member of the Russian parliament suggested to get rid of the letter Ы, he said: “We should eliminate this
disgusting letter. It’s an idiocy. There is no European language which
letter Ы. It’s an ugly guttural
sound, only animals use it: “ы-ы”.
We have a letter И – that’s enough”.
was not the first one to suggest that
the Russian language can survive without the letter Ы.
have been arguing that the
letter Ы is not really a letter and
should not have a place in the alphabet and in the language.
Russian alphabet originates from the
Greek, and the Greek alphabet does not have the Ы
letter in it.
Letter Ы comes from the Old
Slavonic (Old Bulgarian) language and
originally was a Cyrillic compound character ЪI
+ I [yeri] «еры».
The letter Ы was a derivative of
the letter I = И [ee], that is why the
Russian language does not have words starting with Ы,
because it was not considered as an independent, “autonomous”
can be argued that there are a few
words which start with Ы such as
of the rivers, villages in Siberia – «Ыгыатта», however
names are not Russian, they are adopted and hence can’t be accepted.
the arguments are the letter Ы
is still there and I don’t think it
will disappear anytime soon, and the students studying Russian will
have to learn how to pronounce this strange letter which doesn't have
anything similar in a lot of languages. Though sometimes the
difficulties related to the pronunciation of the sound Ы [i] are
exaggerated. I did have in my experience as a language teacher only a
few (very few) students who struggled with the pronunciation but they
quite fast mastered it with some practice and help.
few facts about letter “Ы”:
the popular comedy “Operation Ы
and Shoorik’s other adventures” one of
the characters suggests to call the mock burglary “operation
so “...nobody could work it out”. (“Оперция
Ы и другие приключения Шурика”)
cargo Steam engine “Ы”
was built in Russia in 1910-1920.
the Russian internet slang the letter
stands for “lol”.