Name of Ukraine
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Name of Ukraine
Italian map of "European Tataria" (1684). Dnieper Ukraine is marked as "Vkraine or the land of Zaporozhian Cossacks" (Vkraina o Paese de Cossachi di Zaporowa). In the east there is "Vkraine or the land of Don Cossacks, who are dependent on Muscovy" (Vkraina overo Paese de Cossachi Tanaiti Soggetti al Moscovita).

The name "Ukraine" (Ukrainian: ?, romanizedUkrayina [?kr?'jin?] , ? Vkrayina [u?kr?'jin?]) was first used in reference to a part of the territory of Kyivan Rus in the 12th century. The name has been used in a variety of ways since the 12th century, referring to numerous lands on the border between Polish and Kyivan Rus territories. In English, the traditional use was "the Ukraine", which is nowadays less common and officially deprecated by the Ukrainian government and many English language media publications.[1][2][3]

Ukraine (?) is the official full name of the country, as stated in the Ukrainian Declaration of Independence and Constitution; there is no official alternative long name. From 1922 until 1991, "Ukraine" (also "the Ukraine") was the name of the territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic ( ? , Ukrayins'ka Radyans'ka Sotsialistychna Respublika) within the Soviet Union (annexed by Germany as Reichskommissariat Ukraine during 1941–1944). After the Russian Revolution in 1917–1921, there were the short-lived Ukrainian People's Republic and Ukrainian State, recognized in early 1918 as consisting of nine governorates of the former Russian Empire (without Taurida's Crimean peninsula), plus Chelm and southern part of Grodno Governorate.[4]


Map of Eastern Europe by V. Coronelli (1690). The lands around Kyiv are shown as Vkraine ou pays des Cosaques ("Vkraine or the land of Cossacks"). In the east the name Okraina (Russian: "Borderland") is used for Russia's southern border.

The oldest recorded mention of the word ukraina dates back to the year 1187. In connection with the death of the Volodymyr Hlibovych, the ruler of Principality of Pereyaslavl which was Kyïv's southern shield against the Wild Fields, the Hypatian Codex says "Oukraina groaned for him", ? ?[5]o nem ?e Oukraina mnogo postona).[6] In the following decades and centuries this term was applied to fortified borderlands of different principalities of Rus' without a specific geographic fixation: Halych-Volhynia, Pskov, Ryazan etc.[7]:183[8]

After the south-western lands of former Rus' were subordinated to the Polish Crown in 1569, the territory from eastern Podillia to Zaporizhia got the unofficial name Ukraina due to its border function to the nomadic Tatar world in the south.[10] The Polish chronicler Samuel Gr?dzki who wrote about the Khmelnytsky Uprising in 1660 explained the word Ukraina as the land located at the edge of the Polish kingdom.[11] Thus, in the course of the 16th-18th centuries Ukraine became a concrete regional name among other historic regions such as Podillia, Severia, or Volhynia. It was used for the middle Dnieper territory controlled by the Cossacks.[7]:184[8] The people of Ukraina were called Ukrainians (, ukrajinci, or ?, ukrajinnyky).[12] Later, the term Ukraine was used for the Hetmanate lands on both sides of the Dnieper although it didn't become the official name of the state.[8]

From the 18th century on, the term Ukraine becomes equally well known in the Russian Empire by the geographic term Little Russia.[7]:183-184 With the growth of national self-consciousness the significance of the term rose and it was perceived not only as a geographic but also as an ethnic name. In the 1830s, Nikolay Kostomarov and his Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Kyïv started to use the name Ukrainians. Their work was suppressed by Russian authorities, and associates including Taras Shevchenko were sent into internal exile, but the idea gained acceptance. It was also taken up by Volodymyr Antonovych and the Khlopomany ('peasant-lovers'), former Polish gentry in Eastern Ukraine, and later by the 'Ukrainophiles' in Halychyna, including Ivan Franko. The evolution of the meaning became particularly obvious at the end of the 19th century.[7]:186 The term is also mentioned by the Russian scientist and traveler of Ukrainian origin Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay (1846-1888). At the turn of the 20th century the term Ukraine became independent and self-sufficient, pushing aside regional self-definitions[7]:186 In the course of the political struggle between the Little Russian and the Ukrainian identitites, it challenged the traditional term Little Russia (?, Malorossiya) and ultimately defeated it in the 1920s during the Bolshevik policy of Korenization and Ukrainization.[13][14][page needed]


Mainstream[] interpretation as 'borderland'

Excerpt from Peresopnytsia Gospel (Matthew 19:1) (1556) where the word "ukrainy" () corresponds to "coasts" (KJV Bible) or "region"(NIV Bible).

