[tz] Kyiv

Philip Paeps philip at trouble.is
Fri Dec 15 23:51:41 UTC 2017

On 2017-12-15 15:07:36 (-0500), Random832 wrote:
>As to the question of Kyiv itself...
>In googling for information on this, I did find the following claim at 
>"The request by the Ukrainian government for Kyiv to become the 
>standard English spelling has been successful to an extent, with the US 
>Board on Geographic Names approving the spelling and the White House 
>and UK Foreign Office, among others, using it."

I found that document when I did a search earlier but checking in the 
database of the US Board on Geographic Names, I found "Kiev" listed as 
the "conventional" spelling and "Kyiv" as "accepted".

I was not able to find an authoritative document from the UK Foreign 
Office (and did not check the White House).

>I think (if this is indeed the case), this is a strong argument for 
>making the change.

It is a strong argument but I don't think it's strong enough.  I would 
be a lot more convinced by style guides of a good number of English 
language publications adopting the new spelling.

As pointed out earlier in this thread, this has been discussed (to 
exhaustion) on the English language Wikipedia talk page on Kiev (sic).  
While I'd be hesitant to consider Wikipedia as a reference on many 
(most) subjects, I think we can probably trust their judgement on what 
places are commonly named.

>Incidentally, this is not without precedent.  The following links all
>appear to be the result of similar "transliteration" changes.
>Link    Asia/Ashgabat           Asia/Ashkhabad
>Link    Asia/Kolkata            Asia/Calcutta
>Link    Asia/Dhaka              Asia/Dacca
>Link    Asia/Kathmandu          Asia/Katmandu
>Link    Asia/Macau              Asia/Macao
>Link    Asia/Yangon             Asia/Rangoon
>Link    Asia/Thimphu            Asia/Thimbu
>Link    Asia/Ulaanbaatar        Asia/Ulan_Bator
>Link    Pacific/Pohnpei         Pacific/Ponape
>Link    Pacific/Chuuk           Pacific/Truk

With the exceptions of Pohnpei and Chuuk (which I rarely encounter at 
all) and Yangon, I cannot remember the last time I encountered the old 
spellings of any of the places on this list.  On the other hand, I 
encounter Kiev a lot more often than Kyiv (except in discussions on 
renaming it!).  That's obviously a very subjective data point though.

I do recall that tzdb changed the links only long after the "modern" 
names were undisputably in common use as opposed to when they were 
"officially accepted".  I feel it would be prudent to stick to that 


Philip Paeps
Senior Reality Engineer
Ministry of Information

More information about the tz mailing list