Tsiluiko, Kyrylo

Tsiluiko, Kyrylo [Цілуйко, Кирило; Cilujko], b 3 August 1908 in Pokrovske, Pavlohrad county, Katerynoslav gubernia, d 13 October 1981 in Kyiv. Linguist specializing in Ukrainian onomastics, the study of proper names. After graduating from the Dnipropetrovsk Institute of People's Education in 1930 and the Moscow Institute for the Training of Diplomatic and Consular Staff in 1934, Tsiluiko became a lecturer at the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, where he remained until 1941. From 1946 on he was employed at the Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. There he served as academic secretary (1946–9), deputy director (1957–64), and head of the Department of the History of the Ukrainian Language (1964–77).

Tsiluiko authored relatively few studies of his own, and those that he did were not always favorably received by other scholars of onomastics. Nevertheless, his co-organization of sustained research on Ukrainian proper names throughout the 1950s and 1960s, conducted from the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, was of unquestionable merit. In the history of his field, Tsiluiko’s activity marked the passage from the so-called haphazard phase to a systematic study of place and river names.

In 1959 Tsiluiko was the primary organizer of the First Pan-Ukrainian Onomastic Conference, the goal of which was to coordinate individual research efforts in the field. Thereafter, he founded—and between 1959 and 1981, chaired—the Ukrainian Onomastic Commission, which functioned in association with the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR and comprised the leading scholars in the field (Andrii Biletsky, Viktor Petrov, Vasyl Nimchuk, Anatolii Nepokupny, Oleksii Stryzhak, and others).

Aware of the importance of providing empirical foundations for the study of place names, Tsiluiko composed several model questionnaires, among them ‘Prohrama zbyrannia materialiv dlia vyvchennia toponimiky Ukraïny’ (Program for Collecting Evidence Relating to the Study of Place Names in Ukraine, 1962) and ‘Pro skladannia natsional'nykh onomastychnykh atlasiv’ (On Compiling Ukrainian All-National Atlases of Proper Names, 1967). They instructed teachers and students of local lore across Ukraine to inventory regional place and river names. The implementation of these questionnaires supported the development of onomastic card indices, later supplemented with data from field research and from historical sources. These indices served as the main documentation sources used in compiling the Slovnyk hidronimiv Ukraïny (Dictionary of Ukraine’s River Names, 1979), a pioneering attempt to provide a comprehensive description of the names of all types of watercourses in Ukraine.

The theoretical basis for the study of place names as a separate linguistic discipline was elaborated by Tsiluiko in his articles ‘Do vyvchennia toponimiky Radians'koï Ukraïny’ (On the Study of Place Names of Soviet Ukraine, 1949), ‘Pro robotu dialektoloha z toponimiky’ (On How a Dialectologist Should Approach the Study of Place Names, 1951), ‘Pro stan i zavdannia vyvchennia toponimiky URSR’ (On the State and the Objectives of the Study of Place Names of the Ukrainian SSR, 1959), ‘Osnovni napriamy ta perspektyvy rozvytku ukraïns'koï toponomastyky’ (Overall Directions and Prospects for the Advance of Research on Ukraine’s Place Names, 1961), and ‘Pidsumky i perspektyvy rozvytku radians'koï onomastyky’ (Results and Future Prospects for the Advance of Soviet Onomastics, 1965). Furthermore, he edited several volumes of research papers on onomastics by various contributors and co-edited the twenty-six volume Istoriia mist i sil Ukraïns'koï RSR (History of Cities, Towns, and Villages of the Ukrainian SSR, 1967–74), responsible for its toponymic dimension.

Nimchuk, Vasyl. ‘Kyrylo Kuz'mych Tsiluiko’ in Povidomlennia Ukraïns'koï onomastychnoï komisiï, vyp. 7 (Kyiv 1969)
‘Kyrylo Kuz'mych Tsiluiko’ in Movoznavstvo, 1982, no. 1
Stryzhak, Oleksii. ‘K. K. Tsiluiko iak onomast (korotki spohady i rozdumy)’ in Ukraïns'ka onomastyka (Kyiv 1998)
‘Tsiluiko Kyrylo Kuz'mych’ in Instytut movoznavstva im. O. O. Potebni NAN Ukraїny – 75. 1930–2005: Materialy do istoriї (Kyiv 2005)

Pylyp Selihey

[This article was updated in 2022.]

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