Vithkuqi alphabet

The letters of the Vithkuqi alphabet matched to their modern Albanian equivalents.

Vithkuqi script, also called Büthakukye or Beitha Kukju after the appellation applied to it by German Albanologist Johann Georg von Hahn, was an alphabet invented for writing the Albanian language between 1825 and 1845 by Albanian scholar Naum Veqilharxhi. Though the script is sometimes erroneuosly claimed to be named after its inventor, as in Carl Faulmann's Das Buch der Schrift, the alphabet's name is derived from Vithkuq, a village in the Korçë region where Veqilharxhi was born. Vithkuqi script was specifically designed to be as religiously neutral as possible, avoiding the duplication of Greek, Latin, or Arabic characters. It had a near-perfect correspondence between letters and phonemes, but lacked characters for modern Albanian "gj", "rr", "xh", and "zh". The script never took hold because of its inventor's premature death and because of the prohibitive costs of cutting new type for the invented characters; nevertheless, a number of documents utilizing the script were published in the late 19th century. The script was eventually overwhelmed by the Greek, Arabic and Latin scripts it had been designed to supplant, the latter becoming the official one in 1909.

Other original scripts used for Albanian were the Elbasan script and the Todhri script of the 18th century. These scripts similarly failed to see prolonged widespread usage.


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