Those of you who have visited St Petersburg will know the official translation of the street name from Russian is Prospekt. This as almost all of the buildings have the street sign with the number and street name in English. Prospekt means avenue and should not be confused with the German word 'prospekt' meaning prospectus (an official document), or prospect which means outlook. Generally the only accepted spelling of 'prospect' is when referring to the English translation of the story by Gogol.
Hi Ghirlandajo! Thanks for the reply. As for the spelling, it should definitely be "Prospekt", not "Prospekt", as this is a transliteration of the Russian street name, not a translation. If you were to translate "Невский проспект", it should end up as "Neva Avenue", as that's what it means. The English word "prospect" has nothing to do with it. The Cyrillic to English/Latin transliteration systems may disagree regarding the transliteration of "Невский", because of different views regarding the letter combination "ий", but they all agree that "проспект" should be "prospekt", as they all equal the Cyrillic letter "к" with "k". The Cyrillic equivalent to the Latin "c" is "ц" in the Cyrillic-Latin transliteration tables (GOST 16876-71, ISO 9 and the United Nations), while the recognised Cyrillic-English transliteration tables (ALA-CL and BGN/PCGN) have no Cyrillic letter transliterated to "c" (the closest you get to a "c" is that they transliterate "ч" to "ch"). The only possible exception to this would be the English name of Gogol's short story takning place in the street, in his rather obscure collection of short stories that is called "Arabesques", if that indeed has been written "Nevsky Prospect" in all the editions and thus must be regarded as an established convention. However, I'm not so sure of that, as I immediately came across the "Prospekt" variant in The Complete Tales of Nikolai Gogol when I googled Gogol "Nevsky Prospekt".
There's certainly a number of different translations for the title of Gogol's story, but when googling "Arabesques Gogol Nevsky", Prospect appeared more common than Prospekt. And it's not just the word prospect; a final -ect is common in English words, and a final -ekt is only found a variant spelling of a word listed as obsolete, and provincial in the Dict.org dictionaries. An optimal, but extremely complex transliteration scheme would use the c instead of the k where correct for English spelling. A person transliterating would use the -ect spelling naturally.--Prosfilaes 18:32, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Hi, Ezhiki. Your comments are most welcome. --Ghirla | talk 12:02, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Hi, Ghirlandajo! May I ask you about your reasoning for choosing the "c"-version in the first place? Is the name of the Gogol's story the only reason, or is there more to it than that? While I myself think that the name should be either transliterated (with a "k") or translated, I'd like to hear from you first in case I'm missing something big picture-wise.—Ëzhiki (ërinacëus amurënsis) 15:13, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't understand much about transliteration, but rendering Russian "к" as Latin "k" rather than "c" just because they look similar is somewhat puerile imho. The spelling "prospect" should be familiar to English eyes, no need to introduce new outlandish spellings. But that's just me. --Ghirla | talk 15:16, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, just like Thomas noted, the problem is that there is no single transliteration system that would use letter "c" to transliterate Russian "к", but what's more important is that while the English word "prospect" has many meanings, "avenue" is not one of them, which makes the title quite misleading. I'd say if you don't like how "prospekt" looks, then use either "Neva Avenue" or "Nevsky Avenue". I will double-check, but I don't think we have a policy/guidelines regarding street names, so you have some flexibility there.—Ëzhiki (ërinacëus amurënsis) 15:26, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
All the talk of transliteration systems is irrelevent- the article title should be the most common name of the street in English. That name is "Nevsky Prospekt", as Google confirms ("Prospect" is a close second, "Avenue" is nowhere). Mark1 19:02, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
While Nevsky Avenue is acceptable as a translation of Невский проспект instead of a transliteration, I don't think "Neva Avenue" is. As far as I understand it, the street is named after Alexander Nevsky, not the river Neva, although I've seen a few websites claim that. Does anyone know for sure if it's Nevsky or Neva it has been named after? "Neva Avenue" gets 129 hits with Google, and several those come from this article (all those sites running copies of Wikipedia). "Nevsky Avenue" gets 915, and "Nevsky Prospekt" a whopping 71,000. Thomas Blomberg 23:52, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Alexander Nevsky gets his name from his battle on the river Neva, so it all boils down to the fact that the prospect it is named after the river, however I believe that we should keep the name "Nevsky Prospekt", and keep subsequent translations in taht same format.
