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Клубове Дирене Регистрация Кой е тук Въпроси Списък Купувам / Продавам 14:25 15.08.20 
Клубове / Наука / Хуманитарни науки / Езикознание Всички теми Следваща тема Пълен преглед*
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Тема Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му
Авторckипaджиятa (Нерегистриран) 
Публикувано20.09.04 13:38  

Dear Mr ---,

Thank you for your email, received only today on my return from a weekend conference. I atach a letter which deals with your enquiry. Please do not heistate to comment and/or ask further questions.

Very best regards


On Thu, 16 Sep 2004 08:21:51 +0000, --- wrote
> -----------
> You have been sent a message via your ProZ.com page.
> Author: ---
> [NOTE: The author is not a ProZ.com member or was not logged in when
> sending this message.] Author's IP address: ---
> -----------
> Dear Mr ---,
> I am a legal-linguist working in the EU. I am researching
> the best set of tables for transliteration of Bulgarian
> script into roman script. I would welcome your advice on
> this matter.
> Are there officially established transliteration tables?
> Glad of your advice.
> Best wishes,
> ---
въпросното приложено писмо:

Dear Mr ---,

Thank you for your enquiry regarding the transcription of Bulgarian Cyrillic into Latin script. Below I assume that you have a working knowledge of the Cyrillic (or Roman) script, and perhaps of the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet.
The very fact that you pose this question tells me that you are aware of a number of problems in this area. If this is so, then you are right. Though I could easily bore you, I shall attempt not to do so too much.
(Incidentally, the problems are mirrored in the opposite direction: Latin-based alphabets into Bulgarian Cyrillic. Here, the principle universally adopted in Bulgarian practice is transliteration rather than transcription. Thus Donneally becomes Дънили rather than, for example, Доннеаллй. I mention this because it throws light upon a deep-rooted approach that has a major bearing on the essence of your query.)
You ask about tables in use. I shall mention but two of the many. The most recent one is the Bulgarian government's system adopted in 2000 during a campaign to change old-style personal identity documents for new ones. You are undoubtedly aware of it at the EU, since it enjoys quasi-legal status in Bulgaria. Incidentally, in Bulgaria this status is not enforced at any level or with any rigour, and the table has lost the middling level of public prominence it enjoyed back in 2000.
The second notable table is that devised for, and in use at, the Library of Congress. It can be said to be more authoritative than the Bulgarian government one: it is older, organisations like the BBC and McGraw Hill use it, and various academic bodies insist upon it in their learned journals and other publications. Here it is:

А = A
Б = B
В = V
Г = G
Д = D
Е = E
Ж = ZH
З = Z
И = I
Й = Y
К = K
Л = L
М = M
Н = N
О = O
П = P
Р = R
С = S
Т = T
У = U
Ф = F
Х = H, but KH at the start of words and before other consonants (thus Anhialo but Khristo, Aheloy but Akhtarov. The treatment of this letter is entirely devoid of any sense and was clearly formulated by non-Bulgarians who were perhaps dimly aware of some Russian)
Ц = TS
Ч = CH
Ш = SH
Ъ = U (ideally a diacritical U with a crescent above it, which of course is missing from my Windows-based system! I cannot blame Bill Gates for this: such a diacritical letter is missing from any Latin script-based alphabet! How strange to adopt a non-existent Latin letter for use in Bulgarian transliteration...)
Ь = YO
Ю = YU
Я = YA

You will immediately note the following problems with the above table (most of them also apply to the Bulgarian government's table, and indeed with all other tables, whether contrived ad hoc or consciously designed):

1. a lack of uniformity
2. a lack of any strictly enforced standard analogous to Pinyin in standard Chinese
3. the reliance upon examples from source languages other than Bulgarian
4. the assumption of a single target language
5. the fact that the phonetic principle does more harm than good
6. the use of more than one Latin letter to transmit a single Bulgarian Cyrillic letter, thus rendering reverse transliteration impossible
7. the lack of Latin letters for some Bulgarian letters (Й, Ь)
8. the incomplete utilisation of the standard Latin letter set for the purposes of transliterating Bulgarian Cyrillic.