"Oukraina" was initially mentioned in the Hypatian Codex in approximately 1187, referring to the name of the territory of the Pereyaslav Principality and meaning "outskirts", possibly being derived from the Proto-Slavic noun *kraj?, meaning 'edge, border. The codex was written in the East Slavic version of Church Slavonic language. Several theories exist regarding the origin of the name "Ukraine" but the most popular one states that the name originates from the general Slavic word for "borderland", "frontier region" and "marches" which referred, most likely, to the border territories of Kyivan Rus.

This suggests that it was being used as a semantic parallel to -mark in Denmark, which originally also denoted a border region (in this case of the Holy Roman Empire, cf. Marches). The Arabic name of Egypt, Mi?r, similarly denotes a border region.

A 1648 map by Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan called Delineatio Generalis Camporum Desertorum vulgo Ukraina (General illustration of desert plains, in common speech Ukraine)
Title of the 1648 map of Beauplan "Ukrainae pars"

In the sixteenth century, the only specific ukraina mentioned very often in Polish and Ruthenian texts was the south-eastern borderland around Kyïv, and thus ukraina came to be synonymous with the Kyïv Voivodeship and later the region around Kyïv.[] Later this name was adopted as the name of the country.[]

The etymology of the word Ukraine is seen this way in all mainstream etymological dictionaries, see e.g. Max Vasmer's etymological dictionary of Russian); see also Orest Subtelny,[15]Paul Magocsi,[16]Omeljan Pritsak,[17]Mykhailo Hrushevskyi,[18]Ivan Ohiyenko,[19]Petro Tolochko[20] and others. It is supported by Jaroslav Rudnyckyj in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine[21] and the Etymological dictionary of the Ukrainian language (based on already mentioned Vasmer).[22]

On a map, published in Amsterdam in 1645, the sparsely inhabited region to the north of the Azov sea is called Okraina and is characterized to the proximity to the Dikoia pole (Wild Fields), a posing a constant threat of raids of Turkic nomads (Crimean Tatars and the Nogai Horde). There is, however, also a specialised map published in 1648 of the Lower Dnieper region by Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan called "Delineatio Generalis Camporum Desertorum vulgo Ukraina" (General illustration of desert plains, in common speech Ukraine), attesting to the fact that the term Ukraina was also in use.[23]

Alternative interpretation as 'region, country'

In Ukrainian language (as well as Belarusian, but not Russian) the word for a country or a land is "Kraina". Ukrainian language does not have any alternative words for that term other than "Kraina". For example, foreign country - ? (chuzha kraina), own country - ? (svoia kraina). The use of the word kraina in Ukrainian language semantically is close to the meaning of partitioning than a border or an edge. In Ukrainian popular music song performed by Sofia Rotaru "Krai, mii ridnyi krai" (Land, my homeland), she definitely does not sing about a border. Another singer Siarhei Mikhalok from Belarus in his song "Rodnyi krai" (Homeland), he does not sing about a borderline. In Polish language, Armija Krajowa is not a border troops service either, but rather known as the Home Army (National Army).

Some Ukrainian scholars, beginning in the 1930s[], have interpreted the term ukraina in the sense of 'region, principality, country'.[24]

Many medieval occurrences of the word can be interpreted as having that meaning. In this sense, the word can be associated with contemporary Ukrainian krajina and Belarusian kraina, meaning 'country' (see Translations, 'region of land').

