Chinese characters for transcribing Slavonic

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Chinese characters for transcribing Slavonic were Chinese characters created for the purpose of transcribing Slavonic sounds into Chinese. The Russian Orthodox Church's mission in China had an interest in translating liturgical texts into Chinese and Japanese, and sought to devise new characters for this purpose.[1]

Many of these new characters were proposed by Archimandrite Gurias, the 14th head of the Russian mission from 1858–1864. They would have transcribed certain syllables normally not valid in standard Chinese phonology, such as vin, gi, or reia. These characters were later used for transcription into Japanese as well, with the character pronunciations changed to account for Japanese phonology. However, in both China and Japan, leaders of the Russian missions eventually decided to translate liturgical texts using standard vernacular Chinese and katakana, respectively.[1]

The majority of the new characters were composed through combining two existing characters side-by-side as radicals, which would also indicate their pronunciation. Unlike the typical rule of pronouncing the character based on the side radical, used in pronouncing phono-semantic compounds, the radicals are presented in initial-rime pairs. In a method similar to Fanqie, the right-hand character would indicate the syllable initial, while the left-hand character would be used as an indicator of the final. This approach to character formation was intended for vertical reading, where the flow of the text is from top-to-bottom, and ordered from right-to-left. Two exceptions were vertically-arranged characters used as abbreviations of "Christ" and "Jesus".[1]

Twenty Slavonic transcription characters were included in Unicode Standard version 10.0.[2]

Examples[edit]

Character Image Construction Unicode Comment[a]
U9FE6.svg ⿰英微 U+9FE6
U+9FE6 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FE6
Equivalent to vin (вин) as in Навин (Nun, 那⿰英)
U9FE4.svg ⿰耶格 U+9FE4
U+9FE4 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FE4
Equivalent to ge (ге) as in Нигерр (Niger, 尼⿰耶)
U9FDA.svg ⿰伊格 U+9FDA
U+9FDA CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FDA
Equivalent to gi (ги) as in Сергия (Sergius, 些爾⿰伊)
U9FE3.svg ⿰耶克 U+9FE3
U+9FE3 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FE3
Equivalent to ke (ке) as in Кесария (Caesarea, ⿰耶薩⿰利)
U9FD9.svg ⿰伊克 U+9FD9
U+9FD9 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FD9
Equivalent to ki (ки) as in Езекия (Hezekiah, 耶捷⿰伊)
U9FDC.svg ⿰拉爾 U+9FDC
U+9FDC CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FDC
Equivalent to ra (ра) as in Израиль (Israel, ⿰拉伊利)
U9FE5.svg ⿰郎爾 U+9FE5
U+9FE5 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FE5
Equivalent to ran (ран) as in Аран (Haran, 哈爾⿰郎)
U9FDE.svg ⿰列爾 U+9FDE
U+9FDE CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FDE
Equivalent to re (ре) as in Назарет (Nazareth, 那匝⿰列)
U9FDD.svg ⿰楞爾 U+9FDD
U+9FDD CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FDD
Equivalent to ren (рен) as in Терентий (Terence, 鐵⿰楞)
U9FE8.svg ⿰雷爾 U+9FE8
U+9FE8 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FE8
Equivalent to reia (рея) as in назареянин (Nazarene, 那作⿰雷)
U9FE0.svg ⿰利爾 U+9FE0
U+9FE0 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FE0
Equivalent to ri (ри) as in Христос (Christ, ⿰利); can also represent a final l in Japanese transcriptions.
U9FDF.svg ⿰利尔 U+9FDF
U+9FDF CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FDF RI
Simplified variant of ⿰利. Same usage as the traditional ri.
U9FDB.svg ⿰凌爾 U+9FDB
U+9FDB CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FDB
Equivalent to rin (рин) as in Коринф (Corinth, 适⿰凌)
U9FE1.svg ⿰羅爾 U+9FE1
U+9FE1 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FE1
Equivalent to ro (ро) as in романский (Roman, ⿰羅)
U9FE7.svg ⿰隆爾 U+9FE7
U+9FE7 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FE7
Equivalent to ron (рон) as in Аарон (Aaron, 阿阿⿰隆)
U9FE9.svg ⿰魯爾 U+9FE9
U+9FE9 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FE9
Equivalent to ru (ру) as in Иерусалим (Jerusalem, 耶⿰魯薩利)
U9FE2.svg ⿰耶合 U+9FE2
U+9FE2 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FE2
Equivalent to khe (хе) as in Сихем (Shechem, 西⿰耶)
U9FD8.svg ⿰伊合 U+9FD8
U+9FD8 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FD8
Equivalent to khi (хи) as in Мелхий (Melchi, 羋利⿰伊)
U9FD6.svg ⿱合一 U+9FD6
U+9FD6 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FD6
Abbreviation for the word Christ (Христос, Khristos). The full form in Classical Chinese would be ⿰利.
U9FD7.svg ⿳人伊一 U+9FD7
U+9FD7 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-9FD7
Abbreviation for the word Jesus (Иисус, Iisus). The full form in Classical Chinese would be 伊伊

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Small characters used in transcription indicate initial or final Slavonic consonants, while a small circle next to the character indicates a stress on the syllable.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Shardt, Yuri; Chin, Mitrophan; Adreev, Aleksandr; Andersen, Deborah (2014). "Proposal to Encode Chinese Characters Used for Transcribing Slavonic" (PDF). unicode.org. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 June 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  2. ^ (The Unicode Consortium). "The Unicode Standard, Version 10.0 - Core Specification" (PDF). p. 684. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Who is Yīyīsūsī Hélìsītuōsī?". Orthodox Fellowship of All Saints in China. Retrieved 25 March 2018.