Saturday, October 6, 2007

Talking Smart: Foreign Names

Abdelhak Boutasgount (Arab./Fr.)
[abdel-hak boo-tas-goon]

Aleksandr Bebikh (Rus.)
The "kh" construction is one of the silliest inventions in transliteration of Russian names into English. It was invented exactly for cases like this, when a Russian names has a final "x", the English equivalent of which - "h" - is not pronounced at the end of the words. To make it sound they invented this combination which is pronounced by the English very differently from the Russian "x" - they pronounce it like "k" strongly aspirated. But what is much worse, later people decided that this was the combination to render Russian "x" in ANY position, for example, at the beginning of a word. Although English "h" would have been way more adequate in this case. [alexander bebih].

Aleksei Blokha (Rus.)
Another example with the same awkward "kh" combination. When transliterated into various languages it shold be like this: Bloha - in English, Blocha - in German, Bloja - in Spanish, etc.

Alin Nicu Chibulcutean (Rom.)
In Romanian language the "сh" is read as [k] if followed by "е" or "i": [alin niku ki-bul-ku-tian].

András Dlusztus (Hun.)
[andrash dlustush]

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