[Ads-l] Off-topic: Cyrillic vs. Roman Writing

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Mon Mar 21 12:21:03 UTC 2022

On 3/21/22 00:00, ADS-L automatic digest system wrote:
> Date:    Sun, 20 Mar 2022 23:26:25 -0400
> From:"dave at wilton.net"  <dave at WILTON.NET>
> Subject: Re: Off-topic: Cyrillic vs. Roman Writing
> My understanding, based on info put out by the Ukrainian military, is that the symbol originated as a marking on Russian military vehicles from the Eastern Military District, which would be the one from which the invasion of Ukraine was launched. If the Z is within a square, the vehicles are from the Crimea. Other Latin letters were used on vehicles from other districts, the naval infantry (marines), Chechen paramilitary, etc.
> As such, the "Z" probably originated as an arbitrary marking, not standing for anything. That would also explain why a Cyrillic letter was not used--it's an easy-to-draw identification mark, not intended as a letter. Such marks on vehicles are common in military operations.
> Subsequently, of course, it has been taken to represent a number of words and phrases, some promoted by Russian propaganda, some arising in popular imagination.

It's an instance of people imbuing something with meaning, which is what 
we do. What's that phenomenon where we see meaningful patterns/images in 

Through appropriation and re-use this signifier will have/is getting 
particular signifieds, whether or not they are the original. (I am 
struggling to remember the elements of Pierce's semiotic system, but I'm 
remembering that the advantage over Saussure's is that it embraces 
shifts and changes with the icon and ground, yes?)

On a related note, I just didn't get the use of the Confederate battle 
flag by the Canadian anti-vax truck protesters. There's no Canadian 
equivalent symbol of rebellion? Or that icon has just become part of 
broader trucker culture? It's an aspect of the influence of American 
Southern culture (and I apologize for making the false equivalency of 
"Southern" and "Confederate") on trucker culture? I'm veering waaay 
off-topic here. My apologies.

---Amy West

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list