"the" before country name

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 11 21:08:38 UTC 2008

True. But it was no English speaker who chose to call the nation "La
Ukraine" and the name continues to mean "along/around/beside/up
against [the] border," etymologically, whether English "the" precedes
that name or not. As long as "Ukraine" is the name of the country, any
discussion as to whether English-speakers, by prefixing, as it were,
"the," are somehow hurting the feelings of, or somehow insulting," a
region that otherwise wishes to continue to be known etymologically
as, roughly, "Border Country," just not as "*The* Border Country,"
seems unenlightening.

They should take it up with the country once again known as "Rossiia,"
given that Ukraine is "the borderland" only in relation to that
country and their interwoven histories.


On 5/11/08, Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>  Poster:       Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
>  Subject:      Re: "the" before country name
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 12:11 AM, Your Name <ROSESKES at aol.com> wrote:
>  > If "the" before a country's name is belittling, why is there not one single
>  > American objecting to "the United States"?
>  >
>  > Rosemarie
>  Because we chose that name ourselves? And consequently it describes us as we
>  want to see ourselves, rather than as 'the border territory'?
>  --
>  Mark Mandel
>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>  The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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