Name of Ukraine
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- 1 History
- 2 Etymology
- 3 Syntax
- 4 Phonetics and orthography
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
According to the most widespread (including Ukraine itself) academic version,[weasel words] the name Ukraine derived from the Old East Slavic word ukraina ("оукраина") which had the meaning "borderland" or "march" and was used for different border regions of the Rus'. The etymology of the word Ukraine is seen this way among Russian and the most influential Ukrainian and Western historians such as Orest Subtelny, Paul Magocsi, Omeljan Pritsak, Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, Ivan Ohiyenko, Petro Tolochko and others. It's supported by the Encyclopedia of Ukraine and the Etymological dictionary of the Ukrainian language.
The oldest mention of the word ukraina dates back to the year 1187. In connection with the death of the Vladimir Glebovich, the ruler of Principality of Pereyaslavl which was Kiev's southern shield against the Wild Fields, the Hypatian Codex says “ukraina groaned for him”, ѡ нем же оукраина много постона (o nem že ukraina mnogo postona). 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.:183
As Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary tells, after the South-Western Rus' was subordinated to the Polish Crown in 1569, a particular part of its territory from eastern Podolia to Zaporozhie got the unofficial name Ukraina due to its border function to the nomadic Tatar world in the south. The Polish chronist Samuel Grądzki who wrote about the Khmelnytsky Uprising in 1660 explained the word Ukraina as the land located at the edge of the Polish kingdom. Thus, in the course of the 16th-18th centuries Ukraine became a concrete regional name among other historic regions such as Podolia, Severia, or Volhynia. It was used for the middle Dnieper territory controlled by the Cossacks.:184. The people of Ukraina were called Ukrainians (українці, українники). This term had no ethnical meaning since it was also used for Polish soldiers who were on duty in this territory. 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.
From the 18th century on, the term Ukraine becomes equally well known in the Russian Empire as the official and ecclesiastic term Little Russia.:183–184 With the growth of national self-consciosness 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 Kiev 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 Galicia, including Ivan Franko. The evolution of the meaning became particularly obvious at the end of the 19th century:186. At the turn to the 20th century the term Ukraine became independent and self-sufficient, pushing aside regional self-definitions:186 In the course of the political struggle between the Little Russian and the Ukrainian identitites, it challenged the traditional term Little Russia ("Малороссия") and ultimately defeated it in the 1920s during the Bolshevik policy of Korenization and Ukrainization.
During the period of Romantic nationalism it was popular to trace the origin of the country name to an ancient ethnonym. After this pseudo-historical view was discarded, two main versions of the etymology emerged. Naturally, the versions have different implications from a nationalist point of view.[clarification needed] They are also based on different possible or certain meanings of the lexeme ukraina as occurring in historical sources (see above) – "borderland", "homeland", "country", "region" or simply "land".[neutrality is disputed]
Derivations and interpretations
Mainstream interpretation as ‘borderland’
The traditional theory (which was widely supported by historians and linguists in the 19–20th centuries, see e.g. Max Vasmer's etymological dictionary of Russian) is that the modern name of the country is derived from the term "ukraina" in the sense ‘borderland, frontier region, marches’ etc. These meanings can be derived from the Proto-Slavic noun *krajь, meaning ‘edge, border’. Contemporary parallels for this are Russian okráina ‘outskirts’ and kraj ‘border district’.
In the sixteenth century, the only specific ukraina mentioned very often in Polish and Ruthenian texts was the south-eastern borderland around Kiev, and thus ukraina came to be synonymous with ‘the voivodship of Kiev’ and later ‘the region around Kiev’. In the nineteenth century, when Ukrainian romanticism and nationalism came into existence this name was adopted as the name of the country.
This version is supported by the fact that in some medieval Latin maps and documents, the word Ukraine is explained or translated as Marginalia. On a map of Russia, 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 vulga Ukraina" (General illustration of desert planes, in common speech Ukraine), attesting to the fact that the term Ukraina was also in use.
