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The grapheme Ž is formed from Latin Z
Z
Z is the twenty-sixth and final letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.-Name and pronunciation:In most dialects of English, the letter's name is zed , reflecting its derivation from the Greek zeta but in American English, its name is zee , deriving from a late 17th century English dialectal...

 with the addition of caron
Caron
A caron or háček , also known as a wedge, inverted circumflex, inverted hat, is a diacritic placed over certain letters to indicate present or historical palatalization, iotation, or postalveolar pronunciation in the orthography of some Baltic, Slavic, Finno-Lappic, and other languages.It looks...

 . It is used in various contexts, usually denoting the voiced postalveolar fricative
Voiced postalveolar fricative
The voiced palato-alveolar fricative or voiced domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Z. An alternative symbol used in some...

, a sound similar to English g in mirage, or Portuguese and French j. In the International Phonetic Alphabet
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

 this sound is denoted with [ʒ], but the lowercase ž is used in the Americanist phonetic notation
Americanist phonetic notation
Americanist phonetic notation is a system of phonetic notation originally developed by European and American anthropologists and language scientists for the phonetic and phonemic transcription of Native American and European languages...

, as well as in the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet
Uralic Phonetic Alphabet
The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet or Finno-Ugric transcription system is a phonetic transcription or notational system used predominantly for the transcription and reconstruction of Uralic languages...

. In addition, ž is used as the romanisation of Cyrillic ж in ISO 9
ISO 9
The international standard ISO 9 establishes a system for the transliteration into Latin characters of Cyrillic characters constituting the alphabets of many Slavic and some non-Slavic languages....

 and scientific transliteration
Scientific transliteration
Scientific transliteration, variously called academic, linguistic, or scholarly transliteration, is an international system for transliteration of text from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet...

.

For use in computer systems, Ž and ž are at Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 codepoints U+017D and U+017E, respectively. On Windows computers, it can be typed with Alt+0142 and Alt+0158, respectively.

Apart from Estonian and Turkmen, Ž is the final letter of most alphabets that contain it.

Origin


The symbol originates with the 15th century Czech alphabet
Czech alphabet
The Czech alphabet is a version of the Latin script, used when writing Czech. Its basic principles are "one sound, one letter" and the addition of diacritical marks above letters to represent sounds alien to Latin...

 as introduced by the reforms of Jan Hus
Jan Hus
Jan Hus , often referred to in English as John Hus or John Huss, was a Czech priest, philosopher, reformer, and master at Charles University in Prague...

. It was also used for the closely related Slovak language
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

. From Czech, it was adopted into the Croatian alphabet
Croatian alphabet
Gaj's Latin alphabet is a variant of the Latin script used for Croatian language. It was devised by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj in 1835, based on Jan Hus's Czech alphabet....

 by Ljudevit Gaj
Ljudevit Gaj
Ljudevit Gaj was a Croatian linguist, politician, journalist and writer. He was one of the central figures of the Croatian national reformation, also known as the Illyrian Movement.-Origin:...

 in 1830, and then into the Slovak
Slovak alphabet
The Slovak alphabet uses a modification of the Latin alphabet. The modifications include the four diacriticals placed above certain letters. Therefore the Slovak alphabet has 46 graphemes.- Vowels :- Consonants :Notes...

, Slovenian
Slovenian alphabet
The Slovene alphabet is an extension of the Latin script and is used in the Slovene. The standard language uses a Latin alphabet which is a slight modification of Gaj's Latin alphabet, consisting of 25 lower- and upper-case letters:...

 and Bosnian
Bosnian language
Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

 alphabets. In addition, it features in the orthographies of the Baltic
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

, some Uralic
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

 and other languages.

Slavic languages


It is the 42nd letter of the Czech
Czech alphabet
The Czech alphabet is a version of the Latin script, used when writing Czech. Its basic principles are "one sound, one letter" and the addition of diacritical marks above letters to represent sounds alien to Latin...

, the 46th letter of Slovak
Slovak alphabet
The Slovak alphabet uses a modification of the Latin alphabet. The modifications include the four diacriticals placed above certain letters. Therefore the Slovak alphabet has 46 graphemes.- Vowels :- Consonants :Notes...

, the 25th letter of the Slovenian alphabet
Slovenian alphabet
The Slovene alphabet is an extension of the Latin script and is used in the Slovene. The standard language uses a Latin alphabet which is a slight modification of Gaj's Latin alphabet, consisting of 25 lower- and upper-case letters:...

