Metelko Alphabet
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Metelko Alphabet

The Metelko alphabet (Slovene: metel?ica) was a Slovene writing system developed by Franc Serafin Metelko. It was used by a small group of authors from 1825 to 1833 but it was never generally accepted.

Example of the Metelko alphabet: Valentin Stani?'s adaptation of the poem "Der Kaiser und der Abt" by Gottfried August Bürger
Tombstone of Mihael De?man [sl] at Navje Memorial Park in Ljubljana, written in the Metelko alphabet.

Metelko introduced his alphabet in the book Lehrgebäude der slowenischen Sprache im Königreiche Illyrien und in den benachbarten Provinzen (Textbook of the Slovene Language of Kingdom of Illyria and Neighboring Provinces, 1825). He invented his alphabet in order to replace the formerly used Bohori? alphabet (bohori?ica), which was considered problematic in certain situations. Metelko was influenced by the ideas of Jernej Kopitar, a well-known linguist who also participated in the development of the modern Serbian alphabet (created by Vuk Karad?i?, following Kopitar's ideas).

Metelko's alphabet has 32 letters in the following order:

A B D E A C with a middle fork F G H An H with an angular middle bar I ? J K L A ligature of J and L M N A ligature of N and J O An O with a vertical bar P R S An U with a vertical bar A ? with a vertical bar ? Two symmetric C's joined with a horizontal bar T U V An n with a long extender ?

Special letters are explained in the following table (other letters have the same meaning as in modern Slovene):

Metelko's alphabet
majuscule minuscule IPA modern Slovene
Metelko C.gif ? /ts/ c
? ? /t?/ ?
S s /s/ s
Metelko ?.gif Metelko ?.gif /?/ ?
Metelko .gif Metelko .gif /?t?/
Metelko Z.gif Metelko z.gif /z/ z
Metelko ?.gif Metelko ?.gif /?/ ?
H h /h/ h
Metelko H.gif Metelko h.gif /x/ h
Metelko LJ.gif Metelko lj.gif /lj/ lj
Metelko NJ.gif Metelko nj.gif /nj/ nj
E e /?/ e (open e; also ê)
Metelko E.gif Metelko e.gif /e/ e (close e; also é)
? ? /?/ e (schwa; also ?)
O o /o/ o (close o; also ó)
Metelko O.gif Metelko o.gif /?/ o (open o; also ô)

Metelko wanted to solve the problem of the formerly used digraphs ZH (for /t?/) and SH (for /?/ and /?/) by replacing them with the special letters ?, Metelko ?.gif and Metelko ?.gif, based on the Cyrillic letters ?, ?, ?.

Metelko also added special letters for some common clusters: Metelko .gif, Metelko LJ.gif and Metelko NJ.gif.

The difference between glottal and velar H (/h/, /x/) is in fact not relevant to Slovene phonology, and therefore the letter Metelko H.gif was omitted by some authors.

In the formerly used Bohori? alphabet, certain words with different pronunciation had the same spelling. Metelko wanted to solve this problem by splitting E into three and O into two variants. Metelko's letters E, Metelko E.gif and ? represent the vowels /?/, /e/ and /?/, which were formerly written with E. Metelko's letters O and Metelko O.gif represent the vowels /o/ and /?/, which were formerly written with O.

The main problem of Metelko's alphabet was its graphic design. Metelko's letters appeared strange to the average Slovene writer and the alphabet itself was soon nicknamed krevljica 'the twisted alphabet'. Some letters were in fact difficult to write by hand. Besides Metelko was strongly influenced by his own dialect, certain solutions were not accepted by speakers of other dialects. Soon strong opposition rose against Metelko's alphabet.

After the "Slovene alphabet war" Metelko's alphabet was forbidden in 1833. A few years later Slovenes accepted Gaj's Latin alphabet (Slovene: gajica), which is easier to write. In this alphabet variants in pronunciation are written using diacritics (é, ê, ó, ô, etc.) but only in cases when it is necessary to distinguish two words (e.g. klóp = bench; klôp = tick).

The IETF language tags have assigned the variant sl-metelko to Slovene in the Metelko alphabet.[1]

See also


  1. ^ "IETF language subtag registry". IANA. 2021-08-06. Retrieved 2021.


  • Topori?i?, Jo?e. 1993. "Metel?ica." Enciklopedija Slovenije, vol. 7, pp. 103-104. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga.

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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