Let me comment in brief on some of the seven points above:

- as to (2), you will have noticed that the issue is highly political. In 2001, the Vienna University professor of Bulgarian Otto Kronsteiner [I am not certain if I have spelt him correctly] suggested that the Latin script ought to gradually supplant the Cyrillic script in Bulgarian notation. This caused a public storm. Most Bulgarians regard Cyrillic as sacrosanct. Some support Kronsteiner. Any simple transliteration table would make a putative transition easier, and is fiercely opposed on these grounds;
- as to (3), the history of transliteration between Bulgarian Cyrillic and Latin script shows that Greek was often used as an example until the mid-60s. Thus Узунов becomes Ouzounov.
Russian has been used as an example ever since newly-sovereign Bulgaria came under Russian influence in the 1870s. Thus Живков becomes Zhivkov.
Conversely, outsiders would be right to think that Yugoslav practice would be much closer to Bulgaria (Slovene, Croat, Bosnian, Montenegrin, Serbian, and Macedonian are South Slav languages along with Bulgarian). However, the traditional enmity between Sofia and Belgrade has precluded the adoption of any element of Serbo-Croat and Macedonian transliteration in Bulgaria;
- as to (4), diplomatic and commercial ties, as well as tradition, dictated that until the mid-1960s French and German were the assumed target languages for Bulgarian words transliterated into Latin script. Thus the aforementioned Живков could also be rendered Schiwkow for a German audience, whereas Ouzounov was tailor-made for a French audience.
Since the late 1960s, English has been the preferred assumed target language;
- as to (5), Bulgarian Cyrillic notation and orthography are strictly phonetic. The phonetic principle is elevated to the status of a basic underlying principle in Bulgarian grammar. Thus, "home-baked" transliteration tables inevitably set off by trying to suggest to non-Bulgarians how they ought to pronounce Bulgarian words. This is all very good, but the moment when a Bulgarian word adapted into English (say Copreevshtitsah) is seen and read by a Malaysian or an Icelander, the system falls apart...;
- as to (6), both the process of globalisation, and that of Bulgaria's coming EU accession put the problem into very sharp relief in terms of scientific, police, immigration, protocol and multiple other issues. Thus, is the person Tschamouroff spelled Чамуров, Тчамуроф, Шамуроф or any other similar permutations in Bulgarian?;
- as to (7), the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet has 30 letters versus 26 in the standard alphabet in Latin script. This implies that every single Latin letter ought to be employed (even then there would be a deficit of four letters). Yet the Library of Congress table cited above makes no use of J, W or X, and only uses C in combination with H. Thus its authors have intentionally caused themselves a deficit of a further four letters!
I trust the above is of some interest to you. I regret, however, that it is not likely to be of much help...
The only help I can offer comes in the form of my own table which I use in various electronic devices which offer me no Cyrillic. In it, I have avoided the pitfalls notes above. I have dubbed this table "Nublat 121" (The New Bulgarian/Latin transcription table in which every Bulgarian Cyrillic letter is transferred into a single standard Latin one):

А = A
Б = B
В = V
Г = G
Д = D
Е = E
Ж = J
З = Z
И = I
Й = Y
К = K
Л = L
М = M
Н = N
О = O
П = P
Р = R
С = S
Т = T
У = U
Ф = F
Х = H
Ц = C
Ч = Q
Ш = Š or simply S
Щ = X
Ъ = W
Ь = ' (apostrophe)
Ю = Ü or simply U
Я = Ä or simply A

It is not a perfect system, but any shoehorning of 30 letters into 26 calls for compromise!
Here is a brief commentary:
- the phonetic principle (transliteration) is rejected entirely as incompatible with the principle of letter-for-letter rendering (transcription)
- the use of Q for Ч has precedents in Albanian and Pinyin
- the use of W for Ъ has a precedent in Welsh
- the use of the apostrophe for Ь has a precedent in Russian transliteration
- the sole three diacritical marks are Š, Ü, and Ä. They are inconvenient when using keyboards, yet their use is not mandatory: the Bulgarian letters they represent can easily be inferred by Bulgarians, whereas non-Bulgarians need not engage in any interpretation.
Once again, thank you for your query; I trust my reply has been of some help and remain open to any comments you may have on it.

Best regards,


Цялата тема
* Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му ckипaджиятa   20.09.04 13:38
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му Лил   20.09.04 15:27
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му ckипaджиятa   20.09.04 16:17
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му ivx   20.09.04 17:20
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му ckипaджиятa   21.09.04 01:05
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му ivx   21.09.04 09:33
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му ckипaджиятa   21.09.04 11:08
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му ivx   21.09.04 18:49
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам EлKaп   21.09.04 01:08
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам ckипaджиятa   21.09.04 11:13
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам Craig   21.09.04 14:33
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам ckипaджиятa   21.09.04 23:45
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му пишмaн-линrвиcтЪ   21.09.04 12:33
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му пишмaн-линrвиcтЪ   21.09.04 18:46
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му ivx   21.09.04 19:15
. * Re: Транскрипция/транслитерация -- пита ме, казвам му пишмaн-линrвиcтЪ   21.09.04 21:13
. * Ето и отговорът му ckипaджиятa   21.09.04 23:50
. * Re: Ето и отговорът му ivx   24.09.04 09:48
. * Re: Ето и отговорът му ivx   24.09.04 10:53
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