[tz] KyivNotKiev

John Hawkinson jhawk at alum.mit.edu
Fri Nov 27 13:42:18 UTC 2020

I want to take this opportunity to respond to multiple messages; replies all in-line below.

Andriy Ivanchenko <ivanchenko.andriy at gmail.com> wrote on Fri, 27 Nov 2020
at 06:39:51 EST in <CADS=uUsREjp3QAA0e1dky8oXN9QV6zqJx7xM3FWgBFN_KkEq3A at mail.gmail.com>:

> I understand correctly that you do not plan to change Kiev to Kyiv?
> Do I still have to wait a while for the final decision?

You do need to wait, but as you have seen, there is considerable opposition.

The reason is that issue has come up many many times since at least 2007, and the consensus has been that Kyiv is insufficiently common in English to warrant making the change. As a result, when you made the request without making it very clear that there is a strong argument that there is new information, you received a lot of knee-jerk reactions from people on the list who have not carefully considered any new information, and also are quite used to and comfortable with the decisions made and repeatedly endorsed in the past 13 years.

But the ultimate decision will come from the project's maintainers, who assess concensus and come to a decision. So it's particularly important what Paul Eggert and Tim Parenti think -- they will ultimately make the decision, in consultation with the members of this mailing list. I hope this lengthy message does not get lost in the frey.

> I don't understand how your system works.
> Can you write about it in more detail?

You've received a bunch of replies, but it may be helpful for you to take a look at the mailing list archives. This Google search shows the approx. 120 messages on this topic from the past: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Amm.icann.org%2Fpipermail%2Ftz%2F+kyiv

Alan Perry <alanp at snowmoose.com> wrote on Thu, 26 Nov 2020
at 11:44:05 EST in <16E4CCFC-80B0-4A69-B1DD-4727B8C2BFA2 at snowmoose.com>:

> As a Wikipedia editor, I think Mr. Hawkinson should spend some time
> participating in the Wikipedia decision making process before trying
> to take in characterizing its inertia against change to others.

I was fairly uncomfortable with the tone of this message and wrote Alan Perry about it privately. But I want to remind all of us to speak to the issue, not to the person, where we can do so. (It turns out I have spent considerable time with Wikipedia's processes.)

> I also question his claim that “major English-language authorities
> have all switched to Kyiv” without listing them. The English
> language doesn’t have official authorities, what constitutes a major
> English-language authority is subjective.

It is absolutely subjective, and I don't mean to suggest there are "official" authorities as there are in French. But it remains the case that there are unofficial authorities, and they have strong persuasive value for many speakers of English.

I linked to the Wikipedia discussion because I thought it was pretty fulsome, but perhaps I should have copied some of it here, because people do not follow links. The following comes from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Kyiv/Archive_7#Requested_move_28_August_2020 (I've hard-wrapped this to 70 columns, which I hope is not a mistake; see the URL if the formatting is bad for you):

