Bulgarian Cyrillic

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iOS 14 started displaying text marked as Bulgarian using the special Bulgarian style of Cyrillic letters. I recall having seen it in a book printed in Bulgaria in the Soviet times, but then I thought it was just a kind of ornamental font (resembling Georgian script). My question is, what is the place of this style in modern Bulgaria? Is it meant to replace the standard angular rendering or…?

IMG_5732.png
 
  • Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    As far as I know, it has actually always been the "preferred" style in Bulgaria, but it was the advent of computers and information technology with their limited character support which cemented the "Russian-style" Cyrillic for a few decades. Now when the technology has advanced so much that the localisation works within the same alphabet (for example Russian-Cyrillic and Bulgarian-Cyrillic), it is simply reverting back to use. I have been following dnevnik.bg for some years now and for as long as I remember, they have been using the Bulgarian style of letters.

    This is my understanding of the situation, Bulgarians will probably have more answers. :)
     
    Interestingly, this is coded with the same plain Unicode Cyrillic letters, so it is just a marker that it is Bulgarian that makes the text to be displayed this way. macOS 10.15 displays the same mobile Wikipedia page using the standard rendering; dnevnik.bg is displayed in rounded letters though.

    P. S. I would be surprised if this style is not modeled after the Greek minuscule.
     
    Practically the implementation looks the following way:
    the unerlying code
    {{desc|bg|гле́дам}}​
    causes the text marked with bg to be displayed rounded, as opposed to the standard Cyrillic without this mark:

    IMG_5733.png
     

    Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    Yeah, I have also noticed that wikipedia shows like this on mobile only.

    I don't think it has anything to do with Greek though, it's simply stylised handwritten cursive, isn't it? if you look at the shape of "гледам", it is the same as handwritten Russian, especially the forms of г and д.
     
    Yeah, I have also noticed that wikipedia shows like this on mobile only.

    I don't think it has anything to do with Greek though, it's simply stylised handwritten cursive, isn't it? if you look at the shape of "гледам", it is the same as handwritten Russian, especially the forms of г and д.
    This style of Bulgarian Cyrillic letters always gives me a headache after trying to read couple of words.
    It indeed resembles the 18th century Russian glyphs, like in the book nimak has recently cited elsewhere:

    Perhaps somebody knows what actually took place with this style of Cyrillic?
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Interestingly, this is coded with the same plain Unicode Cyrillic letters, so it is just a marker that it is Bulgarian that makes the text to be displayed this way.
    Isn't it a font selection rather than an encoding?
    I use a Noscript plugin in the browser which prohibits automatic script loading - unless they come from whitelisted sources. When I opened Dnevnik it was originally rendered using the Russian Cyrillic. Only when I allowed it to load the scripts, the look was changed to the Bulgarian style.

    Dnevnik before.png
    Dnevnik after.png
     
    Isn't it a font selection rather than an encoding?
    I use a Noscript plugin in the browser which prohibits automatic script loading - unless they come from whitelisted sources. When I opened Dnevnik it was originally rendered using the Russian Cyrillic. Only when I allowed it to load the scripts, the look was changed to the Bulgarian style.
    Don't know. If we enter the edit mode in my above screenshot, we get the following:
    ====Descendants====
    {{topa}}
    * East Slavic:
    ** Old East Slavic: {{l|ru|глѧдати}} {{i|11th century}}
    *** {{desc|ru|гля́дать}} {{i|dialectal}}, {{l|ru|гляда́ть}} {{i|dialectal; Dal's dictionary}}
    *** {{desc|uk|гляда́ти}}
    * South Slavic:
    ** Old Church Slavonic:
    **: Cyrillic: {{l|cu|глѧдати}}
    **: Glagolitic: {{l|cu|ⰳⰾⱔⰴⰰⱅⰹ}}
    ** {{desc|bg|гле́дам}}
    ** {{desc|mk|гледа}}
    ** {{desc|sh|-}}
    **: {{desc|sh|гле̏дати|sclb=1}}, {{l|sh|гле́дати}}
    **: Latin: {{l|sh|glȅdati}}, {{l|sh|glédati}}
    *** Chakavian {{a|Vrgada}}: {{l|sh|glȅdati}}
    *** Chakavian {{a|Orbanići}}: {{l|sh|glȅdat}}
    ** {{desc/sl-tonal|glẹ́dati}}
    * West Slavic:
    I don't see where a particular font is specified for displaying the Bulgarian text. Nor is it indicated at the page header. Must be somewhere globally in the site settings then…

