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Fri Mar 4, 2022, 11:05 AM

'Kyiv' or 'Kiev' -- Here's why the difference is political

Last edited Fri Mar 4, 2022, 11:50 AM - Edit history (1)

As Russian forces continue to attack Ukraine's cities, forcing more than a million people flee the country so far, onlookers around the world may be noticing different spellings and pronunciations of the name of the country's capital.

CBC has been using a transliteration based on the Ukrainian spelling of the name: "Kyiv" (pronounced "KEE-ef" ). The Russian version is "Kiev" (pronounced "kee-EV" ).

snip

Khanenko-Friesen says the spelling and pronunciation of "Kyiv" is significant during this "time of aggravated assault on the sovereignty and integrity of the Ukrainian state."

"Using, right now, the Ukrainian pronunciation of ... the capital is a very small choice one can do in recognition that Ukraine does have the right to exist as an independent nation, contrary to what Vladimir Putin has been stating in his recent statements and addresses to his nation."

more

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/cbc-pronunciation-kyiv-ukraine-crisis-explainer-1.6371766

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Response to Spazito (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 11:07 AM

1. A serious distinction. Just like Ukraine vs the Ukraine.

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Response to niyad (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 11:08 AM

2. Yes, both are important distinctions for sure...

especially at this critical time.

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Response to Spazito (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 11:51 AM

3. Not certain this is correct.

When I learned Russian many years ago we all had trouble correctly pronouncing Kiev. As Americans, we said kee EV. The spelling in Russian is phonetically k ee yeh v, with stress on the first syllable. The unstressed ye becomes more like an ee and a v at the end loses its "voice" and becomes an f. So something like kee-eef results. We usually said keeEV among ourselves since it was so ingrained in us. It's been decades since I knew much Russian so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

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Response to fizzix137 (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 12:06 PM

5. If you listen to the video in this article you might find it...

helpful as it explains the difference and vocalizes the pronunciation of both words.

It is important, imo, to begin to use the Ukrainian pronunciation rather than the Russian one to indicate one's support for Ukraine and give them the respect they deserve.

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Response to fizzix137 (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 01:48 PM

9. I had a family member posted to Kyiv - she corrected my pronunciation many times - and I learned.

Same for "The Ukraine". Should be Ukraine (UKR), since "The Ukraine" implies an area such as "The Rockies" or "Bible Belt".

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Response to erronis (Reply #9)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 01:58 PM

14. For consistency, we should also be using the Ukrainian spellings

For their cities, and for the most part we are. Odesa (Odessa), Lviv (Lvov), Kharkiv (Kharkov), etc.

Of course then we'd get into the German cities like Nürnberg (Nuremberg) and München (Munich).....

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Response to Spazito (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 11:54 AM

4. Thank you,

i did not know that.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 12:08 PM

6. I didn't understand the difference either until reading this...

and listening to the video on the pronunciation of both words. I found it very helpful.

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Response to Spazito (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 01:36 PM

7. In my mind Kiev belongs to the era of the Soviet Union.

Kyiv is for present day Ukraine. We don't call Mumbai Bombay any more, we don't call Beijing Peking.

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Response to mwooldri (Reply #7)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 01:42 PM

8. Well said!

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Response to mwooldri (Reply #7)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 01:49 PM

10. Well, I don't order Beijing Duck anymore either. Miss it tho.

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Response to erronis (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 01:55 PM

12. Some things didn't change with Beijing/Peking.

The main university is still called Peking University. And as for that duck....

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Response to Spazito (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 01:49 PM

11. I'd also like to know the correct transliteration of "Zelenskyy"

I have been trying to remember the second "y" in writing.

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Response to Spazito (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 01:58 PM

13. BUT correct Ukrainian transcription is KYJIV!

Kyiv is just the more correct ENGLISH way...

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Response to Spazito (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 02:16 PM

15. As far as pronunciation, I wish I could find the video

From a Ukrainian who was trying to correct everyone. It is nothing like anyone is saying now including anyone on tv.

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #15)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 02:21 PM

16. There is a video in this article doing exactly that...

explaining why English speakers have difficulty pronouncing Kyiv the way Ukrainians do, she pronounces Kyiv both ways. It is quite educational.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 02:40 PM

17. Thanks you're right that's it. Thank you so much

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