Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Cyrillic Name and the Cyrillic Life


Мэйги if you say "May-gee"

Мэги if you say "Meh-gee" or "Mägi"

Маргрэт if you say "Mar-gret"

Хубэрт if you say "Hue-bert"

The photograph is me after my first Russian banya experience. They dressed me up in traditional Russian clothing familiar to the region I was in (I think they said it was from that area...).

I'm starting to get the hang of the Cyrillic alphabet. I've been working on it for a few months, now. I started out by writing it on cardboard in the closet in Alaska, now I take long walks and practice reading out every word that catches my eye.

On top of having to learn a new alphabet, I get to learn two forms of it - the script and the printed form. Both are quite different and I still can't read the script. The g's are d's are p's are... it's confusing. Normally folks are willing to print for me. Check out the Wikipedia page to see what I'm talking about.

There are a few letters that really trip me up:

Бб, Вв, Ъъ, Ыы, Ьь.

Those are five different letters -- well, two are sort of the same.
But, still, there you have "buh" and "vuh" and these weird "soft" signals and the "ii" sort of sound (maybe). They have a letter that is merely a signal on how you pronounce other letters which, for me, is a bit confusing still. I'm hoping it will come naturally, eventually... hopefully.

I'm still waiting for my brain to automatically register the letters as sounds in my brain, but I think that will take a few more weeks. I can figure out most words, but my reading speed is that of a small child.

Even words I've seen many times need to be sounded out.

Here are a few Russian words that sound the same (or nearly the same) as in English but spelled in the "Russian way":

soup - суп

kiosk - киоск

reconstruction - реконструкция

restaurant - ресторан

coffee - кофе

ф is my favourite Cyrillic character I've encountered.

It looks like a fly and makes the "fuh" sound.

Fuh-fuh-fly.

1 comment:

  1. Thought of you when I found this. Russian dash cams catching acts of kindness:
    http://kottke.org/13/05/tender-moments-caught-on-russian-dash-cams

    ReplyDelete

Your words make me grin.

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