You say Tschebyscheff, I say Chebyshev

As I reread the Burnashev-Zingagirov paper on interval estimation today, I came across a new (to me) spelling of the mathematician Chebyshev‘s name. I found a page with variant spellings, including

  • Chebyshev
  • Chebyshov
  • Chebishev
  • Chebysheff
  • Tschebischeff
  • Tschebyshev
  • Tschebyscheff
  • Tschebyschef
  • Tschebyschew

I know that “Tsch” comes from French/German transliterations. But today I saw “Chebysgev,” which is a totally new one to me. Where does the “g” come in? The name is actually Чебышев, which may or may not show up depending on your Unicode support.

UPDATE : Hari found “Tchebichev” in Loève’s Probability Theory book.

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6 thoughts on “You say Tschebyscheff, I say Chebyshev

  1. Wikipedia also has Chebychev and Tchebycheff. Of course, I may have just added them to the wiki a few minutes ago so I could send in this comment.

    I’m more interested that your weblink says it is pronounced approximately “chebby-SHOFF”, accent on the last syllable.

    I don’t know anyone who says it that way.

  2. Where does the “g” come from? In Russian, there is no native “H” sound … in instances where “H”s are used [imported words], they are usually replaced by the letter “G”. So, for instance, my roommate in Moscow was named Hermione but was called Germione.

    My guess is that whomever transliterated Чебышев was following some variant of this H-> G conversion although it doesn’t really make much sense.

    • I also meant to mention that the G import is pretty much the same as what is transliterated “kh”, i.e. the last phoneme in Bach. The “off” at the end is plausible; ev (last two letters in
      Чебышев
      gets the following modifications in speech:
      the V sound is unvoiced, becoming “f” (or “ff”, perhaps a more familiar orthography for English), and the e, which might more properly have an umlaut over it, may be pronounced as an O (as in “off”). Nikita K’s last name is pronounced, approximately, as “hrooschOFF” or “krooschOFF”. It is common in printed Cyrillic to leave off those fussy umlauts because “everyone” knows they are supposed to be there. Except us poor non-native speakers.

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