This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as stub, and the rating on other projects was brought up to Stub class. BetacommandBot 05:56, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I think something should be added to the article about the Bombings of the Nevsky prospekt, where Nazi bombings killed thousands of civilians in Leningrad. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Monkeynator03 (talk • contribs) 20:52, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.
The result of the move request was: page moved. By policy, we use the name mostly commonly attested in English-language reliable sources. Aervanath (talk) 01:40, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
WP:COMMONNAME clearly applies. Nevsky Prospect is simply much, much more widely attested in English than Nevsky Avenue. So is the variant Nevsky Prospekt. You can confirm this with any configuration of a google search you like. For example, Google books, limited to university publishers:
If you take out "Gogol" to avoid the book title, the difference becomes stronger. Past discussions above suggest that people are not happy with "Nevsky Avenue". (To my ears, it sounds quite affected).VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 05:56, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Counter-argument. The same policy states that [i]f there is no established English-language treatment for a name, translate it if this can be done without loss of accuracy and with greater understanding for the English-speaking reader. This very RM shows at least three possible treatments of the name, which makes using translation a logical option.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2011; 17:32 (UTC)
Oppose. Article titles are supposed to be in English. "Prospekt" is not a word in English, and "prospect" does not mean "avenue" (or any other kind of street, for that matter). The only thing the ghits above indicate is that the entity in question is sometimes referred to by its transliterated name—something only done in Wikipedia when there is neither a common English name nor an appropriate translation. In this case, however, a perfectly good translation is available, so that's what's being used.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2011; 12:13 (UTC)
Comment What is English is what is used in English. It is not sometimes referred to as Nevsky Prospect or Prospekt, it is overwhelmingly referred to by these names in English texts. More examples:
Something is hardly a common name if it represents (as it appears to) 5% or less of occurrences in both overseen English texts and published texts in general. The same could not be said of Red Square, or the Winter Palace, or the Hermitage which are clearly the common English names for those places. We are totally misleading readers if we give them the impression that this street is most commonly called "Nevsky Avenue" in English. Plainly, that's not true.
It's also not true that we always use an attested "English name" (read: literal translation) for places. Alexanderplatz is preferred to the attested (but uncommon) "Alexander Square". Karl-Marx-Allee is preferred to the rare, but attested "Karl Marx Boulevard". We have (finding a castle at random) Château de Coucy rather than the attested "Castle Coucy". I know this is an WP:otherstuffexists argument, but I think the "English name" argument should apply to what English texts mostly use, rather than the availability of seldom used literal translations. To do otherwise is to invent a convention in the teeth of common usage.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 13:20, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Unlike with other examples (all of which are from languages using more or less the same alphabet as English), the thing with referring to Russian entities is that stuff is often referred to by transliterated names; some things more often than others. For any given entity, one can find cases of both transliterated Russian used in English, and of literal translations. Both approaches are valid, of course, but as our own WP:UE succinctly puts it, if a name can be translated "without loss of accuracy and with greater understanding for the English-speaking reader", why should we not do it? Honestly, how many English speakers will realize that the article entitled "Nevsky Prospect" (or even "Nevsky Prospekt") is about an avenue and not about, say, a Russian prospecting company or some named expectation? Furthermore, if "prospect" is a valid term to refer to a type of street (not just in this case, but overall), why not a single English dictionary lists it as such? All in all, using "prospe[c|k]t" is neither recognizable nor precise, although one could argue to some extent that it's "natural" (with "natural" being mostly defined by the ghits results above, although I'd argue that the subject is not nearly high-profile enough for this kind of treatment). With two against vs. one for, I'm not convinced. We should be looking at the whole picture, not just at ghit counts.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2011; 14:03 (UTC)
We both have feelings about this: You worry that Nevsky Prospect is misleading, while I find Nevsky Avenue very affected if not just odd. We're even on that score. However, policy is very clear on this: the most used term in English is what counts, and Nevsky Avenue fails on this criterion by a country mile. People are tons more likely to come to an encyclopedia looking for information on "Nevsky Prospect" knowing it's a street than people thinking it's a company. People might think that Red Square is actually red, but we don't panic about that (Red Square's actually a poor translation, when you think about it). We don't worry that people might think Rue Saint-Louis is about regretting a saint.
