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Latvian Collecting

Converting Cyrillic characters to English

Converting Cyrillic characters to English often helps decipher Cyrillic text on cancels, stamp designs, or labels. Р И Г А, for example, converts to RIGA, the capital city of Latvia. The following table is from Andrejs Petrevics' [†] "The Cyrillic Alphabet" in The Latvian Collector, which is attributed to P.J. Campbell, Rossica Journal, no. 85, 1973.

Cyrillic English English pronounciation
А  а A  a farm
Б  б B  b bottle
В  в V  v value
Г  г G  g go
Д  д D  d dog
Е  е Ye  ye yet
Ж  ж Zh  zh azure
З  з Z  z zone
И  и I  i feet
Й  й Y  y by
К  к K  k kid
Л  л L  l law
М  м M  m money
Н  н N  n not
О  о O  o awe
П  п P  p pot
Р  р R  r thrice
С  с S  s soot
Т  т T  t tore
У  у U  u super
Ф  ф F  f four
Х  х Kh  kh loch
Ц  ц Ts  ts its
Ч  ч Ch  ch church
Ш  ш Sh  sh ship
Щ  щ Shch  shch fresh cheese
Ы  ы Y  y buoy
Э  э E  e met
Ю  ю Yu  yu use
Я  я Ya  ya yard
Ъ  ъ hard sound sign for the preceding consonant
Ь  ь soft sound sign to palatize the preceding consonant
Ё  ё Yo  yo yore
І  і   deleted in 1918

As Petrevics noted, many Czarist cancellations have the Russian province name after the placename, such as

   ЛЕМЗАЛЬ ЛИФЛ = LEMSAL LIFL [in Latvian Limbaži]
   БАЛЬДОНЪ КУРЛ = BALDON KURL [in Latvian Kurzeme]
   ВАРКЛЯНЫ ВИТ = VARKLYANY VIT [in Latvian Latgale]

LIFL is for the province of LIVLAND [in Latvian Vidzeme];
KURL for KURLAND ; and VIT for VITEBSK .


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Created 2001-03-28; updated Fri, 2010-02-05 .
Copyright ©2001 to 2010, Bill Apsit.