Bulgarian Judeo-Spanish Texts in Cyrillic.

Just today I learned that there was such a thing as Ladino written in Cyrillic script; Michael Studemund-Halévy has published “From Rashi to Cyrillic: Bulgarian Judeo-Spanish (Judezmo) Texts in Cyrillic” (chapter in a Brill book: “The Cyrillic alphabet was used for notes and letters, and later increasingly used in printing, especially for religious writings”), and you can see a page of “Ла салидура де Мицраимъ” (La salidura de Mitsraim ‘The exodus from Egypt’) at the Gorazd.org Facebook page: “Mainly in the 1st half of the 20th century, numerous books were issued in Sofia (Bulgaria) in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish).” It’s very odd, and nifty, to read what might as well be Spanish in Cyrillic!

Comments

  1. It’s very interesting to see how Ladino and standard Spanish diverge. When I read* salidura for a split second I was confused and then I thought of salt (because I’m hungry.) It was when I read the rest of the sentence that I realized that salidura is the equivalent of salida.

    Of course, it being Christmas time I also thought of the opposite, parallel flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, fleeing Herod.

    *RIP TinyCards. The discontinued flashcard app had a deck to learn the Cyrillic alphabet which is how I was able to slowly read the sentence above.

  2. Seems like it uses Russian spelling conventions though? Particularly the silent final ъ. Also a little surprised that ñ is ни rather than нь (or I guess њ if we’re going with non-Bulgarian South Slavic).

  3. J.W. Brewer says

    Perhaps if the Stalin-supported side had won the Late Unpleasantness of 1936-39 in Spain, the same Soviet script-reform commissars who had recently been wreaking bait-and-switch havoc in Central Asia etc. would have been parachuted in to explain why Cyrillic was actually a better match for the proletarian essence of Castilian?

  4. They never tried pushing Poland and Czechoslovakia to go Cyrillic, did they?

  5. Dave B, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaeo-Spanish says it is ניי in the Hebrew orphography (and ny in the modern Latin orphography).

    Maybe local users of Hebrew understand why it is יי, I do not:(

  6. You weren’t kidding about the silent final ъ which seems to be added to every single final consonant in that sample.

    Apparently Bulgarian used silent final ъ before the spelling reform of 1945 which dropped these. Today, ъ is only used as a vowel in Bulgarian.

  7. David Marjanović says

    They never tried pushing Poland and Czechoslovakia to go Cyrillic, did they?

    No – not even the Lithuanian, Latvian or Estonian SSRs. (I guess that would have come across really badly for historical reasons.) They did with the Karelian ASSR, though.

    (And Abkhaz was changed to the Georgian script while Stalin was alive, promptly undone afterwards.)

    For Greek and Yiddish they only pushed spelling reforms. The one for Yiddish seems to have consisted only of spelling out the vowels in Hebrew/Aramaic words. The Greek one is much more interesting (υ reset to /u/, every /i/ spelled ι…), but seems to have been forgotten.

  8. drasvi: Double yod signifies a consonantal /j/ (or I suppose palatalization), in contexts where a single yod could be interpreted as a vowel.

  9. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    The thing that surprises me about Ladino is how close it still is to Spanish, despite centuries of very little contact. It’s ridiculously hard to find samples of Ladino on the web, but there is one at https://www.language-museum.com/encyclopedia/l/ladino.php that is close to 100% intelligible to anyone who knows Spanish — better than Portuguese in that respect, and much better than Catalan — once one gets used to the weird spelling, though I had to cheat by looking at the English to understand “byervos”. Unfortunately the sample is an image, not text, so I can’t copy-paste.

  10. Stu Clayton says

    though I had to cheat by looking at the English to understand “byervos”

    Sigh, me too. Having it followed by muevos (?!) was no help.

  11. Paul David Magid (“Dmitri”), founder of goofball juggling troupe The Flying Karamazov Brothers, grew up speaking Ladino. He’s from Seattle, which has the largest Sephardi community in the United States.

  12. Bulgarian used both silent (in most dialects) final ь (and in some dialects not silent) and final ъ (in all dialects) to indicate what the inflected form would be, before the Soviet occupation.