Linguist Hryhoriy Pivtorak (2001) argues that there is a difference between the two terms ukraina ? "territory" and ? okraina "borderland". Both are derived from kraj "division, border, land parcel, territory" but with a difference in preposition, u (?) meaning "in" vs. o (?) meaning "about, around"; *ukraj and *ukrajina would then mean "a separated land parcel, a separate part of a tribe's territory". Lands that became part of Lithuania (Chernihiv and Siversk Principalities, Kyiv Principality, Pereyaslav Principality and the most part of the Volyn Principality) were sometimes called Lithuanian Ukraina, while lands that became part of Poland (Halych Principality and part of the Volyn Principality) were called Polish Ukraina. Pivtorak argues that Ukraine had been used as a term for their own territory by the Ukrainian Cossacks of the Zaporozhian Sich since the 16th century, and that the conflation with okraina "borderlands" was a creation of tsarist Russia.[25] which has been countered[clarification needed] by other historical sources of Russia.[26]

English definite article

Ukraine is one of a few English country names traditionally used with the definite article.[1] Use of the article was standard before Ukrainian independence, but has decreased since the 1990s.[2][3][27] For example, the Associated Press dropped the article "the" on 3 December 1991.[3] Use of the definite article was seen as suggesting a non-sovereign territory, much like "the Lebanon" referred to the region before its independence, or as one might refer to "the Midwest".[28][29][30]

In 1993 the Ukrainian government explicitly requested that the article be dropped,[31] and use of "Ukraine" without the definite article has since become commonplace in journalism and diplomacy (other examples are the style guides of The Guardian[32] and The Times[33]).

Preposition usage in Slavic

Plaque on the wall of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Ukraine. Note the preposition na in Slovak, and the preposition v in Ukrainian.

In the Ukrainian language both na Ukrajini (with the preposition na - "on") and v Ukrajini (with the preposition v - "in") have been used.[] Linguistic prescription in Russian dictates usage of na.[34] Similar to the definite article issue in English usage, use of na rather than v has been seen as suggesting non-sovereignty. While v expresses "in" with a connotation of "into, in the interior", na expresses "in" with the connotation of "on, onto" a boundary (Pivtorak cites ? "in the city" vs. ? "in the village", viewed as "outside the city"). Pivtorak notes that both Ukrainian literature and folk song uses both propositions with the name Ukraina ( ? and ? ?), but that only ? ? should be used to refer to the sovereign state established in 1991.[25] The insistence on v appears to be a modern sensibility, as even authors foundational to Ukrainian national identity used both prepositions interchangeably, e.g. T. Shevchenko within the single poem ? (1847).[35]

The preposition na continues to be used with Ukraine in the West Slavic languages (Polish, Czech, Slovak), while the South Slavic languages (Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovene) use v exclusively.

Phonetics and orthography

Among the western European languages, there is inter-language variation (and even sometimes intra-language variation) in the phonetic vowel quality of the ai of Ukraine, and its written expression. It is variously:

  • Treated as a diphthong (for example, English Ukraine )
  • Treated as a pure vowel (for example, French Ukraine [ykn])
  • Transformed in other ways (for example, Spanish Ucrania [u'k?anja])
  • Treated as two juxtaposed vowel sounds, with some phonetic degree of an approximant [j] between that may or may not be recognized phonemically: German Ukraine [uk?a'i:n?] (although the realisation with the diphthong [a] is also possible: [u'k?an?]). This pronunciation is represented orthographically with a dieresis, or tréma, in Dutch Oekraïne [ukr?'i:n?] or Ukraïne, an often-seen Latin-alphabet transliteration of ? that is an alternative to Ukrayina. This version most closely resembles the vowel quality of the Ukrainian word.

In Ukrainian itself, there is a "euphony rule" sometimes used in poetry and music which changes the letter ? (U) to ? (V) at the beginning of a word when the preceding word ends with a vowel or a diphthong. When applied to the name ? (Ukrajina), this can produce the form ? (Vkrajina), as in song lyric ? (Naj Vkrajina vsja radije, "Let all Ukraine rejoice!").[36]

