Where did the curious tradition of transliterating English u (sound ʌ) as Russian е come from? I remember at least three examples off the top of my head: trust -> трест, lunch - ленч (now obsolete), and Dundee -> денди. Judging by the fact that the latter was used by Pushkin ("как денди лондонский одет..."), the tradition must be at least 200 years old. But why on Earth?

Edited: Dundee has nothing to do with денди, it's a different word. Lunch and trust are still on the list.

  • Wiktionary and at least one other dictionary give the spelling as dAndy. The word is of presumably Scottish origin and indeed there's a city of Dundee in Scotland, but is there a link between the two? Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 18:46
  • As to the actual question, i don't know the answer, but might speculate that back then these words could have actually been pronounced this way by the native speakers Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 18:53
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    + Huckleberry Finn -> Гекльберри Финн Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 19:04
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    German -ei- is easier to explain by the orthography, in English speaking countries German and Jewish surnames with this diphthong are misspelled as well... In the Soviet time Japanese and Chinese names in official language and literature were spelled in my opinion fairly considering the constraints of Russian phonetics Commented Feb 3, 2018 at 8:16
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    More examples: регби (rugby); герцог Бекингем (Duke Buckingham)
    – J-mster
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


1.dandy noun [ C ] UK ​ /ˈdæn.di/ US ​ /ˈdæn.di/ ​ a man, especially in the past, who dressed in expensive, fashionable clothes and was very interested in his own appearance: an upper-class dandy (Cambridgedictionary.com )

So Pushkin is not to blame.

2.Траст trust The word траст was borrowed from English as a term for financial arrangement at the end of the 19th century.

Слово заимствовано в английском языке в конце XIX века как экономическое понятие. В экономике "траст" – и процесс, и результат. Как процесс: траст – это передача активов в доверительное управление, под попечительство. Как результат: траст и есть сами доверенные активы.

Then one more borrowed word appears, a derivative from trust, трест and it means a group of enterprises.

В конце XIX века в русском языке появляется еще одно производное от trust слово – трест. Им стали обозначать особую организационно-правовую форму бизнеса - объединение нескольких предприятий, которые добровольно и в этом смысле - доверительно отказывались от своей коммерческой самостоятельности и подчинялись единому управлению.(dictionary-economics.ru.)

3 As for lunch and ленч some sources say it was mispronounced, others show the formal "luncheon", which might have been the cause of mispronunciation, but nobody can say for sure.

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