Cyrillization of French

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Russian uses phonetic transcription for the Cyrillization of its many loanwords from French. Some use is made of Cyrillic's iotation features to respresent French's front rounded vowels and etymologically-softened consonants.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Phonetic transcription is the visual representation of speech sounds. The most common type of phonetic transcription uses a phonetic alphabet, such as the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Cyrillization transcription of languages using other writing systems into Cyrillic script

Cyrillization is the process of rendering words of a language that normally uses a writing system other than Cyrillic script into the Cyrillic alphabet. Although such a process has often been carried out in an ad hoc fashion, the term "cyrillization" usually refers to a consistent system applied, for example, to transcribe names of German, Chinese, or English people and places for use in Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Macedonian or Bulgarian newspapers and books. Cyrillization is analogous to romanization, when words from a non-Latin-script-using language are rendered in the Latin alphabet for use



In the table below, the symbol ʲ represents either a "softened" consonant or the approximant /j/. When applicable, a softened consonant can be indicated in transcription either by a following iotified vowel or by ь .

Soft sign Cyrillic letter

The soft sign also known as the front yer or front er, is a letter of the Cyrillic script. In Old Church Slavonic, it represented a short front vowel. As with its companion, the back yer ⟨ъ⟩, the vowel phoneme that it designated was later partly dropped and partly merged with other vowels.

Russian transcription of French consonants
phoneme(s) grapheme(s)
[b]b б bateau-lavoir – бато-лавуар
[ʃ]ch ш Charles – Шарль
[d]d д Bordeaux – Бордо
[f]f, ph ф Foucault – Фуко
[ɡ]g, gu г Guillaume – Гийом
[ɲ]gn ньBoulogne – Булонь
hHumanité – Юманите
г Hugo – Гюго
Le Havre – Гавр
often in the case of h aspiré
[ʒ]j, g(e) ж Jean – Жан
[k] c, qu, k к Camus – Камю
[l]l льGilbert – Жильберbefore a consonant or at the end of a word
л Louvre – Луврbefore vowels
[lj]li льMontpellier – Монпелье
Camille – Камиль
[m]m м monde – монд
[n]n н Rhône – Рона
[p]p п Pierre – Пьер
[ʁ]r р Renoir – Ренуар
[s]s, ç, c с Rousseau – Руссо
[sj]ti сьLibération – Либерасьон
[t]t т pointe – пуэнт
[v]v в Verlaine – Верлен
[w]w в Gwénaël – Гвенаэльsometimes transliterated with у in loanwords from English




Xavier – Ксавье

Saint-Exupéry – Сент-Экзюпери

according to the pronunciation of the x
[j]y, i, il(l) й yeuse – йёз
Bayard – Байяр
Guillaume – Гийом
after a vowel or word-initially
ь Lavoisier – Лавуазьеafter a consonant
il(l)льMarseille – Марсельfrozen form
[z]z, s з Vierzon – Вьерзон

Doubled French consonants remain doubled in their Russian transcription: Rousseau – Руссо. Silent consonants (common in French) are generally not transcribed, except where they exist in the surface form due to liaison .

Liaison is the pronunciation of a latent word-final consonant immediately before a following vowel sound. Technically, it is a type of external sandhi, which is disrupted in pausa.


Russian transcription of French vowels
phoneme(s) grapheme(s)
[a], [ɑ]a, â а Charles – Шарль
[e], [ɛ]é, è, ê, ai, e е René – Рене
э Edmond – Эдмон
Citroën – Ситроэн
at the beginning of a word, following a vowel, or rarely for [ɛ] at the end of a word
[ø], [œ]eu, œ, œu ё Villedieu – Вильдьё ё is generally simplified to е in Russian
э Eugène – Эжен
Maheu – Маэ
at the beginning of a word, or after a vowel
[ə], —eCharles – Шарль e muet
е De Gaulle – Де Голльonly in cases where [ə] is usually pronounced, e.g., le , de , que , rebelle , etc.
[i]i, y и Village – Виляж
[o], [ɔ]o, au, ô o Rhône – Рона
[wa]oiуаTroyes – Труа
[u], [w]ouуLouvre – Лувр
[y], [ ɥ ]uюL'Humanité – Юманите
[ɑ̃]an, am, en, emан, амAmbroise – Амбруаз
Occidental – Оксиданталь
nasal vowels are written as the corresponding oral vowel followed by /n/ (or /m/ before /m, b, p/)
[ɛ̃]in, en, ainен, ем, эн, эмSaintes – Сент
Ain – Эн
[ɔ̃]on, omон, омComte – Конт
[œ̃]unен, ем, эн, эмVerdun – Верден
[wɛ̃]oinуэнpointe – пуэнт

Finally, the softened consonants modify the following vowels:

hard Russian vowelsofteningExamplesComments
After a vowel or йAfter a consonant or ь
ʲаяcognac – коньяк
Bayard – Байяр
ʲе ; ʲёие, йе ; йёье ; ьёtrieurтриер
Cahiers du cinéma Кайе дю синема
ээ never follows a softened consonant
ʲийиьиTilly – Тийи
ʲойоьоChillon – Шильон
ʲbefore a consonant or at the end of a word, softening is written with ь

Neither й nor ь are doubled.


