Does anybody reading this know what “USSR” represents? I doubt that younger readers do, such is the state of modern education — but no doubt some of my older readers recognize it as the name of the old Soviet Union — centred on Russia.

But what does “USSR” actually stand for? Now we’re getting tricky! I’m guessing that only a subset of those who know what the USSR was remember what the term “USSR” actually stood for. It stands for “The Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics”. And I won’t embarrass anyone by asking what a “Soviet” was.

But now comes the really hard bit: Why did the USSR in fact always refer to itself as the “CCCP”?

Give up? It’s because “CCCP” looks like it’s in the Latin alphabet that we use but it is not. It is in the Cyrillic alphabet. St. Cyril adapted the Greek alphabet to represent the sounds of Slavic languages and Slavic countries use it to this day. So “CCCP” transliterated into the Latin alphabet would be “SSSR”, which stands for the “Sodality of the Soviet Socialist Republics”.

So now you have to be au fait with both “Soviet” and “Sodality” to be fully knowledgeable about the matter! If you want to be …

Another way in which Cyrillic can be confusing has been noted by almost every recent visitor to Russia. They learn by experience to look out for a sign that says PECTOPAH. Why? Because the Cyrillic PECTOPAH is pronounced as “Restoran” (Restaurant)!

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don’t forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here

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