Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

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RogerE
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

While I was composing my Greek alphabet post, a new post
was added here at [Sun May 17, 2020 21:56:14 pm] by new
Stampboarder Alec13 = Alessio, and a followup comment was
added by kuikka. It's great to have you on Stampboards Alec13,
and thanks to you and kuikka for posting in this thread.

The later part of Alec13's post reminded me of a relevant post that
I made in the Happy Day thread on [Tue Apr 14, 2020 03:28:51 am],
well before I decided to start a Stamps and Languages thread.
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=82193&start=3419

That post was motivated by this image, posted by Ubobo.R.O.:
Image

Republic of China stamp, 7 July 1945, 2 yuan, Sc 594
RogerE wrote:Thanks Ubobo.R.O. for your image [Mon Apr 13, 2020 00:05:27 am] of the
1945 Chinese stamp showing Chiang Kai-shek, a map of China, and the flags
of Britain, the Republic of China, and the USA. Thanks also to Panterra for
the very informative follow-up on that stamp.

A stamp can be the motivation for thoughts and study and follow-up reading
in many different directions — philatelic, of course, but not only that: also
historical, geographic, artistic, cultural, political, scientific, thematic, and so on.
It is this kind of follow-up which makes philately intellectually satisfying and a
pursuit not simply for children (though it can be both entertaining and educational
for children as well, as many of us know from an early introduction to stamps).

Here, motivated by Ubobo.R.O.'s Chinese stamp, I want to take up the linguistic
direction this stamp suggests. If we can learn to read and understand some of the
language on a stamp, we are likely to better understand the stamp itself, and the
culture which produced it, and probably also better understand some of the other
stamps from the issuing country.

Here are the two lines of text from the base of the stamp:

Image

Looking at the first line, I give a transcription (in traditional characters, as appear on
the stamp), then a pinyin rendition (a pronunciation guide), then an English translation,
and finally a transcription in simplified characters:

Image

Some notes:

(a) The inscriptions on the stamp read from right to left. I have transcribed in the
more familiar left to right order, frequently used for modern written Chinese. Note
that because each Chinese character is a "word", in fact a fluent reader of Chinese
can quite easily read a string of characters regardless of the format direction, be it
right to left, left to right, or even vertically top to bottom (a common format, especially
in classical contexts).

(b) Pinyin ia the official Romanised version of Chinese, as a pronuciation guide. Each
character is pronounced as a single syllable, in one of four tones, referred to as first,
second, third and fourth tone. A single syllable pronounced in different tones usually
has entirely different meanings. In pinyin the tone of a syllable is indicated over a
vowel in the syllable, for example: (1) zhōng; (2) huá; (3) wǔ; (4) zhèng.

(c) The simplified characters have been promoted by Beijing, whereas the traditional
characters have been retained by Taiwan, so the two styles have political connotations.

Now the second line of text at the base of the stamp: first transcribed (left to right)
in traditional characters, then in pinyin, and then an English translation.

Image

Some notes:

(a) The characters 中華 zhōnghuá are "understood". They appear explicitly (in the
right to left order 華中) on modern stamps issued by Taiwan, whereas 中国 zhōngguó
appears explicitly on stamps issued by Beijing. This is the most obvious way in which
to recognise and distinguish the two.

(b) Remember that the text on the stamp reads from right to left. Therefore the
number is thirty-two (3x10 + 2), not twenty-three (2x10 + 3).

(c) Following the Xinhai Revolution, a Chinese Republic was formally announced
on 1 Jan 1912, ending over 2,000 years of imperial rule. Thus 1912 was the first
year of the Republic, on a counting convention that counts the current year. Thus,
the thirty-second year of the Republic is 1911 + 32 =1943.

With apologies for the image quality, here is the numeral in the top right corner
of the stamp:

Image

Some comments:

(a) There are "formal" numerals and "common" numerals, with the same pronunciation.
The numeral on the stamp is the formal character for two. The formal characters
are reserved for official uses, such as on coins, banknotes and stamps. They carry an
implicit official "weight". On the other hand, the "common" numerals are simpler and
more convenient for everyday use. The "common" numeral for two appears in the
date at the base of the stamp.

(b) The first five numeral pairs are as follows — "common" first, then "formal" in brackets,
with the pinyin for each pair added. (Examples of other formal numerals appear on other
stamps of the same period).

Image

Wikipedia contains a nice discussion about Chinese numerals at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_numerals

Finally, the currency character in the top left corner of the stamp (again, apologies for
the quality of the image):

Image

The traditional character, the pinyin version, and the simplified character:

Image

Some comments:

(a) The currency is the yuán, sometimes translated as the "dollar", but
better simply called the yuán. The word essentially refers to a round
object, from the time when a yuán was a round silver coin.

(b) A recent character for the currency looks like a Greek pi π with a bar
on top. It is also pronounced yuán. Note how it has been derived from the
previous version of the character by just taking the internal components and
simplifying them.


Wikipedia has a discussion about the yuán at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuan_(currency)
Image

Republic of China stamps (full set), 7 July 1945, Sc593–598
/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by AMark »

RogerE,

Very interesting thread! :)

Most, if not all collectors have encountered a foreign language/s during their collecting journey. This becomes very true for worldwide collectors. :D

Anyway, this thread will become a great resource for collectors that are trying to identify a stamp where the country name is written in a language that is foreign to them.

P.S. Looking forward to posts about Hungarian and Romanian.
It does pay if you are humble and kind.
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

I have just now visited the Folklore on Stamps thread, where Eli has very
recently added another post:
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&p=6529842#p6529842

He chooses strikingly attractive stamps with fascinating cultural content.
In this case he shows us four Transkei stamps. I repeat just the first one
of the set, with its fine beadwork, for this quote.
Eli wrote:Xhosa Women's Headdresses, issued for use in Transkei on August 28, 1981:

Image

— For three more stamps in this set, visit:
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&p=6529842#p6529842
Transkei is pronounced like "tran"+"sky".

The language of Transkei is Xhosa, and it is one of eleven official languages
of South Africa. Read on for some fascinating information about Xhosa — it will
broaden your understanding of language generally!
ABOUT THE XHOSA LANGUAGE

There are 11 official languages in South Africa, of which Xhosa is one of the
most widely spoken. Approximately 16 percent of South Africa’s population,
or 8.3 million people, cite Xhosa as being their home language. Xhosa is
characterised by a number of clicking sounds, which are formed by the tongue.
These are represented by the letters c, x and q.

Those that speak the Xhosa language are usually part of an ethnic group
known as the amaXhosa. This language is officially referred to as isiXhosa.
The word “Xhosa” is derived from the Khoisan language and means “angry men”.
Most of the languages in South Africa that involve tongue-clicking originate from
the indigenous Khoisan people, who included plenty of different clicks in their
speech and language.

Xhosa falls under the umbrella of the Bantu languages, and is a representative
of the south-western Nguni family. As a result, South Africa is known to be the
native land of the Xhosa folk. This is especially true of the Eastern Cape, where
the language is spoken extensively and taught in the schools. The Zulu people
of South Africa have their own name for the Xhosa people, the KwaXhosa.
When translated, KwaXhosa simply means “land of Xhosa”.

Visiting Cape Town and the Western Cape and Gauteng, one will also see and
hear many Xhosa people. Because Xhosa and Zulu are both classed as Bantu
languages, they are quite similar. Therefore, Xhosa and Zulu people frequently
understand one another, even if they are each speaking their mother tongue...

