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> Somewhat OT, "Kazakhstan" is an interesting case,
> really.  The native form
> of the name has /q/ for both "k" sounds, but in
> Russian, which is the
> version borrowed into English, the first became /k/
> and the second /x/.   I
> find that odd; I know that Russian has words with
> initial /x/ (and medial
> /k/, for that matter), so I wonder why the two
> sounds got different
> treatments.
> 

The Russian form of "Cossack" has /k/ at the beginning
and end /ka'zak/, and this might otherwise have become
the Russian form of the name of the people (the
plosive /k/ replacing /q/).  However, to distinguish
the Turkic Qazaq (Kazakhs) from the Slavic Kazak
(Cossacks), the second /k/ became /x/.

There was a period shortly after Kazakhstan's
independence when the government was insisting that
their country be spelt "Qazaqstan" in the Roman
alphabet, the transliteration from Kazakh.  Everyone
ignored them, what with /q/ not being a regular sound
in English, an d Russian transliteration an
established tradition, and they eventually had to bow
to reality.

Geoff.

=====

One by one the penguins are stealing my sanity
-Graffitum spotted on a bridge in England


		
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