Caucasian Ovcharka

Champion Caucasian Ovtcharka
Spelling "Ovcharka" Correctly

by Stacey Kubyn

The word "Ovcharka" is a Russian word, in Cyrillic alphabet, that does not have a direct English translation. It is therefore often TRANSLITERATED, a process of writing the alphabetical characters in another language (such as English) in a way that represents the same sound or sounds. Transliteration is done by rules, and there are accepted international and national rules for it promulgated by the US library of Congress and the United Nations. Applying the these rules, there is only ONE CORRECTLY SPELLED transliteration of the word "Ovcharka" into English language as follows:


In other Roman character languages, we see the word Ovcharka transliterated and spelled without the 'h" or with a "t" because transliteration of Cyrillic characters into Roman characters is a language specific exercise under the rules, so the spelling may be different depending on the target language. That is why the transliteration of the Cyrillic character that looks like an oddly shaped "y" becomes "tch" in German, "c" in Serbian, and "ch" in English, per the United Nation rules.

An argument recently put forth on the net, is that "tch" is somehow more "phoenetically" correct than "ch". The soft "ch" sound of the words "Michigan" and "Charlotte" were sited as examples of why the word "Ovcharka" should be spelled with a "tch" contrary to United Nations transliteration rules.

However, the words the soft "ch" words, "Michigan" and "Charlotte" are French derived place names and are not representative of English pronunciation. We don't say "Dez Moinez", we say " De Moin" , another French-based place name. A "ch" sound, in typical English usage, for example the words "change", "charred", "chased", "chilled", is -ch and not -sch.

Therefore, it is not necessary to add a "t" in front of the "ch" for a hard "ch" sound pronunciation.* Spelling as "tch" does not make the word phonetically correct. In English, "tch" would be voiced "ovt-charka", which is clearly wrong.

Hence the UN and US LoC rules : OVCHARKA

(c)2003 Stacey Kubyn All Rights Reserved

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