиң моьдемс янд уоом, чиьрфул чиптюн мюзик филд ҙи ер. Олҙоь еврициң лукд блоки янд скуер, ит броот ми бяк ту ҙоьз деис. Оф ол ҙь компютьрс Аи соо, 1 оф ҙем уьс плеииң маи феивьрьт соң! Аи џамп янд лйп ин џои оьвьр ҙь саит. Аи ҙен соо маи һаус, янд Аи сед “Һаи” ту маи бещ меитс, һу уьр уеитиң аутсаид. Уи уоокд тугеҙьр, һявиң ь чиьри чят ьбаут ҙь компютьр геим Аи уьс уьркиң он ьрлиьр.

“Соь уатс ҙят кул геим гона би ьбаут, еи?” уан оф ҙем аскд.
“Иф ю львд Мариоь, юл льв ҙис!” Аи сед.
“Оосьм!!! Кант уеит ту сй ит!” Инсаид ми ҙь фаиьр ту кйп ми гоьиң бикеим щроңгьр.

Уи уоокд инту ь вивид сансет. Аи реминисд ҙь меморис оф пащ самьрс, плеииң ретроь видиоь геимс ин ҙь кул шеид, ивьн ҙоь ҙь сан аутсаид пйкд ят 42 дигрйс янд мелтьд еврициң елс.


4 thoughts on “Cyrillic script for English (Саирилик скрипт фор Иңглиш)

  1. Great Job. Do you have any suggestions on how to create a Ukrainian adaptation? Maybe ґ for ‘g’, “г” for “h”, “i” for /ɪ/ & “ї” for /iː/? As with Russian no characters exist for /ð/ or /ŋ/. One suggestion would be to use дь or дъ for /ð/ & нь or нъ for /ŋ/ Otherwise it could probably be pretty much the same.


    1. Yes – looking back at this adaptation, I would have done it a bit differently. It’s indeed possble to use the Ukrainian Cyrillic letters: ‘г’ for /h/, ‘ґ’ for /g/ and ‘i’ for /ɪ/. For /iː/ though, I’ll use ‘и’ to make it more distinct from /ɪ/, and I’ll take some letters from Macedonian for /ð/ ‘ѕ’ and /ŋ/ ‘њ’ to reduce reliance on diacritics and improve font compatibility. /w/ can also be changed to ў to make it more distinct from /ʊ/ у (not sure why I overlooked this letter).


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