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Old 10-17-2019, 11:18 PM
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Why are we now spelling it Kyiv?


Until just a few weeks ago I've always seen the capital of Ukraine spelled "Kiev". Now all of a sudden I'm seeing numerous instances of "Kyiv." What happened?
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:24 PM
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Perhaps to distinguish the Ukrainian pronunciation of their capital city from the Russian pronunciation, of which either "Kiev" or "Kyev" would be an accurate transliteration.

This is assuming that the Ukrainian pronunciation is different, a fact of which I am not in possession.
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:30 PM
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Kyiv is the official name. The United States Board on Geographic Names started using Kyiv instead of Kiev in June 2019.

From Wikipedia:
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Kyiv is the romanized version of the name of the city used in modern Ukrainian. Following independence in 1991, the Ukrainian government introduced the national rules for transliteration of geographic names from Ukrainian into English. According to these rules, the Ukrainian Київ is transliterated as Kyiv. This has established the use of the spelling Kyiv in all official documents issued by the governmental authorities since October 1995. The spelling is used by the United Nations, the European Union, all English-speaking foreign diplomatic missions, several international organizations, Encarta encyclopedia, and by some media in Ukraine. In October 2006, the United States Board on Geographic Names (or BGN) unanimously voted to change its standard transliteration to Kyiv, effective for the entire U.S. government, although Kiev remained the BGN conventional name for this city until June 2019.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:08 AM
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That spelling has existed alongside Kiev for many years, not just a few weeks. It could simply be a difference in official Ukrainian versus Russian transliteration systems, as the link above suggests. In fact there are slight spelling differences between modern Russian and Ukrainian (in Cyrillic) so Kiev is not spelled identically anyway.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:28 AM
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So help me if this affects my herb-butter-stuffed breaded chicken cutlets.

Last edited by Smapti; 10-18-2019 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:36 AM
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So help me if this affects my herb-butter-stuffed breaded chicken cutlets.
You'll just have to switch to Beijing Duck.
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:31 AM
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You'll just have to switch to Beijing Duck.
Delivered to the Tia Juana Jail.
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:58 AM
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Kyiv is closer to the Ukrainian pronunciation.
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:17 AM
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I have a former colleague who is Ukrainian and gets really, really outraged at the "Kiev" spelling. Of course, he also gets outraged at the fact that the history professors at our university are not willing to teach students that Russians are inherently evil, and that another former colleague acted in a comedy play that he thought was about Russians (it isn't), so he may not be ... entirely hinged about certain topics.
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:43 AM
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You'll just have to switch to Beijing Duck.
No Pe(e)king at the recipe.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:27 AM
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We shouldn't be taking English spelling lessons from foreign governments regarding the English versions of names. "Kiev" has been common in English for a long time. We shouldn't be changing the spelling based on the the preferences of the government of Ukraine.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:44 AM
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We shouldn't be taking English spelling lessons from foreign governments regarding the English versions of names. "Kiev" has been common in English for a long time. We shouldn't be changing the spelling based on the the preferences of the government of Ukraine.
The "Kiev" spelling was based on the preferred pronunciation of the Russian Empire, was it not?
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:02 PM
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This is one of those things that annoys me.

It seems like the news services don't want to admit to or acknowledge changes, or admit ignorance, so things like this get swept under the rug, without acknowledgment.

OK, I'll grant that a lot of people may have been using "Kyiv" for years and years, and to some people, with, I am sure, excellent reasons, hold it to be the proper or preferred spwlling. But the customary spelling in the US for as long as I call recall, has been "Kiev".

If you're suddenly going to hit us with "Kyiv", you owe us a statement about it and an explanation.


Similarly, "Niger" was, for my entire life, pronounced "NIGH -jer" in US news and media. Then a couple of years ago, it was "Nee-ZHER", without any sort of warning, or anyone saying "pardon us,m we've been saying it wrong all these years."


There are plenty of other examples. But don't go telling us that we've got it wrong when, for years, we've been getting our pronunciation and spelling cues from you.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:03 PM
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The "Kiev" spelling was based on the preferred pronunciation of the Russian Empire, was it not?
I don't think we did it because the Czar asked us too.

