Bohori%C4%8D Alphabet
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Bohori%C4%8D Alphabet
Zdravljica by France Pre?eren, first version in the Bohori? alphabet

The Bohori? alphabet (Slovene: bohori?ica) was an orthography used for Slovene between the 16th and 19th centuries.


Its name is derived from Adam Bohori?, who codified the alphabet in his book Articae Horulae Succisivae. It was printed in 1583 and published in 1584.[1]

The Bohori? alphabet was first used by the Lutheran preacher Primo? Trubar, the author of the first printed book in Slovene. However, Trubar did not follow strict rules and often used alternate spellings for the same word.


The alphabet consists of 25 letters (including 3 digraphs) in the following order:

a b d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s sh s sh t u v z zh

The Bohori? alphabet differs from the modern Slovene alphabet in the following letters:

Bohori? alphabet
majuscule minuscule IPA modern Slovenian
Z z /ts/ c
ZH zh /t?/ ?
S, ? s /s/ s
SH, ?H sh /?/ ?
S s /z/ z
SH sh /?/ ?

(In these cases, the values of the Bohori? letters somewhat resemble German.)

In the early Bohori? alphabet, some letters shared majuscule forms:

  • I was the majuscule form of i and j
  • V was the majuscule form of u and v
  • S was the majuscule form of s and s
  • SH was the majuscule form of sh and sh

There were other differences from the modern Slovene orthography. The schwa sound preceding R was strictly written with the letter E, while in modern Slovene the E is omitted (except before word-final R): the Slovene name for the city of Trieste, Trst, was thus written as Terst, the word for "square" was written as terg (instead of the modern trg), etc. One-letter prepositions, such as v (in), s/z (with), or k/g (to) were written with an apostrophe: thus, the phrase "in Ljubljana" would be written v'Ljubljani instead of modern Slovene v Ljubljani, "to my place" would be k'meni instead of modern k meni, etc.

Historical development

Bohori?'s alphabet was first codified in 1584 by the Protestant author Adam Bohori? in his book Articae horulae succisivae, considered to be the first grammar book of the Slovene language. It was based on the Latin script adopted from the German by Primo? Trubar since 1555 and then used extensively for almost thirty years. It differed somewhat from the original alphabet, partly also due to changes introduced by Sebastjan Krelj and Jurij Dalmatin. It was used in Dalmatin's first translation of the entire Bible to the Slovene.

Although the Counter-Reformation destroyed completely the Protestant religious community in the Slovene Lands, the alphabet was taken over by Catholic authors, most notably by the Roman Catholic bishop of Ljubljana Thomas Chrön. In the 17th and early 18th century, very few literary texts were written in Slovene; nevertheless, Bohori?'s alphabet remained in use throughout this period. Slovene names in Valvasor's German-written book The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, for example, were all rendered in this script.

In the late 18th century, with the revival of Slovene, Bohori?'s script came back into general use. It was modernized by 18th-century philologists Marko Pohlin and Jurij Japelj. By the end of the 18th century, it was fully accepted by the Enlightenment intellectuals around Sigmund Zois. With the authors Anton Toma? Linhart and Valentin Vodnik, it became an established tool of literary expression again.

The Bohori? alphabet was quite successful, but it suffered from a number of flaws:

  • Slovenian has eight vowels, but the Bohori? alphabet only has five vowel characters (this flaw is shared by modern Slovenian orthography).
  • The combination "sh" could be read as two separate letters or as a digraph (although this is relevant for only a handful of words, such as shuj?ati 'to lose weight').
  • It did not distinguish vowel length (nor does modern Slovenian orthography).
  • It did not distinguish tone (nor does modern Slovenian orthography).


The script remained unchallenged until the 1820s, when there were several attempts to replace them with phonetic alphabets. The two most famous attempts were made by Peter Dajnko (Dajnko alphabet) in 1824 and Fran Metelko (Metelko alphabet) in 1825.

These attempts, sponsored by the philologist Jernej Kopitar, were however fiercely opposed by the Romantic intellectual circle around Matija ?op and France Pre?eren. This debate over orthographic reform became known as the so-called Slovene alphabet war (Slovene: slovenska abecedna vojna or ?rkarska pravda, German: Slowenischer ABC-krieg). By the mid-1830s, the supporters of Bohori?'s script gained their battle against the innovators, also with the support of the Czech linguist Franti?ek ?elakovský. However, criticisms of the bohori?ica script remained alive.

In the 1840s, the editor Janez Bleiweis proposed a compromise solution by introducing a slightly modified version of the Croatian Gaj's Latin alphabet (in turn modeled on the Czech one) for his journal Kmetijske in rokodelske novice. Very quickly, this solution was accepted by all sides, and by 1848/1850, a modified version of Gaj's alphabet completely replaced Bohori?'s script; it remains in use in Slovenia today.

Attempts at revival

Suggestions to revive the Bohori? script were advanced in the 1980s. Several people suggested that a modified version of the script should be revived for IT purposes because the first computers for general use could not handle non-standard Latin characters (i.e., ? ? ?). In the 1990s, a "reformed Bohori? alphabet" (in fact, it merely replaced ? ? ? with ch sh zh and thus did not follow the Bohori? orthography at all) was adopted by a group of authors around the journal SRP Archived 2010-03-27 at the Wayback Machine. This has been the only attempt to revive the Bohori? alphabet and has gained no attention outside the editorial board of the journal.


  1. ^ Eiselt, Irena. "Zimske urice proste" [Free Winter Hours]. DEDI - enciklopedija naravne in kulturne dediine na Slovenskem (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2015.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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