The name "Ukraine" (Ukrainian: Україна Ukrayina [ukrɑˈjinɑ], Вкраїна Vkrayina [u̯krɑˈjinɑ]) was first used to define part of the territory of Kievan Rus' in the 12th century. The name has been used in a variety of ways since the twelfth century, referring to numerous lands on the border between Polish and Kievan Rus' territories. In English, the traditional use was "the Ukraine", which is nowadays less common and officially deprecated by the Ukrainian government and many English language media publications.
Ukraine (Україна) is the official full name of the country, as stated in the Ukrainian Declaration of Independence and Constitution; there is no official alternative long name. From 1922 until 1991, "Ukraine" (also "the Ukraine") was the name of the territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Украї́нська Радя́нська Соціалісти́чна Респу́бліка, Ukrayins'ka Radyans'ka Sotsialistychna Respublika) within the Soviet Union (annexed by Germany as Reichskommissariat Ukraine during 1941–1944). During 1917–1921, there were the short-lived Ukrainian People's Republic and Ukrainian State, detached from the Southwestern Krai of the Russian Empire in the Russian Revolution.
The oldest recorded mention of the word ukraina dates back to the year 1187. In connection with the death of the Volodymyr Hlibovych, the ruler of Principality of Pereyaslavl which was Kyïv's southern shield against the Wild Fields, the Hypatian Codex says "oukraina groaned for him", ѡ нем же оукраина много постона (o nem že oukraina mnogo postona). In the following decades and centuries this term was applied to fortified borderlands of different principalities of Rus' without a specific geographic fixation: Halych-Volhynia, Pskov, Ryazan etc.:183
After the south-western lands of former Rus' were subordinated to the Polish Crown in 1569, the territory from eastern Podillia to Zaporizhia got the unofficial name Ukraina due to its border function to the nomadic Tatar world in the south. The Polish chronicler Samuel Grądzki who wrote about the Khmelnytsky Uprising in 1660 explained the word Ukraina as the land located at the edge of the Polish kingdom. Thus, in the course of the 16th–18th centuries Ukraine became a concrete regional name among other historic regions such as Podillia, Severia, or Volhynia. It was used for the middle Dnieper territory controlled by the Cossacks.:184 The people of Ukraina were called Ukrainians (українці, ukrajinci, or українники, ukrajinnyky). Later, the term Ukraine was used for the Hetmanate lands on both sides of the Dnieper although it didn't become the official name of the state.
From the 18th century on, the term Ukraine becomes equally well known in the Russian Empire as the official term Little Russia.:183–184 With the growth of national self-consciousness the significance of the term rose and it was perceived not only as a geographic but also as an ethnic name. In the 1830s, Nikolay Kostomarov and his Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Kyïv started to use the name Ukrainians. Their work was suppressed by Russian authorities, and associates including Taras Shevchenko were sent into internal exile, but the idea gained acceptance. It was also taken up by Volodymyr Antonovych and the Khlopomany ('peasant-lovers'), former Polish gentry in Eastern Ukraine, and later by the 'Ukrainophiles' in Halychyna, including Ivan Franko. The evolution of the meaning became particularly obvious at the end of the 19th century.:186 The term is also mentioned by the Russian scientist and traveler of Ukrainian origin Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay (1846–1888). At the turn of the 20th century the term Ukraine became independent and self-sufficient, pushing aside regional self-definitions:186 In the course of the political struggle between the Little Russian and the Ukrainian identitites, it challenged the traditional term Little Russia (Малороссия, Malorossiya) and ultimately defeated it in the 1920s during the Bolshevik policy of Korenization and Ukrainization.[page needed]
This suggests that it was being used as a semantic parallel to -mark in Denmark, which originally also denoted a border region (in this case of the Holy Roman Empire, cf. Marches). The Arabic name of Egypt, Miṣr, similarly denotes a border region.
In the sixteenth century, the only specific ukraina mentioned very often in Polish and Ruthenian texts was the south-eastern borderland around Kyïv, and thus ukraina came to be synonymous with the Kyïv Voivodeship and later the region around Kyïv. Later this name was adopted as the name of the country.
The etymology of the word Ukraine is seen this way in all mainstream etymological dictionaries, see e.g. Max Vasmer's etymological dictionary of Russian); see also Orest Subtelny, Paul Magocsi, Omeljan Pritsak, Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, Ivan Ohiyenko, Petro Tolochko and others. It is supported by the Encyclopedia of Ukraine and the Etymological dictionary of the Ukrainian language.