These are exonyms. They shouldn't be changed at the request of governments.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
We shouldn't be taking English spelling lessons from foreign governments regarding the English versions of names. "Kiev" has been common in English for a long time. We shouldn't be changing the spelling based on the the preferences of the government of Ukraine.
We shouldn't be spelling a persons name the way they want it spelled. We should spell it like we have always spelled it.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:22 PM
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We shouldn't be spelling a persons name the way they want it spelled. We should spell it like we have always spelled it.
Names of places aren't comparable to names of people. As I said, there's a concept called an "exonym," that is, "something that people who aren't from here called this place." It's a valid concept, and it's not a violation of an individual person's humanity.

Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, etc., all are exonyms, for example.

This is a transliteration/translation situation. A Ukranian speaker shouldn't be telling an English speaker how to speak or write or spell in English.

(Additionally, sometimes we do spell people's names like we have always spelled them, so that's not an absolute rule. For example, we transliterate from the Cyrillic script. Do you even know how Christopher Columbus spelled his name?)
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:27 PM
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We shouldn't be spelling a persons name the way they want it spelled. We should spell it like we have always spelled it.
Trying to claim that the name of a city is equivalent to the name of a person is dishonest. Cities don't have feelings to hurt, and there's a longstanding tradition of geographical entities having multiple names in multiple languages, as any German or Finn would know. Names are arbitrary and only have value to the extent they are comprehensible to the people being spoken to, not some other people who speak a different language entirely and are, therefore, not involved in the conversation.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
We shouldn't be taking English spelling lessons from foreign governments regarding the English versions of names. "Kiev" has been common in English for a long time. We shouldn't be changing the spelling based on the the preferences of the government of Ukraine.
It's not especially about spelling, it's about how it is pronounced in the native language (instead of the former conquering country's language).

So many English versions of foreign place names were established by people who heard the names wrong and/or who had no idea how to transliterate accurately into English. So what if those errors have been enshrined into our ignorance for years? If you found out you had been pronouncing your neighbor's foreign name wrong for years, would you refuse to correct it?

And what makes you think this is being done at the request of governments? Perhaps it's just common politeness, an effort to try to get it right after all these years of having it wrong.

I really can't imagine why you are so resistant to this kind of change. Why is it so much skin off your nose?
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
We shouldn't be taking English spelling lessons from foreign governments regarding the English versions of names. "Kiev" has been common in English for a long time. We shouldn't be changing the spelling based on the the preferences of the government of Ukraine.
On the contrary, I think in this day and age we should probably drop the "Latinized" names for certain cities. Why should we keep calling München "Munich" or Köln "Cologne," when apparently nobody needed to come up with a Latin name for Düsseldorf or Stuttgart? Ditto Italian cities like Firenze and Napoli.

Last edited by jz78817; 10-18-2019 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:00 PM
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On one hand it would be nice if we actually pronounced the name of the place the way the natives do.
On the other hand nearly every language on earth spells Shakespeare differently, why not get even?

Last edited by furryman; 10-18-2019 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:37 PM
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On the contrary, I think in this day and age we should probably drop the "Latinized" names for certain cities. Why should we keep calling München "Munich" or Köln "Cologne," when apparently nobody needed to come up with a Latin name for Düsseldorf or Stuttgart? Ditto Italian cities like Firenze and Napoli.
I find it interesting that the absurd sounding Leghorn has been dropped in favour of Livorno whereas the aforementioned and Roma remain Anglicised. I think it's more that the latter are better known than the absurdity though
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Old 10-18-2019, 03:02 PM
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That spelling has existed alongside Kiev for many years, not just a few weeks. It could simply be a difference in official Ukrainian versus Russian transliteration systems, as the link above suggests. In fact there are slight spelling differences between modern Russian and Ukrainian (in Cyrillic) so Kiev is not spelled identically anyway.
I think it's a mainly the difference between how they it's spelled (and pronounced) in Ukrainian (Київ) v Russian (Ки́ев). At least as to the key 'iv' v 'ev'. So it's not like Peking v. Beijing which is mainly two different ways to write 北京 in Latin letters, though also potentially due to a different dialectic pronunciation heard by French missionaries who came up with 'Peking' than modern Mandarin. Whereas 부산 as Pusan or Busan is strictly a transliteration rules thing; no difference in 'native' pronunciation enters into the equation at all.