  13. Jongseong Park : these days ъ is mostly used (when it comes to transliteration) from Turkish, but also sometimes Korean. Obviously Korean “eo”

  14. The Flying Karamazov Brothers were amazing. Their stage show was an astounding display of juggling, but they also did an impressive amount of ad-libbed comedy. The climax of their act, when I saw it, was playing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” by banging their juggling clubs against pressure sensors on their heads and chests to produce the notes, while also executing dance footwork that had them exchanging places, and tossing the clubs back and forth to one-another.

    However, that wasn’t the most impressive juggling feat. One of them, “the champ” (I think Dmitri), would attempt to juggle three objects provided by the audience. If he managed to keep them in the air for ten seconds, he got a standing ovation. If he failed, Smerdyakov gave him a pie in the face. People who knew about this feature of the act beforehand (which unfortunately my family and I did not) would bring things to toss onto the stage as possible juggling items. So at the proper time, people came forward and littered the stage with items, which were used during the remainder of the show, as props for the ad-libbed jokes. The audience got to vote for which items the champ would try to juggle, by the loudness of their applause. I don’t remember most of the things we voted on, but the winners were a long, unwieldy piece of driftwood, a gallon jug of water, and thick three-ring notebook full of paper. Impressively, the champ kept them in the air, on his third and last attempt, for about eight seconds, although he did ultimately get the pie in the face.

    As this was going on, they made jokes about the driftwood and the water jug. The latter was originally a milk jug, just refilled with water, and Ivan used the fact that it said “HOMO” on the lid to get the entire audience to yell that at him. But the notebook provided the most jokes. The brothers doing the voting initially seemed to be trying to hide the notebook—standing in front of it and not bringing it up for a vote—until people in the audience started yelling, “Notebook!” They then had a discussion about how this was local Portland, Oregon slang, meaning a friendly “hello.” After keeping this going for several minutes, they picked up the notebook, and it received a thunderous round of applause. However, for the rest of the performance, they replaced all greetings (between one-another or to the audience) with “Notebook!”

    There was also a very large teddy bear (the kind you might win at a carnival), and at one point, one of the brothers picked it up and pretended it was attacking him. That wouldn’t have been that clever or impressed, but another of the brothers pulled out a cap gun and pretended to shoot it. They left the now supposedly dead bear lying on the stage for a while, and a little later on, Smerdyakov picked up the chapstick I had thrown on stage (it was the only thing I had on my that I could part with) and pretended to use it to outline the corpse, saying that the police had asked him to do it.

  15. Sorry, I meant final ъ is only used in loans now. Usually Tukic names and usuallised as /ɐ/

  16. The toughest things I heard of the FKB being offered to juggle were a lidded styrofoam compartment tray full of Chinese takeout food, and a largish lead brick (which occasioned the 10 lb. limit rule).

  17. I hate new years: you always forget in which timezone everyone is in.

  18. This might be a problem for 1 April, but how is it a problem for the new year?

  19. D.O. : see, I want to go to sleep now: other people might just be waking up. The effect is quite different.

    Have you read Cory’s story “Eastern Standard Tribe”? I’m not a huge fan but he does make a point.

  20. I’m going to sleep now too. Gone are the days when I made a point of staying up past midnight…

  21. @ David: in the 1950s there were suggestions to introduce Cyrillic for Estonian and Latvian, but these were made by enthusiastic Estonian/Latvian communists at local meetings; they were never acted upon. Those making these suggestions were all, as far as I know, ethnic Estonians/Latvians, who had, however, spent many years in the USSR before returning with the Soviets in 1940 or after the war.

  22. One of the most curious things I find about Ladino in contrast to Spanish is its use of ‘sus’ (their) agreeing with the possessor and not the possessee. In the example linked by Athel Cornish-Bowden: “En Turkiya, los Sepharadim mantuvyeron sus lingua …”. In standard Spanish, that would be “su lingua”.

    Another curious feature (which does not show up in the linked texts, but I often see in songs) is that it not only allows the definite article before possessives (e.g., “la mia hija”), like Portuguese but unlike standard Spanish, but it also allows it even in vocative expressions (e.g., “Que tienes tu, la mi mujer?” [1], “Poco le das, la mi consuegra” [2]), which is not possible in Portuguese. How common is it for vocatives to take the definite article across world languages?

    [1] https://youtu.be/YGUzbV6-2hs
    [2] https://youtu.be/gqWmnzxxEgQ?t=61

  23. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    Having it followed by muevos (?!) was no help.

