JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Hersh vs Gersh #general

A.Sharon <a.sharon@...>

Howard M. Rensin wrote:

I have heard that the name Hersh does not really exist in
Russian and that it is Gersh. The use of Hersh is a 'yiddishized'
adaptation. Since this might be important in Russian research,
does anyone know if this is correct?

Howard M. Rensin,

Russian alphabet does not have an equivalent or sound of the Latin
letter "H". This sound and letter are substituted with the letter "G"
which in Russian appears as Greek letter "Gamma". Subsequently, Hersh
will be written and sound in Russian as Gersh, and Honduras will be
Gonduras and Haiti will be Gaiti, and Honolulu will be Gonolulu. And
obviously in Russian, Henrich is Gienrich, Herman is German, Heine is
Geine, and even the poor prince Hamlet is known to Russians as Gamlet.
And your name, Howard will be known as Gavard. by the way, name Hersh is
actually pronounced as Gyersh.

On the other hand, sometimes "H" is replace with the letter and sound
"X" which in Russian is an equivalent to the sound "Kh", like in
Khrushchev. And in this case Haim, is known as Xaim (Chaim, Khaim) and
Hanna as Xana (Chana or Khana), and Helsinki is known as Khelsinki and
beautiful Haifa is just a plain Khaifa.

Sometimes Russians drop letter "H" altogether (as in Hebrew "hey"), and
in this case in Russian, Hindustan is known as "Industan", and the Spain
(Hispania) is known as "Ispania".

To amuse you and to provide some more confusion to this issue:
Ukrainians do not pronounce letter "G" at all, this is pronounced as
Written "Gersh" is pronounced as "Hersh", which brings as fortunately
back to the square one of this discussion

Why this particular Gersh - Hersh combination bothers you anyway?
Russians didn't write names in Latin characters, and on top of
everything, all hand written records were in a mercy of a drunk
anti-Semitic scribe, who was paid by the Tzar's government, and his job
was to make life miserable to our poor ancestors and, consequently to
the all of us.

If you seriously consider to carry out research of the original sources,
you should master Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet and perhaps take some
basic Russian. It should be a bit easier than studies for Barmitzva.

Alexander Sharon,
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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