Question: About his name on our site--Do you think we should keep it Liapounov, or should I change it to Lyapunov? Seems to me I see Lyapunov more than Liapounov. I could be wrong though...
Yes, it's the op.8. Lovely piece, I've meant to work on it seriously for a long time now. I really don't know about the spelling. I think I had a mini-discussion with Chris when I uploaded one of his transcendental studies and it was chosen that way for consistency with another Russian transliteration. Liapounov seems the rarest to me - I've always spelt him Liapunov actually and that seems to be second most popular via Google with Lyapunov the most common. I don't know. I wonder if mathematicians have the same di/trilemma - his brother was a significant figure.
The thing is that in Russian there is a letter called Ya (я), which represents a dipthong and it has many of the behaviours of a single letter, rather like the j in English, which is actually two sounds, though they are never separated. (When a name like Joam is transliterated into Russian it becomes Джоан.) The problem with transliterating the composer's name (Ляпунов) as Liapunov is that it seems to indicate two letters and that the name could be pronounced Li-ap-u-nov, when in matter of fact it is Lyap-u-nof. The same goes for Scriabin (Skrya-bin), Liadov (Lya-dof) and so on. Why do we then see Liapunov? This is a hybrid between the French transliteration, which is Liapounoff and the one used in English, which is Lyapunov (final V in Russian is always pronounced as an F). I for one prefer the system they use in Italy, (which is actually the international system for Russian) and which is used for the spelling of Czech (and I believe Slovak, Croatian and Slovene), which would be Ljapunov. You will find German transliterates it Ljapunow, though the former would be truer to Russian pronunciation. Just to give an idea regarding other names, look how this systems transliterates, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Пётр Ильич Чайковский): Pëtr Il'ič Čajkovskij!