The Croats, however, are Roman Catholics and use the Latin alphabet, while the Serbs belong to the Orthodox Church and use the Cyrillic alphabet, augmented by special signs for the special sounds of the Serb language.
The plain white cross, suspended from the Bulgarian crown, bears the name of the patron saint in old Cyrillic letters in the centre.
The fact that linguistically Serb and Croat had thus become interchangeable terms, only to be distinguished by the respective use of the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets, inevitably reacted upon the political situation, and served as an incentive to the movement for unity.
The special forms of the alphabet - the Cyrillic and the Glagolitic - which have been adopted by certain of the Slavonic peoples are both sprung directly frc m the Greek alphabet of the ninth century A.D., with the considerable additions rendered necessary by the much greater variety of sounds in Slavonic as compared with Greek.
This alphabet, which is much more difficult to read than the bolder Cyrillic founded on the Greek uncial, survived for ordinary purposes in Croatia and in the islands of the Quarnero till the 17th century.
His thorough knowledge of the Servian language led him to reform the Cyrillic alphabet, in which several letters were redundant and certain sounds of the spoken language were unrepresented.
So long as the Rumanians were spiritually united with the other Orthodox nations, and so long as they used the Slavonic or Cyrillic alphabet, they would practically be cut off from the Latin West.
The pronunciation as hospodar of a word written gospodar in all but one of the Slavonic languages which retain the Cyrillic alphabet is not, as is sometimes alleged, due to the influence of Little Russian, but to that of Church Slavonic. In both of these g is frequently pronounced h.
All alike belong to the Serbo-Croatian branch of the Slavonic race; and all speak a language almost identical with Servian, though written by the Roman Catholics in Latin instead of Cyrillic letters.
The Orthodox Serbs, moreover, use a modified form of the Cyrillic alphabet, while the Roman Catholic Croats use Latin characters, except in a few liturgical books which are written in the ancient Glagolitic script.