Are Serbian Cyrillic Letters Weird?

Serbian Cyrillic Letters

If you put Serbian Cyrillic alphabet next to the English alphabet, the first thing you will notice is that Serbian alphabet, which we call azbuka, has 4 letters more than the English alphabet. Another thing you will notice is that there are quite a few same-looking letters. Serbian Cyrillic letters are not that weird, you may think! But as you learn more about the letters you will realize that some of those letters that that look the same as English letters have a completely different pronunciation. That kind of complicates things a bit, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. There is a way to divide letters in groups that can help you memorize how to write and read Cyrillic letters. We color-coded the different groups for you here:

Serbian Cyrillic Letters  

And now let’s explain what these colours mean:

Friendly Cyrillic Lettres (Dark Pink)

Friendly Serbian Cyrillic letters are the ones that are the written in the same way as their counterparts in English: Aa, Ee, Oo, Jj, Кк, Мм, Тт. It is easy to read and write these letters. Only lower-case letters к, м, and т are slightly different than English k, m and t. The pronunciation of this group of letters is also the same as in English (apart from Jj, which we pronounce as “y” in yoga). 

False Friends (Blue)

These Serbian Cyrillic letters are the same as in English, but their sound is different: Сс (pronounced as /s/ in “sun”), Рр (pronounced similarly to /r/ in “ring”; there is a caveat with Serbian “r”, it is pronounced slightly differently than English “r”, but more about that in another post), Вв (pronounced as /v/ in “victory”), Нн (pronounced as /n/ in “name”), Хх (pronounced as /h/ in “hero”), Уу (pronounced as /u/ in “too”).

Symmetric New Friends (Gray)

These are the letters that do not exist in English, so we will call them our “new friends”. All of the Serbian Cyrillic letters from this group have symmetric shape, which makes them easy to memorize and write: Дд (pronounced as /d/ in dog), Пп (pronounced as P), Шш  (pronounced as “sh” as in “shape”), Жж (pronounced similar to /ʒ/ in pleasure), Фф (pronounced as /f/ in Philadelphia), Џџ (pronounced as /dʒ/ as in George). To practice writing these letters, download the worksheet here:
Download the pdf


Asymmetric New Friends (Pink)

These are also our new friends, the letters that do not exist in English, but these ones have an asymmetric shape. This group of Serbian Cyrillic letters is probably going to be the most difficult one to read and write: Гг (pronounced as /g/ in bag), Бб (pronounced as /b/ as in bag), Ии (pronounced as e /i/ as in eagle), Лл (pronounced as /l/ as in “love”), Љљ (pronounced similarly to /ʎ/ in million) , Њњ (pronounced similarly to /nj/ in minion), Цц (pronounced similarly to /ts/ as in cats), Зз (pronounced as /z/ as in zero), Чч (pronounced as /ch/ in challenge), Ђђ (pronounced similarly to /dʑ/ as in juice), Ћћ (pronounced similarly to /tɕ/ as in opportunity)

Fore more information on how to read and write the Cyrillic letters in the Serbian language, check out our YouTube video:

Leave a Reply