Xhosa is an unusual, yet pretty-sounding, language. To many, it is difficult to
learn because the consonants are uncommon and also densely populated. The
sounds are relatively aggressive (as opposed to soothing and melodic).

They comprise "English" sounds, [plus] 15 clicks, ejectives and an implosive.
Learners most frequently battle with the 15 clicks, and these are divided into
three groups:
(1) The dental clicks - where the tongue presses against the person’s teeth.
The end result should be “tut-tut”.
(2) Alveolar clicks – where the tongue presses against the palate.
The end result should be a sound resembling a cork popping out of a bottle.
(3) Lateral clicks - where the tongue presses against the side of the mouth.
The end result should be the sound one makes when calling a horse.
https://www.sa-venues.com/language-xhosa.htm

There you are — I knew you would find it enlightening, and "educational" in
the very best sense of the word. :wink:

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Now it's high time for a post on the Russian alphabet, to follow up
my earlier post on the Greek alphabet.

The Russian alphabet is probably the most frequently encountered
version of the Cyrillic alphabet, which we can look at more generally
in a later post.
Image

Russian alphabet, upper case
The Russian alphabet has 33 letters — including 16 letters of the Greek alphabet.
Practise identifying the letters in почтовая марка [potch-tov-ah-ya mar-kah] – postage stamp.
Did you guess that а, А are corresponding lower case and capital forms of the first letter of the alphabet?
They both occur in Америка [ah-mer-ee-kah] - America.

The next table is headed Русский [русский] алфавит [roos-skee-yi ahl-fah-veet] – Russian
alphabet
. The letters are given in their standard order, in pairs (capitals and lower case), with the Russian
name of each letter, and a phonetic representation of the name of the letter. The list begins 'ah', 'bay', 'vay',
'gay', 'day'. Note that 'j' in the phonetic script is pronounced like 'y' in English 'yet', so the sixth and seventh
letters е, ё are 'yay', 'yoh'.

The sound represented by almost every letter begins the name of the letter. There are just two exceptional letters,
both of which are silent:—
ъ (твёрдый знак [tvyor-dee znak] – hard sign), and ь (мягкий знак [myahg-kee znak] – soft sign).
The soft sign ь is quite commonly used. Example: рубль [roo-b'l] – rouble (unit of currency).
The hard sign ъ is relatively uncommon. Example: объект [ob'-yekt] – object.
The letter й is called й краткое short i, where 'i' is as in English 'it'. Many words end in
the pair -ий [ee-yi], such as Русский [roos-skee-yi] – Russian.

Image


The next table shows how the lower case letters are written in 'italic' font (the hand written forms [cursive script]
in most cases closely approximate the 'italic' font). Eleven letters have been highlighted in the 'italic' font to draw
special attention to them for learners used to the Roman alphabet — these letters are easily misread/misidentified
by learners, so need extra care and practice to master.

Image


Let's finish with a look at a philatelic item with Russian inscriptions.

Image

USSR imperf minisheet, 1963, Third Spartakiad, set of four stamps, used.


3Я [ТРЕТЬЯ] СПАРТАКИАДА = третья спартакиада [tret'-yah spahr-tah-kee-ah-dah]
third Spartakiad (sports meeting)
НАРОДОВ СССР = народов СССР [nah-rod-of ess-ess-ess-ayr] – of the peoples of the USSR.
ПОЧТА = почта [potch-ta] - mail, post, postage

СССР = Союз Советских Социалистических Республик
[soh-yooz soh-vet-skikh soh-tsee-al-eest-ee-chess-kikh res-poob-leek] where 'kh' is like 'ch' in Scottish 'loch'
- Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Now you need never again be guilty of reading СССР as if it is a string of Roman letters, because you know
it is Cyrillic letters, pronounced [ess-ess-ess-ayr]. :wink:

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

In an earlier post on the Greek alphabet I showed this stamp:
Image

Greece 1890 Small Hermes Head stamp, 40L violet
Did you notice the circular datestamp? Very clearly at the top is 'ATPAI'.
With the initial letter Π pi [pee] off the stamp, that is evidently the city name
ΠATPAI = Πάτραι [Paht-rah-ee] – Patras.
The spelling has evolved in recent times, and is now
ΠATPA = Πάτρα [Paht-rah]
Image

Patras is a port city in western Greece, the third largest Greek city (by population).
Wikipedia wrote:Dubbed as Greece's 'Gate to the West', Patras is a commercial hub, while its busy port
is a nodal point for trade and communication with Italy and the rest of Western Europe.
The city has two public universities and one technological institute, hosting a large student
population and rendering Patras an important scientific centre with a field of excellence
in technological education...

Every year, in February, the city hosts one of Europe's largest carnivals. Notable features
of the Patras Carnival include its mammoth satirical floats and balls and parades, enjoyed
by hundreds of thousands of visitors in a Mediterranean climate.

Patras is also famous for supporting an indigenous cultural scene active mainly in the
performing arts and modern urban literature. It was European Capital of Culture in 2006
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patras

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Let's try a "mirror image" language post. So far I've organised
my posts on this thread so they present a particular alphabet,
then I say how the letters are pronounced, and then give a few
words written in that alphabet, together with an indication of
their pronunciation, and their meaning.

I'll reverse this organisation in my next post. I'll begin with two
words written in the chosen language, then indicate what they
mean, then how they are pronounced, then take a look at just
those letters of their alphabet which are present in the chosen
words. I will leave discussion of the full alphabet to a later post.

This method gives a narrow starting point for learning just a little
of the language and its alphabet, and could build up over a number
of such posts to lay the foundation for coming to grips with the full
alphabet. It might simulate the "informal" approach to learning a
language and its alphabet, rather than the "formal" approach used
in the typical textbook or classroom.

My next post will use a "mirror image" approach. Let's try it out! :D

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Eli »

Many thanks, Roger, for the enormous efforts you put in this thread. As I told you, I don't collect stamps about languages so have very little in my different collections. Let me show here three of them which I think could be included in any collection about languages:

Champollion and the Rosette stone, issued by Egypt on October 16, 1972 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Champollion's translation of Egyptian Hieroglyphics.
Wikipedia wrote:Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832), was a French scholar, philologist and orientalist, known primarily as the decipherer of Egyptian hieroglyphs and a founding figure in the field of Egyptology.

The Rosetta Stone discovered in 1799 which is inscribed with three versions of a decree issued in Memphis, Egypt in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes. The top and middle texts are in Ancient Egyptian using hieroglyphic and Demotic scripts respectively, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek. The decree has only minor differences among the three versions, so the Rosetta Stone became key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, thereby opening a window into ancient Egyptian history. Study of the decree was already under way when the first full translation of the Greek text appeared in 1803. Jean-François Champollion announced the transliteration of the Egyptian scripts in Paris in 1822.
Image


International literacy day, issued by Niger on September 8, 1976:
Image
Hebrew Alphabet, issued by Israel on January 4, 1972 as one of a set of four stamps dedicated to "Education":
Image

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

The earlier post on this thread by Joy Daschaudhuri discusses some inscriptions
in the Devnagari alphabet, on revenues of Kishangarh.
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=90529&start=19
My present post will also involve the Devnagari alphabet.

