Monday, May 24, 2010

Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day

Today is a national holiday, Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day, which celebrates the creation of the Cyrillic alphabet, which originated in Bulgaria. Although there is some dispute as to who really created the Slavic language alphabet, the main consensus goes to the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius, who were born in Thessaloniki in the 9th century. They were missionaries in Moravia, and one of their main tasks was to translate the Bible, for which they first created the Glagolitic alphabet, which was then used for Slavonic manuscripts. The Cyrillic alphabet was a direct descendent of this alphabet. The early alphabet was very closely related to the Greek alphabet.

At the time of the invention of the Cyrillic alphabet, the Byzantine Empire was expanding into Bulgaria, and many saw the preservation of the Old Slavonic language with its own alphabet as a way of preserving their national identity. To this day, the Bulgarians are very proud of their language and their alphabet.

I appreciate the sense of national pride that the Bulgarians feel, but I still wonder – wouldn’t it have been easier to adapt a Latin alphabet to the Slavonic language, instead of making an alphabet which is a mishmash of Latin, Greek and Hebrew letters, and a few invented ones, instead?

1 comment:

  1. Think about all that fun that foreigners would miss out on if they just went with Latin letter.

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