I want to know which norms might have governed the spelling of some Russian names which were written down in Spanish around around 1750 - 1850. A number of formal standards exist today, such as ISO 9, but how would it have been done a couple of centuries ago?

  • Maybe it is a good idea to ask for this on Spanish Language – jk - Reinstate Monica Dec 23 '16 at 10:19
  • @jknappen Would we ask a question about Russian transliteration (into English, implicitly) on English SE or Russian SE? – Adam Bittlingmayer Dec 24 '16 at 8:10
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    @A.M.Bittlingmayer: I think, the most sensible place to ask for transliteration is the stackexchange dedicated to the target language. This is where you have a large proportion of native speakers and readers that have seen transliterations of different styles. Also the governing authorities of the target language tend to issue transcription rules (the main exception is CHina, where the source language country dictates transcription). – jk - Reinstate Monica Dec 28 '16 at 21:30

Yes, although I'm afraid to say that then, as today, healthy chaos reigned. Transliteration conventions depend as much on other aspects of the context - the writer's familiarity with Russian, the intended audience, the keyboard or press available - as on the year.

So which conventions do correlate with year? These days, we can find the English convention 'sh' being used more, and also the letter 'k' in places where 'c' would work, and 'y' in 'Krylov'. We also see 'y' used in ways that correspond to Latin American pronunciations.

For example, Pushkin vs Puchkin: enter image description here

Some aspects are still open questions - hence Aseev/Aseyev/Aseiev, Yershov/Ershov - and it is likely that the precise balance has shifted over time.

You can select from Rusos del siglo XVII and search variants of their names in the Google Books n-gram viewer for Spanish books from 1800 on.

If we go back a few centuries further, then 'x' had yet another value, and English was even less dominant.

Transliteration aside, in the past names were more frequently simply translated, hence Luis Adolfo Pedro de Sayn-Wittgenstein, José Stalin etc.

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