Letters "g" and "h" cause confusion

Dear Editor:

In regard to comments of Orysia Tracz (August 4), I would like to confirm that across all regions of Ukraine many people use the letter "g" in English for the letter "h" in Ukrainian. Consequently, I have been receiving letters from Kharkiv to Lviv addressed as "Bogdan" instead of "Bohdan." They also do that with their surnames when getting passports and visas.

This habit has some unusual consequences, because some scientific material that I have been receiving in English contains such words as "gyroscopic" instead of "hydroscopic," "gydration" instead of "hydration" and so on.

Incidentally, this has nothing to do with transliteration, because these words are not Ukrainian in the first place. People in Ukraine appear to overlook the fact that in Ukrainian as well as in German, English, Greek and other language alphabets there have both letters "g" and "h."

Bohdan M. Slabyj
Brewer, Maine

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 18, 1996, No. 33, Vol. LXIV

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