Pronouncing and spelling Eastern European names

Stargazer2006

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For those not familiar with Eastern European languages, deciphering surnames and transcribing them can be a real pain...

I won't go into the complete alphabets here, just the consonant sounds that really pose a problem to Westerners:

Ц (Russian, etc.) = C (Czech, etc.) = C (Polish) = Z (German) = TS (English) = TS (French)
Ш (Russian, etc.) = Š (Czech, etc.) = SZ (Polish) = SCH (German) = SH (English) = CH (French)
Ч (Russian, etc.) = Č (Czech, etc.) = CZ (Polish) = TSCH (German) = CH (English) = TCH (French)
Щ (Russian, etc.) = combination of the above two sounds
Ж (Russian, etc.) = Ž (Czech, etc.) = Ź (Polish) = ZH (English) = J (French)
В (Russian, etc.) = W (Czech, etc.) = W (Polish) = W (German) = V (English) = V (French)
Ř (Czech, etc.) = no equivalent? (sound between R and Ž)
J (Czech, etc.) = J (Polish) = J (German) = Y (English) = Y (French) *

* NOTE: There is no Russian equivalent of this letter, only in "double" sounds:
Я = JA = YA
Е = JE = YE
Ю = JU = YOU

Many Western journalists have misinterpreted Eastern names and some mistakes have stuck. Also, it's difficult for a company to change its logos and impossible to adapt its name to each different country. That's why lots of people pronounce Škoda as "Skoda" (instead of Shkoda) or "Mielec" as "Mieleck" (instead of Mielets). In general, one can say that the tendency is to avoid modifying the spelling for names written with the same signs as ours (at the risk of completely ruining the original pronunciation).

Examples:

- the Serbo-croat Rogožarski becomes "Rogozharski" in English and "Rogojarski" in French.
- the Serbo-croat Žučenko becomes "Zhuchenko" in English and "Joutchenko" in French.
- the Russian Лавочкин becomes "Lavochkin" in English and "Lavotchkine" in French.
- the Russian Мясищев becomes "Myasishchev" in English and "Myasichtchev" in French (though these ought to end with "-eff", logically).
 

Petrus

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As for 'Лавочкин ' it should rather be pronounced as 'Wavochkin' (in English) not 'Lavochkin', for the Russian consonant Л may be spelled in two ways: as 'L' ('Leningrad') or as 'W' in certain collocations (if I am not mistaken when it stands before 'a'). For French readers the name's pronunciation should start like in 'Ouagadougou' -> 'Ouavotchkine'.

In Polish there is a consonant 'Ł' that is pronounced in a very similar way (not neccesarily identical however), so we transliterate the name of 'Лавочкин ' as Ławoczkin not 'Lawoczkin'.

Best regards,
Piotr
 

Maveric

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Examples:

- the Serbo-croat Rogožarski becomes "Rogozharski" in English and "Rogojarski" in French.
- the Serbo-croat Žučenko becomes "Zhuchenko" in English and "Joutchenko" in French.
- the Russian Лавочкин becomes "Lavochkin" in English and "Lavotchkine" in French.
- the Russian Мясищев becomes "Myasishchev" in English and "Myasichtchev" in French (though these ought to end with "-eff", logically).


Hi all, these examples in german:
- Rogožarski becomes Rogozarski
- Žučenko becomes Zuchenko
- Лавочкин becomes Lawotschkin
- Мясищев becomes Mjassischtschew


Maveric
 

redstar72

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Hi all!
Petrus said:
As for 'Лавочкин ' it should rather be pronounced as 'Wavochkin' (in English) not 'Lavochkin', for the Russian consonant Л may be spelled in two ways: as 'L' ('Leningrad') or as 'W' in certain collocations (if I am not mistaken when it stands before 'a'). For French readers the name's pronunciation should start like in 'Ouagadougou' -> 'Ouavotchkine'.
I'm sorry but you are mistaken - the letter "Л" in Russian sounds as "L" in all cases. So "Лавочкин" in English would be only "Lavochkin" and nowise other.
 

Petrus

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redstar72 said:
I'm sorry but you are mistaken - the letter "Л" in Russian sounds as "L" in all cases. So "Лавочкин" in English would be only "Lavochkin" and nowise other.
You don't need to be sorry.

At http://masterrussian.com/aa081201b.shtml#l there are instructions how to pronounce "Л", whose authors definitely state that the letter designates two (slightly) different sounds:

The sound /л/ is pronounced like l in lump, but you should lower the back of your tongue and touch the upper teeth with its tip. In order to get the "soft" counterpart /л'/ you should palatalise the sound as in leak. In writing, these sounds are designated by the letter Л.
They give examples of both variations of pronounciation:
hard /л/: лампа, cтол, лук (pronounced resp. like lahm-pah, stol, look),
soft /л'/: Лена, лист (lye-nah, leest).

