My latest article for The Week is on the reason for the many y’s in transliterations of Ukrainian and Russian names, and how to read them:
Be a patron!Support Sesquiotica and get extra premium content and goodies. Starts as low as $1 a month! Find out more and subscribe on Patreon.com
Join 19,416 other subscribers
I am for hireI earn my living as an independent editor, writer, and educator. Find out more and contact me at jamesharbeck.com.
Buy the T-shirt (or coffee mug or hip flask)
Wear it proudly:
I operate on a NEED-TO-KNOW basis. I need to know EVERYTHING.
Buy it at cafepress.ca/sesquiphernalia
12 Gifts for Writers ebook – free download
Buy my books
Buy my books on Lulu.com:
- Confessions of a Word Lush (paperback)
- Confessions of a Word Lush (ebook)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (paperback)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (ebook)
- 12 Gifts for Writers (print edition)
You can also get them on Amazon.com. Please note that I make less than half as much per book if you buy them there, however.
Word Tasting Notes Google groupGet just the word tasting notes daily by email – join the Google Word Tasting Notes group.
- Coffice Space
- from the bookshelf
- language and linguistics
- life, the universe, and everything
- new old words
- Poetry Minute and a Half
- pronunciation tips
- sentence tastings
- The Week
- Word Country
- word pictures
- word portraits
- word reviews
- word sommelier
- word tasting notes
- 366 Days of Words in Science What this is: 1 photo + 1 word x 366 days. 0 rules.
- Affixes: the building blocks of English Michael Quinion’s site based on his book Ologies and Isms.
- Angry Sub-Editor Patrick Neylan, Eeditor of business reports. Permanently angry about the abuse of English, maths and logic. Terms and conditions: by reading this blog you accept that all opinions expressed herein will henceforth be your opinions.
- Arnold Zwicky’s Blog One of the best lingustic minds out there blogging.
- Bag of Anything lies, propaganda, doggerel
- bradshaw of the future Etymological delectations and more
- Cerebral Boinkfest A blog about the arts, books, flora and fauna, vittles, and whatever comes to mind.
- Coffee with Warren My dad’s newspaper column, about wonderful people and things
- Constellations of Words Explore the etymology and symbolism of the constellations
- Corpus of Contemporary American English 385 million words of contemporary American English texts, searchable for finding frequency, collocations, syntactic roles, etc.
- Dialect Blog The accents of English
- Double-Tongued Dictionary A lexicon of fringe English, focusing on slang, jargon, and new words.
- Evopropinquitous A compendium of knowledge gleaned from seemingly endless scholarly pursuits in the wild. (Or: Things I learned as a field biologist.)
- Google Ngram Viewer Graph relative frequency of words over time in Google’s digitized books.
- Ideas Illustrated Survival Skills for the Information Age
- Iva Cheung Editor, indexer, designer, publishing consultant; Tom Fairley Award winner
- James Harbeck My personal site
- Kate Britt Kate Britt, a professional editor
- Language Log Language as it happens – looked at by linguists who know what’s really going on
- lewd_tongue The twitter feed of Ross Ewage, noted vulgarian. A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.
- Logophilius This blog is for anyone who commonly finds beauty, uniqueness, and joy in printed material of every stripe.
- Magical Letter Page A variety of information and views on phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and similar things
- Motivated Grammar Prescriptivism Must Die!
- Ondionline An alternative to the faded Fabers and burnt Nortons.
- OUPBlog The blog of Oxford University Press USA, including lots on words.
- Popular Linguistics Magazine The monthly online magazine that brings language- and linguistics-focused stories and research to the masses.
- Quote Investigator Exploring the origins of quotations
- Sentence first An Irishman’s blog about the English language
- Sesquiotic on flickr My flickr site for my photos
- Speech Accent Archive The speech accent archive uniformly presents a large set of speech samples from a variety of language backgrounds.
- Strong Language A sweary blog about swearing, by me, Stan Carey, and a number of noteworthy others
- Ten minutes past deadline Sub-editing when the clock’s run out but the copy hasn’t. By Ed Latham.
- The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows A wistful, mournful, fanciful lexicon.
- The Economist "Johnson" language blog In this blog, named for the dictionary-maker Samuel Johnson, correspondents write about the effects that the use (and sometimes abuse) of language have on politics, society and culture around the world
- The Etyman™ Language Blog Adventures in Etymology and Language
- The Ideophone Sounding out ideas on African languages, sound symbolism, and expressivity
- The Language of Food Essays on the language of food by Dan Jurafsky.
- The Lexicographer's Rules The personal weblog of Grant Barrett, editor of the Double-Tongued Dictionary, a collection of words from the fringes of English.
- The Nasty Guide to Nice Writing A pervert and an uptight food freak, still stuck on their nasty divorce, give fresh and clear insight on grammar and writing.
- The Phrase Finder Origins of phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions.
- The Stroppy Editor Minding other people’s language. A lot.
- The Word Blog A blog about words in their natural habitat.
- TV Tropes The place to look for current pop culture references.
- word nerd The blog of language columnist Howard Richler.
- Word Spy The word lover’s guide to new words.
- wordcount.org A ranking by frequency of 86,800 words of British English.
- Wordorigins.org A good site about the origins of words and phrases
- wordsmith.org Home of A.Word.A.Day and more.
- Wordsmoker because words are highly addictive too
- World Wide Words An excellent place to look for reliable information on the origins and uses of words and phrases.
- You Don't Say Veteran drudge John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.
- You Don't Say John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls “the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing,” writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty.
You hinted at the Ukrainian/Russian difference in Г — as in Ukrainian “Luhansk” and Russian “Gorbachev”, but didn’t go any farther. But never mind, thanks for the article. I studied Russian for 2 years a very long time ago but my only exposure to Ukrainian was a radio commercial somewhere in rural Alberta in the 1980’s.
I actually did go further in the draft I submitted to The Week, but they found it necessary for the sake of focus to trim that and a few other digressions out – it’s a rather long article even still! Basically, it’s that in Ukrainian the Г does, as you note, stand for something more like “h” (though often actually voiced; phonemically, /ɦ/). There is a letter in Ukrainian that is said as “g,” though – it’s a modified Г, written as Ґ. Thanks for raising the question!