How Do You Say Kyiv? It Can Be Onerous for English Audio system.


It’s not a very powerful query relating to the worldwide maelstrom at present brewing in Ukraine.

However it’s a quite common query, and one which carries what some could discover an unexpectedly political reply: How do you pronounce the capital’s title, Kyiv?

Ukrainians have a desire — and it won’t be the one mostly heard or assumed. It sounds extra just like “keev” than the two-syllable “key-EV” favored by many Russian audio system, however that’s not precisely it, both.

Andrii Smytsniuk, a Ukrainian who teaches Ukrainian and Russian languages on the College of Cambridge, broke the phrase down letter by letter for English audio system in an interview on Tuesday. It’s a bit exhausting to explain.

The Okay sound is similar as in English.

The Y is just like the I sounds in “little bit.”

The I is just like the primary a part of “yeast.”

The V is a barely shorter model of a W, as in “low,” or virtually just like the V in “love.”

Marta Jenkala, who teaches the Ukrainian language at College Faculty London, endorsed the pronunciation seen in a video by Oleksandra Wallo, an assistant professor of Slavic languages and literatures on the College of Kansas.

“It helps for those who smile slightly bit to say it, particularly on the primary syllable,” she mentioned within the video.

In 2019, Yuri Shevchuk, a lecturer in Ukrainian at Columbia College, told The New York Times that native Ukrainians stress the primary vowel, and pronounce it just like the “i” within the phrase “child” or “lid.” The second vowel is pronounced as a separate syllable, and sounds just like the “ee” sound in “keel.” The V can also be pronounced a bit otherwise, like the top of the phrase “low.”

One frequent pronunciation, “key-ev,” is the Russian type of saying it, and it’s one Individuals could have a tendency to listen to extra typically. Mr. Smytsniuk mentioned he would argue for individuals announcing it the Ukrainian manner “that’s as near the unique as attainable.”

“It’s the similar factor with names,” he mentioned. “I feel it is sensible to pronounce somebody’s title the way in which the individual would pronounce it.”

A dialogue of the town title and pronunciation is the very first thing he goes over in his Ukrainian language programs, he mentioned, together with “Ukraine” versus “the Ukraine.” (When Ukraine turned unbiased from the Soviet Union in 1991, the popular title turned “Ukraine.”)

Most individuals are unaware of how you can pronounce Kyiv, so he tries to not aggressively right individuals, Mr. Smytsniuk mentioned. However many individuals do take the difficulty severely, he mentioned.

“After I see American media, it’s at all times totally different, it’s at all times new, at all times a shock,” he mentioned.