Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic Anglicization of Russian Unit names

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  • #108984
    Bandit
    Participant

    It seems that it is difficult to find two English language sources that spell any given Russian unit name the same way.

    For those who have done a lot of work in this are (yes, I am calling on Jonathan Gingerich, but also anyone else with input), how do you come to the [Anglicized] spellings you use when writing about or labeling the units in English?

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #108997
    Jonathan Gingerich
    Participant

    Hi Bandit,
    Most of the names are geographical locations. I worked it all out with the (old ~1955) Columbia-Lippincott Gazetteer of the World. Any names I couldn’t find I used the USGS transliteration rules leaving out the hard and soft signs. Turned out almost identical to Mark Conrad’s nomenclature. So you can check his site or mine for a list.

    People’s names are a bit looser. I try to get the German, Baltic, Turkish, Italian etc spelling if I can. Otherwise use the modified USGS that people use (ë -> yo hence Pyotr the Great; -ский ending -> -sky rather than -skiy)

    JG

    #108998
    Bandit
    Participant

    Thanks Jonathan, that is useful – I was actually just looking at your facings page. Unrelated question for you: I’ve seen depictions of Russian hussars (troopers) in the latter half of the period (1811 forward) with both black plumes and white plumes – most commonly no plume at all. Predominantly wargamers seem to depict theirs with white plumes. Any clarity you can add from your research?

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #109013
    Jonathan Gingerich
    Participant

    Mainly white all day every day. Where do you see them black?
    JG

    #109014
    Bandit
    Participant

    Jonathan, I’ve got a collection of perhaps 4,000-5,000 plates, largely but not entirely digital. Most are very poorly labeled and organized so citation of them isn’t very practical. That said, I’ll try to find time to locate any useful examples. In any case, good to know. I was surprised (because you are a bit of a completist – which I appreciate) that plume color was not noted on your site (or I looked past it several times which is possible, you have a lot of dense information there).

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #109015
    Jonathan Gingerich
    Participant

    No, it’s not there. Mark Conrad did a splendid job translating Viskovatov and I don’t want to duplicate the info, just extend it.
    JG

    #109052
    John D Salt
    Participant

    For everyday use, I would recommend the BGN/PCGN romanization standard.

    https://www.translitteration.com/transliteration/en/russian/bgn-pcgn/

    as a reflection of the pronunciation, rather than the orthography, I tend to transcribe genitive plurals ending in -ого as “-ovo” rather than “-ogo”. I also tend to be a but lazy with -ий endings and collapse the two letters into one.

    For a bit more sophistication, if you want to indicate the exact letter used rather than merely enable the reader to make the right kind of noise, you might consider the Library of Congress scheme, tabulated at

    https://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/russian.pdf

    I would very strongly recommend NOT using the ISO-9 standard, which may be the one officially approved by Russia, but produces transliterations not readily readable by the average anglophone.

    Be aware that other European languages will transliterate things differently, which explains the spurious “T” habitually prepended to poor old Chaikovsky’s name by people who know no better, and the incomprehensible vowel-packed names of Russian ships at Tsushima in the English translation of Jacques Mordal’s otherwise splendid “Twenty-five centuries of sea power”.

    All the best,

    John.

    #109058
    Patrice
    Participant

    Do not complain it’s much worse for French speakers….

    French-ization (?) of Russian names has become a nightmare. It used to be quite simple, with traditional French spellings of Russian names; but now we are torn between modern norms AND the fashion to copy/paste English translitterations – which certainly shouldn’t apply in French.

    A few years ago I received a mail from Greenpeace France (I happen to be in their files for some reason) asking for support against some evil project near the Pechora river in Russia, and they wrote it “Pechora”. I could not restrain myself from answering that it should be written “Petchora” in French, same as we write Tchernobyl not Chernobyl. Um of not much importance but it always disturbs me.

    the spurious “T”

    The problem is, if you write CH in a French sentence, native French-speaking people pronounce it SH. You need the T in the French text if you want to hear it.

     

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #109065
    John D Salt
    Participant

    I suppose one of the features of the ISO-9 system of transliteration is that is more or less equally unhelpful for English, French, and German speakers.

    All the best,

    John.

    #109066
    John D Salt
    Participant

    French-ization (?)

    “Gallicization”, en hommage à vos ancêtres, les Gaulois.

    Meilleurs voeux,

    John.

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