December 11, 2015

Russian-tinged vocabulary?


Dear Editor:

For the most part, we have succeeded in getting Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro and Dnister into the English-speaking world. We’re still working on Kozaks (instead of Cossacks).

Now, how about working on eliminating the titles “prince” and “princess” for Volodymyr, Yaroslav, Olha and the other rulers of the ancient Kyiv state. “King” and “queen” would be more appropriate for their realms since we have to make it comparable to Western European thinking (although Volodymyr could be considered an “emperor” of the territory he ruled).

The term “prince” is used in Russian for “kniaz” because their main ruler was the tsar. There were no Ukrainian tsars, and the kniaz of Kyiv was the main ruler.

Are there any Ukrainian historians out there to discuss and correct this misnomer in English? Or are some scholars still satisfied with the Russian-tinged vocabulary for Ukrainian history?

Winnipeg, Manitoba