Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Brought to you by the letter ...

This looks like a great specimen for Nathan Hamm's MosNews Appreciation Society:

Monument to the Russian alphabet letter, an e with an umlaut, pronounced as “yo” is planned to be erected in the Central Russian city of Ulyanovsk.

This letter called “yo”, the only Russian character with an umlaut, was introduced in 1797 by the famous Russian historian and writer Nikolai Karamzin who was born not far from Ulyanovsk, then called Simbirsk.

The monument will be made of red granite.

Linguists to this day dispute the utility of the letter. It is replaced by the simple e in official documents.

Controversy that has for years delayed permission to proceed with the monument centered mainly on the fact that to the Russian ear the “yo” sound is closely associated with a range of colorful profanities or other exclamations considered in poor taste by opponents, AFP noted.

In case you suspect MosNews of making this up, here's a story about the proposed monument that appeared in the St Petersburg Times in 2001, and here's a transcript of an NTV interview from around the same time.


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