As with all these discussions insistence that English speakers/writers, and it is English speakers particularly*, spell stuff a more 'native' way is not in pursuit of some uniform rule. The general thrust I believe is that if English is the de facto international language, it should itself be internationalized more. And the specific cases which non-English speakers really push generally have some political aspect. With Ukraine it's the leader of Russia on record saying 'it's not a really a country, George' and later acting on that belief. So naturally there's sensitivity to 'The Ukraine' (the borderland [of Russia]) and English using the transliteration of the Russian spelling of Kiev.

*Chinese are much less likely to complain about people writing Pékin in French than Peking being written in English, and on and on.

Last edited by Corry El; 10-18-2019 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:53 PM
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On one hand it would be nice if we actually pronounced the name of the place the way the natives do.
In 99 cases out of 100, we wouldn't be able to if we tried. Personally, I'd rather people didn't mangle words that use sounds that don't exist in their language. An American trying - and failing - to pronounce "Yerushalayim" is far more offensive to me than one who just says "Jerusalem."
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:00 PM
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I much prefer Mao T'se Tung to Mao Zedong. And the change happened years after Mao had died, so it wasn't like he was the one complaining T'se Tung was wrong.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:05 PM
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So why aren't we pronouncing Mexico "Mey-hico", huh? Tell me that! Why don't we call Germany Deutschland?

Stuff like this pisses me off.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:46 PM
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I much prefer Mao T'se Tung to Mao Zedong. And the change happened years after Mao had died, so it wasn't like he was the one complaining T'se Tung was wrong.
well, it was China who led the change when they made Hanyu Pinyin the "official" way to Romanize Chinese words, replacing the old Wade-Giles method.

Last edited by jz78817; 10-18-2019 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:08 PM
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well, it was China who led the change when they made Hanyu Pinyin the "official" way to Romanize Chinese words, replacing the old Wade-Giles method.
The government of China can only make things “official” for entities and people subject to the control of the government of China. Its not official for anyone else. The government of China and the government of the Ukraine don’t own the English language. Neither does the government of the United States for that matter.
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:56 PM
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The government of China can only make things “official” for entities and people subject to the control of the government of China. Its not official for anyone else. The government of China and the government of the Ukraine don’t own the English language. Neither does the government of the United States for that matter.
well if this is what you think is important
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:07 PM
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The government of China can only make things “official” for entities and people subject to the control of the government of China. Its not official for anyone else. The government of China and the government of the Ukraine don’t own the English language. Neither does the government of the United States for that matter.
English uber alles!
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:10 PM
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We shouldn't be taking English spelling lessons from foreign governments regarding the English versions of names.
Why not?
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:36 PM
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(1) Mostly because we shouldn’t be taking orders on spelling or language usage from any government but also (2) because we shouldn’t be taking instructions on spelling from a government that doesn’t have sovereignty over us, because we shouldn’t be subject to a foreign government’s restrictions or preferences in general, and (3) we should not recognize an entity primarily existing in a context governed by non-English languages as an authority on usage of the English language, and (5) we should not change English usage based on non-English language factors generally, and (5) we should not be ironing out differences between languages generally. I don’t like nor want uniformity among languages.
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:48 PM
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Upthread it was implied that Kyiv was closer to the Ukranian pronunciation of the city's name than Kiev. I would tend to pronounce them both the same. So how do the pronunciations of Kyiv and Kiev differ?

And btw I am not at all familiar with the phonetic symbols used by linguists, so try to explain it without them if you can.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:08 PM
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That's no-one's business but the Turks'.

Last edited by Trancephalic; 10-18-2019 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:13 PM
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Cities aren't people, but the same reasoning does apply: it's polite to use the name people want you to use. For a person, you're being polite to that person. For a city, you're being polite to the people of that city.

Germany clearly doesn't care that we don't say Deuchland. But Ukraine cares, so we politely change it. Just like we did when they requested us not to use "the Ukraine." It's part of them asserting their independence from Russia.

Just because some countries don't mind what exonym we use doesn't mean none of them do. We use Beijing, after all, and we're not exactly friendly with China.