    For dnevnik.bg you must be right: I have printed their page into pdf, opened the file in Acrobat and found an embedded font TheSerifDnevnik- (with plain, semibold etc. variants).
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Don't know. If we enter the edit mode in my above screenshot, we get the following:
    It's not the page source code which is executed by the browser. It's the source code for the engine which builds the page. It works more or less like this:

    What you type -> wiktionary page building engine -> HTML+CSS+fonts -> your browser -> What you see.

    I don't see where a particular font is specified for displaying the Bulgarian text. Nor is it indicated at the page header. Must be somewhere globally in the site settings then…
    I would expect that the font specification is included in the site-wide CSSes which are loaded with each individual page. It's simpler this way and allows preserving consistency across all the pages.
     

    eeladvised

    Member
    Slovene - Slovenia
    Probably the "bg" marker, yes. I don't know exactly how the {{desc}} template works, but the resulting HTML includes <span class="Cyrl" lang="bg">, so the language is marked appropriately in HTML as Bulgarian. This is all that should be needed to display Bulgarian variants of the characters, provided that the software supports this and that the font has suitable language-specific glyph substitution tables (which I guess a good OpenType font should have nowadays).
     
    Continuing monitoring… In the last days I have seen a number of instances of this Bulgarian Cyrillic in seemingly Russian texts. So, either there is a lot of crypto-Bulgarian content in the Runet, or the system mistakes other markers for this locale-setting one. As an example, today's Deutsche Wochenschau:

    IMG_5739.jpeg
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I personally like this script a lot. I find it more esthetically pleasing. It's a stylized handwritten script. Usually I don't notice the difference unless I think about. It looks as natural as the other one.
     
    I personally like this script a lot. I find it more esthetically pleasing. It's a stylized handwritten script. Usually I don't notice the difference unless I think about. It looks as natural as the other one.
    Do you agree with what Panceltic wrote in #2 that
    As far as I know, it has actually always been the "preferred" style in Bulgaria, but it was the advent of computers and information technology with their limited character support which cemented the "Russian-style" Cyrillic for a few decades. Now when the technology has advanced so much that the localisation works within the same alphabet (for example Russian-Cyrillic and Bulgarian-Cyrillic), it is simply reverting back to use.
    ?
    Is it indeed perceived as a national style of Cyrillic letters in Bulgaria, or do people just know that there are two variants, with no additional connotations? Do you feel this variant is spreading?
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Do you agree with what Panceltic wrote in #2 that

    ?
    Is it indeed perceived as a national style of Cyrillic letters in Bulgaria, or do people just know that there are two variants, with no additional connotations? Do you feel this variant is spreading?
    The average person has no clue and wouldn't give it a thought. I do remember reading about this though and some websites have shifted towards the this "national" script so now I do notice it.
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I read in the "Russian" Cyrillic just as proficiently and quickly as I read in the Latin alphabet, but that "Bulgarian" script slows me down significantly.
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I wonder if it's like different glyphs for a and g in Latin alphabets ... It goes completely unnoticed when you read the text.
    The differences are bigger than that. I mean, in your example they're basically the same.
    Here you have д vs g (and a few others like г and т look totally different). They are based on handwriting styles and look very natural. For example, absolutely no one ever writes "д" in handwriting. It's a shape you only see in print.

    But I can see the confusion it can cause to those who aren't used to it. For example, I know in Serbian handwriting they use
    1601660836590.png
    for П which to me looks like й.
     