Alternative interpretation as ‘region, country’
Some Ukrainian scholars, such as Hryhoriy Pivtorak, Fedir Shevchenko, Mykola Andrusyak, Serhiy Shelukhin believe that the name is derived from ukraina in the sense of ‘region, principality, country’ (an alternative etymology would be to derive this meaning from the previously mentioned one by generalization). 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, Belarusian kraina and Russian and Polish kraj, all meaning ‘country’ (see Translations, 'region of land').
Pivtorak starts with the meaning of kraj as ‘land parcel, territory’, attested to in many Slavic languages and states of having acquired the meaning ‘a tribe's territory’ from early in Slavic morphology; *ukraj and *ukrajina would then mean "a separated land parcel, a separate part of a tribe's territory". Later, as Kievan Rus' disintegrated in the 12th century, its ukrainas would become independent principalities, hence the new (and earliest attested) meaning of ukraina as ‘principality’. Still later, lands that became part of Lithuania (Chernigov and Seversk Principalities, Kiev 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 Ukrayina. Simultaneously, Pivtorak and other scholars claim that the words Okraina and Ukraine always had strictly separate meanings, which has been countered by other historical sources.
The same meaning, being ‘region, principality, country’, can additionally be understood to be derived from another meaning of the word *kraj-, namely ‘to cut’ — as in Church Slavonic кроити (kroiti), краяти (krajati) — that is, ‘the land someone carved out for themselves’.
"Ukraine" versus "The Ukraine"
In English, the definite article was always used with the name of the country in the past, that is, the Ukraine (as in the Netherlands, the Gambia, the Bronx, the Congo, and the Sudan). This usage implies the borderland etymology (see above). However, usage without the article is now more frequent. This approach has also become established in journalism and diplomacy since the country's independence (for example, within the style guides of The Guardian and The Times). Since November 1991, several American journalists started to refer to Ukraine as Ukraine instead of the Ukraine. The Associated Press dropped the article 'the' on 3 December 1991.
The use of the definite article is standard in some other languages such as French (l'Ukraine) or German (die Ukraine), but this is not a marked feature, since the article in French is required for all countries, and in German, for all non-neuter countries.
Ukraine is both the conventional short and long name of the country. This name is stated in the Ukrainian Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Before independence in 1991, Ukraine was a republic of the Soviet Union known as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Preposition usage in Ukrainian, Russian and other Slavic languages
In the Ukrainian language, there was an official change in the way of saying "in Ukraine" following the country's independence. Traditional usage is na Ukrajini (with the preposition na, "on"), but recently Ukrainian authorities have begun using v Ukrajini (with the preposition v, "in", which is also used with most other country names). Linguistic prescription in Russian dictates usage of na. Russian-language media in Ukraine are increasingly using the parallel form v Ukraine. However, the media in Russia continue to use the standard na Ukraine. Note that the preposition na is also used for some regions of Russia as well as with Rus, the historical homeland of Eastern Slavs (na Rusi). The na preposition implies the borderland etymology (and in general, a description rather than a proper name), in this context similarly to the use of the definite article in English (see above).
The preposition na continues to be used with Ukraine (and with Rus') in other Slavic languages, including Polish, Czech and Slovak. This is a usage typically found with lands that have not always been considered distinct political entities (for example, Polish also uses na with its names for Hungary, Latvia, Belarus and Lithuania, but also the regions of Masovia, Masuria or Podlachia). However, Serbo-Croatian always uses u Ukrajini and never na Ukrajini.
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 //) or //)
- Treated as a pure vowel (for example, French Ukraine [ykʁɛn])
- Transformed in other ways (for example, Spanish Ucrania [uˈkɾanja])
- 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 [ukʀaˈiːnə] (although the realisation with the diphthong [aɪ̯] is also possible: [uˈkʀaɪ̯nə]). This version of pronunciation is represented orthographically with a dieresis, or tréma, in Dutch Oekraïne or Ukraïne, an often-seen Latin-alphabet transliteration of Україна that is an alternative to Ukrayina). This version most closely resembles the vowel quality of the Ukrainian version of the word.
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- List of etymologies of country subdivision names: "Ukraine"
- History of Kiev's name in English
- Vasmer Etymological Dictionary
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