Here is the first set of stamps issued by newly independent India, in 1947.
Image

India, Independence set, 1947, SG 301-303

Image

Cover to USA, solo franking of the India 1947 3a New Flag stamp, SG 302.
The stamp showing the new flag was issued on 21 Nov 1947; the other
two stamps in the set were issued on 15 Dec 1947.
Most of the text on these stamps is in English, reflecting the fact that
India had literally just emerged from British rule, and English had long
been the language of administration.

All three stamps also have an inscription in Hindi — the first time this
had occurred. All previous issues, from the famous Scinde Dawk issues
of 1852 forward, were solely inscribed in English.

जय हिन्दVictory to India [jai hind]

– j
- y
जय – jay, jaya
[The short vowel 'a' is "understood", not explicitly denoted in the script]

– h, हि – h+i
- n, – d, न्द – n+d
हिन्द – hind
Wikipedia wrote:Jai Hind (Hindi: जय हिन्द, IPA: [dʒəj ɦɪnd]*) is a salutation and slogan
that originally meant "Victory to India", and in contemporary colloquial
usage usually means "Long live India" or "Salute to India". Coined and
used during India's freedom movement from the British Raj, it emerged
as a form of battle cry particularly among Indian National Army [= INA]
personnel and in political speeches...

Mahatma Gandhi sent a piece of crocheted, cotton lace made from yarn
personally spun by himself, with the central motif Jai Hind, to British Royal
couple Princess Elizabeth [later Queen Elizabeth II] and Prince Philip as a
wedding gift in 1947.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jai_Hind
* IPA: [dʒəj ɦɪnd] — recall that 'j' in IPA = International Phonetic Alphabet is
pronounced like 'y' in 'yet'; also 'ʒ' is like 's' in 'pleasure', and 'ə' is like the
final 'a' in 'data'; 'ɪ' is like 'i' in 'bit'.

A special Jai Hind slogan cancel for 15 Aug 1947, on piece.
Image

Hindi, Jai Hind slogan cancel on vertical strip of three 3p on 1a 3p KGVI SG 282.
Issued on 8 Aug 1947, this stamp was the last pre-Independence Indian issue.
Etymology of जय : Sanskrit जय [jaya] – victory, success
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Jaya

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by norvic »

RogerE wrote:The next table shows how the lower case letters are written in 'italic' font (the hand written forms [cursive script] in most cases closely approximate the 'italic' font). Eleven letters have been highlighted in the 'italic' font to draw special attention to them for learners used to the Roman alphabet — these letters are easily misread/misidentified by learners, so need extra care and practice to master.
These forms are also used in italic printed work, often seen in the caption to postage stamps
почта

(Incidentally by your copy&paste technique, line returns are causing very short lines on narrow windows. There is a non-printing character on many websites and text editors (MS Word, etc) that are a damned nuisance when it comes to pasting into fora and blogs!)
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by norvic »

Eli wrote:Hebrew Alphabet, issued by Israel on January 4, 1972 as one of a set of four stamps dedicated to "Education":
Image
I think there is a more interesting stamp in this set (if not it is another) which shows mathematics.

Hebrew has its own plus sign, not +, of course, because that is the sign of the cross but something approximating to ±.
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Eli »

norvic wrote:I think there is a more interesting stamp in this set (if not it is another) which shows mathematics.

Hebrew has its own plus sign, not +, of course, because that is the sign of the cross but something approximating to ±.
Correct, norvic. Here is the stamp with mathematics. Indeed, the + sign is written without the lower part to avoid the sign of the cross:
Image
Here is the complete set dedicated to (from left): elementary school, high school, vocational education and academic education:

Image

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Let's return to the Russian alphabet for some further information about styles.
(I think norvic's recent post on the subject mistakes "lower case" for "cursive".)

The word pochta ["potch-tah"] – mail, post, postage is printed in Russian characters
as ПОЧТА in capital letters, and as почта in lower case letters.
Apart from size, in this case the two forms differ only in the last letter А, а.

The cursive ("italic") version of the alphabet reflects handwritten characters. Recall
that it has a number of significant differences from the "printed" characters:
RogerE wrote: The next table shows how the lower case letters are written in 'italic' font (the hand written forms [cursive script]
in most cases closely approximate the 'italic' font). Eleven letters have been highlighted in the 'italic' font to draw
special attention to them for learners used to the Roman alphabet — these letters are easily misread/misidentified
by learners, so need extra care and practice to master.
Image
In particular, the characters п and т in почта need careful attention.
A very useful website has been created by Stephen P. Morse, allowing keyboard entry of
Russian alphabet letters, with cursive output. Here is a screenshot of what it produces
for the lower case почта and the same word with an initial capital latter, Почта:
Image
For readers used to handwritten ("cursive") English, the lower case почта looks
deceptively like "norma", and even the version with an initial capital Почта still
suggests "Norma", though the capital doesn't look quite familiar.
In lower case, the cursive version of п looks like 'n', while т looks like 'm', and
even ч looks like one style of writing 'r'. :!: :!:

If you take the fully capitalised ПОЧТА in cursive, you get
Image
Thanks to Stephen Morse for making cursive Russiian accessible. :D

The actual url for his website has 233 characters, while this TinyURL
version has only 28 characters:
https://tinyurl.com/y6w38u4d

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by kuikka »

I would also make another observation from the Morse site. If you look the list of Cyrilic alphabets, the last row doesn't look familiar. The spelling in Russian was modernized after revolution and those letters became obsolete. However, they could appear on early Russian stamps.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by norvic »

I didn't mistake lower case for cursive at all, I just happened to copy RogerE's lower case text as an example of a word which looks quite different in 'cursive'/italic whether written or printed.

Moving to obsolete letters or 'other' Cyrillic letters as Kuikka mentions, the Ukrainian and possibly Belarussian alphabets include letters not used in Russian, such as an upper case I with a dot over it which I can't reproduce from the keyboard here.

These are extracts of other ex-Soviet Union national languages, in their own script (the text translates as Commonwealth of Independent States):

Armenian: Անկախ պետությունների Համագործակցություն (ԱՊՀ); (APH)
Azerbaijani: Müstəqil Dövlətlər Birliyi (MDB)
Belarusian: Садружнасць Незалежных Дзяржаў (СНД), (SND)
Georgian: დამოუკიდებელი სახელმწიფოების თანამეგობრობა
Kazakh: Тәуелсіз Мемлекеттер Достастығы (ТМД), (TMD)
Kyrgyz: Көз каранды эмес мамлекеттердин шериктештиги (КМШ), (KMŞ)
Moldovan: Comunitatea Statelor Independente (CSI)
Russian: Содружество Независимых Государств (СНГ), (SNG)
Tajik: Иттиҳоди Давлатҳои Мустақил (ИДМ), (IDM)
Turkmen: Garaşsyz döwletleriň arkalaşygy
Uzbek: Мустақил Давлатлар Ҳамдўстлиги (МДҲ), (MDH)

(Moldovan is like Roumanian (and hence Latin), Uzebek, Tajik, Kyrgyz, Kazak, Turkmen and Azerbaijani are Turkic languages but some use a Turkic variation of Cyrillic!)
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Yes, thanks kuikka. Inclusion of those four archaic letters in the
list of available characters is testimony to the high quality of the
implementation created by Stephen Morse. Even more symbols
were included in very early forms of the Cyrillic alphabet.

