Spelling of names

LinguaFan

Senior Member
Russia
Hello,

to spell the following Russian family names, will the English use one or two initial letters?

Егоров - Egorov or Yegorov?
Хрупов - Hrupov or Khrupov?

Could you possibly explain why?

Thank you.
 
  • Crescent

    Senior Member
    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Hey - I'm sorry, I can't read your cyrillic letters here, but I do understand what you're askign about.
    You're confused why the English spelling uses 'Ye' for one russian letter 'E'.
    I would say it would spell it 'Ye' and not just 'E', because if you saw 'Egorov' written like that, you would pronounce it 'Eee - go-rov' wouldn't you?
    But in Russian, the letter 'E' is the phonetic equivalent of 'Ye' like in 'Yes!' :) (if that helps..).
    Yes, the name looks different, but the alphabet is totally different too - so all names when translated from Russian to English are spelled phoenetically.
    In the second case - Khrupov.. Okay, that's a silly rule and I have never understood why English people write our 'X' like a 'Kh'. But that is the correct way to do it. Like my home town is called 'Харьков' but in English it's spelled 'Khrakov'.
    I have no idea what's wrong with 'Harkov' but, oh well! :)
    I'm not very good at explaining things, but hope this helps a little bit.
     

    LinguaFan

    Senior Member
    Russia
    Yes, thank you, Crescent, you did help a lot!! And you did understand everything right, even though I still can't understand how to make my Ciryllic readable!! :))

    Could you check these first names for me, please?
    Elvira
    Yevgenia
    Elena
    Constantin
    Tatyana
    Angelina
    Yana

    Thank you so much!!
     

    Crescent

    Senior Member
    Russian, (Ukraine)
    You're very very welcome! I'm very glad I could make myself useful.
    Okay, now, your list:
    Elvira: Hhm..I don't know this one. But don't worry - it doesn't mean it's wrong - it just means that I'm uneducated and I don't know the name! :D
    Yevgenia: Yes, this looks almost right to me, apart from the 'ge'. I mean, wouldn't it be pronounced 'Yev-JE-nia' when it's written like that? Do you see what I mean? Having said that, though, I don't think there's a way to harden that 'g' before the 'e'...
    Elena: I would say: Yelena. Again, problem - might be mispronounced 'Ye-leee-na'. Yelhena?
    Constantin: Konstantin, I would say. Although, your version is perfectly acceptable. The only reason I prefer the K over the C is because I've seen it written like that several times.
    Tatyana: Perfect!
    Angelina: Yes, exactly right!
    Yana: yep, that's absolutely fine! (that's my mum's name, btw!) :D
     

    LinguaFan

    Senior Member
    Russia
    Thank you again, Crescent, it's so enjoyable to read your replies :))

    Yes, I had the same doubt about Yevgeniya, but, honestly, can't think of anything to make it better..

    As to Elvira, it's somewhat similar to Ella, though not the same name. At least, the first letter is pronounced the same way (it's actually the same letter, the third from the end in the alphabet). Will it be E, then?

    Thx ;-)
     

    Crescent

    Senior Member
    Russian, (Ukraine)
    So it's "Элвира?" (hope you can read that, with all the cyrillic fonts confusion and all.. ;))
    Then yes! Definately - 'Elvira' is fine. Just like Ella would be too.
    And you're most welcome! :D
    P.S. It's hard, isn't it, this whole 'translating names phoenetically'? Other languages aren't quite as 'tolerant' I would say, with pronounciation as we are.
     

    LinguaFan

    Senior Member
    Russia
    So it's "Элвира?" (hope you can read that, with all the cyrillic fonts confusion and all.. ;))
    Then yes! Definately - 'Elvira' is fine. Just like Ella would be too.
    And you're most welcome! :D
    P.S. It's hard, isn't it, this whole 'translating names phoenetically'? Other languages aren't quite as 'tolerant' I would say, with pronounciation as we are.

