Russkaja Latinica Specification

Copyright (c) 1995 Alexy Khrabrov and Serge Winitzki
This is the complete specification of Russkaya Latinica. For a less formal description, see Overview and User's Guide.


All Russian letters are represented by one or two Latin characters. (With the exception of "tschcha", which can be represented as either "q", "w", or "shch".)
To each Russian letter in a given context, there corresponds at least one Latin combination, and to each Latin letter or combination there corresponds only one Russian letter. The defined two-letter Latin combinations are always interpreted as one Russian letter.

Latin characters are either "robust" or "malleable". Robust ones always translate to the same Russian characters. Malleable ones are translated to different Russian characters depending on the word context. All two-letter Latin combinations are robust. All Latin letters are robust. Only the following symbols are malleable:
' ` ~ @

More than one combination of Latin letters sometimes correspond to one and the same Russian letter. Therefore, one can use different combinations according to personal preference.


While converting from a native encoding to Latinica, Russian alphabet is transliterated as follows:

  • Uppercase:

    A, B, V, G, D, E, YO, ZH, Z, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U, F, X, C, CH, SH, W, ~, Y, ', E', YU, YA

  • Lowercase:

    a, b, v, g, d, e, yo, zh, z, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, u, f, x, c, ch, sh, w, ~, y, ', e', yu, ya

    When translating to Latinica, there are several alternatives to certain letters in the alphabet above. The letter "tshcha" is rendered by a single letter q or w or the combination sj or shch. Also, there is an option to make w synomymous to v instead of "tshcha", and an option to switch off sj.

    The soft sign is ' or `, and the hard sign is ~. The letter "E oborotnoe" can be aliased by @.

    Malleable symbols

    The malleable symbols @, ', ` and ~ (meaning "e'" and the soft and the hard sign) are lowercase or uppercase depending on the case of surrounding letters, according to these rules: The malleable symbol ` stands for the soft sign with the same uppercase or lowercase variations, unless it is used at the beginning of the word; in this case it is translated as the back quote (i.e. not changed).

    The combinations of ^ and _ with the malleable symbols lead to fixed upper- and lowercase rendering of those symbols.

    Aliased combinations

    The following two-letter combinations are defined to be identical: