[tz] Wrong spelling of a city in a timezone name

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Tue Oct 9 18:38:43 UTC 2018

Igor via tz wrote:

> Ukrainian government is currently running a campaign called Kyiv Not Kiev

If common English-language usage changes so that "Kyiv" is way more popular than 
"Kiev", we plan to change too. That hasn't happened yet.

> I saw in your files that you understand that Kyiv is correct spelling and you 
> reason that Kiev is more common, alas that argument is wrong. It's only more 
> common because it's been mistakingly used for a long period of time.

As a rule we don't judge who's right or who's wrong about spelling; we just take 
the most common English spelling. Anyway, the name "Europe/Kiev" is intended to 
be an internal identifier, not something visible to end users.

We've recently added text to try to explain this better, as follows:

Each timezone has a unique name. Inexperienced users are not expected to select 
these names unaided. Distributors should provide documentation and/or a simple 
selection interface that explains each name via a map or via descriptive text 
like "Ruthenia" instead of the timezone name "<code>Europe/Uzhgorod</code>". If 
geolocation information is available, a selection interface can locate the user 
on a timezone map or prioritize names that are geographically close. For an 
example selection interface, see the <code>tzselect</code> program in the 
<code><abbr>tz</abbr></code> code. The <a 
href="http://cldr.unicode.org/">Unicode Common Locale Data Repository</a> 
contains data that may be useful for other selection interfaces; it maps 
timezone names like <code>Europe/Uzhgorod</code> to CLDR names like 
<code>uauzh</code> which are in turn mapped to locale-dependent strings like 
"Uzhhorod", "Ungvár", "Ужгород", and "乌日哥罗德".


# From Paul Eggert (2018-10-03):
# As is usual in tzdb, Ukrainian zones use the most common English spellings.
# For example, tzdb uses Europe/Kiev, as "Kiev" is the most common spelling in
# English for Ukraine's capital, even though it is certainly wrong as a
# transliteration of the Ukrainian "Київ".  This is similar to tzdb's use of
# Europe/Prague, which is certainly wrong as a transliteration of the Czech
# "Praha".  ("Kiev" came from old Slavic via Russian to English, and "Prague"
# came from old Slavic via French to English, so the two cases have something
# in common.)  Admittedly English-language spelling of Ukrainian names is
# controversial, and some day "Kyiv" may become substantially more popular in
# English; in the meantime, stick with the traditional English "Kiev" as that
# means less disruption for our users.
# Anyway, none of the common English-language spellings (Kiev, Kyiv, Kieff,
# Kijeff, Kijev, Kiyef, Kiyeff) do justice to the common pronunciation in
# Ukrainian, namely [ˈkɪjiu̯] (IPA).  This pronunciation has nothing like an
# English "v" or "f", and instead trails off with what an English-speaker
# would call a demure "oo" sound, and it would would be better anglicized as
# "Kuiyu".  Here's a sound file, if you would like to do as the Kuiyuvians do:
# https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Uk-Київ.ogg

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