Last edited by BigT; 10-18-2019 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:34 PM
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Upthread it was implied that Kyiv was closer to the Ukranian pronunciation of the city's name than Kiev. I would tend to pronounce them both the same. So how do the pronunciations of Kyiv and Kiev differ?

And btw I am not at all familiar with the phonetic symbols used by linguists, so try to explain it without them if you can.
One has an E, making the sound as in bet, while the other has an I, making the sound as in bit. So it's kee-YEV (old) vs. kee-YIV (new).

That said, the original Ukrainian appears to be kih-YEEV, except that the V sounds more like a W. At least, if Wikipedia is correct in using [ˈkɪjiu̯]. I unfortunately was unable to quickly find a good video of an actual Ukrainian saying the city's name.
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:32 AM
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Yeah, Kyiv in Ukrainian is a little difficult for English speakers, the yeev sound is kind of drawn out and emphasized. I studied Russian, but I've spent a lot of time in Kyiv, it's a great city no matter what you call it.

Last edited by madmonk28; 10-19-2019 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:19 AM
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Transliterating is an inexact art. Common sounds in one language are uncommon in another. Some alphabets have characters for sounds that are not in other alphabets.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:36 AM
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One has an E, making the sound as in bet, while the other has an I, making the sound as in bit. So it's kee-YEV (old) vs. kee-YIV (new).

That said, the original Ukrainian appears to be kih-YEEV, except that the V sounds more like a W. At least, if Wikipedia is correct in using [ˈkɪjiu̯]. I unfortunately was unable to quickly find a good video of an actual Ukrainian saying the city's name.
Here are some audio samples.

To an English speaker, it sounds something like "kay-you" or "key-you."
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:38 AM
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One has an E, making the sound as in bet, while the other has an I, making the sound as in bit. So it's kee-YEV (old) vs. kee-YIV (new).
Not sure where you are getting that, or that "Kiev" and "Kyiv" are supposed to be pronounced differently in English, rather than being a spelling variation. Or that there is stress on the second syllable.
Quote:
That said, the original Ukrainian appears to be kih-YEEV, except that the V sounds more like a W. At least, if Wikipedia is correct in using [ˈkɪjiu̯]. I unfortunately was unable to quickly find a good video of an actual Ukrainian saying the city's name.
Original 5th century Ukrainian?

Simply copying off of Wikipedia, many English spellings have been in use, including Kiou, Kiow, Kiiow, Kiew, Kiovia, Kiev, Kyiv, Kyyiv, Kyjiv, Kyjev, take your pick.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:03 AM
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I think it's a mainly the difference between how they it's spelled (and pronounced) in Ukrainian (Київ) v Russian (Ки́ев). At least as to the key 'iv' v 'ev'
Spelling, to be sure, but--- feel free to judge for yourself from the audio clips--- if the Ukrainians wanted to push for a more authentic local pronunciation, going back to Kiou or Kiow seems closer.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:23 AM
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(1) Mostly because we shouldn’t be taking orders on spelling or language usage from any government but also (2) because we shouldn’t be taking instructions on spelling from a government that doesn’t have sovereignty over us, because we shouldn’t be subject to a foreign government’s restrictions or preferences in general, and (3) we should not recognize an entity primarily existing in a context governed by non-English languages as an authority on usage of the English language, and (5) we should not change English usage based on non-English language factors generally, and (5) we should not be ironing out differences between languages generally. I don’t like nor want uniformity among languages.
This makes little to no sense. What 'orders' have been issued? Why is respecting someone's preference being seen as being 'subject' to them? What the hell has sovereignty got to do with such a minor issue? What is it that you're so terrified of?
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:44 AM
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This makes little to no sense. What 'orders' have been issued? Why is respecting someone's preference being seen as being 'subject' to them? What the hell has sovereignty got to do with such a minor issue? What is it that you're so terrified of?
This. Nobody came knocking at my door warning me of dire penalties if I ever try to spell Kyiv "Kiev" again. Nobody's telling me how I may or may not spell that name. All that's happening is that some governmental and non-governmental entities are voluntarily agreeing upon a version of that name as the default spelling. So what?

