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  • #345906

    Anonymous

    Because I'm tired of hearing "The Ukraine"….  >:(

    Until a few decades ago, Ukraine was almost always referred to as the Ukraine. Then people started dropping the definite article, and now you almost never see it. What gives?

    The the has stirred up a lot of strong resentment in Ukraine. The feeling is that the definite article’s heavy use during the era of the Soviet Union by Russians and Westerners alike belittled, intentionally or not, Ukrainians, and demoted Ukraine from a country unto itself to a mere Soviet holding, a border region of the U.S.S.R.

    Most historians and linguists agree that the name Ukraine comes from the Slavic ukraina, meaning “borderlands.” Since many countries whose names derive from a geographical feature or factor have a definite article—“the Philippines” referring to the Philippine islands, “the Netherlands” meaning “the lowlands”—the Ukraine makes sense in terms of “the borderlands.”

    There’s a little bit of uncertainty about the etymology of Ukraine, though. A few modern Ukrainian historians trace it to the same root word, but with a different meaning, variously “homeland,” “country,”  “land,” “separated piece of land” or “separated part of the tribe,” depending on which historian you’re asking and which sources they’re looking at. The “borderlands” etymology appears to have the most historical support, but if that meaning doesn’t hold up, then the logic for the definite article likewise falls apart.

    Since Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union, use of the article has declined steadily, in part because of the Ukrainian government expressing their preference for dropping it. In the Google ngram searches below, you can see the Ukraine fall and Ukraine rise (sharply) right around the country’s declaration of independence in 1991, both in reference to the country, and (more so) to things in it.

    Today, the Ukraine is considered antiquated and insulting, and using it in well-informed company is a bad idea.

    Read the full text here plus the reader comments :D: [url=http:// http://mentalfloss.com/article/32098/why-did-ukraine-become-just-ukraine#ixzz2j3jnaXUm]http://mentalfloss.com/article/32098/why-did-ukraine-become-just-ukraine#ixzz2j3jnaXUm] http://mentalfloss.com/article/32098/why-did-ukraine-become-just-ukraine#ixzz2j3jnaXUm

    #423060

    Anonymous

    It really makes me wonder why Ukraine?  I mean, if it used to be referred to as the Ukraine, why not other ex-Soviet countries, as well?  Why not, the Belarus, for example?

    #423061

    Anonymous
    Quote:

    The the has stirred up a lot of strong resentment in Ukraine. The feeling is that the definite article’s heavy use during the era of the Soviet Union by Russians and Westerners alike belittled, intentionally or not, Ukrainians, and demoted Ukraine from a country unto itself to a mere Soviet holding, a border region of the U.S.S.R.

    How could 'the Ukraine' cause resentment if the majority of Ukrainians didn't speak English? Those who spoke some English could not appreciate the inclusion of the definite article as it doesn't exist in the language. The rough equivalent of the definite article would be the word 'this'. Today, Ukrainians are more concerned if the Russians are saying 'на Украине' (on Ukraine) or 'в Украине' (in Ukaine).  Ukrainians want Russians to say 'в Украине' (in Ukraine), while Russians are suggesting not to teach them to speak their own language, because they  have always been saying 'на Украине' (on Ukraine).  There's a good reason why Ukrainians don't want the Russians to say 'on Ukraine' even it's an acceptable form which Russians used for a long time.  'On Ukraine' may mean on some border territory of another country, although there're exceptions, while 'in Ukraine' will mean in another country. The omission of 'the'  in 'the Ukraine' was done for a similar reason. Although, ordinary Ukrainians living in Ukraine don't concern if it's the Ukraine or Ukraine, as most of them don't know the difference anyway.

    There’s a little bit of uncertainty about the etymology of Ukraine, though. A few modern Ukrainian historians trace it to the same root word, but with a different meaning, variously “homeland,” “country,”  “land,” “separated piece of land” or “separated part of the tribe,” depending on which historian you’re asking and which sources they’re looking at. The “borderlands” etymology appears to have the most historical support, but if that meaning doesn’t hold up, then the logic for the definite article likewise falls apart.

    There was an attempt by some Ukrainian linguists to redefine the meaning of the term 'Ukraine'.  In the word "У-краї-на" (Ukraine) 'У' is prefix, 'краї' is the root of the word, and 'на' is suffix. 'краї' translates to border territory or land in many Slavic languages. The term was used  by poets and writers  to mean the border territory in the 19th century. It was also described in the dictionaries as such.  There's a historic region with a similar name in Bosnia and Herzegovina if I am not mistaken. Some inventive Ukrainian linguists decided that  the root of the word in 'Україна'  is 'Укр'  (Ukr) .  Then the 'Ukrs' were a Slavic tribe that lived in Ukraine, whose ancestors may had been 'Teukros' who lived in the Mediterranean.  I am not kidding, there's plenty on the subject. The story became known quickly for its absurdity , now some people are teasing Ukrainians calling them Ukr-y.

    #423062

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    There's a good reason why Ukrainians don't want the Russians to say 'on Ukraine' even it's an acceptable form which Russians used for a long time.  'On Ukraine' may mean on some border territory of another country, although there're exceptions, while 'in Ukraine' will mean in another country.

    From what I know, Ukrainians have the same objections against Polish usage. We too say “na Ukrainie”. They argument that we shouldn't use “na” because it means we aren't speaking about an independent country, but we are bad imperialists and believe that Ukraine is a part of Poland.

    Needless to say, the argument is absurd. Firstly, we know better how to speak our language. Secondly, “na” is not only used with former parts of the Commonwealth or Poland. We say “na Słowacji” and “na Węgrzech” (in addition to some other names of nonexistent countries), while it's true that we say “na Ukrainie”, “na Białorusi” (and “na Rusi” in general) and “na Litwie”.

    #423063

    Anonymous

    Why Did "The Ukraine" Become Just "Ukraine"

    because of butthurt nationalism

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