"the" before country name

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue May 13 12:24:35 UTC 2008

I heard "the Dominican" at least 10 years ago, from a non-Hispanic
administrative assistant in the deans' office at Northeastern
University.  (Certainly part of the Red Sox -- and Patriot nation --
their students regularly riot after championship games, win or lose.)

I thought then, and still do, that it's the speaker's way of
distinguishing (and a short form for) the Dominican Republic from
Dominica, AKA the Commonwealth of Dominica.  (Wikipedia is
helpful:  it says for each "not to be confused with" the other.)

Apparently people from both the Commonwealth and the Republic are
called "Dominicans"; Wikipedia has "Demonym Dominican" for both.  But
that's the people, not the country.


At 5/13/2008 12:36 AM, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>On Tue, May 13, 2008 at 12:06 AM, Philip E. Cleary
><philipcleary at rcn.com> wrote:
> >
> >  In recent years, here in the heart of Red Sox country, I've been hearing
> >  "the Dominican." I think that it started with the Dominican players, but
> >  it's been picked up by native English speakers.
>For more on this, see my 2006 Language Log post "Playing for the
>Dominican, skiing in Czech, working in Saudi":
>--Ben Zimmer
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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