Cyrillization of French

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Russian uses phonetic transcription for the Cyrillization of its many loanwords from French. Some use is made of Cyrillic's iotation features to respresent French's front rounded vowels and etymologically-softened consonants.

Consonants[edit]

In the table below, the symbol ⟨ʲ⟩ represents either a "softened" consonant or the approximant /j/. When applicable, a softened consonant can be indicated in transcription either by a following iotified vowel or by ⟨ь⟩.

Russian transcription of French consonants
French Russian
transcription
Examples Comments
phoneme(s) grapheme(s)
[b] b б bateau-lavoir – бато-лавуар
[ʃ] ch ш Charles – Шарль
[d] d д Bordeaux – Бордо
[f] f, ph ф Foucault – Фуко
[ɡ] g, gu г Guillaume – Гийом
[ɲ] gn нʲ Boulogne – Булонь
h Humanité – Юманите
г Hugo – Гюго
Le Havre – Гавр
often in the case of h aspiré
[ʒ] j, g(e) ж Jean – Жан
[k] c, qu, k к Camus – Камю
[l] l лʲ Gilbert – Жильбер before a consonant or at the end of a word
л Louvre – Лувр before vowels
[lj] li лʲ Montpellier – Монпелье
Camille – Камиль
[m] m м monde – монд
[n] n н Rhône – Рона
[ŋ] ng нг
[p] p п Pierre – Пьер
[ʁ] r р Renoir – Ренуар
[s] s, ç, c с Rousseau – Руссо
[sj] ti сʲ Libération – Либерасьон
[t] t т pointe – пуэнт
[v] v в Verlaine – Верлен
[w] w в Gwénaël – Гвенаэль sometimes transliterated with ⟨у⟩ in loanwords from English
[ks]

[kz]
[gz]

x кс

кз
гз

Xavier – Ксавье

Saint-Exupéry – Сент-Экзюпери

according to the pronunciation of the ⟨x⟩
[j] y, i, il(l) йʲ yeuse – йёз
Bayard – Байяр
Guillaume – Гийом
after a vowel or word-initially
ьʲ Lavoisier – Лавуазье after a consonant
il(l) ль Marseille – Марсель frozen form
[z] z, s з Vierzon – Вьерзон

Doubled French consonants remain doubled in their Russian transcription: Rousseau – Руссо. Silent consonants (common in French) are generally not transcribed, except where they exist in the surface form due to liaison.

Vowels[edit]

Russian transcription of French vowels
French Russian
transcription
Examples Comments
phoneme(s) grapheme(s)
[a], [ɑ] a, â а Charles – Шарль
[e], [ɛ] é, è, ê, ai, e е René – Рене
э Edmond – Эдмон
Citroën – Ситроэн
at the beginning of a word, following a vowel, or rarely for [ɛ] at the end of a word
[ø], [œ] eu, œ, œu ё Villedieu – Вильдьё ё⟩ is generally simplified to ⟨е⟩ in Russian
э Eugène – Эжен
Maheu – Маэ
at the beginning of a word, or after a vowel
[ə], — e Charles – Шарль e muet
е De Gaulle – Де Голль only in cases where [ə] is usually pronounced, e.g., le, de, que, rebelle, etc.
[i] i, y и Village – Виляж
[o], [ɔ] o, au, ô o Rhône – Рона
[wa] oi уа Troyes – Труа
[u], [w] ou у Louvre – Лувр
[y], [ɥ] u ю L'Humanité – Юманите
[ɑ̃] an, am, en, em ан, ам Ambroise – Амбруаз
Occidental – Оксиданталь
nasal vowels are written as the corresponding oral vowel followed by /n/ (or /m/ before /m, b, p/)
[ɛ̃] in, en, ain ен, ем, эн, эм Saintes – Сент
Ain – Эн
[ɔ̃] on, om он, ом Comte – Конт
[œ̃] un ен, ем, эн, эм Verdun – Верден
[wɛ̃] oin уэн pointe – пуэнт

Finally, the softened consonants modify the following vowels:

Palatalization
hard Russian vowel softening Examples Comments
After a vowel or ⟨й⟩ After a consonant or ⟨ь⟩
ʲа я cognac – коньяк
Bayard – Байяр
ʲе ; ʲё ие, йе ; йё ье ; ьё trieurтриер
Cahiers du cinémaКайе дю синема
RichelieuРишелье
э ⟨э⟩ never follows a softened consonant
ʲи йи ьи Tilly – Тийи
ʲо йо ьо Chillon – Шильон
ʲу ю
ʲю йю ью
ʲ before a consonant or at the end of a word, softening is written with ⟨ь⟩

Neither ⟨й⟩ nor ⟨ь⟩ are doubled.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Paul Garde, La Transcription des noms propres français en russe, Paris, Institut d'études slaves, 1974, 63 pages, 25 cm, collection « Documents pédagogiques de l'Institut d'études slaves » n° X, ISBN 2-7204-0090-4