The aircraft designer's name should then be pronounced with the hard
/л/, which is closer (but of course not identical) to how "W" is pronounced in English.

Best regards,
Piotr
 

redstar72

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Dear Petrus, while I am Belarusian myself but Russian is my native language. I speak it all my life and hear everyday lots of other people who also speak Russian ;) . Of course we have hard /л/ and soft /л'/ but any of these versions had nothing similar with "W", believe me! It's absolutely correctly noted in your quote - the soft /л'/ sounds like in English word "leak" (leak, not weak!). Also, л (as well as other consonants) is soft when it stands before "soft" vowels: е, ё, и, ю, я. So, in the surname "Лавочкин" we have hard /л/.
 

bigvlada

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As stargazer said, in Serbocroatian, Č/Ч (the second one is in cyrilic) is best pronounced as CH (like in word couch or church) and Ž/Ж as ZH (for example, first letter of the newspaper Zhenmin zibao, or the Lithuanian basketball club Zhalgiris )
other letters that are different from latin alphabet are:
Ć/Ћ is similar to C in word italian word ciao (their C is something between Č and Ć),zou pronounce it as soft as possible; it's a common ending to a surname in former Yugoslavia.
Đ/Ђ (you also may find it as Dj) is spelled like J in word juice
Dž/Џ - the rarest one, is spelled like J in Johnatan or jumbo.
 

overscan

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redstar72 said:
Dear Petrus, while I am Belarusian myself but Russian is my native language. I speak it all my life and hear everyday lots of other people who also speak Russian ;) . Of course we have hard /л/ and soft /л'/ but any of these versions had nothing similar with "W", believe me! It's absolutely correctly noted in your quote - the soft /л'/ sounds like in English word "leak" (leak, not weak!). Also, л (as well as other consonants) is soft when it stands before "soft" vowels: е, ё, и, ю, я. So, in the surname "Лавочкин" we have hard /л/.

As a native English speaker, I can't see any difference in pronouncing in the L in Lump and the L in Leak. The sounds are identical IMHO and a billion miles from W.
 

piko1

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first of all stargazer i see the ( Russian etc. ) as offence to my Country and my Language and my self
Cyrillic ( aka Bulgarian ) alphabet was developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School and it is the third official script and language
of the European Union so yes it is a bit offensive don't you think

Щ is not ч and ш first of all but Ш and T so it's Pronounced similar as in the German word Stück
there is one letter that you didn't cover and that's the Ь or the Er-small In modern literary Bulgarian language this letter is used in the middle of words designating only to soft consonant vowel o (миньор, пласьор, актьор, Петьо). There are cases that may follow another vowel
so when you read the name Петьо you pronounce it and read as Petio

pleas ask if you have questions

ps here is something that will lave you speech less for some moment or two
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jovBWpt7l8
 

redstar72

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piko1 said:
Щ is not ч and ш first of all but Ш and T so it's Pronounced similar as in the German word Stück
Well, of course you are right: in Bulgarian "Щ" is "Ш" and "Т". But in Russian "Щ" is "Ш" and "Ч", acually.
 

piko1

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redstar72 said:
Well, of course you are right: in Bulgarian "Щ" is "Ш" and "Т". But in Russian "Щ" is "Ш" and "Ч", acually.
no man Щ is Ш and T in the both Languages
 

redstar72

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piko1 said:
no man Щ is Ш and T in the both Languages
Dear colleague,
please don't take me for an idiot who doesn't know his own native language! The sounds /шт/ in Russian are represented by proper two letters ШТ, as in the word штука which is equal to German Stück, or in the word штаны (trousers). Also, ЧТ can be sometimes pronounced as /шт/ as in the pronoun что ("what"). The letter Щ can be pronounced as /шч'/ or /ш'ш'/, both forms are permissible. Even Bulgarian Wiki proves this!

Щ, щ е буква от кирилицата, представяща комбинацията от звуци [ʃt] в българския език, [ɕɕ] или [ɕtɕ] в руския и [ʃt͡ʃ] в украинския. Буквата представлява лигатура между Ш и Т, наподобяваща глаголическата буква Ⱋ.
http://bg.wikipedia.org/wiki/Щ

See also http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Щ.
 

piko1

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Dear colleague,
sorry if i offended you in any way as we all know the Russian and the German are the most sophisticated languages
in the end i agree to disagree we are both right and wrong in the same time





PS. now is time for bottle of Vodka it is my Bday after all
 

Jemiba

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piko1 said:
PS. now is time for bottle of Vodka it is my Bday after all
Congratulations then and all the best to you !

