For example, I can look at a Cyrillic text and read it aloud, but I don't know enough words in any Slavic language to understand what I'm saying most of the time.

Some might just say "read" is fine, which it is in my example case, but not for cases when the name of the writing system is also the name of a language, for example Latin, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, etc.

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    It is unclear what your question is. – Cascabel Mar 26 '17 at 20:50
  • I gather you're asking whether there's a term for being able to read and speak a language, even though you do not know what the words mean. (I don't know of such a term.) – Hot Licks Mar 26 '17 at 21:59
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    what is your question? are you asking if there is a word for being able to enunciate a text without understanding its language? – user175542 Mar 26 '17 at 22:34
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    "Romanize" and "pronounce" might also be appropriate. For example, someone who knows Japanese script symbols or Arabic or Hebrew script might be able to convert those to Roman letters without knowing what they mean. – ohwilleke Mar 27 '17 at 2:42

Your own "read aloud" as in read Cyrillic aloud, mobileink's enunciate Cyrillic are both okay. Other possibilities include

Recite (but not understand) Cyrillic.

Declaim Cyrillic (less appropriate than recite imho)

Verbalise Cyrillic

Computer jargon, convert Cyrillic text to speech or even "I can (as it were) text-to-speech Cyrillic".

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Elementary/primary school teachers work on two major aspects of reading: decoding and comprehension - I think you are describing the former.

Decoding is the ability to read words by translating written symbols into the sounds of spoken language. This is done either orally or silently. Decoding is sometimes called “word identification”. When readers do not recognise a word in its printed form, they use their knowledge of the relationships between letters and sounds to translate it into spoken language NCLNA

In English, this can only take you so far, since pronunciation is often ambiguous and knowing which homonym one is looking at requires understanding the context. In other languages, that have one to one symbol-sound correspondence, it is possible to fully decode the language without comprehending anything.

I can decode Welsh, but I can neither read nor speak the language - I just know the sounds the letters make.

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In this case you can clarify by specifying that it's the writing system you're talking about: "Can you read the Cherokee alphabet" or "Can you read Arabic script?"

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    I think that you misunderstood the question (which is understandable, since it is not clearly stated). I believe the user is requesting an alternate word for read. – vpn Mar 27 '17 at 1:35
  • I meant to say that"read" is the best word. It's the object of the verb that needs clarification. – q23.us Mar 27 '17 at 1:58

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