Saturday, April 2, 2022

Fun With Ukrainian Language

 I watch, among others, this guy's analysis of the Ukraine War.  He is a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq and is quite interesting in the detail which which he examines the progress of the various "fronts."

You may recall during the Balkans Wars:

Before an emergency joint session of Congress yesterday, President Clinton announced US plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn region of Bosnia. The deployment, the largest of its kind in American history, will provide the region with the critically needed letters A,E,I,O and U, and is hoped to render countless Bosnian names more pronounceable.

"For six years, we have stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv and Tzlynhr and Glrm have been horribly butchered by millions around the world," Clinton said. "Today, the United States must finally stand up and say 'Enough.' It is time the people of Bosnia finally had some vowels in their incomprehensible words. The US is proud to lead the crusade in this noble endeavour."

Some Slavic languages do not require a vowel in every syllable.  This does not mean the spoken language has no vowel there; just that they are not written.  Pronounce Здравствуйте and you just naturally put a short a between З and д.  But reading transliterations of the Cyrillic place names where these vowels are not present can be quite confusing.  The guy that does those videos often apologizes for his attempts to pronounce the place namesToday he said, "Some of these place names look like someone dropped a keyboard."


  1. Or a California case of type.
    For those of us who are old coots and know what a California Case is/was.

  2. California Case? I am also an old California coot and this is unfamiliar. Share, please.

  3. In John Adams Junior High School, I took a Graphic Arts class, and one of the things we did besides silk screen was print shop, and we each got a tray of type that wasn't laid out alphabetically or some such reasonable arrangement, but as the type would have been received from the manufacturer, with some type contained in larger spaces, particularly E, T, and A. This arrangement was not transferred to other arrangements on receipt in California, but was given immediately to the printer who began to set type. As students, we had to memorize and be tested on which letters were contained in which spaces. Mnemonics such as "love my nephew harry." There were others but I forget, not having needed that in over fifty years. This shipping arrangement was called the "California Case", and for some unknown reason, it became the standard for storing type for use until the Linotype machine was invented, and the printer need only type.*

    *This was a unique arrangement just for the printers, and one line was supposedly Shrdlu, leading to sophomoric typographic errors involving d and l, particularly Day,