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Formatting Phonetics, 1 Russian word and 2 Russian nicknames

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Good morning! Can anyone offer resources or advice for formatting phonetics in a PB MS? I have a few words in one of my manuscripts that I think would be enhanced if a phonetic spelling present. One is an actual Russian word but the other two are Russian-based nicknames.  :help2
#1 - March 24, 2021, 04:24 AM

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Hi, Jillian. I may be misunderstanding, but you're transliterating, right? Could you use just the Library of Congress system? And for a PB I suppose you might eliminate transliterating the hard and soft signs. (For what it 's worth, the MC of my first novel was Yuri Strelnikov. His last name should have been Strel'nikov, but that seemed cumbersome and more confusing than anything for an American audience.)
 :goodluck
#2 - March 24, 2021, 10:07 AM
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Hi, Jillian. I may be misunderstanding, but you're transliterating, right? Could you use just the Library of Congress system? And for a PB I suppose you might eliminate transliterating the hard and soft signs. (For what it 's worth, the MC of my first novel was Yuri Strelnikov. His last name should have been Strel'nikov, but that seemed cumbersome and more confusing than anything for an American audience.)
 :goodluck

I'm not sure if this would be considered transliteration or not. Within the PB text I mention Babushka which I have written (bAA-bU-shka), Bubchik (bOOb-chik) and soupchik (sOUp-chik) I want the readers to be able to say aloud the Russian word or Russian based nicknames and with proper emphasis. Does that make any sense?
#3 - March 24, 2021, 05:05 PM

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Babushka appears in Merriam Websters online, so it qualifies as a loan word.

I'm not sure using these reading cues will help readers in the targeted grade levels. Reading a word, even with phonetic help, does not ensure correct pronunciation. Even adults may struggle with it if they aren't very familiar with pronunciation keys. (I see this with Yiddish and Hebrew words). The visual cues can only take you so far. You need to hear it, or at least, I do.  I think this is something I would leave for a conversation with an editor interested in publishing the story. Of course, if you are self-publishing, go ahead  with it.
#4 - March 24, 2021, 06:04 PM
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Babushka appears in Merriam Websters online, so it qualifies as a loan word.

I'm not sure using these reading cues will help readers in the targeted grade levels. Reading a word, even with phonetic help, does not ensure correct pronunciation. Even adults may struggle with it if they aren't very familiar with pronunciation keys. (I see this with Yiddish and Hebrew words). The visual cues can only take you so far. You need to hear it, or at least, I do.  I think this is something I would leave for a conversation with an editor interested in publishing the story. Of course, if you are self-publishing, go ahead  with it.
Debbie,
     Thank you for your input! I guess readers don’t have to say the two others words correctly as incorrect pronunciation  will not be detract from the story.  What are your thoughts on including the reading clues in the MS? I’m hoping to query agents next month.
#5 - March 24, 2021, 06:34 PM

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The words you mention are fine written as they are without pronunciation cues. I use foreign words in my stories and spell them phonetically without any emphasis and no editor has ever complained. Sometimes, the first time it appears, the word is in italics and after that not. But that's really a house style. You're fine to write babushka, bubchick, or soupchick. They are fun to say out loud.
#6 - March 24, 2021, 06:52 PM
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Ah, I see the issue. Americans will mis-accent babushka and pronounce bubchik as "buhbchik", not using the /oo/ sound. That is annoying. You might have a little box on the title page that gives the pronunciation, or maybe the illustrator can do something on the first page. But you probably don't have to have it nailed down at this stage.

Good luck with the querying! :clover
#7 - March 24, 2021, 07:36 PM
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What are your thoughts on including the reading clues in the MS?

If you have a fantastic story that's unique, something like a pronunciation guide isn't going to stop someone from buying it. The worst that happens is they ask you to take it out. Ask yourself how much it interrupts the flow of the story. The story is the top priority. You could always discuss adding the guide in some way once you've sold the manuscript. There is no hard and fast rule here.
#8 - March 25, 2021, 08:55 PM
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