The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet

Everybody who wants to learn Serbian must deal with a new script.

Serbian is written in both, the Latin and Cyrillic alphabet.
In the constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the Cyrillic alphabet has been stated as the standard script since 2006.
But in reality, all Serbs know both alphabets and all sorts of texts are written in either the one or the other script.

But do not fear!
Learning the Cyrillic script is not difficult at all.
For example, there are some letters that are very similar to those in the Latin alphabet.

Letters that are similar or even identical in the Cyrillic and Latin alphabet
Cyrillic script Latin script pronounced as...
А / а A / a [a]
Е / е E / e open [ɛ]
J / ј J / j short, not stressed [i]
К / к K / k [k]
М / м M / m [m]
О / о O / o open [ɔ]
Т / т T / t [t]

You have already learned the first seven letters!

Now you have to pay close attention: In the next table we will show you the Cyrillic letters, which look very similar to letters from the Latin alphabet – but are pronounced completely different.
Please, watch out!
These letters resemble letters from the Latin alphabet – but they are pronounced completely different!
Cyrillic alphabet Latin alphabet pronounced as ...
В / в V / v [w]
Н / н N / n [n]
Р / р R / r [r]
С / с S / s [s]
У / у U / u [u]
Х / х H / h aspirated [x]

You already got to know some Cyrillic letters.
It‘s time to learn the Cyrillic alphabet for the Serbian language in a big overview.

The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet

After you have already learned some letters in Cyrillic, we will now show you the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet in a large overview.

The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet
Capital letter Lower case letter Latin script Pronunciation
А а A / a [a]
Б б B / b [b]
В в V / v [w]
Г г G / g [g]
Д д D / d [d]
Ђ ђ Đ / đ [dʑ]
Е е E / e [ɛ]
Ж ж Ž / ž [ʐ]*
З з Z / z [z]
И и I / i [i]
J ј J / j [i]
К к K / k [k]
Л л L / l [l]
Љ љ Lj / lj [ʎ]
М м M / m [m]
Н н N / n [n]
Њ њ Nj / nj [ɲ]
О о O / o [ɔ]
П п P / p [p]
Р р R / r [r]
С с S / s [s]
Т т T / t [t]
Ћ ћ Ć / ć [tɕ]
У у U / u [u]
Ф ф F / f [f]
Х х H / h [x]
Ц ц C / c [z]
Ч ч Č / č [tʂ]
Џ џ Dž / dž [dʐ]
Ш ш Š / š [ʂ]
* This letter is pronounced similar to the pronunciation of the letter “j” in French.
Examples: jam, jeans, jar / French: Jacques (personal name), journaliste (journalist)

You do not know these letters yet:

In Serbian there are some letters – even in the Latin alphabet – that you as a native English speaker do not know yet.
We will show you these in an extra table here.

Serbian letters you (probably) don‘t know yet
Capital letter Lower case letter Latin script Pronunciation
Ђ ђ Đ / đ [dʑ]
Ж ж Ž / ž [ʒ]
Љ љ Lj / lj [ʎ]
Њ њ Nj / nj [ɲ]
Ћ ћ Ć / ć [tɕ]
Ч ч Č / č [tʂ]
Џ џ Dž / dž [dʐ]
Ш ш Š / š [ʂ]

When you learn Serbian, you have to remember five new letters and their pronunciation. These are:

Ђ (ђ), Ж (ж), Ћ (ћ), Ч (ч) and Ш (ш)

In Serbian there are also combinations of two letters that are counted as one and are also spoken.
However, these are not treated as two separate letters, but are counted as one letter.
These “double letters” are:

Љ (љ), Њ (њ) and Џ (џ)


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