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Chernobyl that it was spelled Chornobyl

  1. Jul 6, 2006 #1

    selfAdjoint

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    I recently noticed in an article about Chernobyl that it was spelled Chornobyl. I conjecture that this is because the site is in Ukraine and the Ukranian language has chorno- meaning dark, whereas Russian has cherno-. (Which would mean that the folk song "Ochyii Chornya" - Dark Eyes - {forgive my barbaric spelling!} is a Ukranian one not a Russian one as usually assumed in the US).

    It seems ahistorical to me to make this change at this late date.

    Can anyone more expert in these languages than I comment on this?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2006
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  3. Jul 6, 2006 #2

    chroot

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    You are correct. It's Chorno- in Ukranian, and Cherno- in Russian.

    - Warren
     
  4. Jul 8, 2006 #3

    selfAdjoint

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    Warren, what do you think about the respelling of CHerobyl? That is the name that became infamous around the world, and it seems rather petty to me to apply a dialect switch at this late date.

    This is just another example of an attitude (ahistoricism riding high, or "they're dead, we can do what we like") which is a pet peeve for me.

    Example: Changing the famous woman mathematician's name from Sonya Kowavlevski to Sonya Kowalevskaya. Reason: she was married to a Russian named Kowalevski and that's how they do it in Russia. But she didn't live in Russio; her husband died and she repaired to Western Europe to study mathematics as a widow. And she spelled her name Polish fashion because she was Polish. Why change it now?

    Another example, all those CDs of Mrs. H. H. Beach's wonderful music calling her "Amy Beach" in big type. How that would have mortified her! It implies she was a little girl or an unmarried teenager, the only females referred to by strangers by their first names in those circles in those days. Mrs. Beach was proud of her married name and always used it in her musical career.
     
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