| Original move request 1 July 2020: Kiev → Kyiv – Since October 2019
| when the 9 months ban/moratorium on requesting to change the name of
| the article from Kiev to Kyiv was established, the following updates
| have happened (per Atlantic Council's article from October 21, 2019
| entitled Kyiv not Kiev: Why spelling matters in Ukraine’s quest for
| an independent identity, ""A number of global heavyweights have
| recently adopted the Ukrainian-language derived 'Kyiv' as their
| official spelling for the country’s capital city, replacing the
| Russian-rooted 'Kiev'""). Specifically, a couple of changes have
| happened:
| 1) all major English publications that used their own stylebook have
| made updates to their styleguides and now use Kyiv spelling,
| 2) all major English publications that use standard stylebooks
| (e.g., Associated Press Stylebook or Canadian Press Stylebook) are
| now following recent updates in those styleguides and are now using
| Kyiv,
| 3) IATA has switched to Kyiv and therefore all international
| airports have updated their English spelling to Kyiv,
| 4) BGN has switched to Kyiv and, therefore, all major geographical
| bodies followed suite and are now using Kyiv and, lastly,
| 5) The Library of Congress has switched to Kyiv and, therefore, all
| major library organizations followed suite and are now using Kyiv.
| Below is a selection of a few of those major updates:
|     bne IntelliNews: January 2006. Official quote from bne
| IntelliNews: "bne IntelliNews has been using Kyiv since it was
| founded in 2006" (source:
| https://www.intellinews.com/more-publications-switch-from-kiev-to-kyiv-and-ignore-the-chicken-thing-166136/?source=ukraine
| ; archived-source: http://archive.is/ZQEHD)
|     CBC: January 2011 (previously Kyiv was also used by CBC from
| 1999 to 2004). Official quote from CBC: "CBC News adopted the
| spelling Kyiv for the city in 2011". (source:
| https://www.cbc.ca/news2/indepth/words/kiev-or-kyiv.html ,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/kpvo0
|     Canadian Press: January 2018. Official quote from the Canadian
| Press Stylebook 18th edition: "The Canadian Press stylebook adopts
| the Ukrainian rather than the Russian spelling of Ukrainian capital:
| Kyiv" source:
| https://www.thecanadianpress.com/writing-guides/the-canadian-press-stylebook/
|     Toronto Star: January 2018. Official quote from the Toronto
| Star: "We [at Toronto Star] follow The Canadian Press style (which
| adopts the Ukrainian rather than the Russian spelling). It’s Kyiv."
| source:
| https://www.thestar.com/trust/2018/01/26/the-stars-style-committee-on-the-importance-of-language.html
| ; archived-source: http://archive.is/d50oE
|     The Guardian, 13 February 2019, Official quote from The
| Guardian: "From February 13 the capital of Ukraine will be written
| as Kyiv at The Guardian". (source @The Guardian styleguide:
| https://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-k ;
| archived-source @The Guardian styleguide: http://archive.is/r5OpE
|     The Calvert Journal 2 April, 2019 Official quote from The
| Calvert Journal: "We have decided the time is right to change to
| Kyiv" (source:
| https://www.calvertjournal.com/articles/show/11100/kiev-kyiv-what-to-call-ukrainian-capital
| , archived-source: http://archive.is/hq4xW
|     BGN (regulates what spelling is used for geographic names in
| maps) June 17, 2019. Official quote from BGN: "At its 398th meeting
| on June 11, 2019, the Foreign Names Committee of the United States
| Board on Geographic Names (BGN) voted unanimously to retire the
| spelling “Kiev” as a BGN Conventional name for the capital of
| Ukraine. The spelling “Kyiv” has been the BGN Approved name since
| 2006, and is now the only name available for standard use within the
| United States (U.S.) Government, per the authority of the BGN
| (source on BGN:
| http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/PDFDocs/BGNStatement_Kyiv.pdf,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/pLZlO
|     Associated Press: 14 August, 2019. Official quote from AP: "We
| are making a significant change in our style for the Ukrainian
| capital city Kiev. It will henceforth be written in text, captions
| and datelines as Kyiv." (source on AP:
| https://blog.ap.org/announcements/an-update-on-ap-style-on-kyiv ,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/ONA0S
|     The Library of Congress: 12 September, 2019. Official quote from
| LOC: "In accordance with LC-PCC PS for, we have applied the
| ALA/LC Romanization Table for Ukrainian in the new authorized access
| point rather than using a form that reflects another romanization
| scheme. This form is “Kyïv (Ukraine)." (source on lOC
| (announcement):
| https://listserv.loc.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1909&L=PCCLIST&P=20135,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/XlarP ; source on LOC (entry):
| http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n81022031.html ,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/BzK0T
|     NPR: September 23, 2019. Official quote from NPR: "Guidance: The
| Capital Of Ukraine Is Spelled 'Kyiv'" (source on NPR:
| https://www.npr.org/sections/memmos/2019/09/23/763509886/guidance-the-capital-of-ukraine-is-spelled-kyiv,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/Lx7Ch
|     The Wall Street Journal: October 3, 2019. Official quote from
| WSJ: "After careful consideration, we have joined Associated Press
| and Webster’s New World College Dictionary (5th) in using the
| spelling Kyiv for the capital of Ukraine" (source on WSJ:
| https://blogs.wsj.com/styleandsubstance/2019/10/03/vol-32-no-9-kyiv/,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/wip/yk3Eh
|     The Globe and Mail: October 10, 2019. Official quote from The
| Globe and Mail: "The Globe is changing its style on the capital of
| Ukraine from the Russian-derived "Kiev" to "Kyiv," the
| transliteration the Ukrainian government uses" (source The Globe and
| Mail's correspondent Adrian Morrow:
| https://twitter.com/adrianmorrow/status/1182340357255831552,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/cLGGZ
|     BBC: October 14, 2019. Official quote from BBC: "From today, BBC
| News will be changing its spelling of the Ukrainian capital from
| #Kiev to #Kyiv, bringing us in line with the many international
| organizations, government agencies, international aviation industry
| members and media who’ve adopted this spelling." (source on BBC News
| Press Team @Twitter:
| https://twitter.com/bbcnewspr/status/1183707458642108416,
| archive-source: http://archive.is/PGhmq; source on BBC News
| Ukrainian: https://www.bbc.com/ukrainian/news-49999939 ,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/ap1vS ; source on BBC Style
| Guide:
| https://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/en/articles/art20130702112133577,
| archived-source: http://archive.vn/SD07M
|     The Washington Post: October 2019. Official quote from TWP: "The
| Washington Post changes its style guide for the capital of Ukraine,
| which henceforth will be Kyiv, and not Kiev. This change is
| effective immediately. These changes are in accordance with the way
| Ukrainian capital is spelled by Ukrainian institutions, as well by
| by other media organizations." (source from WP's correspondent Adam
| Taylor's Twitter:
| https://twitter.com/mradamtaylor/status/1184470206925676544 ,
| archived-source from WP's correspondent Adam Taylor's Twitter:
| http://archive.is/yFzVy; source on Voice of America:
| https://ukrainian.voanews.com/a/kyiv-not-kiev/5126392.html,
| source-archived: http://archive.is/nL48F ; source on The Washington
| Post:
| https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/starting-in-the-1970s-womens-first-names-were-included-in-post-references/2019/11/23/73dc1eb2-0d59-11ea-bd9d-c628fd48b3a0_story.html
| , archived-source: http://archive.is/ZrUos )
|     The Economist, October, 29 2019. Official quote from The
| Economist: "Kyiv spelling is now used at The Economist for Ukraine's
| capital" (source news about this on Ukrinform:
| https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-society/2808601-the-economist-starts-using-kyiv-instead-of-kiev.html
| , archived-source: http://archive.is/ka7Lv
|     Financial Times, October, 29 2019. Official quote from Financial
| Times: "Kyiv spelling is now used at Financial Times for Ukraine's
| capital" (source news about this on Ukrinform:
| https://www.ukrinform.ua/rubric-kyiv/2808219-financial-times-vidteper-pisatime-kyiv-zamist-kiev.html
| , archived-source: http://archive.is/wip/kh5YL
|     IATA (regulates what spelling is used for geographic names in
| airports): October, 2019. (source: list of all cities worldwide at
| iata.org:
| https://www.iata.org/contentassets/5989fc2df9824de3826cccfd279f9409/slot-alleviation-status-ns20-covid19.pdf
| )
|     The New York Times: November 18, 2019. Official quote from NYT:
| "Note: Days after this article was published, The New York Times
| changed its style of spelling for the capital of Ukraine to Kyiv,
| reflecting the transliteration from Ukrainian, rather than
| Russian. The change is reflected in articles published after
| Nov. 18. " (source from NYT's correspondent Andrew E. Kramer's
| Twitter:
| https://twitter.com/AndrewKramerNYT/status/1196496095184084997,
| archived-source from NYT's correspondent Andrew E. Kramer's Twitter:
| http://archive.is/wip/3Xqgm; source:
| https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/13/us/politics/kiev-pronunciation.html
| , archived-source: http://archive.is/KjrWw
|     BuzzFeed: December 31, 2019. Official quote from BuzzFeed: "We
| updated our style to “Kyiv” to refer to Ukraine’s capital city. The
| “Kiev” spelling is transliterated from the Russian language, while
| "Kyiv" is from Ukrainian." (source on BuzzFeed Styleguide @Twitter:
| https://twitter.com/styleguide/status/1212079459282685954 ,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/wip/0I4rB ; BuzzFeed Styleguide:
| https://www.buzzfeed.com/emmyf/buzzfeed-style-guide ;
| archived-source BuzzFeed Styleguide: http://archive.is/G2Y13
|     Reuters, June 12, 2020. Official quote from Reuters: "From June
| 15 the capital of Ukraine will be written as Kyiv at
| @Reuters". (source Reuters' journalist Tommy Lund @Twitter:
| https://twitter.com/tommylundn/status/1271344841243471872,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/UqgwX; source @Reuters
| styleguide:
| http://handbook.reuters.com/index.php?title=K#Kyiv.2C_not_Kiev ;
| archived-source @Reuters styleguide: http://archive.is/QZyqw
|     Facebook, June 26, 2020. Official quote from Facebook: "After
| reviewing, we switched to using the page “Kyiv” to represent this
| region". (source: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (MFA of
| Ukraine) Dmytro Kuleba and MFA of Ukraine page CorrectUA,
| archived-source: http://archive.is/XKXoz -- (talk) —
| (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this
| topic. 04:22, 1 July 2020 (UTC) —Relisting. ProcrastinatingReader
| (talk) 18:46, 28 August 2020 (UTC) —Relisting. Steel1943 (talk)
| 17:45, 9 September 2020 (UTC)

Further, beyond that list, there is also an even more comprehensive list at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Kyiv/sources .

> As far as this group, I am not sure what the WSJ or AP does is
> particularly relevant. However, I think the decisions of
> English-language naming authorities, like the USGS Board on
> Geographical Names, and international authorities that designate
> things in English, like IATA and ICAO, are more relevant and they
> have gone to using Kyiv as the primary name. What are similar
> governmental and international authorities doing on this?

I don't know what are examples of "similar" authorities are; can you offer some?

I do think, however, that what we are trying to do is measure cultural change among English speakers, and that is a hard thing to do. I think what major English-language publications choose to do is probably a much better indicator of cultural change than what an international trade association of airlines chooses to do, so I think the WSJ+AP+NYT examples (all of which were present when we last discussed this over a year ago) are far more compelling and persuasive.

Michael H Deckers <michael.h.deckers at googlemail.com> wrote on Thu, 26 Nov 2020
at 11:15:14 EST in <9e430fe2-4389-7539-bf60-6b2a9a48ba74 at googlemail.com>:

> Current occurrence counts are "Kiev":  135e+6
>                               "Kyiv":   48e+6
> so that the frequencies of the two spellings are indeed not far
> apart.

Although I do not think the numbers tell the full story, and generally speaking that they are not helpful for answering the question of whether we should switch when a change is made (as opposed to what spelling we should choose for a new identifier if a new time zone rule were needed), my understanding is that it's important to be pretty careful how you do these queries.  For instance, it's generally judged necessary to exclude both "Chicken Kiev" (recipe) and "Dynamo Kyiv" (a football club) because both are effectively proper nouns that skew the results. But also that what you get back from Google depends on where you are in the world, and other factors. 

And here, on this list, we should be clear about what these are. Are these Google search results from some particular location, and are they the estimates from the first page of results, or the more accurate counts from the final.

It may be more convincing to take a look at the Google Trends plot ("interest over time") linked from the Wikipedia sources page: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=kiev,kyiv
It shows several crossovers recently with a projected line of Kyiv exceeding Kiev.

> I think that this is consistent with waiting for a majority for
> Kyiv. My spelling checker knows "Kiev" but not "Kyiv".

This is an interesting point, to talk about dictionaries. Many of them are descriptive rather than prescriptive and often lag spoken and written language by years, sometimes by decades or scores of decades.
And for computer word lists, there may be no practical method for updating them short of a massive operating system upgrade.

If I looked at my system, I shudder to think of the age of /usr/share/dict/words (which has neither, ha!), or even the ancient version of Microsoft Word.

I'd suggest dictionaries give us a very long time-constant view of these issue and that a time-constant measured in decades is probably not the right authority for our project to make this decision, but of course reasonable people can disagree! But, of course, in practice, spelling of proper nouns in computer spell-checkers is not a big deal.

Michael H Deckers via tz <tz at iana.org> wrote on Fri, 27 Nov 2020
at 07:15:08 EST in <b5b423dc-2a65-6bb9-3b23-a0df8dc8f9b2 at googlemail.com>:
> It will take some time until "Kyiv" becomes the mainstream English
> spelling -- one problem with it is that it is not clear how it
> should be pronounced.

I'm not quite sure why pronunciation matters to us. I'll note, however, that there is considerable concern over the proper pronunciation of the city, and my understanding is that the obvious and common pronunciation of "Kiev" is regarded as incorrect. Consequently, if "Kyiv" introduces a little bit of friction on how to pronounce, that may in fact be a good thing and helpful in making English speakers question their pronunciation when it is worth questioning.

> What I find surprising is that this issue comes up so often. I hope
> it is not a political issue with which tzdb should not be involved.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean, and I don't think this sort of ambiguous comment is helpful.
Are you likening it to a situation where there are two warring groups who favor opposing spellings and the change has come about because one group has risen to power over the other, and our accepting the change would be like taking sides in a civil war, especially one that could change again quickly?

I think this becomes a very difficult question to analyze, because the differentiating {a conflict between two sides in a civil war} from {a decades-long conflict between two adjacent nations of unequal size and resources where one has a history of expansionism} may be more challenging than expected.

I think we can say with confidence that absent a major geopolitical shift, the current preference for Kyiv is very unlikely to change.

Jacob Pratt <jacob at jhpratt.dev> wrote on Fri, 27 Nov 2020
at 04:43:28 EST in <CAHbUps4dhgAMB918ggzLaRTxEw5=2TS2kiOmscme7nP38dvtoQ at mail.gmail.com>:

> As has been stated by others, the listing should not be taken as something
> to be displayed. The use of Kiev over Kyiv is well established in the tz
> database. The fact that programmers do not use the CLDR as intended is not
> the fault of the maintainers of the tz database.

The last is...not a fair claim. The tz database came long before CLDR and a time when Unix was centered on US English. It is not correct to say that the tz maintainers have had no responsibility for the way in which internationalization has occurred. We chose to use the identifier in the file system, and also to ignore the issue for a long time, and then to leverage CLDR for internationalization, rather than integrating such issues more tightly. This is not to say our choices were not reasonable or justified, but they were nonetheless our choices that contributed to the situation ("fault").

jhawk at alum.mit.edu
John Hawkinson

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