• Rossen Svendsen posted an update 6 months, 1 week ago

    Transliteration is usually somewhat of a strange thing, but it’s especially complicated in Ukraine, where roughly one-sixth of the population is ethnic Russian, speaking Russian, and the other sixth are ethnic Ukrainian, but speak Russian too. It’s become especially difficult recently, as numerous in 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 – rejected from E.U. membership toward an agreement with Russia’s Eurasian Union.

    Given a history of Russian domination, both during the Soviet period and before, it’s understandable that language has changed into a major problem in the united states. One obvious illustration of here is the Western habit of talking about the continent as "the Ukraine" rather than "Ukraine." You’ll find myriad reasons until this is wrong and offensive, but probably the most convincing would be that the word Ukraine arises from the existing Slavic word "Ukraina," which roughly meant "borderland." Many Ukrainians believe that the "the" implies these are merely a part of Russia – "little Russia," as they are sometimes known as by their neighbors – and not a true country. The Western habit of using "the Ukraine" to consult the continent – even by those sympathetic for the protesters, like Senator John McCain- is viewed as ignorant at best.

    On top, the Kiev/Kyiv debate seems similar, although it is much less heated. The official language of the country is Ukrainian. Town, in the predominantly Ukrainian-speaking west of the country, had its name standardized to Kyiv in Roman letters with the Ukrainian government in 1995, just four years when they formally asked the entire world to thrill stop saying ‘the Ukraine.’ The entire world listened, with an extent – the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) approved the spelling ‘Kyiv’ in 2006 after having a request through the Ukrainian government (and subsequent endorsement by the State Department).

    It’s not that simple, however. For starters, over the years there was a variety of different spellings with the English names for that city; Wikipedia lists no less than nine. In 1995, Andrew Gregorovich with the FORUM Ukrainian Review argued that as "Kiev" was based on a classic Ukrainian-language reputation for the city, which Kyiv and other potential Roman transliterations – like 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 to the BGN-approved romanization system that is certainly placed on Ukrainian geographic names in Ukrainian Cyrillic script."

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