Ossetian – BGN/PCGN transliteration system

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Ossetian virtual keyboard

The Ossetian virtual keyboard allows you to enter characters with a click of your mouse. There’s no need to change your keyboard layout anymore. The transliteration of each supported character is displayed on the right side of the character. You can then directly transliterate your text from one script to the other according to the selected transliteration system.

Language overview

Ossetian (ирон ӕвзаг), also known as Ossetic or Ossete, belongs to the Eastern Iranian languages group of the Indo-Iranian languages branch. Official language in the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, in the North Caucasus, alongside Russian, and also in the Republic of South Ossetia–State of Alania, considered by the majority of UN countries as an autonomous region of Georgia, it counts about 600,000 speakers. The Ossetian language is written in a variation of the Cyrillic script since 1937.

Transliteration system: BGN/PCGN

The BGN/BGCN is a virtual committee formed by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN), which is a United States federal body, and the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (PCGN), an independent inter-departmental body for the use of the British government. Both are aimed at establishing and maintaining uniform usage of geographic names, and their standards have been agreed upon by both party as a joint adoption.

The Ossetian language has principally been written in a modified Cyrillic alphabet though a Roman alphabet was used between 1923 and 1938. The BGN/PCGN Romanization System is derived from the correspondences between that Roman alphabet and the Cyrillic alphabet used for Ossetian today, with modifications to suit an English-language user.

Specific rules

  • The characters ё, ж, ш, щ, ъ, ь, э, ю, and я appear only in loan words and their romanizations in the Ossetian System are therefore as they appear in the BGN/PCGN Romanization System for Russian Cyrillic.
  • У has several different functions:
    • In combination with another vowel, either preceding or following, У is a semi-vowel and should be romanized w [e.g. ДзауDzaw (=Java)]
    • У also serves to labialize the consonants Г, Гъ, К, Къ, Х and Хъ and should also be romanized w after each of these [e.g. ГуырдзыGwyrdzy (=Georgia)]
    • elsewhere У should be romanized u [e.g. РеспубликӕRespublikӕ (=Republic)].
  • Ъ should be represented with , except as it occurs in the digraph combinations гъ, къ, пъ, тъ, хъ or чъ representing the glottal consonants.
  • The letter ӕ (Ӕ in uppercase), specific to Ossetian, is often replaced by the Latin characters æ and Æ (respectively represented by the Unicode codes U+00E6 and U+00C6), whereas these characters also exist in Cyrillic: ӕ and Ӕ (respectively represented by the Unicode codes U+04D5 and U+04D4). The latter that are used in this transliteration tool.

Other transliteration systems for Ossetian

The other currently supported transliteration systems for Ossetian are: ALA-LC, Allworth, and ISO 9.


Tales of the Narts: Ancient Myths and Legends of the Ossetians Tales of the Narts: Ancient Myths and Legends of the Ossetians
editors Princeton University Press (2016)
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Ossetian Ossetian
by , editors LINCOM publishers (2010)

L’épopée caucasienne des Nartes : Cycles d’Ossétie L’épopée caucasienne des Nartes : Cycles d’Ossétie
by , editors L’Harmattan (2019)

Contes populaires ossètes Contes populaires ossètes
by , editors L’Harmattan (2010)

Parlons ossète Parlons ossète
by , editors L’Harmattan (2004)

Ossetian links

Other supported languages

The other supported languages are: Abkhaz, Adyghe, Altai, Armenian (eastern, classical), Armenian (western), Azerbaijani (Azeri), Bashkir, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Carrier, Cherokee, Chuvash, Georgian, Greek, Ingush, Inuktitut, Japanese, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Moldovan, Old Church Slavonic, Russian, Serbian, Tamazight, Udmurt, Ukrainian, Vai, and Yakut.