Cab talk May 21, 2012 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Dmitry Samarov joined up and dropped by this post about his work.
posted by curious nu to MetaFilter-Related at 10:38 AM (17 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

posted by travelwithcats at 11:01 AM on May 21, 2012

thank you for bringing to MeTa - I would have missed the post entirely, as I don't get much reading time on the weekend!
posted by batmonkey at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2012

Nice. Thanks for mentioning it!
posted by zarq at 11:28 AM on May 21, 2012

Shortly after the FPP was posted, I emailed the mods to change the spelling of Samarov's given name from "Dimitri," which is what was up there originally, to "Dmitry," which is how he spells his. The mods went with a compromise spelling of "Dimitry." Russian names are difficult!
posted by Nomyte at 11:42 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


posted by griphus at 11:58 AM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Nomyte: Russian names are difficult!

For some reason, I thought of talking Barbie with that quote. Circuit bending Barbie, anyone?
posted by filthy light thief at 12:11 PM on May 21, 2012

Thanks Curious Nu, I wasn't sure whether to post a new Meta about it but I'm a big of the guy's work, even if I can't spell his name for shit.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:19 PM on May 21, 2012

The real question is why so many Russian dudes are named after a Greek goddess in the first place.
posted by Copronymus at 2:27 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Time for random Russian language trivia!

You are already familiar with the English diphthongs oy as in boy, ay as in bay, and uy as in buy.

Can you tell which ones are missing?

Yup, English is missing ooy and eey. You can sort of get ooy out of bouy, if you don't take care to pronounce it as two distinct syllables. But eey just blows most people's minds. You can find it in French words like fille.

Many Russian words end in eey (or rather ий). Among them is the common male given name Дмитрий. But how do you spell that using the Roman alphabet?

Well, you could go with Dmitriy, which has the benefit of letter-for-letter correspondence with the original. But a lot of people look at that iy and go "huh?"

To add confusion, y in English sometimes stands for a consonant, and other times for a vowel. And the vowel it stands for is roughly the same one that i stands for in that "average pan-European" scheme of phonetic spelling.

So the simplest thing is to forget that there's a diphthong there at all and just go with Dmitry. Or Dimitri, because dm is difficult. Or Dyimitryiy, if you work for the DHS.
posted by Nomyte at 2:30 PM on May 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

My family moved to the US when I was seven and transliterated my name from the Russian, more or less. That Dmmakes no sense to an English speaker and I've been correcting it ever since...
posted by Samarov at 3:09 PM on May 21, 2012

Russian-English transliteration is bonkers sometimes.

Often it's just straight Latinised from Cyrillic, which all too often is done with German in mind (or, at least, it was when East Germany was a thing), so you get a lot of j's that sound like y's and z's that go ts.

And then there's the one-letter phonemes that one alphabet has that the other doesn't, like our x, which goes ks, which doesn't exist in Cyrillic. These are forgotten about in transliteration, so you end up with things like Aleksandr. Similarly, their x is often transliterated as kh, which, while accurate, doesn't really take into account the fact that our h, which is close enough, remains unused. (Don't even get me started on the Russian transliteration of h as г. What the fuck, Russia?)

...Not to mention whatever the hell ь is.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:24 PM on May 21, 2012

Forgot to mention that ooy is two thirds of the tied-for-first obscenity in all of Russian.
posted by Nomyte at 8:24 PM on May 21, 2012

Is it "phooey"? Please, god, let it be "phooey"!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:55 AM on May 22, 2012

Sys Rq, that's for hysterical raisins. Г used to be pronounced more like a voiced х (Russian х). At the moment it's a mess with гарри Potter but хью Laurie.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 1:29 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Man it is so weird seeing English names transliterated into Russian. They just look wrong. I still remember, as a kid, seeing an article about "ОДжей Симпсон" in a Russian newspaper and having to take a second to figure out who the hell they were talking about.
posted by griphus at 1:37 PM on May 22, 2012

English words and names in Russian acquire a certain "high fantasy" charm. For example, people in English novels in Russian are addressed as "ser," like in George Martin's fantasy novels. It was disappointing to find out that "ser" in English is actually something like "see-yore" (or however a Russian monoglot can wrap his head around the vowel in sir).

I am not a fan, at all, of the way Asian words are transliterated in Russian. There's a vituperative and pernicious misconception in Russia of Asian people and Asian languages as lisping and meowing. Japanese words in particular are transcribed using the conservative transliteration (i.e., using si for し and so on), and Chinese is transcribed using some scheme that I find completely opaque.

What ends up happening is that Russians firmly believe that people in Japan venerate Mt. Foodsie and eat plenty of soo-see.    :ь
posted by Nomyte at 2:54 PM on May 22, 2012

I am not a fan, at all, of the way Asian words are transliterated in Russian. [...] Chinese is transcribed using some scheme that I find completely opaque.

Well, it's not as if pinyin is exactly straightforward phonetically.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:32 PM on May 22, 2012

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