The importance of the word “The”

In case you are late to the party, the official name of a country in the news a lot this week is “Ukraine,” not “The Ukraine.”  Lest you think this a small thing, it is a big deal to the residents and patriots of a nation that in 1991 established its independence from the former Soviet Union and formally asked the world to drop the “the.”  The difference between a “state” with an independent constitution and sovereignty is a meaningful distinction from a region or geographic area – as in say, The Arctic, The Azores or The Pacific Ocean.  The other factor, as a recent  article from the Business Insider points out is the derivation of the word Ukraine, which in Old Slavic was Ukrania or borderland, hence the need for the “the”.    [ I always wanted to write a sentence with the words “the the.”]

In any event, I wish them all well in this difficult time and hope that the interests of the citizens will prevail over a forced military solution to their sovereignty.

Google searches for "Ukraine" outnumber those for T"he Ukraine"

Google searches for Ukraine outnumber those for The Ukraine”

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