    Right :))
    Sometimes it helps to call people by the English equivalents of their names, like Yelena - Helen. But clearly, not everyone likes being called like this. I had a classmate at school whom the teacher insisted on calling Paul, while his name was Pavel. He just hated that!!!
    Anyway, it's possible to resolve those problems!
    Thank you :))))
     

    Brian P

    Senior Member
    One Russian name that is always misspelled and mispronounced in English is Потёмкин. The phonetic spelling would be "Potyomkin" but it's always written and pronounced as "Potemkin"
     

    Crescent

    Senior Member
    Russian, (Ukraine)
    I think it's to avoid confusion with English people. :p I mean, they struggle so much with russian names - my English teacher at school just gets petrified whenever she comes across a stray Russian name in a novel or some text we happen to be reading and starts it several times, changing her mind immideately afterwards...so we lose all interest in the story. :)
    'It was a late summer afternoon, when Nikolia...Nayk-oli...Nik-oh-li...Andr-Andreyevich...etc. etc.'
    I know, it's awful fo me to talk of her like that - the poor lady - but it's just ..amusing. :)
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    русский (Russian)
    I noticed that Russian passport authorities now changed the spelling rules when issuing passports to travel overseas.

    Russian names Елена (Yelena) and Егоров (Yegorov) used to be spelled as Elena and Egorov. Now they are spelled as Yelena and Yegorov - consistent with pronunciation adn following English, not French spelling as before.


    It's not always consistent with the transliteration of the Russian E, which is pronounced as "ye" (in "yes") at the beginning of a word, after a vowel, ь or ъ but is similar to English "e" (in "pen") after consonants but palatalises the preceding consonant (except for always hard consonants). If I were to set up the rules of transliteration, I would suggest to always use "ye" when it's pronounced that way (which is becoming standard) and use E at the beginning to transliterate Э (e.g. Эльвира - Elvira)

    As for the Russian X it is not the same as English H. English doesn't have its equivalent but other European languages do. German has both H and CH (hard and soft). Russian X is usulally transliterated as KH to distinguish it from H, which can now be used to transliterate Ukrainian and Belarussian Г (sounds like Czech/Slovak H) and from K. Many English speakers pronounce KH as K, which is incorrect but if they were taught it would be better to pronounce it at least as English H (it's closer to the Russian X), if they can't manage Scottish CH (loch) or German CH (Bach) or Spanish J (Juan).

    I would leave Харьков/Kharkov (Russian) Харкiв/Kharkiv (Ukrainian) as it is, otherwise if it's spelled with H (Harkiv) it could be interpreted as Гаркiв, not Харкiв.

    With Ё it's probably better to transliterate the names phonetically too, although it makes the names even harder for English speakers - e.g. Звонарёва Zvonareva / Zvonaryova.

    BTW, I have a Ё in my surname but I sacrificed to make it easier to pronounce in Australia. Even when in Russia, noone was sure about the correct word accent in my name if there were no dots over Ё , so there were always 2 versions, I chose a simpler one when moved to Australia :)
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    русский (Russian)
    In the movie, "Enemy At The Gates"?, Хрущёв, played by Bob Hoskins, apparently can't pronounce his own name. He says Kruschchev!
    Well, that's understandable, Bob Hoskins doesn't have Russian background. It must be especially hard to say in front of another consonant. Well, German/Dutch names having "CH" are also pronounced with K in English. What about Spanish J? I think Americans are more trained to pronounce it, since they hear it so often? That's the same sound!

    Russian pronunciation may not be so easy but it's not so hard either. If TV broadcasters paid more attention or at least consulted someone before pronuncing Russian names. Someone called Конюхов - Konyakov, very funny!
     

    Etcetera

    Senior Member
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    One Russian name that is always misspelled and mispronounced in English is Потёмкин. The phonetic spelling would be "Potyomkin" but it's always written and pronounced as "Potemkin"
    This name can be written in Russian as Потемкин as well. :) People often replace Ё with E - I don't know why, but I myself prefer to use E.
    But it doesn't influence the pronunciation of the word, actually.
     
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