See also


  1. ^ a b Ukraine or the Ukraine: Why do some country names have 'the'?, BBC News (7 June 2012)
  2. ^ a b Why Ukraine Isn't 'The Ukraine,' And Why That Matters Now, Business Insider (9 December 2013)
  3. ^ a b c The "the" is gone, The Ukrainian Weekly (8 December 1991)
  4. ^ Magocsi, Paul R. (1985), Ukraine, a historical atlas, Matthews, Geoffrey J., University of Toronto Press, p. 21, ISBN 0-8020-3428-4, OCLC 13119858
  5. ^ " ? 6694 [1186] - 6698 [1190]. ?". Retrieved .
  6. ^ PSRL , published online at Izbornyk, 1187.
  7. ^ a b c d e ? ?. ?. ? ? ? ? .--?.: , 1996.-- 272 ?.?. ?8 5-325-00615-0.
  8. ^ a b c ?. ?. ?. ? // ? , . , .1, 2008 Archived 2013-11-01 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ The term Ukraina, or Kresy, meaning outskirts or borderlands, was first used to define the Polish eastern frontier of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
  10. ^ ? // ? ? 86 (82 ?. ? 4 .). -- ., 1890--1907.
  11. ^ [1]«Margo enim polonice kray; inde Ukrajna, quasi provincia ad fines regni posita».
  12. ^ ?. ?. ? ? . -- ? «», 1998. -- ?. 278.
  13. ^ ?. ?. ? ? ? Archived 2013-07-30 at the Wayback Machine // ? ?. -- No 34 (1) 2007. ?. 84-96
  14. ^ Martin T. The Affirmative Action Empire. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2001
  15. ^ Orest Subtelny. Ukraine: A History. University of Toronto Press, 1988
  16. ^ A History of Ukraine. University of Toronto Press, 1996 ISBN 0-8020-0830-5
  17. ^ From Kyïvan Rus' to modern Ukraine: Formation of the Ukrainian nation (with Mykhailo Hrushevski and John Stephen Reshetar). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ukrainian Studies Fund, Harvard University, 1984.
  18. ^ ?. ? ?-?. II. V. ?. 4
  19. ^ ? ?. ? -- 2001 ( ?  -- 1949)
  20. ^ ? ?. ?. « ? ? ?» (« ? ?». 1997
  21. ^ . ? 10-? . / . -- ; -?: , 1954--1989.
  22. ^ ? ? ? 7 ?. / . ?. ?. (. .) . -- ?.. , 1983 -- ?. 6 -- ? / .. ?. . -- 2012. -- 568 ?. ISBN 978-966-00-0197-8.
  23. ^ General illustration of desert planes, in common speech Ukraine
  24. ^ ?, ?. ? -- ? . , 1936. , ?. «?»: «» «?». , 1941; ? , . 1--3. . ?. : "?", "?" "?", "", ? "?": 1, ?. 189 ? ? 8 ?., 10 . -- ?., 1979.
  25. ^ a b ? ? ? «? », ? ? ? . ("Russian chauvinists began to explain the name of our region Ukraine as "the outskirts [okraina] of Russia", that is, they put in this word humiliating and unconnected content.") ? ? ? ' ? ? ? ? . . ? , , (2001), «?» -- «?».
  26. ^ As an example can serve ?. ?. . . ?. ?. ? ? 1572 ?, "? . ? ", ?. VIII, . 1 ? 2, . " ? ? ? ?", . , 1895, ., 1896; . , . 49 - 53, ?, . 54 - 62.
  27. ^ "Ukraine". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved .
  28. ^ "'Ukraine' or 'the Ukraine'? It's more controversial than you think". Washington Post. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 2016.
  29. ^ Trump discusses Ukraine and Syria with European politicians via video link, The Guardian (11 September 2015)
  30. ^ Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name, Forbes (17 February 2016)
  31. ^ , ?. ?.; ?, ?. ?.; ?, ?. ? (2001). ? ? [Grammatically Correct Russian Speech] (in Russian). . p. 69. ? 1993 ? ? ? ? ? ? (? ?). , ? ?, ? ? ?. ? ? ? , ?, ? ? ? ? ? ? () ? ...
  32. ^ "The Guardian Style Guide: Section 'U'". London. 19 December 2008. Retrieved 2018.
  33. ^ "The Times: Online Style Guide - U". London. 16 December 2005. Archived from the original on 11 April 2007. Retrieved 2011.
  34. ^ "? ?". Retrieved .
  35. ^ ? , ? / ? ? ? ?, . / [...] / ? ?, / - ("It is the same to me, if I will / live in [v] Ukraine or not. / [...] / In [na] our glorious Ukraine / in [na] our, not their land") ([poetyka.uazone.net])
  36. ^ See for example, Rudnyc'kyj, J. B., ? - ? ? / Ukrainian-Canadian Folklore and Dialectological Texts, Winnipeg, 1956


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