Actually I'm glad, that you seem to have ended your discussion, which seemed somewhat to get
more serious. I don't know the Russian language at all, but I think, that similar discussions could
arise about the pronounciation of certain letters or syllables in the German language, too. It's just
a question, of which part of Germany the native speaker comes from. There's a unified spelling, but
about a unified pronounciation, I'm not sure, at least not for the German language.
 

Stargazer2006

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Jemiba said:
There's a unified spelling, but
about a unified pronounciation, I'm not sure, at least not for the German language.
There IS a unified pronunciation, and German is very logical and simple from a phonetic point of view, BUT depending on the regions there will be variations.

For instance the final "-g" will be pronounced differently in Bayern: the word "zwanzig" (twenty) is pronounced "tsvantsik" while the rest of the country says "tsvantsish" (not an actual "sh" but I don't know how to transcribe it). Also the Bayern people tend to roll the letter "r". I'm sure there must be similar local variants in other parts of the country, too.
 

Jemiba

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German is a pluricentric language, so there actually isn't a common pronounciation. Generally there's a kind of countrywide
accepted "correct pronounciation", but looking into history, this changed several times, often depending on the most
influential parts of the country. Today the variant which is spoken in or around Hannover is often regarded as the "purest" form.
I'm from Berlin and at school we were told, that our accent actually not even is an accent, but just a kind of "bad pronounciation" ! ::)
We often pronounce the final "g" as Stéphane told us (" ..sh" instead of "k"") ...
Had a look into the list in http://www-oedt.kfunigraz.ac.at/oedtradio/content/05-mat/3plzglobal.htm for other pluricentric languages:
Arab, Chinese, Portugese, Korean and lots of others and, well, amongst them, besides German, English, French and Russian !
 

Antonio

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The same for Spanish. Specially different in the South from the ideal/academic Castellano.
 

Stargazer2006

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As pometablava points out, there is an "ideal" academic Spanish in Castilla.

In the same way, there is an "ideal" academic English in Oxford (though few people actually speak it).

Likewise, there is an "ideal", academic French, and it is supposed to be the one from the Tours area.

What German, what Russian, what Polish, etc. areas are considered to have the "ideal" pronunciation?
 

Stargazer2006

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Just a friendly reminder to all forum members wishing to decipher titles and captions written in the Russian language (please note that sounds are almost never exact equivalents but the closest possible in the English language):
 

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foiling

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Thank you all for your contributions & clarifications. As a keen enthusiast of Russian aircraft, who cannot speak a word of Russian, but can now identify certain key words useful in interpreting data, this has been extremely helpful, and much appreciated.
 

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Skyblazer said:
For those not familiar with Eastern European languages, deciphering surnames and transcribing them can be a real pain...

Ж (Russian, etc.) = Ž (Czech, etc.) = Ź (Polish) = ZH (English) = J (French)
It's nuance of course, but Russian letter Ж we in Poland write with letter Ż, not Ź, and the pronounciation of it sounds a little bit like French j
in words " jalousie " or " je t’aime ". The phone Ź sounds quite differently.

Skyblazer said:
That's why lots of people pronounce Škoda as "Skoda" (instead of Shkoda) ...
Polish people know it very well, but we have to pronounce the name " Škoda " as " Skoda ", because the properly pronounced word " Szkoda "
means in Polish " harm ", " damage ", " detriment ", " injury ", " hurt " and so on, so the associations are not good.

Besides Polish people when learnig Russian language are teached to pronounce the phone Л like Polish Ł, that's why every Polish
would instinctively write the name of Лавочкин as Whahvochkin in English.
 

Stargazer2006

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Boogey said:
Skyblazer said:
For those not familiar with Eastern European languages, deciphering surnames and transcribing them can be a real pain...

Ж (Russian, etc.) = Ž (Czech, etc.) = Ź (Polish) = ZH (English) = J (French)
It's nuance of course, but Russian letter Ж we in Poland write with letter Ż, not Ź, and the pronounciation of it sounds a little bit like French j
in words " jalousie " or " je t’aime ". The phone Ź sounds quite differently.

Skyblazer said:
That's why lots of people pronounce Škoda as "Skoda" (instead of Shkoda) ...
Polish people know it very well, but we have to pronounce the name " Škoda " as " Skoda ", because the properly pronounced word " Szkoda "
means in Polish " harm ", " damage ", " detriment ", " injury ", " hurt " and so on, so the associations are not good.

Besides Polish people when learnig Russian language are teached to pronounce the phone Л like Polish Ł, that's why every Polish
would instinctively write the name of Лавочкин as Whahvochkin in English.
Very interesting stuff, Boogey. Nice to see you around, and thanks for this valuable info (I had always wondered how the heck Ł ought to be pronounced, now I know! ;D)
 
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