Cyrillic Alphabet Pop Quiz: Did You Know?

Photo credit: Emil Georgiev/Ploshtad Slaveikov Media

… the Cyrillic alphabet should have been the “Clementic” alphabet (аnd Cyrillic should have been reserved for its predecessor)?

The Cyrillic alphabet is named after St. Cyril—who isn’t its creator. Cyril developed and introduced the Glagolitic alphabet, a much more complex, earlier version of the Cyrillic. The Glagolitic alphabet was popularized by Cyril’s older brother, Methodius, and their five students. One of them, Clement of Ohrid, developed a simplified form of the new alphabet, but we don’t know if this is the same one we use today. If so, it would have made more sense to name the Cyrillic alphabet Clementic, аnd the Glagolitic script—Cyrillic.

… the Cyrillic alphabet is used in 15% of the world’s landmass?

From Sarajevo to Ulan Bator, “стоп” and “stop” are equally recognizable. The Cyrillic alphabet and its derivatives are used in over 15% of the world’s landmass. Cyrillic is the main alphabet in most of Slavic Europe and North and Central Asia. In countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia, it is used in parallel with the Latin alphabet. Only the Latin domain is larger than the Cyrillic one, but Cyrillic ranks far behind the Latin, Chinese, and Arabic scripts in the number of users because it is the dominant script in many sparsely populated places.

… Alaska is one of the Cyrillic alphabet’s homes?

The alphabets of seven Slavic languages are derived from the Cyrillic alphabet. These languages include Bulgarian, Belarusian, Macedonian, Russian, Rusyn, Serbo-Croatian, and Ukrainian. The fact that over twenty non-Slavic languages use alphabets derived from it testifies to its amazing versatility. Two of the major non-Slavic languages that use the Cyrillic alphabet are Tajik (an Iranian language) and Mongolian (an Altaic language). Interestingly, even communities in Alaska (for example, the Yupik) use a Cyrillic-based alphabet.

… the Cyrillic alphabet and Antarctica have a special connection?

The brothers Cyril and Methodius were canonized by the Orthodox Church, but they are also worshiped by the Catholic and Anglican churches and some Protestants. Danville, Pennsylvania, is home to the only Catholic church in the world bearing the name of the two saints—the Basilica of St. St. Cyril and Methodius. The basilica was founded by the Sisters of St. St. Cyril and Methodius, a religious community of nuns who work for dialogue and cooperation between the different Christian churches.

There are two peaks named after the brothers, St. Cyril Peak and St. Methodius Peak, on one of the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica.

Sign Up Here

Never miss a story from ABF.

Sign Up Here

Never miss a story from ABF.