Saturday, June 24, 2006

Faux Soviet Meme #4

To close out my "Super Soviet" series, I thought I would lift something from Wikipeda, where all text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Graphic designers sometimes employ faux Cyrillic typography to give a Soviet or Russian feel to text, by replacing Latin letters with Cyrillic letters resembling them in appearance. A simple way to accomplish this is to replace capital letters R and N with Cyrillic Я and И, for some "Яussiaи flavor". Other examples include Ш for W, Ц for U, Г for r, Ф for O, Д for A, and Ч or У for Y.

This effect is usually restricted to text set in all-caps. In Cyrillic typography, most upright lowercase letters resemble smaller uppercase letters, unlike the more distinctive forms of Latin-alphabet type (cursive Cyrillic letters are more differentiated).

This is a common Western trope used in book covers, film titles, comic book lettering, and artwork for computer games which are set in the Soviet Union or Russian Federation. An early example was the logo for Norman Jewison's film The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming. It is important to note that not all names with Cyrillic-like characters in them are Faux Cyrillic; an example is the imitation of small children's erroneous writing of mirrored letters, such as the mirrored "R" in the Toys Я Us toy store name.It should be noted that none of the Cyrillic characters are pronounced the same way as their Roman lookalikes.

For example the Cyrillic letter "Я" looks like the Latin "R" but the actual Russian pronunciation is /ja/ as in "yard".

To us monolinguists, this is still fairly neat.


Faux Cyrillic. (2006, June 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 06:20, June 24, 2006, from


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