Re: Unicode-based Cyrillic-Latin transliteration table

Date: Tue May 29 2001 - 02:17:56 EDT

In a message dated 2001-05-28 9:11:44 Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

> I fear you have undertaken something hopeless. One could transliterate
> U+0429 as SHCH or S^C^ or any number of other things, but that is only
> appropriate for Russian. In Bulgarian, the only natural transcription
> of U+0429 is SHT.

I was not aware of this, due to my lack of knowledge of Bulgarian. The
Library of Congress table indicates that SHCH is correct for Ukrainian and
Belarusian as well as Russian, but it also says that U+046A and U+046B are
used only in Bulgarian.

John's point is a good one. The transliteration* table I envision cannot be
correct for all languages that use the Cyrillic script, because they don't
all associate the same sounds with the same letters (cf. English, French,
Spanish usage of U+006A "j"). I can skew the table toward (e.g.) Russian for
letters used in Russian, and use other languages' pronunciations for letters
used in those languages, but the result is obviously inconsistent. I think
"imperfect" and "inconsistent" are perhaps better words to describe this
project than "hopeless." \u263a

* BTW, I agree with Keld that this is transliteration rather than
transcription, but don't want to get into a terminology debate over this.

In a message dated 2001-05-28 11:16:41 Pacific Daylight Time,

> The transliteration is both dependent on which language is the
> source, and which language is the target. There is a well-defined
> transliteration between Serbian and Croatian, which is different
> from the Russian spec. And say english, german, and danish rules are
> different, eg Hrusjev, Krustjov, Chruschof (or the like) for the former
> soviet prime secretary.

Keld mentions the source language problem that John had already addressed,
and adds the question of target language. I tried to indicate in my original
message that I was aiming for English rules, so that "Khrushchyov" might be
suitable for Keld's example. (I realize that "Khrushchev" is a standard
transliteration used in English-speaking countries, but for its part, that
spelling has led to widespread mispronunciation of the name.)

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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