Rus Articles Journal

What Mazay is not the grandfather?

Investigating an origin of a surname of the nekrasovsky hero, grandfather Mazaya, I found in Wikipedia article about it, apparently, the namesake, Filip Mazaye. “Wow!“ - I told myself. About Makar Mazaya, the heroic steelmaker from the city of Mariupol, I knew. And here about Filip Mazaya heard nothing.

Having read article, I understood that in this case it is not about the namesake and not about the relative. Filip Mazay was Filippo Mazzei`s (Philippo Mazzei) (1730-1816) who, being an Italian on the birth, became the national hero of the USA. It it, but not to T. Jefferson, possesses words with which the Constitution of the USA begins. For the unknown reason in the Russian transcription he became the namesake of the famous savior of hares.

That is the reason of such transformation is just clear. In Russian of foreign proper names it is necessary to face the wrong transfer quite often. In general, the translation of names is a general problem for linguists and translators.

Unlike a common noun, proper names on another do not translate from one language, and transcribe. The most known (and very pertinent) exception of this rule: the translator V. Levik renamed one of main characters of “Winter`s Tale“ of V. Shakespeare who in the original is called Perdita (“Lost“) in Loss. And correctly made - otherwise not to avoid a laughter in the hall.

At correct “translation“ into proper name Russian it has to transfer sounding of this name in original language. Simply, truth? But we will look what disturbs this obvious simplicity.

In - the first, in language on which transcribe a name it can not appear the sounds similar to sounds of the language translated. And Mao Tse Tung in Russian, and Mao Zedong in English are rather far from the Chinese pronunciation of a name of “the great helmsman“ which besides in the different areas of China is said differently.

Still the big confusion comes by transfer of a proper name from one language in another through intermediate language. Here not to avoid effect of “chinese whispers“ in any way. The brightest case - introduction in the European languages of bible names. The vast majority of them - Jewish or Aramaic, but they got to Europe by means of Greek, and then and Latin. Neither there, nor there are no sounds there hissing, and Semitic they are present at languages.

Greeks replaced the hissing sounds in barbarous names with the sound designated by the letter “ks“ (ξ) . Romans, and after and Slavic educators transcribed this sound in the languages as “s“ and “with“ respectively. So Moshe became Moisey (either Mozes, or Moiz), and Igoshua - Jesus (Dzhezus, Jesus). It still anything! And here try to guess as in the original called the Persian tsar known to us under the Greek name Artaxerxes. The secret hidden by time! But the Jewish option Akhashverosh, it appears, is closer to the original, than Greek.

Even upon transition between the European languages proper names can undergo surprising transformations. The most striking example - the name and a surname of the famous German poet Heinrich Heine which came to Russian through French and approved here in a look “Heinrich Heine“. Where that sea, where that giving?

The fact that the European languages use similar alphabets sometimes only confuses a task. In German the letter “Z“ designates a sound of “C“, and in English - the sound “Ç“. In linguistics the law of distribution of words on frequencies called is known for a Zipf`s law, Zipf`s law as it was opened by the American linguist with the German surname George Kingsley Tsipf (George Kingsley Zipf) (1902-1950) . The same history happened also to the Italian family of Yakuzzi (Jacuzzi) at the beginning of 20 - go centuries emigrated to the USA. In America they became Dzhacuzi. In 1956 of Candido Dzhacuzi (Candido Jacuzzi) (1903-1986) invented a bathtub for a hydromassage. Apparently, and the surname of Mazzei turned into Mazay, having got lost in a jungle of Anglo-Saxon and Slavic adverbs.

In the same German diphthongs of “st“ and “sp“ are read as “piece“ and “øï“ respectively. For this reason Albert Aynshtayn (Einstein), having emigrated from Germany to the USA, became Albert Eynsteyn. And in Russian got accustomed strange English - the German hybrid, Einstein. Other physicist, Hungarian Leo Silard (Szil á rd Le ó) (1898-1964), thanks to the wrong reading of the surname by translators in many Soviet books, appeared as Stsillard (why not Szilard?) . By the way, in Hungarian there is one more feature about which it is necessary to know: the surname is always put on the first place, and a name - on the second. Having moved to America from Germany, Shtraussa and Shtiglitsa there are Straussami and Stiglitsami. For this reason of the inventor of jeans in Russian it would be necessary to call as he is called in America: Livayem Straussom, but in any way not Levi Strauss as it was done by the Soviet black marketeers.

The second difficulty at transcription of names can arise from - for the fact that the proper name which was already transcribed once incorrectly strongly was proved in the new language environment, and the repeated, correct translation only confuses a situation. Will come to nobody to mind “to update“ bible names and names. As well Heinrich Heine should live in Russian and in literature under habitual for Russians, though the wrong name.

In Russian translations at the friend famous British detective Holmes, the doctor (Watson) two surnames: Watson and Watson. The second transcription, more correct, gradually forces out the first. It is good that Walter Scott and Danijel Defoe after revolution were translated anew. And that we still would admire the knight`s adventures Ivangy (Ivanhoe) and Robinzona Kruzoye (Robinson Crusoe). In due form the English reading Robinzon should become also Robinson, but here the reader`s tradition already played a role.

The same inertia of tradition works at a name of historic figures. Kings of France in Russia continued to be named a drevnefranksky name Ludovic though contemporaries in the 17th century called them in French, Louis. About the French king whom the Russian textbooks of history continue to name into German of manners Henry IV (Henri IV) (1553-1610) French put a song:

Once upon a time there was Henri the fourth,
He nice was a king.

Well, and of course, everyone though a little knowing English will understand that neither Karlov, nor Ioannov, nor Georgov among masters Britain was not. Were Charlza, Jonah and Georgie. Seemingly, nobody from speaking in Russian Wilhelm calls the present successor, William any more.