This File Last Updated: 2000/09/23


Cyrillic Fonts

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On computers and over the Internet (through e-mail, for example), there are as many as six ways to represent Belarusian, not counting in translation:

Note: To test if your computer is displaying these various systems correctly, go to the following test page: http://www.ccss.de/slovo/test.htm.

  1. Native fonts on a particular computer system -- (only can be viewed by others using same type of computer if the fonts are installed; not a good option for the Internet)

  2. KOI-8 Cyrillic -- (no standard Belarusian character set; standards are for Russian and Ukrainian only; developed for e-mail)

  3. Accented Latin characters -- (for Belarusian, Lacinka, and can be displayed with either native fonts or Unicode (UTF-8) font encoding.)

  4. Transliterated -- (uses the basic English (lower ASCII) character set to approximate the Belarusian language, though not everyone uses the identical symbols; popular in e-mail and some online chats)

  5. Phonetic -- (uses Phonetic is not recommended, by the way, since there is no "standard."

  6. "Unicode" is making some inroads on newer computer systems but is not broadly available as yet. See Unicode (UTF-8) font encoding for further information.

In KOI-8, used primarily on the Internet for e-mail, not all Belarusian characters are consistently defined. That is, the Belarusian-specific characters are not in the same location in all KOI-8 fonts, nor do they even exist in all of them. Efforts have begun to define a KOI-8 Belarusian standard. Winkey, by Gavin Helf, has one such standard, though only available for the Windows platform, minimizing its acceptance and usefulness.

As far as I have been able to determine, the KOI-8 Cyrillic encoding (RFC 1489) defines only the Cyrillic characters used for Russian, not for Belarusian nor Ukrainian. For example, at least two Belarusian characters ("y neskladovae," both in lower and upper case, and "i") are missing from the definition of this font encoding: Many of the available fonts include these characters, but not always with the same encoding (that is, key mapping--or position in the chart).


Where to Find Fonts on the 'Net

The following Web sites have Cyrillic font encodings, including KOI-8, as well as the instructions to install them.

Note: For Unicode Font Encoding, see the following page at this, A Belarus Miscellany, Web site: Unicode Font Encoding & the Belarusian Language.




Go to the A Belarus Miscellany Topic List

| News Articles about the Belarusian Language | News Articles about the Belarusian Language Society (BLS) | The Belarusian Language Society (BLS) | Bookstores in Belarus | Books about Belarus or by Belarusians | Belarusian Writers | The Belarusian Language on Trial | Belarusian Government Pronouncements About the Belarusian Language |

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Original content and overall form ®1996-2004 by Peter Kasaty : All Rights Reserved. Last Updated:  2000/09/23
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