    The next sentence has Mozotros which at first sight I took for a typo, but maybe they share the Portuguese enthusiasm for eliminating the letter n. (I was in Lisbon in 1999 during the election, and the whole city was plastered with posters that said Em boas mãos, using all three of the favourite techniques for n-suppression: change it to m; omit it altogether; nasalize the preceding vowel. You may think I’m taking Spanish as the basic form, but in fact Latin has n wherever Spanish does: In bonis manibus.)

  24. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    One of the most curious things I find about Ladino in contrast to Spanish is its use of ‘sus’ (their) agreeing with the possessor and not the possessee.

    I didn’t notice that, possibly because that’s exacty what English does.

  25. My fave bit from the linked example is dayinda ‘still; to this day’ < L. deinde.

    I can’t find any unsyncopated examples in CORDE, even in Old Spanish; it’s dende as far back as i can see.

  26. Vítor De Araújo : thanks, you just put a Os Mutantes song back in my head that I can’t turn off, A Menha Menina. Oh god. Can you at least analyse that title for me?

    While we’re at it, we could also discuss the proper spelling of Dungen’s Du är for fin for mei (or Du E för Fin för Mig). Now there’s two of them. I’m in a vulnerable post-new-year state!

  27. @V: It’s a great song, so no regrets there. 😛 As for the title, as you probably figured out, it translates word-for-word as “the my girl”, with the definite article preceding the possessive. This construction is standard in Portuguese.

    One possible interesting tidbit there is that the “nh” in “minha” is a bit unexpected from an etymological perspective. It goes back to Old Portuguese ‘mĩa’ (at least according to Wiktionary), with a somewhat unexpected nasal ‘ĩ’, given that the word comes from Latin ‘mea’, with no nasal consonant between the vowels that would cause a nasal vowel in Portuguese, and nothing like this shows up in other Romance languages as far as I’m aware (except Galician, which is closely related). But Portuguese also does that with ‘mãe’ (mother, from Latin ‘mater’), so it seems sometimes vowels get nasalized by contact with a preceding ‘m’ as well.

  28. “La mi mujer”-type constructions are the standard in Italian. I don’t know if they arose independently in Ladino, or if there is some historical connection, or how widespread the construction is in Romance.

    Paging Etienne…

  29. They did with the Karelian ASSR, though.

    Did the Orthodox Karelians not already use Cyrillic?

  30. Trond Engen says

    V: While we’re at it, we could also discuss the proper spelling of Dungen’s Du är for fin for mei (or Du E för Fin för Mig).

    Swedish standard spelling would be “Du är för fin för mig.” Dungen chose “Du e …” in this song, but writes differently in other titles, even on the same album. I don’t think it reflects any difference in pronunciation, but I’ll happily leave the final word on that to an actually Swedish actual follower of the band.

  31. J.W. Brewer says

    Another Latin-scripted language that got Cyrillicized under Soviet rule was Romanian, although (a) this was mixed up with the fiction that a separate “Moldovan” language existed; and (b) it was you could say a recyrillization, since Romanian had only been romanized in the 19th century and I’m not clear on whether the romanization project had been fully implemented in Czarist-ruled Bessarabia before it got annexed by irredentist Romania in 1918.* On the other hand, the specific version of Cyrillic the Soviets used for their “Moldovan” was a new creation, rather than the revival of the old version that had been used a century-plus previous by all Romanian speakers who actually had any occasion to write things down in their L1.

    *It obviously may be significant that Soviet-satellite Romania (net of the territory Stalin stole) never recyrillicized, although of course it ended up being one of the more stroppy and independent-minded satellites.

  32. @J.W. Brewer: The semi-independent Romanian foreign policy of the 1960s and onward was, somewhat ironically, partially a byproduct of the Romanian communist government’s previously very strict adherence to Stalin’s dictates. Under Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Romania was known as one of the most compliant Soviet client states. However, Gheorghiu-Dej was appalled by de-Stalinization in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The partial political break with the Soviets and the country’s attempts to separate itself from the U.S.S.R. economically (first by trying to forge trade ties with the West, then, under Gheorghiu-Dej’s successor Nicolae Ceausescu, with an emphasis on Romanian autarky) was influenced by the Romanian leaderships’ refusal to toe the line for Soviet leaders they felt were weaker (and thus less legitimate) than Stalin had been. The continued control of Romanian by sub-Stalinists all the way up to 1989 has also been pointed to (although it is difficult to judge how much validity the argument has) as a reason for the Ceausescu regime’s significantly greater levels of brutality than what was seen in the other Warsaw Pact states.