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

kuikka wrote:The spelling in Russian was modernized after revolution and those letters became obsolete. However, they could appear on early Russian stamps.
Agreed. The Yat character appears often and there's a nice example in the Borisoglebsk zemstvo in Roger's original post.
Nigel

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thanks norvic for the sampling of ex-Soviet Union national languages.
Occasionally USSR stamps incorporated inscriptions in some of the
languages/scripts of the Republics within the Union. Here are a few of
the many national costume stamps issued in the early 1960s.
Image

USSR stamps 1960-1961: National/folk costumes
Georgia, Belarus, Estonia, Uzbekistan

Image

Detail of the text on the Georgia national/folk costumes stamp
The Russian inscription on the Georgia national/folk costume stamp is
ГРУЗИНСКИЕ НАРОДНЫЕ КОСТЮМЫ – Georgian national/folk costumes
[groo-zin-skee-eh nah-rod-nee-eh kos-tyoo-mee]
The Georgian inscription is
ქართული ხალხური კოსტუმები – Georgian national/folk costumes
[kartuli khalkhuri k’ost’umebi]

The other stamps have corresponding inscriptions.
__________________________________

Refering to my table comparing printed lower case Russian alphabet with the italic/cursive
form of those characters,
norvic wrote: These forms are also used in italic printed work, often seen in the caption to postage stamps
почта
I have made a brief search for an example of a USSR stamp showing ПОЧТА in italic/script font,
but I didn't find one: norvic, can you find an example to add to this thread?

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

Hi Roger and Ian,

Here's an example of an RSFSR stamp with "POCHTA" written in an italic font:

Image

I rather like the florid font used for "RSFSR". :D

(My first attempt with imgbox.com!).
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by norvic »

You have to go back a bit. I don't have any of these, as I don't collect USSR, but they exist

1925 3k Academy of Sciences SG456
1925 14k Decembrist Rising SG468
1927 Smolny Institute SG 503

The 1935 air set (SG678 etc) all have 'joined-up' script, not italicised but definitely showing the 'T' as a m.

The same style continued on the odd stamp through the 1930s. You can probably find them somewhere on the web.

Edit: Nice one Nigelc - didn't go back that far, but it's the same principle. Those are the pages of the SG Russia catalogue that I rarely look at!
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

And here's a later Soviet example:

Image
Nigel

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thanks nigelc for the post pointing out the yat Ѣ ѣ in the inscription on the
zemstvo (local stamp) in my first post:
Image
Here is an attractive calligraphic version of the Old Russian alphabet
(with 45 letters, including no less than 12 archaic letters):
АЗБУКА ДРЕВНЕРУССКАЯ [ahz-boo-kah drev-nay-roos-kah-yah]
Old Russian alphabet

Image

https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/496310821409283848/
/RogerE :D

As usual, another post (in fact, now several — I can't keep up!) has (have) been added
while I've been composing my latest :D Thanks norvic and nigelc for your latest image(s)
with the italic/cursive font — I hadn't thought of those early RSFSR issues...
P.S. May I point out that RSFSR is a palindrome, and the Russian ф in the middle "works".

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Making use of the opportunities presented, the inscription at the top of
this stamp is
МЕЖДУНАРОДНЫЙ ДЕНЬ ЗАЩИТЫ ДЕТЕЙ
[mezh-doo-nah-rod-nee dyen zash-chit-ee dyet-ay]
International Child Protection Day
nigelc wrote:... a later Soviet example:
Image
/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

While the recent references to Georgian are still in sight, shall we do
some detective work‽ It won't be up to the standard of Champollion
figuring out hieroglyphics from the three-language/trilingual inscriptions
on the Rosetta stone, but it will be an enjoyable challenge...

Here are three Georgian revenue stamps, probably from 1921:
Image

Image

Image
The pair of images at the bottom are front and back — the stamp is printed
on printer's waste, where portions of two 500 rouble stamps remain.

So, here is the challenge: compare the inscriptions on the three revenue stamps,
and come up with a conjecture about what they mean. If possible, also come up
with a conjecture about how those inscriptions are pronounced — you can make
use of the earlier posts that include some Georgian,
but no "looking up" online resources (until later!).

To make this a proper challenge, I'll leave my input for a later post. 8)

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

The Georgian challenge — my response.

I took the challenge in the same way I hope other have engaged/will engage
with it. I began by copying the inscriptions from each of the three revenue
stamps onto a sheet of paper.

In itself that was a learning experience. It drew my attention to some subtle
differences between some characters, it helped me learn the shapes of the
characters, and it focussed my attention on differences between inscriptions
that I had initially thought were the same — a careful look at the inscription
at the base of each stamp shows that the last stamp has a different inscription
from that on the first two. I decided these must be the currency names — the
top two stamps in one currency unit, the bottom stamp in another currency unit.
The extra inscription in the centre of the middle stamp suggests that it is a more
"prestigious" stamp than the others, implying that its currency unit is the main
unit, while the bottom stamp is denominated in the smaller currency unit. The
numbers 1 and 10 suggest a decimal currency, so I guess that 100 of the smaller
units equal one larger unit.

Next I used the earlier post with its Georgian phrase and transliteration
Image
to transliterate the revenue stamp inscriptions:

1. სალერკო
[salerk'o]
2. მარკა
[mark'a]
3. ათ
[at]
4. მანეთიანი
[ma?etia?i]
5. კაპეიკიანი
[ka?eikia?i]

Guessing the translations:
2. Russian марка [marka] stamp suggests მარკა [mark'a] is stamp.
Then 1. სალერკო [salerk'o] probably means something like revenue/
tax/fee/transaction
(?)
3. ათ [at] – ten
4. The letter , not included in the phrase transliterated earlier, must
have a sound not present in that transliteration. Evidently a consonant,
it is probably one of 'd', 'f', 'g', 'n', 'p', 'v'. If მანეთიანი [ma?etia?i] is the main
unit of currency, perhaps the letter is 'n', suggesting Italian monetacoin
(with related words in other European languages, including money in English).
Then მანეთიანი would be [manetiani], manets (?).
5. Guessing that is 'n', still the consonant in კაპეიკიანი [ka?eikiani]
is unidentified, probably one of 'd', 'f', 'g', 'p', 'v'. As this is the fractional unit of
currency, analogy with Russian копейка [kopeyka] kopek suggests treating
as 'p'. Then კაპეიკიანი would be [kopeikiani], kopeks (?).

That's about as far as I can go in the "Champollion" manner, so now it's time to
consult web resources. I have not been able to find more exact information about
1. სალერკო [salerk'o], but I found სალაროს [saleros] – cash, at
https://www.translate.ge/.
On 4 and 5, I found
Wikipedia wrote:The maneti (მანეთი) was the currency of the Democratic Republic of Georgia
and the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic between 1919 and 1923. It replaced the
first Transcaucasian rouble at par and was subdivided into 100 kapeiki (კაპეიკი).
It was replaced by the second Transcaucasian rouble after Georgia became part of the
Transcaucasian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgian_maneti

Here is a Georgian one maneti banknote from 1919.
Image

ერთი მანეთი [erti maneti] - one maneti.
Note the representation of St. George on horseback at the top of the banknote, and
also on the revenue stamps. St. George is the Patron Saint of Georgia.

Georgian is a Kartvelian language, a language group indigenous to the South Caucasus.
The modern Georgian alphabet comprises 33 letters. A detailed discussion of the
language and script is given by Wikipedia at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgian_language

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

RogerE wrote: Here are three Georgian revenue stamps, probably from 1921:
Image
Image
Image
The pair of images at the bottom are front and back — the stamp is printed on printer's waste, where portions of two 500 rouble stamps remain.

