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Kyiv or Kiev?

You may have observed the different ways that people spell or pronounce the name of Ukraine’s capital. In Russian, it is stated as kee-ev; however, in Ukrainian, it is uttered keev. Naturally, when spelled in English, each variation is transliterated into our alphabet. How you and I might pronounce, it wouldn’t precisely be the manner that Russian or Ukrainian speakers execute. But the choice to spell it one way or any other is a political one.

Spelling can also imply how credible an information source is, and it can clarify which side a source is on.

Ukraine has been an independent country for over 30 years now. Before that, it was a part of the Soviet Union. And the metropolis was specifically recognized to English speakers as Kyiv – the Russian way.

But given that Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, more media and government establishments have started out spelling it in the Ukrainian way – which Ukraine has been pushing for since its independence, to emphasize that it is its very own country, with its language "The fact that we have been using the word 'Kyiv' for so long has something to do with the history of the region ... the history of the relationship between the Russian Federation and Ukraine," stated Khanenko-Friesen.

This furthers a desire to excavate the origins of its significance.

The name derives from Old East Slavic Kyjevŭ. Old East Slavic chronicles, which includes Laurentian Codex and Novgorod Chronicle, used the spellings Києвъ, Къıєвъ, or Кїєвъ. This is most likely derived from the Protoslavian name *Kyjevŭ gordŭ (literally, "Kyi's castle") and is associated with Kyi, the city's legendary founder. Kyiv is the romanized legitimate Ukrainian name of the town, and it is used for legislative and official acts. Kyiv is the conventional English name for the metropolis. Still, because of its ancient derivation from the Russian call, Kyiv has become disfavored in lots of Western media following the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Historian Julius Brutzkus in his book The Khazarian Origin of Ancient Kyiv speculates on this - Sambat and Kyiv are of Khazar foundation, meaning "hilly fortress" and "below the settlement." Brutzkus claims that Sambat is not Kyiv, but instead Vyshhorod is (High City), which is located nearby.

As a distinct metropolis with an extended history, its English name has passed through gradual evolution. Early English sources wrote this word as Kiou, Know, Kiew, Kiovia. On one of the oldest English maps of the region, Russian, Moscoviae et Tartariae, posted by Ortelius (London, 1570), the call of the city is written Kiou. On Guillaume de Beauplan's map of 1650, the name of the metropolis is Kiiow, and the region is modified to Kÿowia. In the book Travels by Joseph Marshall (London, 1772), the metropolis is known as Kiovia. In English, Kyiv appeared in print as early as 1804 in John Cary’s "New Map of Europe, from latest authorities" and Mary Holderness's 1823 travelogue New Russia: Voyage from Riga to the Crimea through Kyiv. The Oxford English Dictionary covered Kyiv in a citation in 1883 and 2018.

The Ukrainian version of the call, Kyiv, seems in Volume 4 of the Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland, published in 1883. After Ukraine's independence in 1991, Ukrainian authorities introduced national guidelines for the transliteration of geographical names into Latin alphabet for legislative and official acts in October 1995, in line with which the Ukrainian name Київ is romanized as Kyiv. These policies are implemented for region names and addresses, in addition to private names in passports, road signs, and so on.

In 2018, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry launched #CorrectUA, a web marketing campaign to promote the usage of official Ukrainian spellings by nations and organizations in place of "outdated, Soviet-era" region-names. Kyiv's location is standardized in the authoritative database of Ukraine's toponyms maintained by Ukraine's mapping agency Derzhheokadastr. It has additionally been adopted by the United Nations GEGN Geographical Names Database, the US Board on Geographic Names, the International Air Transport Association, the European Union, English-speaking foreign diplomatic missions and governments, several global agencies, and the Encyclopædia Britannica. Some English-language information sources have followed Kyiv in their style guides, which includes the AP, CP, Reuters, and AFP news services, media agencies in Ukraine, and a few media organizations in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the US, regardless of more resistance to the spelling change compared to others, like Beijing and Mumbai.

Alternative romanizations utilized in English-language sources consist of Kyïv (according to the ALA-LC romanization used in bibliographic cataloging), Kyjiv (scholarly transliteration used in linguistics), and Kyyiv (the 1965 BGN/PCGN transliteration standard). The US media business enterprise NPR adopted an on-air pronunciation of Kyiv towards the Ukrainian, responding to the records and identity of the local population, in January 2022.


Today, when Ukrainian sovereignty is under threat, being aware of this distinction is more meaningful to Ukrainians than ever. 

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Tags: #Russian #Kyiv #Ukrainian #Kiev

1 comment

6 months, 2 weeks ago by qwertytester0

Best research ever seen on this website I am Ukrainian myself and I related to this very much. Thank you for publishing.

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