The Broncks', the borough of my childhood, fades away

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 5 19:03:04 UTC 2007

The place name examples here are all countries. I still think of "the
Amazon" as referring to the river and its enormous drainage area, and I
can't imagine it anarthrous. Other rivers are typically often "the X", but I
can't offhand think of any others whose names are used for their entire
basins as well.

m a m

On Dec 4, 2007 6:23 AM, Geoff Nathan <geoffnathan at> wrote:

> Doug Harris wrote:
> > Among other places long provided the 'the' article, at least in
> > British English, include _The Lebanon_, a phrasing that always
> > annoyed me when I lived in England and heard newscasters say it,
> > on my assumption that the _The Lebanon_ was actually meant to
> > mean "the territory of Lebanon". Even if that were the case, I
> > still wonder what the Brits did, and perhaps still do, mean in
> > referring to _The Zambia_.
> > (the other) doug
> >
> >
> > I wonder whether the loss of formerly traditional "the" from some
> > other place names, such as Ukraine and Yukon (the latter of which
> > still gets the article with a certain frequency), might have had any
> > subtle influence on this -- perhaps a little nagging idea that "the"
> > for a place name is improper. I wouldn't stand behind this
> > speculation without lots of further evidence, but such prescriptive
> > extensions from abductions aren't unknown, ISTM.
> I have a dim memory of a discussion about this on the ADS list earlier.
> I don't have time this morning to go through the archives, but maybe
> someone else can help.
> I'm pretty sure that the arthrous description of place-names became
> un-PC about ten to fifteen years ago with the prescriptivist explanation
> that the use of the article conjured up the connotation of Colonialism.
> I do remember Maggie Thatcher referring to 'The Argentine' during the
> Falklands war.
> Geoff

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