Most of all, regardless of whatever redirects we use, when readers see the title, they will assume that it is the most common, accepted name. And Nevsky Avenue clearly isn't. When I first saw this page title, I thought "who the hell calls it "Nevsky Avenue?" I did some searches, and the answer is - very few, and disproportionately they're referring to Gogol's story.
What may be misleading you (but without wishing to be presumptuous - my apologies if I am being so): many Russians I know were taught in English language classes to translate all street names and often quite thoroughly (so ulitsa mira would become "Peace Street"), but this really is not a common convention in English at all. A hundred years ago it was a little bit more common to do so (a disproportionate number of the references to "Nevsky Avenue" in books are from older sources), but not very much these days - hence the huge difference in news googlehits. Contemporary native English speakers tend to preserve the native version of street names, particularly in Europe. Parks are a special case, and sometimes squares, but in my experience, street names are rarely translated like this.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 14:36, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Regarding your suggestion that "Nevsky Prospect" (the place) is not high enough profile - I totally disagree. Not just the city itself, but Dostoevsky and Gogol in particular, have made it famous enough. It gets far and away enough coverage in reliable sources. Coincidentally, if you think it's not received enough coverage, then a fortiori, what you recently reverted to "Lenina Avenue" in Volzhsky should be, according to the guidelines, "Prospekt Lenina". If there is not enough attention in English, we use the native name. Shall I change it for you? ;-) VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 14:44, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Make no mistake: when I said "not high enough profile", I did not mean "of doubtful notability" :) What I meant is that is in not as high profile as, say, Red Square, to borrow your own example. Regardless of how you look at it, "prospekt" is not an English word and "prospect" means something else entirely, and while readers drawn to this article by those sources which you listed above might not be too surprised (because they know the context), many others would be stumped, not knowing what the word means in this context and finding it in no respectable English dictionary.
And as for Lenina Avenue in Volzhsky, the change I made is for exact same reasons I oppose this RM. While street names are routinely transliterated in English (e.g. "Nevsky" and not "Neva", and "Lenina" and not "Lenin"; this is especially true for obscure streets), transliterating a Russian word which is a street type designation when a perfectly good and unambiguous English variant exists just doesn't serve the readers right.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2011; 15:44 (UTC)
Ezhiki, to be honest, you're coming up with principles that are not supported by real world practice. Wikipedia policy is crystal clear - we go with most common usage regardless, not with concerns over non-English words. (Do you have another policy that contradicts this?) You're simply wrong on Lenina vs Lenin, by the way. "Lenin Avenue" is far more attested than "Lenina Avenue". Particularly in Volzhsky (Lenina Avenue appears even less than Lenin Prospek(c)t or Prospekt Lenina). VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 16:10, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
When it comes to names which have a handful of hits for one variant, and a handful for another, using romanization is always preferred. That's what they invented it for in the first place—to use it for obscure cases (such as street names in Volzhsky).
