2019, Volume 16, Issue 4

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Ivan V. Zots
Olga A. Suleimanova

Moscow State Pedagogical University
Moscow, Russia

Problem Areas of Modern Urban Planning in Global Space: Romanization of Russian Urbanonyms

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp. 134–150 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.4.049

Received 21 March 2018

Abstract: The article deals with ongoing tasks of linguistic-geographical modeling of a modern city image, particularly that of rendering Russian-language messages of the urban landscape using the Latin alphabet. Giving a critical analysis of existing transliteration systems, the authors discuss general methods of rendering street names (transcription, transliteration of urbanonyms, as well as the translation of classifiers in city street names) and their possible combinations. The current transliteration standards are considered, including GOSTs and orders of state bodies of the Russian Federation, adopted at different times and thus varying considerably in terms of norms they prescribe. The empirical evidence is constituted by the names of Moscow streets (more than 3,000 names) and metro stations presented in the register, on maps, and road signs of the city. The study relies on a series of interviews with speakers of different languages: iterative questions with the step-by-step identification of problematic letter combinations, analysis of possible methods of their rendering, followed by survey-based verification of results in a multicultural and multilingual environment. Supplementary sources included statistical data from English dictionaries with due consideration of phonetic features of the Russian and English languages, tradition and usage frequency of the variants found in documentary sources. As a result, general patterns of names rendering are identified and recommendations for individual letters and sounds of the Russian language are offered, justifying the choice between transliteration and practical transcription in different cases. Particular attention is given to urbanonyms that require a special context-driven translation. The authors also propose a strategy for classifiers rendering in favor of transliteration grounded by name usage evidence. The conclusions offer a practical contribution to the formation of a bilingual urban environment in Moscow and other cities of the Russian Federation.

Keywords: urban navigation, bilingual urban environment, urbanonyms, classifier, transliteration, transcription, GOST, street names, toponymic space.

The article was prepared within the framework of the state order of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, project 33.2182.2017/4.6 “Formation of Russian Cultural and Religious Identity: the Monuments of Written Tradition as Symbolic Codes of Cultural Memory”.


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