Montenegrin alphabet

The Montenegrin alphabet is the collective name given to "Abeceda" (Montenegrin Latin alphabet) and "Азбука" (Montenegrin Cyrillic alphabet), the writing systems used to write the Montenegrin language. It was adopted on 9 June 2009 by the Montenegrin Minister of Education, Sreten Škuletić[1] and replaced the Serbian Cyrillic and Gaj's Latin alphabets in use at the time.

Although the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets enjoy equal status under the Constitution of Montenegro, the government and proponents of the Montenegrin language prefer to use the Latin script;[2] it is also much more widely used in all aspects of the day-to-day written communication in the country, in education, advertising and media.


Efforts to create a Latin character-based Montenegrin alphabet go back to at least World War I, when a newspaper was published in Cetinje using both Latin and Cyrillic characters. [3]

Latin alphabet

The Montenegrin Latin alphabet (Montenegrin: crnogorska latinica / црногорска латиница, crnogorska abeceda / црногорска абецеда or crnogorski alfabet / црногорски алфабет) is used for writing the Montenegrin language in Latin script.

It uses most letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet, with the exception of Q, W, X and Y, only used for writing common words or proper names directly borrowed from foreign languages.

Montenegrin Latin is based on Serbo-Croatian Latin, with the addition of the two letters Ś and Ź, to replace the pairs SJ and ZJ (so anachronisticly considered as digraphs).[4] These parallel the two letters of the Montenegrin Cyrillic alphabet not found in Serbian, С́ and З́. These, respectively, could also be represented in the original alphabets as šj and žj,[5] and шj and жj.

It also uses some Latin extended letters, composed with a basic Latin letter and one of two combining accents (the acute accent or caron, over C, S, and Z), and a supplementary base consonant Đ: they are needed to note additional phonetic distinctions (notably to preserve the distinctions that are present in the Cyrillic script with which the Montenegrin language has also long been written, when it was still unified in the former Yugoslavia within the written Serbo-Croatian language).


The alphabet also includes some digraphs built from the previous characters (that are considered as single letters for collation purpose): , Nj, and Lj.

Cyrillic alphabet

The Montenegrin Cyrillic alphabet (Montenegrin: црногорска ћирилица / crnogorska ćirilica or црногорска азбука / crnogorska azbuka) is official Cyrillic writing of the Montenegrin language. It is used in parallel with Latin script.

Its first version was developed by Vojislav Nikčević in the 1970s who was a dissident of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and considered Montenegrin speech to be unique and deserving of consideration as a separate language from Serbo-Croatian.

The modern version was brought into official use in early 2009 by the Ministry of Education under Sreten Škuletić. It was called the First Montenegrin Orthography, included a new Orthographic Dictionary, and replaced the Serbian Cyrillic script which was official until then. The act is a component part of the process of standardisation of the Montenegrin language, starting in mid-2008 after the adoption of Montenegrin as the official language of Montenegro.


  1. "Donijet Pravopis crnogorskog jezika". 9 July 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-01-10. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  2. Lowen, Mark (February 19, 2010). "Montenegro embroiled in language row". BBC News. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
  3. "Semi-Official War Newspaper to Start". Bakersfield Californian. Bakersfield, California. April 3, 1916. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
  4. "Dva nova slova u pravopisu". 10 July 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  5. "News - Montenegrin authorities introduce new alphabet". B92. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
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