As for the policy, we are supposed to use English, first and foremost. "Prospekt" is not English; nor is "Prospect", when it comes to a street type. Indeed, how can a word which does not exist in the English language (judged by its absence from every single dictionary) be English? It is obvious that sources are simply using a transliterated Russian word here, not a loanword! Using a transliterated word on its own is not a problem (as sources above indicate), but it is not very beneficial in an encyclopedia (which we fancy our beloved Wikipedia to be) when a perfectly good English variant exists. An article about "kekur", for example, had been merged into stack (geology) because "kekur" is not an English word (even though it occasionally appears in English texts) and because a perfectly good and unambiguous translation is available. I don't see how "prospekt" is any different. By and large, with few exceptions, if a word is not a part of the proper name, it should be translated. You might convince me that this case is high-profile enough to warrant an exception, but applying the same logic to every Russian "prospekt" by extension is not going to be helpful to anyone.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2011; 16:53 (UTC)
Ezhiki, when you say "As for the policy, we are supposed to use English, first and foremost", you omit the point that "English" is defined in policy as most used in English language sources, not what you can find by breaking up the name and looking in an English dictionary. Policy explicitly allows the name to be a native name, or variants thereof. As I wrote above: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names)#Use English says: "If a native name is more often used in English sources than a corresponding traditional English name, then use the native name." You need to show that Nevsky Avenue is used more in English sources. I think I've shown quite categorically that it isn't. Google has its issues, but the difference in search results here is huge.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 17:07, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
That part is the reason why I said that you might convince me in this particular case :) However, that same policy also states that [i]f there is no established English-language treatment for a name, translate it if this can be done without loss of accuracy and with greater understanding for the English-speaking reader. Your own research above shows at least three possible treatments of the name, some more common than others, which means there is no one definitive treatment. To me, that makes translation a preferred route, especially considering that using "avenue" is indeed conducive to "greater understanding for the English-speaking reader" and leads to no "loss of accuracy" whatsoever. As for those who'd be searching for this article under "prospekt" or "prospect", that's what we have redirects for.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2011; 17:29 (UTC)
What would be your criteria for something being "established"? For me, the number of hits in reliable sources (it's why I put up the university-published stats first of all) make it established. We have good quality RS attestations in the thousands, not the tens or hundreds. (Nevsky Avenue, on the other hand, is a little shaky) Redirects are not the point here. My concern is that readers will be misled into thinking that "Nevsky Avenue" is the commonly used term by English speakers and writers. This is simply not true (surely you can accept this - the numbers suggest it's a seriously minority usage in English texts). It's rather like Livorno and Leghorn. The latter is more "English", but no one ever uses it these days.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 17:47, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
My criteria for something being "established" are pretty much the same. The only thing that throws me in this case is that the most common variant uses a term that's not a word in English, and one for which a unambiguous translation exists at that. It's not so much a problem for the sources listed above (I would expect any good writer to explain from the very start what the heck "prospekt" means in the context of Russia), but it is very much a problem in a title of an encyclopedic article. Using "Nevsky Prospe[k|c]t" as a title equally misleads the readers into thinking that they are dealing with an unfamiliar English word, and once they try looking it up in a dictionary, they are in a real pickle. "Livorno" is not a good analogy here—there we are dealing with the proper name, while here it's a common noun masquerading as a part of the proper name (which it is not). Note, please, that I have absolutely nothing against listing all three variants in the article's lead, nor do I have any objections to a brief explanation of what a "prospekt" is in the article's body, but the title should be as clear as possible, to as many readers as possible. What do you think is better, readers seeing the article under "Nevsky Avenue", all of them understanding it's about a street but some of them having to look for an explanation of why more familiar (to them) "Nevsky Prospekt" is not used as a title, or readers seeing the article under "Nevsky Prospekt" and most of them wondering what the hell it could be about? When you see "Nevsky Prospekt" in text, you have context around it to help figure out that it's probably a street, but when you see the same on its own (as an article title), there's a lot more hassle involved. Using a translation addresses that concern.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2011; 18:15 (UTC)
Do you have any sourced evidence that people are confused? This appears to be an unsubstantiated fear. As far as I remember, my first encounter with "Nevsky Prospect" was in the classic David Magarshack translations of Dostoevsky. I took "prospect" to mean "view", not "chance" (after all, it was clearly a place name), and finding out it was a main street caused no cognitive stress. You can do google searches in books, news and scholar to see how many deal with "nevsky prospect" without recourse to "avenue" anywhere in the same text, and it's pretty much most of them. Native speakers are, on the evidence, not confused meeting "Nevsky Prospect".VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 18:27, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
When one uses a word which does not exist in a language, that tends to get people confused :) For kicks, I've just asked three of my American colleagues what they think a "Nevsky Prospekt" is (I wrote it down and showed on a piece of paper). Two said "something Russian" (duh) and had no idea beyond that. The third one said that if he had to guess, he'd say it's probably a Russian company. Two of the three a Wikipedia users, by the way (although not editors). None knew about the street. Granted, this is a very unscientific experiment, but it shows very well the people's reaction when they see this name out of context. People who already know what "Nevsky Prospekt" is will have no problem with any of the titles, but people who never heard of it (which I would bet is an overwhelming majority) are not helped by a foreign-language construct where a perfectly good (albeit less common) English variant exists.
