After a few days of confusion, I’m starting to get somewhere with Cyrillic. Initially the issue was mental gear-changing; unlike some other scripts, your brain (mine, anyway) keeps trying to process Cyrillic directly, and then throws an exception. Now I’ve mostly turned it into a glyph¬†substitution¬†algorithm, which I’m sure a Russian language speaker would be appalled at.

Recognition is aided by shared letters (most of the vowels), plenty of trans-scribed names to compare, and similar language sounds, so after a few days of exposure, it’s possible to muddle through most street signs – it helps that the Russian sounds and words are very much in the north European language family. There’s plenty of words where the Russian is evidently based (in ancient, or recent times) on the same Latin or Greek root as ours. None of this is to claim that learning Russian would be particularly easy, but I don’t think reading would be the barrier to comprehension that it is in other places.

Posted Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 under geek, travel.

Leave a Reply