Gagauz alphabet

The modern Gagauz alphabet is a 31-letter Latin-based alphabet modelled on the Turkish alphabet. Previously, during Soviet rule, Gagauz's official script was Cyrillic.

Gagauz was first written in Greek letters in the late 19th century.[1][2]

The current 31-letter Gagauz alphabet, used for the Gagauz language, is a Latin-based alphabet modelled after the Turkish and Azerbaijani.


It appears that the first alphabet to be used for the language was the Greek alphabet[1] in the late 19th century. For example, orientalist Otto Blau claims that plays of Euripides had been translated into the Gagauz language and had been written with Greek letters.[2]

Beginning in 1957, Cyrillic was used until 1993. On 13 May 1993, the parliament of the Republic of Moldova passed a decision providing for the official adoption of the Latin-based alphabet for the Gagauz language.[3] This was subsequently amended in 1996.[4] The official Gagauz alphabet adopted is modelled after the modern Turkish alphabet, with the addition of three letters: ⟨ä⟩ to represent the sound of [æ] (as ⟨ə⟩ in Azeri), ⟨ê⟩ to represent the [ə] (schwa) sound, which does not exist in Turkish, and ⟨ț⟩ or ⟨ţ⟩ to represent the sound [ts] as in Romanian. On the other hand, unlike Crimean Tatar, Turkish, and some other Turkic languages, Gagauz does not have the letter ⟨ğ⟩, which had become completely silent in the Gagauz language. Note that cedillas should be used instead of commas for Ç, Ş, and Ţ for consistency, since C with comma does not exist in Romanian and Turkish uses cedillas for Ç and Ş, although Ț is often seen.

Latin alphabetEdit

In their standard order, the letters of the Gagauz alphabet are:

A, Ä, B, C, Ç, D, E, Ê, F, G, H, I, İ, J, K, L, M, N, O, Ö, P, R, S, Ş, T, Ţ, U, Ü, V, Y, Z.

Note that dotted and dotless I are separate letters, each with its own uppercase and lowercase form. I is the capital form of ı, and İ is the capital form of i. The Gagauz alphabet has no q, w or x. Instead, those characters are transliterated into Gagauz as k, v and ks, respectively.

A a Ä ä B b C c Ç ç D d E e Ê ê
[ɑ] [æ~ɛ] [b] [dʒ] [tʃ] [d] [e] [ə]
F f G g H h I ı İ i J j K k L l
[f] [g, ɟ] [x, h~ħ] [ɯ~ɨ] [i] [ʒ] [k, c] [l, ʎ]
M m N n O o Ö ö P p R r S s Ş ş
[m] [n, ɲ] [o] [ø] [p] [r] [s] [ʃ]
T t Ţ ţ U u Ü ü V v Y y Z z
[t] [ts] [u] [y] [w, vʲ] [j] [z]

Cyrillic alphabet (historical)Edit

А а Ӓ ӓ Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё
Ж ж Ӂ ӂ З з И и Й й К к Л л М м
Н н О о Ӧ ӧ П п Р р С с Т т У у
Ӱ ӱ Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ
Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я


  1. ^ a b M. Ciachir. Basarabialâ gagauzlarân istoriassi / Chișinău: 1933, p. 133
  2. ^ a b Măcriș, Anatol. Găgăuzii / Bucharest: Editura PACO, 2008, p. 71.
  3. ^ Parliament Decision No. 1421 of 13 May 1993 "for the passage of the writing of the Gagauz language in the Latin spelling", retrieved 2019-11-03 – via
  4. ^ Parliament Decision No. 816 of 24 April 1996 "on amending and supplementing the Parliament's Decision on the transfer of the Gagauzian writing to the Latin spelling", retrieved 2019-11-03 – via