All Slavic languages: Transliteration of "x" from Cyrillic

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Ben Jamin, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    MOD NOTE: Moved from THIS thread.

    Certainly not, as Slovak ‘snaha’ is a variant of ‘snaga’ (In Ukrainian, Slovak and Czech the older “g” was transformed into “h”), while the “h” used in Croatian is actually etymologically the same as Old Slavonic “х” as in Bulgarian “снаха”. Transliterating ‘снаха’ as ‘snaha’ is actually misleading, it should be “snakha”. The origibal Slavic “х” on one hand and “g” and “h” formed from “g” are different phonems.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2012
  2. Azori

    Azori Senior Member

    I didn't want to imply that those two words have to be cognates, it's just that the Slovak "h" (a voiced glottal fricative) often corresponds to "g" of other Slavic languages (the Bulgarian "х", a voiceless velar fricative, is in Slovak actually represented by the digraph "ch").
  3. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    That’s why I advocate to transliterate Cyrillic ‘x’ with a ‘kh’ and not ‘h’, which is confusing. (The Slovene and Croatian use of the letter ‘h’ to denote the same voiceless velar fricative, which is also confusing, but we can’t do anything about it). Polish, Czech and Slovak use the spelling “ch” for the same sound.
  4. Kartof Senior Member

    Bulgarian & English
    Both 'kh' and 'h' are accepted transliterations and 'h' is the official transliteration. 'Kh' seems to imply that the sound is a breathy 'k' which it isn't.

    I never снаха it was a cognate to snaha, just a false friend as the thread name implies.
  5. francisgranada Senior Member

    I think there is no problem with the acceptance of various transliterations, finally it's a question of an agreement. The "problem" is, that when speaking about more (all) Slavic languages at the same time, it would be practical to have a common system. In case of the sound "x" in снаха, I'd prefer the transliteration "ch", as this doesn't imply an aspirated "k" and at the same time it differs from the sound "h" existing in the Czech, Slovak and Ukranian (but also in some Russian dialects).
  6. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    The transliteration ‘kh’ of the voiceless velar fricative has been widely accepted in English (In German it would be ‘ch’), and it allows to differentiate between ‘kh’ an ‘h’ sounds. Using ‘h’ for this purpose is a recent simplification, probably helped by the spreading of BCS latin alphabet spelling, but it is confusing, and can suggest false etymological conclusions. To avoid confusion it would be best to use IPA symbols.
  7. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    X in Russian is usually transliterated as kh. Mikhail. for example.
  8. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    As far as BCS is concerned, our -h- may still be described as a voiceless velar fricative in grammar books, and it may still be so in some dialects, and it may have been so in the East Herzegovina dialect at the time of standardization (although as far as I know /x/ had been lost in most of EH), but, at least as far as modern Bosnian is concerned, in most varieties of spoken language that I know, including radio/tv pronunciation, -h- most certainly is not the same throaty sound as the Arabic خ. I'm not sure what it is, but I don't see a difference between our -h- and English -h-.

    Other native speakers please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Alternatively, go to YouTube and find the song "Mirza, hvala ti" and tell me what sound it is (hvala is pronounced about a gazillion times in that song, you can't miss it). Also, for spoken Serbian, try "Rani Mraz - Racunajte na nas!" (words svih, stih, njih; there are subtitles there to help you).
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  9. Azori

    Azori Senior Member

    Well, to me the "h" in those videos sounds very much like the Slovak "ch" (voiceless velar fricative). I can't tell if it's exactly the same sound, but at least it doesn't sound like our "h", well, not even close. What do others think?
  10. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    I am not an expert, of course, but I fail to see then how Slovak ch on one hand and Arabic خ on the other are the same sound, as that Wikipedia artticle on voiceless velar fricative seems to claim. The Arabic sound is quite clearly perceived as distinct by Bosnian speakers, not just me, to the point where some actually make fun of that sound and/or describe it as speaking with a cut throat.

    According to this article about the Bosnian version of the Arabic script, we used ح rather than خ to represent our -h-. It can of course be only an orthographic convention as we didn't need to distinguish between different h-like sounds in Bosnian. There is a collection of Bosnian texts in Arabic script here, and while I don't have the time to go through all of them, taking this one for example reveals the following for non-Oriental words:

    ح : hoćete, Hrvate, hoćeš, hiljada, hoće, uhodi, dohodi, nahodi, hodismo, grehota, haljine
    ه : Mihat (personal name?), duhat (?), opuhat
    خ :

    Perhaps we should move this to a separate thread?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  11. Azori

    Azori Senior Member

    The sound file on that Wiki page, however, represents the Slovak "ch" fairly well, in my opinion. In Slovak "h" and "ch" are in any case pronounced quite differently. Anyway, here are a few Slovak words pronounced: hodina (hour), uhol (angle), snaha (effort), chata (cottage), duch (spirit), priechod (passage).

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