ⓘ Schwa (Cyrillic)


ⓘ Schwa (Cyrillic)

Schwa is a letter of the Cyrillic script, derived from the Latin letter schwa. It is currently used in Abkhaz, Bashkir, Dungan, Itelmen, Kalmyk, Kazakh, Kurdish, Uyghur and Tatar. It was also used in Azeri, Karakalpak, and Turkmen before those languages switched to the Latin alphabet. The Azeri and some other Latin-derived alphabets contain a letter of similar appearance.


1. Usage

In many Turkic languages such as Azeri, Bashkir, Kazakh, Uyghur and Tatar, as well as the Kalmyk and Khinalug languages, it represents the near-open front unrounded vowel /æ, like the pronunciation of ⟨a⟩ in "c a t". It is often transliterated as ⟨a⟩; however, in Kazakh, it was transliterated as A.

In Dungan, it represents the close-mid back unrounded vowel /ɤ/.

In Kurdish it represents the schwa /ə/ or the sound /ε~a/.

In Abkhaz, it is a modifier letter, which represents labialization of the preceding consonant /ʷ/. Digraphs with ⟨ә⟩ are treated as letters and given separate positions in the Abkhaz alphabet. It is transliterated into Latin as a high ring ⟨˚⟩.


2. Related letters and other similar characters

  • Ӕ ӕ: Cyrillic letter Æ
  • А а: Cyrillic letter A with diaeresis
  • A a: Latin letter A with diaeresis
  • Ə ə: Latin schwa, used to transliterate Azerbaijanis Cyrillic schwa and 1927 - 1940 Turkmens schwa. Now a for a schwa in Cyrillic
  • Æ æ: Ligature Æ, a Danish and Norwegian letter.