Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Russian palatalisation: M(y)edv(y)ed(y)ev and Domod(y)edovo

Two things I noticed recently when watching German news on television:

When the announcer mentions Russian President Medvedev, I hear a /j/ in the last syllable (and once I saw the spelling Medwedjew in a picture caption in the background—though Wikipedia claims, without citing a source, that that transcription is “wrong”), but when they show a segment with a correspondent in Russia, the /j/ sound seems to be in the second syllable instead: presumably related to the fact that the announcer knows mainly German while the foreign correspondent also knows Russian and pronounces it in a way closer to the original.

Similarly, when the explosion happened at Domodedovo airport, the announcer had something like “Domodjedowo” while the foreign correspondent something closer to “Damadjedawa”.

And coming back to Medvedev, it was interesting to follow the numerous interwiki links to see how his name is written in various languages (specifically, where palatalisation is indicated or not). For example, the Czech article seems to offer both Medveděv and Medvěděv. The only ones explicitly palatalising all three syllables were the Polish and Sorbian (Upper, Lower) versions. And I wonder the spelling in the Serbian article of his middle name as Анатољевич is best or whether it should have been Анатолјевич instead (to represent the Russian -лье-). And finally, I’m slightly amused by the Hungarian custom of transcribing Russian palatalised d as gy, as here with Medvegyev.

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