Even the simplest things can sometimes be a problem.
Could somebody identificate these 3 languages ?

J-P - I know this is a “test” or “trick question, since you are better at languages than many of us. But, I’ll bit”

Cyrillic - I do not know the spellings well enough to tell which actual Cyrillic language is represented, as it could be Russian or any of the various forms of Russian, Bulgarian, etc. I know that people fluent in these languages can tell the difference. I had a marking on a holster translated by a friend’s wife, and she knew instantly it was Ukrainian, although as a Russian, she had not problem reading it. Likewise, I asked a Ukrainian friend to tell me from where a Makarov object came from the Cyrillic language on it, and he instantly and correctly identified it as Bulgarian. I do not have the knowledge to do that.

So, am I totally wrong on the test?

I never test people, but I always try to be 100 % sure.

I agree with the 2 first ones.

The third one is a problem for me. I have of course an idea but would like somebody told us exactly.

Perhaps EOD or Hans or Doc.


1 and 2 are clear, 3 is certainly no Russian, for me it seems to be Serbo-Croatian, if not so then Bulgarian. Ukrainian will also not do.
(and none left that would fit this scenario, ancient Romania and Mongolia)

This is crazy for me to chime in here, with my lack of education in Cyrillic languages and general ignorance, but I kind of think this last language might be Bulgarian, based on two words in what J-P posted and seem to be identical (the same except for an added last letter which may be simply plural or gender agreement -I don’t know either of these in Cyrillic) for Automatic and for Cartridge that appear in my Bulgarian Makarov Manual. I wish I could reproduce Cyrillic letters here, but I cannot.

I will ask a friend in Ukraine who recognizes Bulgarian if he thinks it IS Bulgarian, or whether my assumption is idiotic.

I have a non-export box for PPU 6.35mm cartridges which has the sides printed in four languages - I am told the four languages of the former Yugoslavia, Serb, Croat, Slovene and ??? The word “Automatic” is on all of them and none look like the one in what J-P posted. No proof at all, I suppose, but just an observation.

When I was young, younger than today… I learned at school the history of the different European countries. But now I have to spend a lot of time on internet just to find a geopolitical map of Europe before 1914 !!

Here was the situation (if the website is serious !) in eastern europe:
Greece, Albania, Serbia Montenegrino, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria-Hungary,

Therefore it could be : Serbia or Bulgaria or Russia.
We can avoid Russia.

Therefore it is either Serbia or Bulgaria.

Any more precision ?

I am with EOD on Bulgarian. Just think, which countries are next to each other?



All three in question, Greece, Romania and suspected Bulgaria.

All three in question, Greece, Romania and suspected Bulgaria.[/quote]

I checked with an online dictionary, it is Bulgarian.

I believe it is Bulgarian also, as I mentioned earlier. As I said in my early posting, the word “Ammunition”, shown in all four forms of the former Yugoslav languages on a cartridge box I have, would indicate it is NOT Serbian, or any other language from Yugoslavia.

OK, thanks very much to everybody who helped.
Your answer is “bulgarian” and it confirms the info I had.

To-morrow I will post the front page of the catalogue.

Thanks again to everybody.


Here is a view of the front page of a scarce 1910 SFM price list for Orient (!!) in 3 languages : Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian.

Funny to see these countries are called “Orient” and the arab catalogue has no mention.

(Why to ask the langauges if it is written on the catalogue?
Simply because from 1910 to nowadays anybody could have written that and have made a mistake !)

At least 3 SFM price lists are still missing :
the english one,
the serbian one,
the vietnamese one

Thanks to everybody.
PS: John, this price list is of no interest for you, it is just the translation of the french price list, with no hstp or picture. Sorry.

[quote=“jean-pierre”]Even the simplest things can sometimes be a problem.
Could somebody identificate these 3 languages ?

I am sure that third language is Bulgarian. The inscription “Cartridges for automatic pistols” include word “3A” (ZA), which means “for” and is typical for Bulgarian lenguge. For example, we can find the same combination on the label of pack with 8x56R cartridges made in Bulgaria.

Thank you for the confirmation Treskin.

Just my guess, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece were major re-seller points in the European ammunition trade with Orient in 1910. If you read Curzio Malaparte’s “El Volga Nace En Europa”, even in 1941 Romania was a major Greek trading point. The Ottoman Empire was in retreat in 1910, so the choice of these 3 languages might have had a political tint. I may be reading too much into it, but in the upper left corner it says in French “French Cooperative in Ammunition for Hunting, Shooting and War” and in Bulgarian “French Cooperative in Ammunition for War, Shooting and Hunting”. Different sequence, maybe different intent.

  • @ jean-pierre: Sorry for being so late with my reply but I didn’t check for many days this forum! The 2nd line which reads “CARTUSE PENTRU PISTOALE AUTOMATICE” is Romanian but this has a mistake, it must be “CARTUSE PENTRU PISTOALE AUTOMATE”. The last word must be “AUTOMATE” (not “AUTOMATICE”). The person who wrote that was NOT Romanian, a mistake like this is NOT accepted in the Romanian language. As you know the translation into English is: “Cartridges for automatic pistols”. The Romanian words are: “CARTUSE” [cartridges], “PENTRU” [for], “PISTOALE AUTOMATE” [automatic pistols or submachine guns]. —> The 3rd line [written in Cyrillic] is definitely Bulgarian language considering the first word “PATRONII” [cartridges]. The word “cartridge/cartridges” in Serbian language is “METAK”. —> The 1st line is definitely Greek and we all know the meaning since all the 3 lines tell the same “Cartridges for automatic pistols”. I hope this helps, Liviu 05/17/08

Liviu - are there other forms of the word for “Automatic?” My Romanian-English dictionary shows the word as “Automatie,” not “Automate.” I am not saying you are wrong, of course - firstly, I don’t speak Romanian and it is your native language and secondly, it is still not shown as “Automatice” which almost sounds like someone with a small knowledge of Romanian, but also a knowledge of Italian, got mixed up and spelled it wrong for either language.

I honestly just wondered if there arenh’t other forms of the word perhaps not used so commonly. English is full of stuff like that, as are many other languages.

  • @ John Moss: For singular it is “Pistol automat” [automatic pistol] and for plural is “Pistoale automate” [automatic pistols]. The word “Automatice” is completely wrong. The Romanian word “automat” is an adjective and in Romanian language any adjective changes according with the noun gender. At the same time the adjective in the Romanian language changes according with the form of “singular” or “plural” [see above]. As you can see, it’s not so easy. Compared with a language which has Latin roots [French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian and Portuguese], English is quite easy. Liviu 05/18/08