The pantswetting about "being subject to a foreign government" is just silly.
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:28 AM
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We shouldn't be changing the spelling based on the the preferences of the government of Ukraine.
Unless, of course, there's something in it for us.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
(1) Mostly because we shouldn’t be taking orders on spelling or language usage from any government but also (2) because we shouldn’t be taking instructions on spelling from a government that doesn’t have sovereignty over us, because we shouldn’t be subject to a foreign government’s restrictions or preferences in general, and (3) we should not recognize an entity primarily existing in a context governed by non-English languages as an authority on usage of the English language, and (5) we should not change English usage based on non-English language factors generally, and (5) we should not be ironing out differences between languages generally. I don’t like nor want uniformity among languages.
Could we do it not because we’re “taking orders,” but because it’s just polite to call people by the name they want to be called?

Do you think we should continue to call it “The Ukraine” as well?
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:40 PM
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Simply copying off of Wikipedia, many English spellings have been in use, including Kiou, Kiow, Kiiow, Kiew, Kiovia, Kiev, Kyiv, Kyyiv, Kyjiv, Kyjev, take your pick.
Kief ND was named for the city under discussion.


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Could we do it not because we’re “taking orders,” but because it’s just polite to call people by the name they want to be called?

Do you think we should continue to call it “The Ukraine” as well?
The government of Czechia wants everyone to use that name, rather than Czech Republic, but for some reason, few people are doing it. Not sure why it's different than this case, but it seems to be.
  #46  
Old 10-19-2019, 04:08 PM
Corry El is offline
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Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
The government of Czechia wants everyone to use that name, rather than Czech Republic, but for some reason, few people are doing it. Not sure why it's different than this case, but it seems to be.
Again I think it's different in that Russia's policy is to treat Ukraine as other than a fully sovereign country so stuff like using the 'The Ukraine' or the transliteration of the Russian Cyrillic spelling of Kiev, rather than transliterating the Ukrainian Cyrillic spelling Kyiv, is understandably more sensitive to Ukrainians. Those semantic details are perceived as being connected to a life and death issue, though obviously not one directly.

Czechia is more of a suggested convenience, which is appealing to me actually, shorter. But people on the Czech side I guess don't care as much, and it's a small country in a moderately tense area, not a medium size country undergoing a quasi-invasion by a nuclear armed neighbor, so outsiders don't care as much.

Last edited by Corry El; 10-19-2019 at 04:09 PM.
  #47  
Old 10-19-2019, 05:16 PM
dtilque is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corry El View Post
Czechia is more of a suggested convenience, which is appealing to me actually, shorter. But people on the Czech side I guess don't care as much, and it's a small country in a moderately tense area, not a medium size country undergoing a quasi-invasion by a nuclear armed neighbor, so outsiders don't care as much.
For some reason, I don't think geopolitical issues should be a factor in this kind of thing. And I could name a number of other such changes where, as far as I can tell, they weren't. Yet we made the changes anyway.
  #48  
Old 10-19-2019, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
One has an E, making the sound as in bet, while the other has an I, making the sound as in bit. So it's kee-YEV (old) vs. kee-YIV (new).

That said, the original Ukrainian appears to be kih-YEEV, except that the V sounds more like a W. At least, if Wikipedia is correct in using [ˈkɪjiu̯]. I unfortunately was unable to quickly find a good video of an actual Ukrainian saying the city's name.
Some American dialects say "bit" and "bet" exactly the same. I had a friend named Wells who grew up in Atlanta and he pronounced his own name as "Wales" while his "bit" and "bet" were identical.

From now on you all have to pronounce the capital of France as "Paree".

Incidentally, in French (at least in Quebec French), there is a city in Ontario named London, while the capital of the UK is Londres (pronounced Londre, somewhat like laundry). And the city in Ontario has a river running through pronounced Thames, not Tems. This whole discussion seems pointless to me. People will pronounce things the way they will.
  #49  
Old 10-19-2019, 05:54 PM
carrps is offline
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I still remember an old Candid Camera episode where Allen Funt was asking some guy somewhere in the South to say "all" and "oil." They sounded identical.
  #50  
Old 10-19-2019, 08:00 PM
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Did something similar happen with Bombay/Mumbai, or is that more of an Istanbul/Constantinople thing?
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