“Ignoring or refusing to print the letter ‘Ë’ would mean a violation of federal laws on Russian state language,” says the operator of Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo Airport, with a gravity that suggests persistent spelling offenders can expect a few years’ hard labour in a Siberian pit.
In a sort of penance for International Literacy Day, 8 September, the company has decided to amend the spelling of the airport’s name which features above its terminal buildings – changing the seventh-place E-without-dots to an E-with-dots, all in the name of very literal political correctness.
“The letters ‘E’ and ‘Ë’ are totally different, and not only in sound,” insists Russian linguistics specialist Marina Lappo, the former apparently being pronounced ‘ye’ and the latter more like ‘yo’.
Tolmachevo’s operator says that it “could not allow” the flagrant misuse of lettering in the airport sign to continue. Very commendable, gentlemen, I shall be recommending the Order of Lenin for the lot of you.