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Comment from: Bob [Visitor] Email
Dear Dan, I've been reading these entries for the last several weeks. They're wonderful. I'm hooked. Thank you.


P.S. I have one petty question about the history of transliteration: why is the Russian x represented as "kh"? When I started learning Russian and got to the x I was overstriking the K--because that's how its pronunciation was transcribed. But when I learned to pronounce the x, I realized the K was in the way. Why isn't the transliteration of x x? It's an odd and tricky letter in English already. We could handle incorporating the Russian x, don't you think?

Don responds: There are quite a few systems for transliterating Russian into Latin letters, and some of them do use English x to transliterate Russian х. When transliterating for a general audience, it's probably best to use a system that will help them approximate the original pronunciation. Most English speakers will probably pronounce "x" as [ks], which is a far cry from the original; "kh" is a bit closer and so is a better choice for general audiences. Plus in English there is a history of representing some fricatives with digraphs using h (cf. sh in ship, th in thin, ph in phone), so slightly more sophisticated readers will probably catch the implication. My two cents.
08/24/10 @ 19:47

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