/RogerE :D
Hi Roger,

It's nice to see these Georgian revenues. :D

I hadn't seen them before outside of the catalogues.

I believe these are either unfinished revenues from 1919, or possibly cut from unissused proof sheets.

The last stamp has been cut to shape from an unfinished sheet of a 1921 soviet printing that had been made on the reverse of the original 1919 sheet.

So the order of printing is opposite to what you might expect at first sight.

I would describe them all as printer's waste but they are fun none the less and collectable.

I used to visit Tbilisi on business and I have some very happy memories of my time there. :D
Nigel

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

I'd like to revisit Greek to look at a variant of the letter sigma, the lunate (moon-shaped) sigma.

This looks the same as the letter C used for our C or the Cyrillic C (=S).

This form was used for hundreds of years in both handwriting and inscriptions.

On stamps it has appeared most often in the country name, which would appear as ЄΛΛΑС instead of the usual ΕΛΛΑΣ (also with a variant upper-case epsilon):

Image

These forms often appear on stamps with a historical or religious context.

Less frequently, stamp inscriptions have also used these forms:

Image

Here two of the inscriptions write the name of the city of Thessaloniki / Salonica as ΘЄССΑΛΟΝΙΚΗ instead of ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗ.

The third stamp shows St Basil and his name Basileios appears on the right as ΒΑСΙΛЄΙΟС where the final sigma has a hook like the regular lower-case sigma.
Nigel

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thank you nigelc for your two latest contributions, both appreciated.
I'll split my responses into two posts, to keep the two subjects separate.

On the Georgian revenues, your comment about the order of printing
on the last one is doubtless correct, and reverses the mistaken chronology
I had in mind. Clearly the 500 maneti ["roubles"] stamp was a later design
than the 10 kapeiki ["kopeks"], because the arms on the 500m are evidently
those of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, whereas St George is the
heraldic figure on the 10k, indicating the Democratic Republic of Georgia.

In fact all three stamps I showed have the "later" stamps on the other side,
so they've been "rescued" even though the sheets were intended to be used
for the 500m issues. Perhaps currency inflation was the reason processing
of these 500m stamps was not completed.

Here is a 5000m (currency inflation!) from that set, with inscriptions matching
those on the earlier stamps, but new arms. (I found these images on eBay.)
Image
/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Now a follow-up comment on the Greek stamps shown by nigelc.

Thanks for bringing to our attention the Greek upper case inscriptions in which the final sigma
is the so-called Byzantine style C, reflecting the lower case final sigma ς. The ЄΛΛΑC style
is chosen to suggest ecclesiastical Greek, and written styles traditionally used in the Greek/Eastern
Orthodox Church — in keeping with the illustrations chosen for the stamps.

Moreover, your examples show words with internal C as well as in final position. As you noticed,
this Byzantine form influenced the choice of C over Σ for the Russian alphabet.
nigelc wrote:
Image

Here two of the inscriptions write the name of the city of Thessaloniki / Salonica as ΘЄССΑΛΟΝΙΚΗC
instead of ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗ. The third stamp shows St Basil and his name Basileios appears on the right
as ΒΑСΙΛЄΙΟС where the final sigma has a hook like the regular lower-case sigma.
The inscription on the third stamp is 'Ο 'ΑΓΙΟС ΒΑСΙΛΕΙΟС [ho ah-gee-os vah-sil-ey-os] St Basil.
Greek pronunciation of beta Β, β has shifted from 'b' to 'v'. (Compare with the Russian name
Василий Vasiliy.) The Greek word άγιος [(h)agios] saint appears in the English word hagiography.

The lower inscription on the middle stamp is ЄKΘЄСIC ΘЄССΑΛΟΝΙΚΗC [ek-they-sis thes-sah-lon-ee-kis]
Thessalonika Exhibition. I think it depicts St. George, but the words in the halo are far too tiny for me to read.

The first stamp is inscribed ΟA ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟC ΘЄССΑΛΟΝΙΚΗC [ho agios Dee-mee-tree-os ...] St Dimitrios
(of) Thessalonika
. The A within O is a compact abbreviation for 'Ο Άγιος [ho ag-ee-os] (the) Saint. The rendition
of ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟC has two ligatures [joined letters] ΜΗ and ΤΡ (just as 'ff' is a common ligature in printed English).
Also the sweeping curve at the end of each inscription on the left and right is not just a flourish, it's a version
of the final C.

If you would like to learn how handwritten Greek letters are "properly" written (where to start and end a letter, and which direction
to form the strokes), a good place to look is at https://www.foundalis.com/lan/hw/grkhandw.htm


/RogerE :D

[As usual, I hope any reader with more expert knowledge will correct any errors I've made. :wink: ]

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

The lower inscription on the middle stamp is ЄKΘЄСIC ΘЄССΑΛΟΝΙΚΗC [ek-they-sis thes-sah-lon-ee-kis]
Thessalonika Exhibition. I think it depicts St. George, but the words in the halo are far too tiny for me to read.
It needs a strong magnifying glass but the saint is identified once again as St Demetrios.

Here's a little more on St Demetrios of Thessaloniki:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demetrius_of_Thessaloniki

I agree though that this image brings to mind the depiction of St George on the stamps of Georgia, South Russia etc.

Here's a 1919 revenue from the Denikin Government in South Russia showing St George dealing with a very small dragon: :D

Image
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by norvic »

[quote=“RogerE”] The inscription on the third stamp is 'Ο 'ΑΓΙΟС ΒΑСΙΛΕΙΟС [ho ah-gee-os vah-sil-ey-os] St Basil.
Greek pronunciation of beta Β, β has shifted from 'b' to 'v'. (Compare with the Russian name
Василий Vasiliy.)[/quote]
The switch of B and V in pronunciation occurs elsewhere. I believe Latin American Spanish differs from European in the same way, though I can’t now remember instances.
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Following norvic's latest post, I've been looking further into "b/v" sound transitions.
In summary, this is not a difference between pronunciations of Spanish in different places,
but it is a "historical" phenomenon in the evolution of some languages. In this post I will
discuss two topics: (1) "b/v" sound transitions; (2) regional pronunciation variation in Spanish.

(1) Betacism, the pronunciation shift between 'b' and 'v'.

Evidently this linguistic phenomenon is named with reference to the Greek letter beta Β, β
(with pronunciation having changed from 'b' historically to 'v' in modern Greek).

Wikipedia has a helpful discussion at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betacism
Wikipedia wrote:In historical linguistics, betacism (UK: /ˈbiːtəsɪzəm/, US: /ˈbeɪ-/) is a sound change
in which 'b' (... as in bane) and 'v' (... as in vane) are confused. The final result of the
process can be both /b/ → 'v' or /v/ → 'b'. Betacism is a fairly common phenomenon;
it has taken place in Hokkien, Greek, Hebrew and some Iberian Romances, like Spanish...

Betacism in medieval Latin:
A famous medieval Latin saying states Beati hispani, quibus vivere bibere est
Fortunate are the Spaniards, for whom living is drinking. The saying is a pun
referring to the fact that the Iberians would generally pronounce the letter 'v' the
same as 'b'... In Latin, the words vivereto live and bibereto drink differ only
by the use of the letters 'v' and 'b', [indistinguishable] in the Iberian pronunciation.
(2) regional pronunciation variations in Spanish.

