• Holder Haaning posted an update 10 months, 1 week ago

    Transliteration is always a strange thing, but it’s especially complicated in Ukraine, where roughly one-sixth of people is ethnic Russian, speaking Russian, and the other sixth are ethnic Ukrainian, but speak Russian too. It’s become especially difficult recently, as much in the protesters within 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 previous Russian domination, both in the Soviet period and before, it’s obvious that language has developed into a serious problem in the united states. One obvious illustration of this can be the Western habit of speaking about the country as "the Ukraine" instead of "Ukraine." There are myriad reasons until this is wrong and offensive, but possibly the most convincing would be that the word Ukraine originates from the existing Slavic word "Ukraina," which roughly meant "borderland." Many Ukrainians believe that the "the" implies they may be only a section of Russia – "little Russia," as they are sometimes referred to by their neighbors – and not a true country. The Western practice of using "the Ukraine" to refer to the united states – even by those sympathetic to the protesters, like Senator John McCain- is viewed as ignorant at best.

    On top, the Kiev/Kyiv debate seems similar, community . is far 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 from the Ukrainian government way back in 1995, just four years once they formally asked the world to please stop saying ‘the Ukraine.’ The world listened, to a extent – the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) approved the spelling ‘Kyiv’ in the year 2006 from a request through the Ukrainian government (and subsequent endorsement with the State Department).

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

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