• Rossen Keegan posted an update 3 months, 2 weeks ago

    Transliteration is always a bit of a strange thing, yet it’s especially complicated in Ukraine, where roughly one-sixth of the population is ethnic Russian, speaking Russian, and another sixth are ethnic Ukrainian, but speak Russian too. It’s become especially difficult recently, as much with the protesters in the capital are Ukrainian-speaking, taking to the streets last November when President Viktor Yanukovych – a Russian-speaker from Ukraine’s east – averted from E.U. membership toward a deal with Russia’s Eurasian Union.

    Given past Russian domination, both throughout the Soviet period and before, it’s a given that language has developed into a major problem in the nation. One obvious demonstration of this is the Western practice of discussing the nation as "the Ukraine" as opposed to "Ukraine." You’ll find myriad reasons until this is wrong and offensive, but possibly the most convincing would be that the word Ukraine arises from that old Slavic word "Ukraina," which roughly meant "borderland." Many Ukrainians think that the "the" implies they are simply a section of Russia – "little Russia," since they are sometimes known by their neighbors – and not a true country. The Western practice of using "the Ukraine" to refer to the continent – even by those sympathetic on the protesters, for example Senator John McCain- can be considered ignorant at best.

    On top, the Kiev/Kyiv debate seems similar, though it is far less heated. The state language of the united states is Ukrainian. The location, within the predominantly Ukrainian-speaking west of the us, had its name standardized to Kyiv in Roman letters through the Ukrainian government way back in 1995, just four years once they formally asked the planet to please stop saying ‘the Ukraine.’ The globe listened, to an extent – the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) approved the spelling ‘Kyiv’ in the year 2006 following a request from the Ukrainian government (and subsequent endorsement from the State Department).

    It isn’t really that simple, however. For starters, in the past there was a number of different spellings with the English names for your city; Wikipedia lists at least nine. In 1995, Andrew Gregorovich from the FORUM Ukrainian Review argued that as "Kiev" scaled like a vintage Ukrainian-language name for the location, which Kyiv as well as other potential Roman transliterations – such as Kyjiv and Kyyiv – were confusing for English speakers, Kiev was simply fine. The BGN still allows Kiev to be utilized, arguing that ‘Kyiv’ is only a "an exception towards the BGN-approved romanization system which is placed on Ukrainian geographic names in Ukrainian Cyrillic script."

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