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

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The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standardized representation of the sounds of spoken language. The IPA is used by lexicographers, foreign language students and teachers, linguists, speech-language pathologists, singers, actors, constructed language creators and translators.

Russian alphabet Alphabet that uses letters from the Cyrillic script

The Russian alphabet uses letters from the Cyrillic script to write the Russian language. The modern Russian alphabet consists of 33 letters.

Digraph (orthography) pair of characters used to write one phoneme

A digraph or digram is a pair of characters used in the orthography of a language to write either a single phoneme, or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined.

The Erzya language is spoken by about 37,000 people in the northern, eastern and north-western parts of the Republic of Mordovia and adjacent regions of Nizhny Novgorod, Chuvashia, Penza, Samara, Saratov, Orenburg, Ulyanovsk, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan in Russia. A diaspora can also be found in Armenia, Estonia as well as in Kazakhstan and other states of Central Asia. Erzya is currently written using Cyrillic with no modifications to the variant used by the Russian language. In Mordovia, Erzya is co-official with Moksha and Russian.

A yer is one of two letters in Cyrillic alphabets: ъ and ь. The Glagolitic alphabet used, as respective counterparts, the letters and . They originally represented phonemically the "ultra-short" vowels in Slavic languages, including Old Church Slavonic, and are collectively known as the yers.

Romanization of Russian Romanization of the Russian alphabet

Romanization of Russian is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic script into the Latin script.

Russian orthography

Russian orthography is formally considered to encompass spelling and punctuation. Russian spelling, which is quite phonemic in practice, is a mix of the morphological and phonetic principles, with a few etymological or historic forms, and occasional grammatical differentiation. The punctuation, originally based on Byzantine Greek, was in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries reformulated on the French and German models.

Yu (Cyrillic) Cyrillic letter

Yu is a letter of the Cyrillic script used in East Slavic and Bulgarian alphabets.

Yery Cyrillic letter

Yery, Yeru, Ery or Eru is a letter in the Cyrillic script. It represents the phoneme after non-palatalised (hard) consonants in the Belarusian and Russian alphabets.

The Ukrainian alphabet is the set of letters used to write Ukrainian, the official language of Ukraine. It is one of the national variations of the Cyrillic script. The modern Ukrainian alphabet consists of 33 letters.

In Slavic languages, iotation is a form of palatalization that occurs when a consonant comes into contact with a palatal approximant from the succeeding phoneme. The is represented by iota (ι) in the Cyrillic alphabet and the Greek alphabet on which it is based. For example, ni in English onion has the sound of iotated n. Iotation is a distinct phenomenon from Slavic first palatalization in which only the front vowels are involved, but the final result is similar.

The history of the Slavic languages stretches over 3000 years, from the point at which the ancestral Proto-Balto-Slavic language broke up into the modern-day Slavic languages which are today natively spoken in Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe as well as parts of North Asia and Central Asia.

Hard sign Cyrillic letter

The letter Ъ of the Cyrillic script is known as er goljam in the Bulgarian alphabet, as the hard sign in the modern Russian and Rusyn alphabets, and as debelo jer in pre-reform Serbian orthography. The letter is called back yer or back jer in the pre-reform Russian orthography, in Old East Slavic, and in Old Church Slavonic. Originally the yer denoted an ultra-short or reduced middle rounded vowel. It is one of two reduced vowels that are collectively known as the yers in Slavic philology.

This article deals with the phonology of the standard Ukrainian language.

The grammar of the Ukrainian language describes the phonological, morphological, and syntactical rules of the Ukrainian language. Ukrainian contains 7 cases and 2 numbers for its nominal declension and 2 aspects, 3 tenses, 3 moods, and 2 voices for its verbal conjugation. Adjectives must agree in number, gender, and case with their nouns.

In Russian, the term spelling rule is used to describe a number of rules relating to the spelling of words in the language that would appear in most cases to deviate from a strictly phonetic transcription.

Cyrillic alphabets Related alphabets based on Cyrillic scripts

Numerous Cyrillic alphabets are based on the Cyrillic script. The early Cyrillic alphabet was developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 9th century AD at the Preslav Literary School by Saint Clement of Ohrid and Saint Naum and replaced the earlier Glagolitic script developed by the Byzantine theologians Cyril and Methodius. It is the basis of alphabets used in various languages, past and present, in parts of Southeastern Europe and Northern Eurasia, especially those of Slavic origin, and non-Slavic languages influenced by Russian. As of 2011, around 252 million people in Eurasia use it as the official alphabet for their national languages. About half of them are in Russia. Cyrillic is one of the most-used writing systems in the world.

The Cyrillic script family contains a large number of specially treated two-letter combinations, or digraphs, but few of these are used in Slavic languages. In a few alphabets, trigraphs and even the occasional tetragraph are used.

Proto-Slavic proto-language

Proto-Slavic is the unattested, reconstructed proto-language of all the Slavic languages. It represents Slavic speech approximately from the 5th to 9th centuries AD. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writings have been found; scholars have reconstructed the language by applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic languages and by taking into account other Indo-European languages.