Pontic in Cyrillic orthography

By: | Post date: 2009-04-14 | Comments: 2 Comments
Posted in categories: Modern Greek, Writing Systems
Tags: ,

I’m perusing that Russian Pontian forum some more. The Pontic is done in Roman script by some (default foreign script these days, I suppose), and Cyrillic by others. The Mariupolitan I’d seen in print had a systematic mapping, including Дъ and Тъ for ð and θ. Things are more chaotic here: θ is usually ф—the default Russian transliteration—or с *shudder*, and ð is just д. On the other hand, at least one poster came up with гь for ɣ; and to my delight, one poster dealt with the notorious minimal pair of kʰi “not” vs. ki ‘and” by transliterating the former Tsakonian-style, as кхи. (Greek historical orthography ignores the phonetics here, and uses etymology instead: ‘κι < ουκί vs. κι. The Pontic spoken in Turkey maintains the initial vowel in , so they don’t have that problem.)

As happens in longstanding diasporas (and as Greeks in Greece prefer to ignore), the Russian Pontians do not immediately feel that Standard Greek is their language, or that they are Greeks (as opposed to “the same as Greeks”). I liked this exchange. (Pardon any misinterpretations—or better, comment to correct them.)

  • Elena S: И Кардия му тосо поли харисе гьяти акуса ромейка! Нэ, препи на вруме то Прасинос, ксери поли кала ромейка! “My heart was so gladdened to hear Romeic. [Which is what Pontians outside Greece call Pontic.] Yes, we must find Prasinos, he knows Romeic very well.”

    Better than Elena, presumably, since she’s slipped up and used a Standard Greek subjunctive. As Dima points out immediately…

  • Дима Топалов: Эко кхи ганево эленика. Калачепсон ромейка… “I don’t understand Hellenic. Speak Romeic!”
  • Elena S: мборо мборо алла ти мон ти глосса ине меси эллиника то ксеро поте имун стин еллада его ивра 70% ромейка логия.Ке кексеро кала ромейка нунизо, фело ке на мафено па. “I can, I can; but my language is half Hellenic, I know! When I was in Greece I found 70% of the words were Romeic. And I don’t know Romeic well, I know; but I am trying to learn.” [I was guessing a bit there, the Pontic dictionaries are at home.]
  • ЯнисСПБ: не, маса ти ромейка,хасон та эллиника.Ан са пас син Эллада панда эпорис акека кала намасанц ато ти хлосса. “Yes, learn Romeic, lose the Hellenic. If you go to Greece you can always learn that language quite well there.”
  • Дима Топалов: хриса лоя!!! “Golden words!”
  • Elena S: Ксерите педья оти ипе енан филос му а по тин еллада, Оти ромеяс ке елленес ехи ена ема. 🙂 “You know guys, what a friend of mine from Greece said. Romei and Hellenes have the same blood *wink*”

Indeed. Interestingly, a lot of the posters did end up in Greece—there’s been continuous migration from the former Soviet Union (Russia, Georgia, Ukraine) over the past 15-odd years. Haven’t got the time yet to check whether they stuck with Cyrillic or switched to Latin; but I didn’t notice Greek script from them 🙂


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