    And since we are talking about alphabets, it’s also interesting to note that, as part of Ceausescu’s Romanian nationalist “Dacianism,” some authorities in the country resurrected the bogus nineteenth-century claim that there had existed a pre-Roman Dacian alphabet.

  33. J.W. Brewer says

    @Brett: I will freely concede that even by the generous standards of Balkan crackpot nationalist theorizing (about history, linguistics, and any other topic that can be enlisted to serve a modern political agenda), Romanian nationalism has often been (before, during, and after the unfortunate Communist interlude) an above-and-beyond outlier. Ceausescu also had the diabolically-brilliant ethno-nationalist insight that you could “purify” your population by selling off your ethnic minorities for under-the-table hard currency to well-heeled foreigners concerned about their welfare: Jews to Israel and Volksdeutsch to West Germany, in both cases increasing the dominant ethnicity’s percentage of the national population while also putting money in the till — if there had been at the time a regime in Budapest with enough hard currency to ransom ethnic-Magyars from Transylvania for such-and-such price per head, Ceausescu would no doubt have cashed in on that revenue stream as well.

  34. Albania famously broke off with the de-Stalinized USSR, though it found a new patron and buddy in China, not the West. Did Albania and Romania enjoy a period of friendship through commiseration?

  35. My fave bit from the linked example is dayinda ‘still; to this day’ < L. deinde.

    I think this form is very interesting too.

    Simple Judeo-Spanish ainda אינדה‎, etc., ‘still’ also apparently exists in some varieties. The vocalism of dainda דאינדה, etc. ‘still, yet’ recalls that of the problematic family of Portuguese ainda (earlier also just inda), Galician aínda, Asturian aínda, aína, enaína ‘still, yet’. (To my knowledge, the origin of this latter group of forms remains problematic. One finds the suggestion that Portuguese ainda (que) is from ab inde ad. I would like to find an in-depth study of these forms. Surely one must be out there.) In Elli Kohen and Dahlia Kohen-Gordon (2000) Ladino-English English-Ladino Concise Encyclopedic Dictionary (Judeo-Spanish), the origin of Judeo-Spanish ainda is simply given as ‘Portuguese’ (p. 13). For the Judeo-Spanish, has there been recent recomposition with de of earlier ainda? Or earlier influence from forms of the type of Spanish, Galician, Asturian dende ‘since’ on forms of the Portuguese type of ainda in Judeo-Spanish? FWIW, I couldn’t find forms of the dende ‘since’ type in any of the Judeo-Spanish dictionaries I consulted.

  36. David Marjanović says

    How common is it for vocatives to take the definite article across world languages?

    French routinely does it in the plural: Eh, les mecs ! “Hey, guys!”

    Did the Orthodox Karelians not already use Cyrillic?

    Oh! Uh… the short answer is yes.

    Did Albania and Romania enjoy a period of friendship through commiseration?

    No. When Enver Hoxha broke with China, he declared Albania had no friends.

  37. Giacomo Ponzetto says

    @Y:

    “La mi mujer”-type constructions are the standard in Italian.

    Generally, yes. Specifically, however, to make foreigners’ life harder Italian disallows that construction with family relationships. My lover is la mia amante but my wife is mia moglie.

    Catalan is more regular, almost exclusively employing both article and possessive. Hence, my wife is la meva dona. Article-less exceptions exist but use a special “weak” form of the possessive and their usage is now extremely restricted. His Majesty is always Sa Majestat. My mother can be either ma mare or la meva mare. Whether other relatives can take the weak pronoun any longer is debatable. As a non-native speaker, I wouldn’t dare say ma dona, though not all examples surfacing online are patently obsolete.

  38. J.W. Brewer says

    The flipside of Stalinist Albania’s isolation (from inter alia the Romanian regime) after the Chicoms also became “revisionist” following the death of Mao and the fall from grace of the “Gang of Four” circa ’76 was that a certain small-but-intense coterie of Western Marxoids then became devoted to the Hoxha regime as the last guardian of the True Flame, although as the Eighties wore on they had to compete with enthusiasts excited about the innovative revolutionary praxis of Chairman Gonzalo and the Shining Path in Peru. By contrast, Ceausescuism never really developed a coterie of weirdo foreign enthusiasts as a model for emulation.

