The Romanian alphabet is a variant of the Latin alphabet used by the Romanian language. It is a variation of a classical Latin script.
It consists of 31 letters. 5 of these letters (Ă, Â, Î, Ș, and Ț) have been modified from their Latin originals for the phonetic requirements of the language.
The letters Q, W and Y are used in Romanian, but they only appear in foreign or borrowed words, such as quasar, watt, and yacht. Although they have been used before, they have been formally introduced into the Romanian language only in 1982. The letter K is also rarely used and appears only in proper names and international neologisms such as kilogram, broker, karate. These four letters are still perceived as foreign in Romanian.
Romanian spelling is mostly phonemic and there are no silent letters.
Among the special letters, the letters î and â are phonetically and functionally identical. The reason for using both of them is historical.
As for the other two special letters, Ș and Ț, there are sometimes arguments over their spelling. The Romanian Academy Standard mandates the comma-below variants: ș and ț. However, the cedilla (ş and ţ) variants are still widely used.
Many printed and online texts still incorrectly use “s with cedilla” and “t with cedilla”. This state of affairs is due to an initial lack of standardization, compounded by the lack of computer font support for the comma-below variants.
Before the spelling reform of 1904, there were several additional letters with diacritical marks which are not in use nowadays, for instance, ŭ or d̦.
In 16th – 19th centuries, the Cyrillic alphabet was used for the Romanian language. Its replacement by the Latin alphabet began in the 1830s. Occasional use of Cyrillic continued up until the 1920s.