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Cyrillic for English - (Сарилик фоьр Иңглиш) is an adapted Cyrillic orthography to write English using ь as schwa, so 'sofa' would be written 'соьфь'. Does ь make sense as a schwa or is ъ better? The way I understand it ъ basically forces a pause. Is there really any use for ь or is there something I'm not understanding about how they are used? Is there a character that would make sense to use at the beginning of a word?

  • Why are there two schwas in your "sofa"? Also, why do you need a schwa in "sofa" at all? Or is this some kind of attempt to apply Cyrillic letters to your own ideolect? – elemtilas Nov 2 at 7:56
  • Using <и> to represent /ɪ/ and <й> for /iː/ is a bit backwards since the breve on <й> is traditionally used to represent short vowels. – Miztli Nov 2 at 16:52
  • @elemtilas The person who created this system on the linked page (not me) assigned 'оь' to the 'oʊ' (oh) sound. I thought maybe ъ would be better for a schwa anyway? 'Sofa' is spelled "soʊfə" in IPA. The 'a' in 'alone' is also a schwa (əloʊn). – jastako Nov 5 at 0:26
  • @jastako K. I spell it [sofʌ], [ʌloʊn]. Pas de ə. – elemtilas Nov 5 at 0:48
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    @elemtilas ʌ is 'uh' like the o in 'wonder', ə is shorter than that. It's the second a in 'alphabet'. The reason a symbol like Ә isn't used is to try to use only letters on the Russian keyboard where possible. As it is ҙ is used for 'ð' & ң for ŋ because there is no equivalent to either in Russian Cyrillic. Ц is used for þ, but 'ts' isn't considered a sound in English anyway. – jastako Nov 5 at 1:16
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If you're going to use one of <ъ> or <ь> to represent /ə/, it's probably better to use <ъ>. This letter is currently used to write /ɤ/ in modern Bulgarian, whereas <ь>, as far as I'm aware, is only used to write actual vowels in dead Slavic languages. Moreover, because <ь> historically represented a short front vowel, it is used in modern languages like Russian to indicate palatalisation, something that does not accompany /ə/, whereas, e.g. in both modern (and more widely in pre-reform) Russian, <ъ> marks not a vowel but the absence of palatalisation.

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I'd use neither ь nor ъ because they aren't vowels in Russian or related languages. I could think of Ы that is a vowel and may be the closest by pronunciation, or of Э that looks a bit like a schwa. In extended Cyrillic we even find a true schwa Ә but this one may be out when we have only a Russian Cyrillic keyboard available.

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    <ъ> is used to write /ɤ/ in modern Bulgarian (some of which are non-etymological). <ь> and <ъ> were also used to write "ultra-short" vowels in some older Slavic languages, e.g. Old Church Slavonic and Old Russian. – Miztli Oct 30 at 10:07
  • @Miztli yeah... – Victor VosMottor Nov 2 at 15:50
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I'd use Ъ. Because:

<ъ> is used to write /ɤ/ in modern Bulgarian (some of which are non-etymological). <ь> and <ъ> were also used to write "ultra-short" vowels in some older Slavic languages, e.g. Old Church Slavonic and Old Russian. – Miztli Oct 30 at 10:07

But Ь is not used for a vowel in all Cyrillic languages.

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