  39. In the 1990 interim between the fall of communism in the Soviet satellite states and in Albania, I remember hearing several observers (both Albanian expatriates and international relations experts) suggesting that the Stalinist regime in Tirana would not give up power without violence. That it would be like Romania, but bloodier, was one prediction I definitely heard. However, the transition to democracy in Albania actually ended up probably being tied with the one in Bulgaria as the least dramatic. Perhaps if old man Hoxha had not died in the 1980s, he might have resisted the change much more intensely than his successors.

  40. “How common is it for vocatives to take the definite article across world languages?”

    It happens in Bulgarian. A is talking to C about B, and is using that construction with B’s name. It implies emotional closeness, I think.

  41. Lars Mathiesen (he/him/his) says

    I never fully came to terms with languages like Latin that have a genetive form of the personal pronoun as well as a fully-declined possessive adjective that is not a determiner — since Danish has no verbs that govern the genetive, and has promoted the possessive “pronoun” to a determiner (declined like an adjective after the indefinite article, i.e., “strongly”), I can’t help feeling that they are making an issue out of a very small detail.

    To my relief, Spanish has done exactly the same as Danish, so that’s one less thing to worry about.

    By the way, Latin meī as the genetive of ego is identical with the m.sg.gen. of meus. Would a Roman lady say miserēre meī or was there a special form for female speakers?

  42. V: I have advocated transcribing Bulgarian ъ as 어 eo in Korean, but the existing official transcription recommendations have 파르바노프 Pareubanopeu for Първанов, 벨리코투르노보 Belliko Tureunobo for Велико Търново and 카잔루크 Kajan-rukeu for Казанлък, rendering ъ inconsistently as ㅏ a or ㅜ u depending on the romanization they happened to consult on each occasion. Korean Wikipedia uses 퍼르바노프 Peoreubanopeu and 벨리코터르노보 Belliko Teoreunobo, agreeing with my recommendation for these two cases, but sticks with the official spelling instead of 카잔러크 Kajan-reokeu for Казанлък.

  43. J.W. Brewer says

    That vocative-with-definite-article thing occurs in Greek, or at least in Patristic/Byzantine Greek E.g., Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός (“Holy the God”). A separate online source sez, FWIW, that both θεός and θεέ are attested as vocative singular forms. I was also thinking of Elizabeth referring to Mary in Luke 1:43 as ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Κυρίου μου (“the mother of-the Lord my” – so also the separate thing of the possessive pronoun NOT making the definite article unnecessary), but that’s probably better analyzed as a third-party reference even though made in direct address to the “third party” so described.

  44. ἰδοὺ εἶ καλή ἡ πλησίον μου…

  45. David Eddyshaw says

    How common is it for vocatives to take the definite article across world languages?

    Not in Western Oti-Volta: Pʋg-sada! “Young woman!” (Overheard: lifeguard to a girl diving overenthusiastically into a swimming pool in a posh hotel in Ouagoudougou. I tell you, linguistic fieldwork is gruelling.)

    Happens a lot in Middle Welsh, though: Pan doy di, yr yscolheic? “Whence comest thou, clerk?”

  46. Arabic has both, depending on the vocative particle: yā is not followed by the definite article, but ayyuhā is. Thus yā walad vs. (yā) ayyuhā l-walad “hey, boy!” (Seems more idiomatic to render it like this than as “O boy!”)

  47. In Hebrew, both Modern and Biblical, when addressing by title, you use the definite article just as you would in any other context. You address a teacher as הַמּוֹרֶה hamoré ‘the teacher’. In contrast (?), Zechariah 3:2 has יִגְעַר יְהוָה בְּךָ הַשָּׂטָן yig‘ar yhwh bĕḵā haśāṭān ‘Yhwh rebuke you, the prosecutor [Satan]’.

  48. David Marjanović says

    was there a special form for female speakers?

    No. Lack of gender distinctions in the genitive and dative is a consistent feature of the pronominal declension class.

  49. I never fully came to terms with languages like Latin that have a genetive form of the personal pronoun as well as a fully-declined possessive adjective that is not a determiner

    I don’t have a problem with it in general, but I don’t understand Russian constructions like “Я, быть может, несчастна не меньше твоего” [I may be no less unhappy than you] (from Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya); why is it твоего (the possessive adjective) rather than тебя (the pronoun)?