A nice discussion of differences in Spanish between Spain and
Latin America is given by Darla Hadec at
https://www.speakeasybcn.com/en/blog/the-differences-between ... in-america
Darla Hudec wrote:The greatest difference one might hear between the Spanish spoken in Spain and
the Spanish in Latin America is the pronunciation of the Z and C (before I or E).
In Latin America, these two letters are pronounced as S, while in Spain you would
hear a TH sound. For this reason, a Spanish speaker from Barcelona would pronounce
the name of their hometown as Barthelona.

Example: la taza es azulthe cup is blue
In Spain, it would sound like: la ta[th]a es a[th]ul
In Latin America, you would hear: la ta[s]a es a[s]ul

In parts of Argentina and Uruguay, the double LL and Y sounds are pronounced
like an English SH, while other Spanish speakers would pronounce it as a Y sound.

Example: está lloviendo en la playait's raining on the beach.
In Argentina, you would hear: está [sh]oviendo en la pla[sh]a
Everywhere else: está [y]oviendo en la playa.
/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thanks nigelc for your latest post on this thread, helpful as always. :D
nigelc wrote:
Here's a 1919 revenue from the Denikin Government in South Russia
showing St George dealing with a very small dragon: :D

Image
Let's look briefly at the Russian inscriptions. They are actually in
upper case, but I will transcribe them in lower case.

гербовая марка [gair-bo-vah-yah mar-kah] – revenue stamp
Google translate could only suggest "stamp" for this text, whereas
the online translator PROMT.One handled it well :—
https://www.online-translator.com/Default.aspx/Text

The currency abbreviation is
руб = рубля [roob-lyah] - roubles.

In fact counting numbers of roubles reveals three forms of the currency name:
a singular (рубль), a "small plural" (рубля) and a "larger plural" (рублей). The
"larger plural" is used when there are more than four.
один рубль [ah-deen roob-lə] - one rouble
два рубля [dvah roob-lyah] - two roubles
три рубля [tree roob-lyah] - three roubles
четыре рубля [tcheh-teer-yeh roob-lyah] - four roubles
пять рублей [pyaht roob-lay] - five roubles
десять рублей [dyes-yaht roob-lay] – ten roubles.

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by cursus »

Some precisions on your Spanish statements.

First of all. Spanish is the language of the Central part of the Iberian peninsula, what is called Castilla, Cantabria, Extremadura, Murcia and Andalucia. On the West it's spoken Galician (NW) and Portuguese (W).
On the Mediterranean coast: Valencia, Catalonia and Balearic Islands, we speak Catalan, another Latin language; although many people also speak Spanish, it's not our natural language.
I can speak Spanish, but I do as a foreign language, as English or French.
Actually, people from Castilla say thay we speak Spanish "with a funny accent" and they call us "Polish".
Instead of using our city as an example of a Spanish speaking city, you should have chosen a properly Spanish one: like Madrid, Burgos or Valladolid.
As a Catalan from Barcelona, I find your choice of someone from Barcelona (the capital of Catalonia) as an example of a Spanish speaker, utterly offenssive for the people fighting against the Spanish genocide of Catalan language and culture.
Spanish, in Barcelona as all around Catalan Speaking Lands is a Language imposed by the force. Nowadays, we've people on exile and in prisons.
I truly, didn't expect this from, what I though, friendly Australian people.
But, it's clear that I don't have any need of visiting this forum. So, I quit, for good. It has been a pleasure until now. Bye
I collect: Estonia 1990-1992 Postal History. Barcelona Postal History and postmarks. Catalan cinderellas. Botanical gardens. Ice creams on stamps. Used UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria & Scandinavia.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Shall we look at some Bulgarian stamps and their inscriptions?

In his post on [Sun May 17, 2020 21:56:14 pm] new member Alec13 = Alessio
began with these two nice Bulgarian stamps. I've been planning to get back to
them ever since. Finally the time has come! :D
Alec13 wrote:Great thread RogerE, really interesting!

My personal experience with stamps and languages started as a kid, with my
first stamps from Bulgaria, which have the name of the country in both the
Roman and Cyrillic alphabet (Bulgaria and България) and helped me recognize
all the other issues from the country.
Image
Bulgaria: Europa stamps, 1991, Meteosat and Ariane Rocket, Sc 3612-13
If you think the inscription България looks as though Bulgarian uses the Russian
alphabet
, you are not far from the truth. In fact, the Bulgarian alphabet has 30 letters,
and is a subset of the Russian alphabet, which has those 30 letters and three more!
The modern Bulgarian alphabet

Image

The old Bulgarian alphabet
Българьска азъбoукы [Now: Българска азбука]

Image
Christo Tamarin wrote:As per year 1900, the Bulgarian alphabet had the letter Ѫ missing in the Russian
alphabet
, and the Russian alphabet had several letters not in Bulgarian: Ы, I, Э, Θ, Ѵ, Ё.

In 1918, the following letters were dropped out from the Russian alphabet : Ѣ, I, Θ, Ѵ.
So, as per 1918, there were three Russian letters (Ы, Э, Ё) missing in Bulgarian, and
there were two Bulgarian letters (Ѣ, Ѫ) missing in Russian.

In 1945, after the Soviet occupation, those two Bulgarian letters Ѣ, Ѫ which were
missing in the Russian alphabet were banned by the communists. I am trying to
restore the usage of Ѣ, Ѫ in my online publications in Bulgarian.

As per today, the Bulgarian alphabet is a subset of the Russian one (three Russian
letters Ы, Э, Ё missing in Bulgarian).
https://www.quora.com/Do-Bulgaria-and-Russia-have-the-same-alphabet

The Bulgarian pronunciation of the letters in the Bulgarian alphabet is not entirely
the same as theirRussian pronunciation.
Notice that the postage stamps are inscribed поща [posh-tah] mail, post, postage,
where щ is pronounced [sht] (like шт), much softer than the Russian equivalent [sh-tch]
(like шч). The letter is written in an older style, like a vertically-arranged ligature of шт.

To finish this post, let's look at some much older Bulgarian stamps:
Image

Bulgaria: 1881 definitive stamps, Sc 6-11; several with nice pentagram cancels
All are inscribed Българска поща [bool-gar-skah posh-tah] Bulgarian Post
The denominations are
Три стотинки [Tri stotinki] Three stotinki
Петь стотинки [Pet stotinki] Five stotinki
Десеть стотинки [Deset stotinki] Ten stotinki
Петнайдесеть стотинки [Petnaideset stotinki] Fifteen stotinki
Двадесеть и пет стотинки [Dvadeset i pet stotinki] Twenty-five stotinki
Тридесеть стотинки [Trideset stotinki] Thirty stotinki.
Modern spellings of these numbers have simplified slightly, including the final 'ь' now omitted.

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Woops! Some unintentional treading-on-toes in my recent Spanish post :o
Sorry cursus, your post appeared while I was in the middle of my post on
Bulgarian. I'm now responding at the earliest opportunity. :o

The point of the quotation I included was to illustrate the pronunciation
differences between Castillian Spanish and Latin American Spanish. It
would have been more politically sensitive if the source had said simply:
In Castillian Spanish Barcelona would be pronounced as Bar[th]elona.

Barcelona is internationally famous, so it was probably chosen as a very
familiar example. On the other hand, cerveza - beer would have been a
suitable "neutral" example:
In Latin American Spanish, cerveza is pronounced "[s]erve[s]a".
In Castillian Spanish, cerveza is pronounced "[th]erve[th]a".