On a map, published in Amsterdam in 1645, the sparsely inhabited region to the north of the Azov sea is called Okraina and is characterized to the proximity to the Dikoia pole (Wild Fields), a posing a constant threat of raids of Turkic nomads (Crimean Tatars and the Nogai Horde). There is, however, also a specialised map published in 1648 of the Lower Dnieper region by Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan called "Delineatio Generalis Camporum Desertorum vulga Ukraina" (General illustration of desert plains, in common speech Ukraine), attesting to the fact that the term Ukraina was also in use.
Some Ukrainian scholars, beginning in the 1930s, have interpreted the term ukraina in the sense of 'region, principality, country'.
Many medieval occurrences of the word can be interpreted as having that meaning. In this sense, the word can be associated with contemporary Ukrainian krajina and Belarusian kraina, meaning 'country' (see Translations, 'region of land').
Pivtorak (2001) argues that there is a difference between the two terms ukraina україна "territory" and окраїна okraina "borderland". Both are derived from kraj "division, border, land parcel, territory" but with a difference in preposition, u (у) meaning "in" vs. o (о) meaning "about, around"; *ukraj and *ukrajina would then mean "a separated land parcel, a separate part of a tribe's territory". Lands that became part of Lithuania (Chernihiv and Siversk Principalities, Kiev Principality, Pereyaslav Principality and the most part of the Volyn Principality) were sometimes called Lithuanian Ukraina, while lands that became part of Poland (Halych Principality and part of the Volyn Principality) were called Polish Ukraina. Pivtorak argues that Ukraine had been used as a term for their own territory by the Ukrainian Cossacks of the Zaporozhian Sich since the 16th century, and that the conflation with okraina "borderlands" was a creation of tsarist Russia. which has been countered[clarification needed] by other historical sources of Russia.
Ukraine is one of the few English country names traditionally used with the definite article, alongside The Gambia (also The Bahamas and the Netherlands, where the article is necessitated by the plural form). Use of the article was standard before Ukrainian independence, but has been deprecated since the 1990s. For example, The Associated Press dropped the article "the" on 3 December 1991. Use of the definite article was seen as suggesting a non-sovereign territory, much like "the Lebanon" referred to the region before its independence, or as one might refer to "the Midwest". 
In 1993 the Ukrainian government explicitly requested that the article be dropped, and use of "Ukraine" without the definite article has since become commonplace in journalism and diplomacy (other examples are the style guides of The Guardian and The Times).
In the Ukrainian language both na Ukrajini (with the preposition na - "on") and v Ukrajini (with the preposition v - "in") have been used. Linguistic prescription in Russian dictates usage of na. Similar to the definite article issue in English usage, use of na rather than v has been seen as suggesting non-sovereignty. While v expresses "in" with a connotation of "into, in the interior", na expresses "in" with the connotation of "on, onto" a boundary (Pivtorak cites в місті "in the city" vs. на селі "in the village", viewed as "outside the city"). Pivtorak notes that both Ukrainian literature and folk song uses both propositions with the name Ukraina (на Україні and в Україні), but that only в Україні should be used to refer to the sovereign state established in 1991. The insistence on v appears to be a modern sensibility, as even authors foundational to Ukrainian national identity used both prepositions interchangeably, e.g. T. Shevchenko within the single poem В казематі (1847).
Among the western European languages, there is inter-language variation (and even sometimes intra-language variation) in the phonetic vowel quality of the ai of Ukraine, and its written expression. It is variously:
In Ukrainian itself, there is a "euphony rule" sometimes used in poetry and music which changes the letter У (U) to В (V) at the beginning of a word when the preceding word ends with a vowel or a diphthong. When applied to the name Україна (Ukrajina), this can produce the form Вкраїна (Vkrajina), as in song lyric Най Вкраїна вся радіє (Naj Vkrajina vsja radije, “Let all Ukraine rejoice!”).
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В 1993 году по требованию Правительства Украины нормативными следовало признать варианты в Украину (и соответственно из Украины). Тем самым, по мнению Правительства Украины, разрывалась не устраивающая его этимологическая связь конструкций на Украину и на окраину. Украина как бы получала лингвистическое подтверждение своего статуса суверенного государства, поскольку названия государств, а не регионов оформляются в русской традиции с помощью предлогов в (во) и из...
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