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    Re: Mid XIX century Nav
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2005 Nov 20, 16:35 -0500

    Dear Herbert,
    
    On Sun, 20 Nov 2005, Herbert Prinz wrote:
    > >...the famous Russian naval officer I.F.  Kruzenshtern in about 1805...
    >
    > Speaking of difficulties with transliteration... If linguistics were a
    > science, one could at least expect that transliteration is an injective
    > and surjective mapping
    
    Oh, come on:-) If the US and other English-speaking countries
    were a totalitarian empire, we would have something like uniform
    transliteration:-) Linguistic might be a science, but the rules
    of transliteration is not a science, but just an arbitrary decision.
    
    And everyone makes his/her own decision.
    
    > "Krusenstern" is a German name. It's a miracle how
    > the back-transliteration of its transliteration into cyrillic became
    > "Kruzenshtern".
    
    He was born and died in Revel (Latvia). There is no doubt that he himself
    would spell his name as Krusenstern (as I do, btw).
    But once transliterated into Russian, and back to any Latin-alphabet
    language it should look like Kruzenshtern.
    
    And there is no way out of it: Russian alphabet has more letters
    than Latin alphabet, and the letters are very different. So,
    in Russian,
    they have to follow the pronounciation
    in their transliterations.
    So "st" from German is naturally transliterated differently
    in Russian than "st" from English. And when you transliterate
    back to English you get "Kruzenshtern".
    
    Another typical example: once I wrote a math paper in Russian
    with a US co-author called Shea, and in the reference list we
    had a famous German mathematician Siegel.
    The paper was translated to English, and my co-author became
    Shia, while the famous German mathematician became Zigel:-)
    
    > transliterations, the poor guy might end up being called "Crusiks"
    > again. (That's apparently what the family started out with before one of
    > them became a nobleman and adopted a more distinguished name.)
    
    This I doubt. "Stern" is clearly from "star", what "Kruse" or "Cruse"
    means, I don't know. "Kreuz" is "cross".
    
    Alex.
    
    
    

       
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