Disavowal:
I am fully aware that Catalan is the "home language" in Barcelona. My wife and I spent
a week in Barcelona several years ago, and it is probably our favourite city in the whole
world. We loved the architecture, the music, and the artistic flair of the people. I also
learnt some Catalan while we were there. I assure cursus there is no way that I would
disrespect Catalan society and traditions.


/RogerE :D
.

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Post by RogerE »

It's now time to say something about the Cyrillic alphabet generally,
to complement posts already in this thread on Russian and Bulgarian,
and also relevant posts on Greek.

How widely is Cyrillic script used?
Wikipedia wrote:The Cyrillic script (/sɪˈrɪlɪk/) is a writing system used for various
languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in Slavic,
Turkic, Mongolic, and Iranic-speaking countries in Eastern Europe,
the Caucasus, Central Asia and Northern Asia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrillic_script

What motivated the creation of Cyrillic script?
The early Cyrillic alphabet was brewed up by disciples of Cyril
and Methodius to spread the word of the Bible in the Old Slavonic
language. It was also created to drive a wedge between the new
parish of the East and the [Latin-based] Catholic parish in Europe...
In some Balkan states, and later in the ninth and 10th centuries in
Kievan Rus, Cyrillic helped to underline the difference between
Orthodoxy and Catholicism.
https://www.rbth.com/education/330108-4-reasons-why-russians-use-cyrillic

What did the early Cyrillic script look like?

The next three screenshots are from the Wikipedia link above.

Image

Two portions of the old Cyrillic alphabet are shown next, including
their names and pronunciations. The Wikipedia link tabulates this
information for the whole alphabet.

Note that the first two letters, called азъ and боyкъΙ together
generate Bulgarian and Russian азбука [az-boo-kah] alphabet
(the analogue of English "ABC"). Compare with Russian алфавит
[ahl-fa-veet] alphabet, from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet:
alpha α, beta β, exactly the same origin as English alphabet.

Image

From the twenty-first letter оyкъ (two forms), we have

Image

Note that the twenty-eighth letter ща [shta] has a form suggesting a vertical ligature
of шт. This form appears on Bulgarian postage stamps, in поща [poshta].

What is Glagolitic script?
Wikipedia wrote:The Glagolitic script (/ˌɡlæɡəˈlɪtɪk/) is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. It is generally
agreed to have been created in the 9th century by Saint Cyril, a Byzantine monk from
Thessaloniki. He and his brother, Saint Methodius, were sent by the Byzantine Emperor
Michael III in 863 to Great Moravia to spread Christianity among the West Slavs...

The name was not created until many centuries after the script's creation, and comes
from the Old Church Slavonic глаголъ [glagolŭ] utterance...

The Glagolitic script is older than Cyrillic script which also uses some of its letters.
The exact nature of relationship between the Glagolitic and the Cyrillic scripts has
been historically a matter of great study, controversy and dispute in Slavic studies.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glagolitic_script

/RogerE

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by cursus »

I've got a very nice and clarifiying e-mail from Roger, that honours Australian people.
Thank you very much! Everything is clear now, and I'm happy to be back.

I know that, whenever I'm with Aussie mates, I'm with friends!
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Thanks cursus, I'm glad we could work that out. :D

If I later make a post about Catalan, I hope you'll help by
adding your own comments and/or corrections. :D

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Another Bulgarian post. The inscriptions on this 1912 set are in a
deliberately elaborate version of the old Bulgarian alphabet, to
suggest/invoke prestige towards Bulgarian royalty at that time.
Image

Bulgaria: 1912, Tsar Ferdinand, 25th anniversary, Sc 101–103, Y&T 91–93
The inscription is
ФЕРДИНАНДЪ I ЦАРЬ НА БЪЛГАРИТIЪ 1887–1912
[fair-dee-nahnd I tsar nah bul-gar-ee-tye]
Ferdinand I Tsar of the Bulgarians 1887–1912

The currency abbreviation is
СТ = СТOTИНKИ [stot-een-kee] stotinks

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

And now for something completely different...

Let's look at the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet,
often called the NATO code, or the ICAO phonetic alphabet.
(ICAO = International Civil Aviation Organization). It is also known
as the ITU alphabet (ITU = International Telecommunication Union).

The beginning "ALFA", "BRAVO" is very familiar, as are some later letters,
like "FOXTROT", "SIERRA" and "XRAY", but you might find it more difficult
to remember how to say the letters I, M, P, or W. This is your opportunity
to run through the full list a few times and practise the less familiar letters.
Notice also that the digit names are included, so practise them as well. :D
Image
The Wikipedia article on the NATO phonetic alphabet includes a table
with pronunciations, and incidentally adds the Morse Code as well.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet
Image

Image

Image
The alphabet evolved over several decades, especially during WWII, with much
serious research done to optimise intelligibility under very noisy conditions.
The early 1950s saw the current version widely adopted.

The matter of spelling ALFA and JULIETT has this underpinning:
Wikipedia wrote:In the official version of the alphabet, the non-English spellings Alfa and Juliett
are used. Alfa is spelled with an f as it is in most European languages because
the English and French spelling alpha would not be pronounced properly by
native speakers of some other languages – who may not know that ph should
be pronounced as f.
Juliett is spelled with a tt for French speakers, because they may otherwise treat
a single final t as silent. Some published versions incorrectly list "alpha" and "juliet"
— presumably because of the use of spell checker software — but those spellings
are never correct and should be changed back to "alfa" and "juliett" wherever such
mistakes are found.
/RogerE :D

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Post by norvic »

That's the first time I have noticed it as Juliett - why not Juliette, which is the proper name (cf Victor)?
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Post by RogerE »

A few more notes about the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet,
variously called the ICAO/ITU/NATO phonetic alphabet.

This system is an acrophonic code for the letters of the English alphabet (that is,
the alphabet used for written English). The term acrophonic is directly from Greek
(think also of "acronym" and "Acropolis"):
Wikipedia wrote:Acrophony (/əˈkrɒfəni/; Greek: ἄκρος [akros] uppermost + φωνή [phoné] sound)
is the naming of letters of an alphabetic writing system so that a letter's name begins
with the letter itself.
The beginning and purpose of this system is summarised in this extract:
Wikipedia wrote:The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assigned codewords acrophonically
to the letters of the English alphabet, so that critical combinations of letters and numbers are
most likely to be pronounced and understood by those who exchange voice messages by
radio or telephone, regardless of language differences or the quality of the communication
channel
.

