Re: Russian Phonetics #general

Stan Goodman <SPAM_FOILER@...>

On Fri, 3 Feb 2006 16:44:13 UTC, (Aubrey Jacobus)

It is classic genealogy trap -when is a slight spelling difference
significant and when is it mere coincidence -
with transliteration >from Cyrillic to Latin script often via Yiddish always
written without vowels an always present nightmare .
We have a case in point for years we suspected the Litvak families KLOSS and
KLASS were the same but had no proof. Very recently we were able to compare
two ship manifests one was a US 1905 immigrant Nachamia KLAS who fitted the
profile of Nick KLASS in Chicago perfectly now we find a US 1905 immigrant
Nechamia KLOSS who surely is Nick KLASS in Chicago , confirmed by the
destination address.
Can a Russian liguist comment on how such a confusion arose.
BTW KLOSS is a relatively common German name and KLASS is rare other than in
the USA.
Aubrey Jacobus
I do not style myself a linguist, but I can say the following:

1) In both Cyrillic and Latin handwriting, expecially some of the
execrable examples with which we have to deal, it is no great thing to
confuse a lower-case A with an O, or vice-versa. Judith's guess about
vowel pronunciation is equally likely. Take your pick.

2) As an aside: Contrary to what is written in the query above,
Yiddish, as an Indo-European language, is *never* written
without vowels, else its written form would be incomprehensible. It is
Hebrew, with other Afro-Asiatic languages, that is written without

Stan Goodman, Qiryat Tiv'on, Israel

ISMACH: Lomza Gubernia, Galicia, and Ukraina
HERTANU, ABRAMOVICI, LAUER: Dorohoi District, Romania
GRISARU, VATARU: Iasi, Dorohoi, and Mileanca, Romania

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MODERATOR NOTE: This discussion, which started with the practical
question of the identity of families in Lithuania and America with
similarly spelled names, has moved well into the realm of technical
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