  50. PlasticPaddy says
  51. Thanks, that’s very useful!

  52. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    How common is it for vocatives to take the definite article across world languages?

    There is one instance that is very common in colloquial French when a young woman is speaking to a group of other young women (typically her friends). She will typically start by addressing them as Hé ! les filles ! Probably if she were working as an Institutrice in an elementary school she might call the children to order with Hé ! Les enfants !

    I can imagine a political speech starting with Hé ! les Enfants de la Patrie ! but I can’t swear that I’ve ever heard it.

  53. Catalan used the personal article in vocatives up to the 15th century, but I don’t think any dialects have preserved it.

    This article has some nice historical examples:

    na donzella, aveus ací Alí Baxà ‘o maiden, here you have Alí Baxà’
    ay, na beneyta — dix la duquessa — y com sou tota plena de lealtea ‘“oh, you silly”, said the Duchess, “and how are you so full of loyalty?”’

  54. “Я, быть может, несчастна не меньше твоего/[or тебя]”

    Does anyone know what is going on here? I am much intrigued. Imagining some genetive/accusative confusion and Church Slavonic vs. demotic Russian forms.

  55. @Y (belatedly):

    Not during Stalin’s rule, but in Tsarist times, when Poland and the Baltic states were part of the Empire, there were efforts to force the Poles and (i think) Lithuanians to write in cyrillic.

  56. There might be something similar in Austro-Bavarian German also. “This (A*) person is acting like your B” (in English) — a native speaker (of Austro-Bavarian) talking about a newly-met person (in Austria, in English, by a native Austrian).

    * A and B are placeholders for names; A is Austrian, B is Scottish.

    Anyway, the point is that person used a possessive pronoun with B: about a friend of mine.

  57. David Marjanović says

    I suppose context makes clear it was your and not you’re?

    What I’d actually go for in German is bei euch, which translates 1 : 1 into French as chez vous, but is harder to render in English.

  58. It was “your”, definitely not “you’re”.

  59. D.O. “Imagining some genetive/accusative confusion and Church Slavonic vs. demotic Russian forms.”

    That’s almost certainly it. I would guess the shoter form is the CS and the longer the demotic. It might be the other way around but that’s it, I think.

  60. Yes, that makes sense to me too.

  61. My mother, a native Bulgarian speaker who studied Russian in school in the ’70s said she would use тебя.

  62. An article on Ladino, pleasantly substantial.

  63. Yes, that’s quite nice:

    Contopoulou’s parents spoke Ladino to each other and in their community in Rhodes, but her parents spoke to her in Greek, Italian, and French. Those were the languages that allowed Contopoulou to assimilate to the communities they moved to. Once in the United States, Contopoulou married a Greek Orthodox man and spoke only English and Greek to her own children.

    Contopoulou’s family story shows, in one lifetime, the trajectory of Ladino speakers over thousands of years—a story hidden in the makeup of the language. Sephardic Jews have kept their connection to Spain for more than 500 years through their language. But over time, that language took on borrowed words and phrases which are now interspersed throughout the language. Take, for example, the word in Ladino for Sunday, alhad, which is from Arabic’s al-ahad. Orozo/oroza, meaning “happy,” is from the French heureux/heureuse. Buchukes, or “twins,” originates from Turkish’s buçuk, meaning “half.” The Hebrew mazal tov, meaning “good luck,” or “congratulations,” is mazal bueno in Ladino. 

  64. I was reading that article aloud in Spanish without a bump till I hit “par egzampl.”

  65. John Cowan says

    Jan van Steenburgen’s article “Ортографя цырылицка для ѩзыка польскего” describes the 19C cyrillicization of Polish (as distinct from the modern one). It has the curious property of using the ogonek (a very Latin-script diacritic) on Cyrillic letters thus: <iа̨, э̨, я̨ and е̨. Van Steenburgen's own (non-serious, he's not a tsar) proposal uses the archaic yus letters ѫ, ѧ, ѭ and ѩ instead, and also uses the final soft sign etymologically (that is, when the inflected forms are soft), thus Вроцлавь for Wrocław even though the final /v/ cannot be soft, because the genitive is Wrocławia (as opposed to, say, Krakowa).

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