Such spelling alphabets are often called "phonetic alphabets", but they are unrelated to
phonetic transcription systems such as the International Phonetic Alphabet.
A great deal of close attention was paid to pronunciation, spelling, and recognizability
of the chosen code words.
Wikipedia wrote:Strict adherence to the prescribed spelling words — including the apparently misspelled
"Alfa" and "Juliett" — is required in order to avoid the problems of confusion that the
spelling alphabet is designed to overcome. A 1955 NATO memo stated that:

It is known that [the ICAO spelling alphabet] has been prepared only after the most
exhaustive tests on a scientific basis by several nations. One of the firmest conclusions
reached was that it was not practical to make an isolated change to clear confusion
between one pair of letters. To change one word involves reconsideration of the whole
alphabet to ensure that the change proposed to clear one confusion does not itself
introduce others.
The practical importance of the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet
is reflected in its wide adoption for use by many international and [U.S.] national
organizations, including:

• the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
• the International Telecommunication Union (ITU),
• the International Maritime Organization (IMO),
• the United States Federal Government (as Federal Standard 1037C etc)
• the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),
• the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU),
• the American Radio Relay League (ARRL),
• the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO);

Of course, it has also been adopted by military organizations such as
• the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
• the former Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet

/RogerE :D
Last edited by RogerE on 27 May 2020 13:47, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by cursus »

Not being a linguist, I would dare to say that both (Juliett and Juliette) are translations (English and French) of the Italian name "Giulietta", a diminutive of Giulia, coming from the Latin/Roman Julia/Julius (also written Iulia/Iulius). Whose origin can be traced to the tribe/gens of the same name, in old Rome.
So, IMO, neither is "the proper name".
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

That's the first time I have noticed it as Juliett - why not Juliette, which is the proper name (cf Victor)?
As Roger has noted, the change from "Juliet" to "Juliett" was to help French speakers sound the final T sound.

I guess if the form "Juliette" had been selected it could have created a different problem for some international users by suggesting an additional "e" syllable at the end.
Nigel

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Let's now look at another Indian stamp with Hindi inscriptions. This gives us another
small sample of the Devnagari alphabet to extend our acquaintance with it a little further.
Image

India 1969, 75p Gandhi Birth Centenary, SG 596
Indian stamps in recent years have typically been inscribed in Hindi and English.
The Hindi suits usage within India, while the English suits international usage.

• In Hindi, the name of the country is
भारत [bhaa-rat] India
[bh] भा [bhaa]
[r]
[t]
The long vowel [aa] is denoted by the vertical stroke after (on the right of) [bh].
The short vowel [a] is "understood" after [r], no symbol explicitly denotes [a].

• The unit of currency is the paisa, denoted by its abbreviation पै [pai]:
पैसा [pai-saa] paisa
[p] पै [pai]
[s] सा [saa]
The vowel [ai] is denoted by the double stroke placed on top of the [p].
The long vowel [aa] is denoted by the vertical stroke after (on the right of) [s].

• The name of the honoree Gandhi is at the top of the stamp in Hindi.
Note that there is no upper and lower case font distinctions in the Devnagari alphabet,
so the initial letter in Gandhi's name is not distinguished in any way from how it would
appear in any other word.
गांधी [gaan-dhee] Gandhi
[g] गा [gaa] गां [gaan]
[dh] धी [dhee]
The long vowel [aa] is denoted by the vertical stroke after (on the right of) [g];
that vowel is nasalised by the dot above the vertical stroke, so it becomes [aan].
The long vowel [ee] is denoted by the vertical stroke with an ark above tying it to the [dh],

• The English "centenary" is matched by the Hindi at the top of the stamp:
शताब्दी [sha-taa-bdee] centenary
[sh]
[t] ता [taa]
[b, d] ब + द = ब्द [bd] ब्दी [bdee]
The consonant [sh] includes a vertical stroke (so the vertical stroke here is not a vowel);
the short vowel [a] is "understood" after [sh], no symbol explicitly denotes [a].
The long vowel [aa] is denoted by the vertical stroke after (on the right of) [t].
The consonants and [b, d] form the ligature ब्द [bd], which is followed by
the long vowel [ee] denoted by the vertical stroke with an ark above tying it to the ब्द [bd].

• The font used on the stamp for भारत [bhaa-rat] is "normal", whereas the font used for
गांधी शताब्दी [gaan-dhee sha-taa-bdee] is horizontally elongated, a stylistic choice.
This is most clearly noticable in the appearance of the letter [t] in the two inscriptions.

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Another Indian item with Hindi inscriptions for us to look at. :D

Cricket is undoubtedly the most popular sport in India. This item is
just one example of the importance India assigns to cricket:
Image

India stamp: 20p, Cricket Victories, First Day Cover, 30 Dec 1971
• The stamp has the country name in Hindi, at the top right:
भारत [bhaa-rat] India
(This was discussed in the previous post.)

• The descriptive inscription on the left side of the stamp
is repeated, more clearly, in the special first day cancel:
क्रिकेट [krih-ket] cricket
[k] [r] क + र = क्र [kr] क्रि [krih]
[k] के [keh]
[t]

विजय [vih-jay] victories
[v] वि [vih]
[j, ja] [y] जय [jay]

• The centre of the cancel has the inscription BOMBAY G.P.O.
The Hindi does not translate General Post Office, it simply transcribes the
English pronunciation of the three letters 'G', P', 'O'.
जी पी ओ [jee pee oh] "G.P.O."
[j] जी [jee]
[p] पी [pee]
[oh]

• I haven't been able to match the Hindi version of Bombay — can anyone help?
The modern name Mumbai in Hindi is
मुंबई [moom-bee] Mumbai
[m] मु [moo] मुं [moom] — the dot nasalises the vowel
[b, ba]
[ee]

• The top left corner of the cover is inscribed:
प्रथम [pra-tham] first
[p] [r] प + र = प्र [pr, pra]
[th, tha]
[m]

दिवस [dih-vas] day
[d] दि [dih]
[v, va]
[s]

आवरण [aa-va-ran] cover
[aa]
[v, va]
[r, ra]
[n]

Summary:
क्रिकेट विजय [krih-ket vih-jay]
cricket victories
प्रथम दिवस आवरण [pra-tham dee-vas aa-va-ran]
first day cover

/RogerE :D

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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by nigelc »

I haven't been able to match the Hindi version of Bombay — can anyone help?

The modern name Mumbai in Hindi is

मुंबई [moom-bee] Mumbai
Hi Roger,

The Hindi Wikipedia uses the following when referring to the former name:

बम्बई
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Stamp collector »

nigelc wrote:
I haven't been able to match the Hindi version of Bombay — can anyone help?

The modern name Mumbai in Hindi is

मुंबई [moom-bee] Mumbai
Hi Roger,

The Hindi Wikipedia uses the following when referring to the former name:

बम्बई
बम्बई (Pronounced: Bam- ba- e) was the word used by workers who spoke hindi and did not proper have knowledge of English.

बॉम्बे would be the direct word for Bombay.
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by Stamp collector »

मुंबई
Etymology
From मुंबा (mumbā, “the goddess Mumba”, the local mother goddess) +‎ आई (āī, “mother”).

The word Mumbai developed from Marathi, another language spoken in India.
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Re: Stamps motivate us to engage with languages

Post by RogerE »

Many thanks to nigelc and stamp collector for solving the problem
I was having with the Hindi version of "Bombay", and for giving further
information about spelling and etymology. Excellent contributions!
nigelc wrote:
I haven't been able to match the Hindi version of Bombay — can anyone help?

The modern name Mumbai in Hindi is

मुंबई [moom-bee] Mumbai
Hi Roger,

The Hindi Wikipedia uses the following when referring to the former name:

बम्बई
• I can now analyse the Hindi spelling of "Bombay"
on the first day cover, to complete the earlier information:
बम्बई [bam-bee] Bombay
[b, ba] बम [bam]
म + ब = म्ब [mb, mba]
[ee]

• The direct transliteration of "Bombay", thanks to stamp collector, is
बॉम्बे [bom-beh] Bombay.
[b, ba] बॉ [boh]
म + ब = म्ब [mb, mba]
म्बे [mbeh]

/RogerE :D

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