As WP:AT puts it, the ideal article title will resemble titles for similar articles, precisely identify the subject, be short, be natural, and recognizable. "Nevsky Prospekt" fails half of those.
All in all, I think by this point we both understand each other's points of view very well; we just disagree on how this should be dealt with. Perhaps we should take a break and let others pitch in?—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2011; 19:03 (UTC)
What are the chances that they would make the same conclusion having stumbled upon the article rather than just the title? People who never heard of it are not supposed to be helped by the title anyway, they are supposed to be helped by the article, so I don't understand your point. There is absolutely no room for confusion here. And, speaking of similar articles, why, after all, are the French, Italian, German, Dutch streets, no matter how obscure, uniformly named rue, via, straße, straat on Wikipedia, if it is that bad? Colchicum (talk) 19:41, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I can't assess those chances, but our article titles are supposed to be as clear as possible, I know that much. It's bad enough that "prospekt" is a non-word, it's even worse that its alternative ("prospect") actually has a couple of well-known meanings none of which are "avenue" or "street". "Nevsky Prospekt" on its own is thus not only incomprehensible to most, it's also needlessly confusing. Hence my oppose. One should be able to guess what the article is about by just looking at its title, and while it's not always feasible, in this case it is.
As for your question about the French, Italian, or other Western European languages, my view of those is similar to my view of diacritics—while Anglophones can reasonably be expected to be familiar with words originating in the Western European languages and retaining the diacritics, expecting them to be familiar with diacritics of, say, Polish or Vietnamese is a bit far-fetched. Same thing here—common words in European languages are not nearly as foreign to an Anglophone as romanized Russian.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2011; 20:32 (UTC)
Well, from this point of view every proper noun is a non-word, but I don't see why this should be a problem. If Vologda, Ivanovo or Khabarovsk are good enough for Wikipedia, so is Nevsky Prospekt. Colchicum (talk) 20:41, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Not exactly. It is a common practice to romanize proper nouns (in fact, the primary purpose of romanization is to deal with proper nouns). "Prospekt" here is not a proper noun, however. The entity in question is not a street called "Nevsky Prospekt"; the entity is a prospekt (avenue) called "Nevsky". "Nevsky" is romanized. "Prospekt" shouldn't be. By the way, if "prospekt" were a loanword (like oblast), it would be a different story, but it isn't.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); November 4, 2011; 20:52 (UTC)
Policy is crystal clear, and makes no mention at all of this kind of concern. By the way, I would take issue with your linguistics in treating the meaning of words as only that which they can have in isolation (dictionaries make it look like that, but that's an inevitable outcome of dictionary format.) When it appears next to "Nevsky", there is only one properly attested meaning that "Prospect" has in English. For example, "junk" does not mean marketing in any dictionary I can find, but "junk mail" means unsolicited marketing mail. Your arguments about the difficulties native speakers would have with "Prospect" would carry more weight if they didn't actually use it far and away in excess of your preferred alternative.
Colchicum is absolutely correct that article titles are not obliged to be informative (precise, unambiguous and reflective of general usage are more important principles. Do you have any policy-based arguments? (By the way, why have you switched to "Prospekt" when the proposal is "Prospect"?).VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 04:50, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Support moving the article back to Nevsky Prospekt per VsevolodKrolikov. Colchicum (talk) 13:25, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Oppose The common name should be used for the english page.Beefcake6412 (talk) 17:17, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment How are you determining the commonname, if not by frequency in reliable sources? VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 17:21, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Support. The stats and arguments given by the nominator are pretty convincing as to common English usage. Dohn joe (talk) 04:52, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.