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I can understand The United States of America, The United Kingdom, The People's Republic of China, The Kingdom of Thailand, etc. There's an adjective or two in there. (Don't ask me why, but . . . that seems to be why.)

And The <whatever> Islands, for kind of the same reason, and I can even handle The Netherlands, because they're both kind of plural. Ish. (Again, don't ask me why. It just is.)

But what I don't understand are the following (which we don't technically use anymore, but in the past, they have all been used):
  • The Sudan
  • The Congo
  • The Ukraine
I mean . . . what's the reasoning for them?

Am I the only person who thinks of things like this for more than a couple of minutes?

Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  


( 11 hisses — Hiss at me! )
Mar. 3rd, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
Also, here.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
That poor girl. She will never be able to escape that. :)
Mar. 3rd, 2011 04:36 am (UTC)
Everyone thinks about it. I have not followed the link above my comment, but I would guess it's "The (Region)". I have never had a problem with it.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 04:36 am (UTC)
The rain in the Spain... I see London I see the France ... yea, I see whatcha mean.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 05:03 am (UTC)
In related news, when I start a band, it will be called Arthrous. After the inevitable breakup and reformation with a different lineup, it will be called The Anarthrous.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 06:28 am (UTC)
And to really confuse things, for a time in the 1960s, Congo and The Congo referred to two separate countries. The names are a little more distinct now: Republic of the Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
Here's a fun one. There used to be a country called Czechoslovakia. It split, and is now Slovakia and (*ahem*) the Czech Republic.

That's nearly unique in English: "Republic" is part of a great many country names, but we usually have a short form that doesn't require it. Even where we might say it (or hint at it), such as PRC for mainland China to differentiate from ROC for Taiwan, it's not the distinguishing factor.

Actually, the only example I can think of is FYROM, which is a whole other can of worms.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
I had to look up FYROM. I guess it's kind of like TAFKAP. :)

I'm actually going to send this in to Grammar Girl and A Way With Words. Let's see if either of them have an answer. :)
Mar. 4th, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
It's not just *a* Sudan, *a* Ukraine?

That's actually a very interesting question.
Mar. 5th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
My understanding is that we dropped the "the" from "the Ukraine" because the Ukrainian government objected to it.

A good example of a country for which we still have that usage (and nobody there seems to object to it) is The Gambia. I suspect that, in that case, the Gambians think of the usage as another way of distinguishing themselves from all of those former French colonies in the neighborhood (and, in particular, Senegal, which would be happy to absorb them on geographic grounds.)
( 11 hisses — Hiss at me! )

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