, the 30th letter of the Croatian
Croatian alphabet
Gaj's Latin alphabet is a variant of the Latin script used for Croatian language. It was devised by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj in 1835, based on Jan Hus's Czech alphabet....

 and Bosnian scripts. It is also used in both Sorbian languages
Sorbian languages
The Sorbian languages are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code...

 and Belarusian latin alphabet
Belarusian Latin alphabet
The Belarusian Latin alphabet or Łacinka is the common name of the several historical alphabets to render the Belarusian text in Latin script.-Use:...

.

In addition, the character is typically used as a transliteration
Transliteration
Transliteration is a subset of the science of hermeneutics. It is a form of translation, and is the practice of converting a text from one script into another...

 of Cyrillic Ж
Zhe (Cyrillic)
Zhe is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiced postalveolar fricative , like the pronunciation of ⟨s⟩ in "treasure".Zhe is romanized as ⟨zh⟩ or ⟨ž⟩.-History:...

 in Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

 (8th position), Macedonian
Romanisation of Macedonian
The Romanization of Macedonian is the transliteration of text in the Macedonian language from the Macedonian Cyrillic alphabet into the Latin alphabet. Romanization can be used for various purposes, such as rendering of proper names in foreign contexts, or for informal writing of Macedonian in...

 (in 8th position), occasionally in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

, and Belarusian
Belarusian language
The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

 and even less frequently in Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

.

For most languages it represents voiced postalveolar fricative
Voiced postalveolar fricative
The voiced palato-alveolar fricative or voiced domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Z. An alternative symbol used in some...

 /ʒ/ except in Russian transliterations of Ж
Zhe (Cyrillic)
Zhe is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiced postalveolar fricative , like the pronunciation of ⟨s⟩ in "treasure".Zhe is romanized as ⟨zh⟩ or ⟨ž⟩.-History:...

 where it represents voiced retroflex fricative /ʐ/.

Baltic languages


It is the 32nd letter of the Lithuanian
Lithuanian alphabet
Lithuanian employs a modified Roman script. It is composed of 32 letters. The collation order presents one surprise: "Y" is moved to occur between I Ogonek and J....

 and 33rd letter of the Latvian
Latvian alphabet
The Latvian alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet and consists of 33 letters. 22 of them are from the Latin alphabet; the remaining 11 are obtained from Latin letters by using diacritic marks...

 alphabets.

Uralic languages


It is the 19th letter of the Estonian alphabet
Estonian alphabet
The Estonian alphabet is used for writing the Estonian language and is based on the Latin alphabet, with German influence. As such, the Estonian alphabet has the letters Ä, Ö, and Ü , which represent the vowel sounds , and , respectively...

, where it is used in loan words, and the 29th letter of the Northern Sami
Northern Sami
Northern or North Sami is the most widely spoken of all Sami languages. The speaking area of Northern Sami covers the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland...

 alphabet. It also features occasionally in Finnish
Finnish alphabet
The Finnish alphabet is based on the Latin script, and especially the Swedish alphabet. Officially it comprises 28 letters:A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, X, Y, Z, Å, Ä, Ö...

 but is not part of the regular alphabet and only regarded as a variant of Z
Z
Z is the twenty-sixth and final letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.-Name and pronunciation:In most dialects of English, the letter's name is zed , reflecting its derivation from the Greek zeta but in American English, its name is zee , deriving from a late 17th century English dialectal...

.

In Finnish, the letter ž is only used in loan words, džonkki and maharadža, and in Romanization
Romanization
In linguistics, romanization or latinization is the representation of a written word or spoken speech with the Roman script, or a system for doing so, where the original word or language uses a different writing system . Methods of romanization include transliteration, for representing written...

 of Russian
Russian alphabet
The Russian alphabet is a form of the Cyrillic script, developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 and other non-Latin alphabets. In Finnish and Estonian, it is possible to replace ž with zh but only when it is technically impossible to typeset the accented character.

Other languages

  • It is the 13th letter of the Turkmen
    Turkmen alphabet
    The current official Turkmen alphabet as used in Turkmenistan is a Latin alphabet based on the Turkish alphabet, but with notable differences: J is used instead of the Turkish C; Ž is used instead of the Turkish J; Y is used instead of the dotless i ; Ý is used instead of the Turkish consonantal Y;...

     and Laz
    Laz language
    The Laz language is a South Caucasian language spoken by the Laz people on the Southeast shore of the Black Sea...

     alphabets. In Turkmen it is pronounced ʒ.

  • It is the 27th and last letter of the Songhay alphabet.

  • It is also used in the standard orthography of the Lakota language.