I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of Cyrillic…but I do have to admit, to a native English-speaker, it sure is one crazy alphabet.
First off, half of the letters are completely identical to Roman ones – yet pronounced completely differently. You have H but it’s pronounced like N, P is pronounced R, and У is pronounced oo. Then are the letters that look almost like a Roman letter – just a little strange, like they’re backwards or something. И is pronounced E, Й is pronounced Y, and Я is pronounced Ya.
And let’s not forget the numbers: З is pronounced Z; Or the back-to-back letters: Ж is pronounced G, S, or J. Or how about the ones that “sort of” resemble an existing letter: Ш is sh.
Yes, Cyrillic is a funny looking script indeed. I could almost imagine some linguist hundreds of years ago writing all the Roman letters & Arabic numbers on a bunch of tiles, tossing them up in the air, and letting them land on a mat with phonemes written on it. Wherever they land, in whatever orientation, that’s what they’ll be. “Okay now, here’s how we’ll write Russian: H will be N, backwards N will be E, P will be R, backwards R will be Y, and 3 will be Z. Hey, look at that – both I and O landed in the same square. We’ll write it Ю, and pronounce it U. Any questions?”
For a bit of fun, try sounding out the words as if the Cyrillic characters were Roman ones. Sometimes the results are nothing short of hilarious.
Anyone care for a POЯЛ burger? 😆