Across Continents

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Out of character

I’ve already encountered a few derivatives of the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, mostly in simplified form – in Serbia, and Bulgaria for example. And even Turkish has a few more characters than our own – some with distinct new sounds, others just extending the duration of vowels.

Being able to grasp what’s written is hugely important, for two main reasons – menus and maps. The first is pretty self-evident, but the second? Problem is my maps have mostly been transliterated into the familiar Roman alphabet, helpful if I want to attempt to pronounce places, but often hopeless if you want to relate them to road signs, or show to local people when seeking directions.

Georgian text

And then there’s Georgian. Quite unique. Looks beautiful, the characters perhaps resembling the grapes found in this wine producing country, but wholly incomprehensible to me. And nothing like what’s on my map, which in this instance is fine, as the expression is something I found in the medical section of my phrase book. Still, doubt it’s as challenging as Chinese…

[And the Georgian phrase? Answers please via my website Contacts page. I’m indebted to Pat at for her help, and a phrase book. Incidentally, entries are still being accepted for the ’Name all the ’Stans’ competition – if it helps, Wazakstan and Moronastan are not recognised nation states (you know who you are), and Yogistan is a fictitious country in the W E Bowman classic tale ’The Ascent of Rum Doodle’]


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