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    Милан

    Senior Member
    Serbian (Србија)
    Our cursive B, D, b, d, p, t, g are different than your Bulgarian/Russian version. I remember when I was in primary school and in my textbook it was written пет (italic if you don't see it as nem) пет=five. We all read that as нем (nem) until the teacher explained to us that it was a 'Russian' thing. And since we kinda (re)started using the Cyrillic alphabet in the 90's, it took us more than 20 years for people to realise yep we can make fonts using our version пет.
     

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    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Our cursive B, D, b, d, p, t, g are different than your Bulgarian/Russian version. I remember when I was in primary school and in my textbook it was written пет (italic if you don't see it as nem) пет=five. We all read that as нем (nem) until the teacher explained to us that it was a 'Russian' thing. And since we kinda (re)started using the Cyrillic alphabet in the 90's, it took us more than 20 years for people to realise yep we can make fonts using our version пет.
    b, d look the same. And t also although it has a line on top. My grandma used to write t with a line above and sh with a line below. That was the only distinguishing feature.
    When I was taught to write, they were already without lines and the shapes looked similar but different enough.
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    b, d look the same
    If we talk about handwritten uppercase "Д", then there is a difference. In Russian and Bulgarian it is written same as the handwritten Latin "D". In Macedonian and Serbian it looks differently.

     
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    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    If we talk about handwritten uppercase "Д", then there is a difference. In Russian and Bulgarian it is written same as the handwritten Latin "D". In Macedonian and Serbian it looks differently.

    I said specifically lower case.
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    My grandma used to write t with a line above and sh with a line below. That was the only distinguishing feature.
    When I was taught to write, they were already without lines and the shapes looked similar but different enough.
    Which way the nowadays students in Bulgaria are taught at school to write the handwritten lowercase т?

     
    Last edited:
    Thanks. But I find that the goal is unrealistic. They write that [б]ългарската кирилица е богата на знаци, но бедна на изразни форми (sorry, WordReference software doesn't display the Bulgarian letters), yet, taking into consideration that (1) there are in orders of magnitude less Cyrillic-supporting fonts in existence than Roman ones, (2) the proposed national Bulgarian Cyrillic has very peculiar shapes of many letters that makes adaptation to various fonts quite cumbersome, and (3) the size of the Bulgarian market — I venture to predict that there eventually will emerge some 3–5 fonts with Bulgarian support: this will make the alphabet more locally specific but will limit the typographic freedom even more. It's much easier to switch to the Roman script altogether if distancing from the Russian practice is so desirable.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    If I may bravely share my thought as a double-foreigner (not a Bulgarian and not even a native user of the Cyrillic script - although I read it), if the Bulgarian version wasn't labelled as such, I would not even notice the difference. Yes, some letters - mainly minuscule - have some specific features, but most of the time they closely resemble the hand-writing script I had learned on my Russian classes decades ago.

    This resembles me an effort to create a native Polish script by a graphic designer a decade or so ago. He shaped the letters - and their "hints" in the font files - so that they look nicely in combinations in which they are often used in the Polish language, like "rz", "sz", "cz", "ło", etc, which are rarely or never used in English, and hence they are unoptimised for this usage in commercially available font sets. A whole lot of the hard work, but the final effect is barely noticeable for the persons without education in graphic or design - and as far as I am aware, the number of users is rather limited, since most of the time default Windows fonts are used anyway.
     
    Last edited:

    Kazimir Lenz

    New Member
    Bulgarian
    This resembles me an effort to create a native Polish script by a graphic designer a decade or so ago. He shaped the letters - and their "hints" in the font files - so that they look nicely in combinations in which they are often used in the Polish language, like "rz", "sz", "cz", "ło", etc, which are rarely or never used in English, and hence they are unoptimised for this usage in commercially available font sets.
    I am interested in this. Do you happen to remember the name of the font or/and its author?
     
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