How to Learn Serbian Cyrillic

You have learned Serbian language for quite a while and you are an advanced learner. You have a Serbian teacher, or you are searching for one. If you already know how to speak and write Serbian Latin, now is the right time for Cyrillic! ЋИРИЛИЦА is not very difficult, you will see.

Take a look at these letters, aren't they adorable?

Some of them are rounded (О, С, Ф, З), some are partially rounded (Б, В, Ђ, Љ, Њ, Р, Ћ, Ч and most of the small letters) and some look like the laid matches (Г, К, М, Н, П, Т, Х, Ц, Џ, Ш).

In my long experience as a Serbian teacher, I used to see the letters as pictures.

When you find yourself on the streets of Serbia, if you don't know Cyrillic, you might have a problem to read the street's name. Even if you do learn Serbian. That is not the strict rule, some streets have also boards with names in Latin alphabet. But don't be surprised if you have just bought a map with street names in Latin letters, and the signs and boards around you are mostly in Cyrillic. Welcome to СРБИЈА :)

If you don't want to get lost...

That is definitely not the main reason to start to learn Serbian Cyrillic.

There are numerous reasons to learn this beautiful alphabet, with or without help of Serbian teacher. We'll go back to that little bit later. Let's first take a look at...

Some facts about the Cyrillic

1) Besides word 'ćirilica' we also use the term 'azbuka'. Those two words are synonyms.

Serbian teacher in primary school more often uses term 'azbuka'.

2) Cyrillic is an official alphabet in schools and other institutions in Serbia.

3) Cyrillic has 30 letters.

4) Cyrillic was created most likely at the end of the 9th and at the beginning of the 10th century.

5) It's named by Cyril, Christian missionary from Thessaloniki.

6) Cyril and Methodius are famous brothers who were on the mission to spread Christianity among the Slavic tribes. Both of them had an impact to the emergence of Cyrillic, the same as their students and followers - Clement and Naum.

So much about history. Let's see now what are the main...

Reasons for learning Cyrillic

- Well, we have already drawn your attention to the graphic beauty of this alphabet. For me, as a Serbian teacher, it always had its uniqueness.

- Very important reason for learning Cyrillic is that it is not only used in Serbia, but also in many other countries. Let's just mention some of them: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Monte Negro, Macedonia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, and also in many countries of non Slavic nations, in Asia. It's not absolutely the same version of Cyrillic in use in all of these countries, but similarities are huge.

So, if you learn Serbian Cyrillic, it will be much easier for you to learn one of these languages, or at least to understand street signs in many countries.

- Cyrillic (or Azbuka) is a perfect alphabet. Now you must be wondering - why?

Because there is always a match between one letter and one sound. On example, the letter Ж will always be the graphic sign for one specific sound, in any word, without exception. The same goes for all the other letters of Cyrillic.

And now the most important:

How to learn Serbian Cyrillic

I have already presumed that you know Serbian Latin alphabet from before.

That is the right way to learn Serbian - to start from what is already familiar. First you learn to communicate, then to write Latin Serbian letters. And then is the perfect moment for - ЋИРИЛИЦА.

By the way, synonym for version of Latin alphabet which we use on Balkans is 'Abeceda.'

Let's now look at the letters of Abeceda:

You are already noticing some similarities among these alphabets? Take a better look:

Pictures are taken from the blogs Slovce and Au sto je skola zgodna, with permission of authors, and you might fine some other useful materials there.

What is absolutely the same between Cyrillic and Latin alphabet?

1) They both have 30 letters.

2) The letters: A, E, J, K, M, O, T. (There are some minor differences in small letters, but capitals are absolutely the same.)

You see, even if you don't learn Serbian at all, you already know 25% of the Cyrillic.

What is similar?

This might be a little bit confusing, but also might be helping:

- letter B in Cyrillic is the letter for the same sound as V in Latin; (examples ВИНО - VINO)

- letter C in Cyrillic is the letter for he same sound as S in Latin; (examples СУНЦЕ - SUNCE)

- letter H in Cyrillic is the letter for he same sound as N in Latin; (examples НОГА - NOGA)

- letter P in Cyrillic is the letter for he same sound as R in Latin; (examples РУКА - RUKA)

- letter X in Cyrillic is the letter for he same sound as H in Latin; (examples ХВАЛА - HVALA)

There is a big resemblance between some of Cyrillic letters and some objects beginning with that letter.

Pay attention to the letter Ж. It looks exactly as ЖАБА (a frog).

And У looks very much alike УДИЦА (a hook).

Visualization always helps, so, try to memorize the rest of the letters by connecting them with the suitable objects. For finding good objects for learning, use a help of Serbian teacher.

Serbian teacher online

When you start your search for learning materials and for the suitable Serbian teacher, you will notice that the offer is a little bit limited, unfortunately. Not so many good websites or teachers are offered. At least, looking from the Google's eye.

I can speak for mmyself that I am a Serbian teacher with wide experience. For more than 14 years I have worked with different generations who have learned Serbian online or in schools. I had a chance to help many students to learn Serbian, in Serbian schools and in schools abroad. To be online Serbian teacher is a unique experience.

When somebody sees the Cyrillic for the first time, to him it might look exotic and difficult. But actually it's not. Because it's based on similar graphic solutions as Latin alphabet.

How can Serbian teacher help you in learning Cyrillic?

Learning new alphabet is similar to learning new painting technique. We start from the beginning - by drawing lines and patterns. By time, with a Serbian teacher's assistance, student feels more confident and liberates his hand.

At the end, these are some famous quotations by poets and novelists who wrote in Cyrillic alphabet. And it's up to you to learn ЋИРИЛИЦА so you might be able to fully understand these words of wisdom :)


Good luck!

For everything else you want to know about this topic, or how to learn Serbian online with a help of a Serbian teacher, send me an email to .
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Ako želite da unapredite svoje znanje srpskog jezika, ili znate nekoga ko želi da počne da uči "od nule" naš lepi jezik, pišite mi na navedenu adresu.

Lidija Novaković Lagrini


1 comment:

  1. Your blog helps me a lot. Could you please write a names of things which appear in abeceda, like car, flower...? In serbian, of course. Thank you very much.