|Cyrillic letter short U|
|The Cyrillic script|
Short U (Ў ў; italics: Ў ў) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. The only Slavic language using this letter in its orthography is Belarusian, though it is used as a phonetic symbol in some Russian and Ukrainian dictionaries. Among the non-Slavic languages using Cyrillic alphabets, ў is used in Dungan, Karakalpak, Karachay-Balkar, Mansi, Sakhalin Nivkh, Ossetian and Siberian Yupik. It is also used in Uzbek – this letter corresponds to Oʻ in the Uzbek Latin alphabet.
The letter originates from the letter izhitsa ⟨Ѵ ѵ⟩ with a breve (Іереѵ̆ская власть, пучина Егеѵ̆ская, etc.) used in certain Ukrainian books at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries. Later, this character was probably in use in the Romanian Cyrillic script, from where it was borrowed in 1837 by the compilers of Ukrainian poetry book Rusalka Dnistrovaja (Русалка днѣстровая). The book's foreword reads “we have accepted Serbian џ … and Wallachian [Romanian] ў …”. In this book, ⟨ў⟩ is used mostly for etymological [l] transformed to [w]. Modern Ukrainian spelling uses ⟨в⟩ ([v]) in that position.
For Belarusian, the combination of the Cyrillic letter U with a breve ⟨ў⟩ was proposed by P.A. Bessonov in 1870. Before that, various ad hoc adaptations of the Latin U were used, for example, italicized in some publications of Vintsent Dunin-Martsinkyevich, with acute accent ⟨ú⟩ in Jan Czeczot's Da milykh mužyczkoú (To dear peasants, 1846 edition), W with breve ⟨w̆⟩ in Epimakh-Shypila, 1889, or just the letter ⟨u⟩ itself (like in publications of Konstanty Kalinowski, 1862–1863). A U with haček ⟨ǔ⟩ was also used.
After 1870, both the distinction for the phoneme and the new shape of the letter still were not consistently used until the mid-1900s for technical problems, per Bulyka. Among the first publications using it were folklore collections published by Michał Federowski and the first edition of Francišak Bahuševič's Dudka Biełaruskaja (Belarusian flute, published in Kraków, 1891). For quite a while other kinds of renderings (plain ⟨u⟩, or with added accent, haček, or caret) were still being used, sometimes within a single publication (Bahushevich, 1891, Pachobka, 1915), also supposedly because of technical problems.
The letter is called non-syllabic u or short u (Belarusian: у нескладовае, u nieskładovaje or у кароткае, u karotkaje) in Belarusian because although it resembles the vowel у (u), it does not form syllables. Its equivalent in the Belarusian Latin alphabet is ⟨ŭ⟩, although it is also sometimes transcribed as ⟨w⟩.
In native Belarusian words, ⟨ў⟩ is used after vowels and represents a [w], as in хлеў, pronounced [xlʲew] (chleŭ, ‘shed’) or воўк [vɔwk] (voŭk, ‘wolf’). This is similar to the ⟨w⟩ in English cow /kaʊ/.
The letter ⟨ў⟩ cannot occur before a non-iotified vowel in native words (except compound words such as паўакна, ‘half a window’); when that would be required by grammar, ⟨ў⟩ is replaced by ⟨в⟩ /v/. Compare хлеў ([xlʲew] chleŭ, ‘shed’) with за хлявом ([za xlʲaˈvom] za chlavóm, ‘behind the shed’). Also, when a word starts with an unstressed ⟨у⟩ /u/ and follows a word that ends in a vowel, it forms a diphthong through liaison and it is written with ⟨ў⟩ instead. For example, у хляве ([u xlʲaˈvʲe] u chlavié, ‘in the shed’) but увайшлі яны ў хлеў ([uvajʂˈlʲi jaˈnɨ w xlʲew] uvajšlí janý ŭ chleŭ, ‘they went into the shed’). According to the current official orthographic rules of 2008, proper names conserve the initial ⟨У⟩ in writing, so the capital letter ⟨Ў⟩ can occur only in all-capitals writing. Previous official orthographic rules (1959) also made exception for loanwords (каля універсітэта, ‘near the university’, now spelled каля ўніверсітэта). The unofficial 2005 standardization of Taraškievica allows the capital ⟨Ў⟩ in proper names. In acronyms/initialisms, the word-initial ⟨ў⟩ becomes ⟨У⟩: ВНУ for вышэйшая навучальная ўстанова ‘higher education institution (university, college, institute)’. Also, ⟨Ў⟩ becomes ⟨У⟩ in name initials in Taraškievica.
The letter ⟨ў⟩ is also sometimes used to represent the labial-velar approximant /w/ in foreign loanwords: this usage is allowed by the 2005 standardization of Taraškievica. When it is used thus it can appear before non-iotified vowels, does not require a preceding vowel, and may be capital.
In poetry, word-initial ⟨у⟩ and ⟨ў⟩ are sometimes used according to the rhythm of a poem. In this case, the capital ⟨Ў⟩ may also occur.
This letter is the 32nd letter of the Uzbek Cyrillic alphabet. It corresponds to Oʻ in the current Uzbek alphabet. It is different from the regular O, which is represented by the Cyrillic letter О. Furthermore, it is pronounced as either [o] or [ø], in contrast to the letter O, which is pronounced as [ɒ].
In September 2003, during the tenth Days of Belarusian Literacy celebrations, the authorities in Polatsk, the oldest Belarusian city, made a monument to honor the unique Cyrillic Belarusian letter ⟨ў⟩. The original idea for the monument came from professor Paval Siemčanka, a scholar of Cyrillic calligraphy and type.
In October 2009, the Ў gallery is opened in Minsk, which is named after this letter. However it was closed in October 2020.
|Unicode name||CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER
|CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER|
|UTF-8||208 142||D0 8E||209 158||D1 9E|
|Numeric character reference||Ў
|Named character reference||Ў||ў|
|Code page 855||153||99||152||98|
|Code page 866||246||F6||247||F7|