• Rossen Lamont posted an update 2 months, 2 weeks ago

    Transliteration is obviously somewhat of a strange thing, yet 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 many of the protesters from the capital are Ukrainian-speaking, taking for the streets last November when President Viktor Yanukovych – a Russian-speaker from Ukraine’s east – averted from E.U. membership toward an agreement with Russia’s Eurasian Union.

    Given past Russian domination, both in the Soviet period and before, it’s a given that language has developed into a serious problem in the nation. One obvious demonstration of this is the Western practice of speaking about the continent as "the Ukraine" rather than "Ukraine." There are myriad reasons that is wrong and offensive, but probably the most convincing is that the word Ukraine comes from the existing Slavic word "Ukraina," which roughly meant "borderland." Many Ukrainians believe that the "the" implies they may be merely a a part of Russia – "little Russia," as they are sometimes known by their neighbors – and not an actual country. The Western habit of using "the Ukraine" to consult the united states – even by those sympathetic to the protesters, for example Senator John McCain- is viewed as ignorant at the best.

    On top, the Kiev/Kyiv debate seems similar, even though it is much less heated. The state run language of the nation is Ukrainian. Town, in the predominantly Ukrainian-speaking west of the country, had its name standardized to Kyiv in Roman letters by the Ukrainian government in 1995, just 4 years when they formally asked the globe to please stop saying ‘the Ukraine.’ The planet listened, with an 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 from the State Department).

    It isn’t so simple, however. To begin with, in the past there is many different different spellings of 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" took it’s origin from a vintage Ukrainian-language good name for the town, knowning that 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 used, arguing that ‘Kyiv’ is only a "an exception towards the BGN-approved romanization system that is certainly applied to Ukrainian geographic names in Ukrainian Cyrillic script."

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