"the" before country name

Mon May 12 04:33:43 UTC 2008

I presume that "the Argentine" is short for "the Argentine Republic," the formal name of Argentina, and that the "the" in "Republic of the Congo" refers to the Congo River.  I haven't heard "the Ghana," but it doesn't seem to be too common.
John Baker


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Laurence Horn
Sent: Mon 5/12/2008 12:19 AM
Subject: Re: "the" before country name

At 7:20 PM -0700 5/11/08, Katharine The Grate wrote:
>People used to say "the Congo".

and they (or at least some of them) used to say "The Argentine".


>>But "the United States of America" is just the formal political name of =
>>the American state, and the formal political name typically is preceded =
>>by "the."  E.g., the Commonwealth of Australia, the Kingdom of Belgium, =
>>the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of =
>>Soviet Socialist Republics.  There may or may not be a corresponding =
>>country name that can be used without "the"; there was none, for =
>>example, with the Soviet Union (only Russia, which for political reasons =
>>could not be used as such until the Soviet Union's dissolution).
>>We say America, not the America.  (I put aside for now the ambiguity of =
>>"America," which can refer either to the USA or to North and South =
>>America.)  The Netherlands and (formerly) the Ukraine are the only =
>>examples of country names with "the" that come to mind.  The =
>>Netherlanders also choose to call their seat of government The Hague, =
>>which always struck me as even more anomalous.
>>John Baker
>>From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Mark Mandel
>>Sent: Sun 5/11/2008 3:25 PM
>>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 =
>>>American objecting to "the United States"?
>>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 <http://www.americandialect.org/>  =
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org <http://www.americandialect.org/> 
>But now Bush is in his final year. This is both the good news, and also the
>very, very bad news. Because we are now in the death throes of the worst
>administration in modern history, entering the period of serious
>consequences, of economic collapse, environmental impact, record oil prices,
>international recoil, rashes, boils, inexplicable vomiting. Fun for the
>whole family.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org <http://www.americandialect.org/> 

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org <http://www.americandialect.org/> 

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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