Cyrillics, was: Re: Russian orthography (was: ...
|From:||Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>|
|Date:||Friday, February 4, 2000, 18:21|
On Mon, 31 Jan 2000 11:48:07 -0500, John Cowan <jcowan@...>
>Odd historical note: Why does U look like Latin "Y", but YU like
>Latin "IO" with a ligature between? Peter the Great. Originally
>the sound /u/ was written OY, as in mediaeval and modern Greek
>(omicron upsilon), and /ju/ was the same with an I ligatured
>in front: I-OY. When Peter reformed the alphabet, he shortened
>I-OY to just I-O, and OY to just Y.
A belated minor correction:
The ligature I-O (without ypsilon) was used long before Peter I. Actually,
I don't remember if I-OY has ever been in use; it *is* mentioned in
the literature, but only hypothetically (AFAIK).
There are more such ligatures. Modern 'JA' is originally I-A; in early
Slavonic manuscripts, there are also I-E, I-E~ (with 'small YUS'), and
I-O~ (with 'big YUS'). BTW, 'YERU' - Oh... :( - is a ligature 'hard sign'
+ iota (not 'soft sign', as it may seem because of its modern shape).
Simply 'Y' instead of 'OY' also has a long tradition of use (BTW,
reflected in the popular Russian forms of some names, e. g. _Lukerya_
It seems that Peter picked up what was already in use, selecting such
forms that resembled the Roman letters most.