Author Topic: Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name  (Read 3409 times)

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Offline Jay

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Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name
« on: 00:40 18-Feb-2016 »
Could not go past this without posting !  Maybe having a reference thread to explain  this topic that arises so frequently.

Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name

The Polish term Ukrajina, or "the borderland," first emerged during the 16th century when the Ukrainian lands were incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By the 18th century, the French introduced l'Ukraine, and the article stuck. The usage of "the Ukraine" then became most popular when it was a territorial entity of both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. But why does the article matter?

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Ukrainian government declared in its constitution that it would hence forth be referred to as "Ukraine," thus dropping the article. There were two justifications for this. First, in Russian and Ukrainian, the two most popularly spoken languages in Ukraine, articles do not exist, hence it seemed foolish to incorporate the article. Second, with the establishment of its independence, "the Ukraine" became a demeaning term, as it implied that Ukraine remained a territorial region of one of its former rulers.

Colloquial usage dictated otherwise: Despite the proclamation by the Ukrainian government, Western journalists, U.S. politicians and the American entertainment industry continued to refer to the post?Soviet state as "the Ukraine;" an episode of Seinfeld in 1995 is where one such offense occurred.

A second chance to rid the article

Yet for a second time in its independent history Ukraine has been presented with an opportunity to rid the article once and for all. In November 2013 hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens gathered in Kyiv's Independence Square, where they protested the corruption of former-President Viktor Yanukovych and their government, demanding that true democracy be brought to Ukraine. Moreover, since the "Revolution of Dignity," Ukraine has taken enormous steps to fulfill its requirements in order to gain EU membership. This includes eliminating corruption, gaining visa-free travel, and expanding its markets so that it no longer relies on Russia as its major trade partner. Given these alterations, Ukraine has finally justified itself as a sovereign state, not only in Europe, but of the globe.

Unfortunately, despite the immense reforms that Ukraine has undergone to reaffirm itself as true European state, in addition to receiving pressure from both the West and Russia, numerous journalists and political figures continue to erroneously refer to the country with the article. For example, as the U.S. prepares for its 2016 presidential elections, Democratic and Republican candidates alike continue to use "the Ukraine." In some aspects, this undermines Euromaidan and the Poroshenko Administration's efforts to establish itself as a true independent state, as the usage of ?the? negates Ukraine's sovereignty.

Every step makes a difference

Ukraine is not the first country to be referred to incorrectly with an article. Similar offenses occurred during the time of the British Empire. Throughout this period many British territories such as Argentina and Lebanon were also referred to with the article. Yet once they gained their independence, the article was removed.

It is without a doubt that there are more pressing matters in Ukraine, such as its anti-corruption effort, Crimean annexation, and the war in Donbas. Moreover, Ukrainian progress has been slow (as they say, "Rome was not built in a day").

But every step makes a difference. Dropping the article in colloquial usage would be a small step in helping Ukraine reassert itself as an independent state. And with the various developments that Ukraine has had to face over the last 14 months, with the increasing number of internally displaced persons in Ukraine, the rising casualty rate in Donbas, and the teetering economy, haven't the Ukrainian people dealt with enough?


http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2016/02/17/lets-call-ukraine-by-its-proper-name/#390695595d8b
« Last Edit: 07:21 18-Feb-2016 by Jay »


Offline David Rochlin

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Re: Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name
« Reply #1 on: 01:43 18-Feb-2016 »
People say, "The US," or "The UK," even some English speaking Ukrainians.   Russian was the official language of "The" USSR, but if Russian doesn't have the article, it is difficult to pin the perceived slight on Russians or Soviet overlords.  Don't get me wrong, I understand that use of the article is offensive, and I have not said "The"  Ukraine in a great many years, not even in purely Western company.  But, do I think there is a reason not to say it, other than to be polite to my host Nation and avoid a beating by saying it in the wrong place at the wrong time?  ...No.

Offline Jay

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Re: Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name
« Reply #2 on: 05:39 18-Feb-2016 »
I draw your attention to this-
Second, with the establishment of its independence, ,the Ukraine, became a demeaning term, as it implied that Ukraine remained a territorial region of one of its former ruler

While not discussed above-- I have read previously that it goes back a long way.  As long as Russia & Russians  use it , or attempt to use--I am 110% with Ukraine on this.
It is simple enough to respect their decision. :)

Offline Ted

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Re: Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name
« Reply #3 on: 07:57 18-Feb-2016 »
4th grade...dude that was like in 1960.

Hell I can't even remember what I had for breakfast in 1960 (pancakes? eggs?) let alone remember readin' writin' and 'rithmatic.

Offline Ted

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Re: Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name
« Reply #4 on: 16:45 18-Feb-2016 »
4th grade...dude that was like in 1960...I can't even remember what I had for breakfast in 1960...

...you were drowning Bart Starr Wheaties in Hopalong Cassidy Producers Vitamin D Whole Milk and drinking Donald Duck Orange Juice while playing with your Etch-A-Sketch before heading off to school with your PJB, celery sticks and Oreos in your Paladin Have Gun Will Travel lunch box & matching thermos filled with Kool-Aid...

...if this is the start of a food hijack...so be it...  8)

Bart who? I remember Annette Funicello not some hoser football player!

Offline AkMike

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Re: Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name
« Reply #5 on: 17:25 18-Feb-2016 »
Wasn't it Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris on the Wheaties back then?  ;)
In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One. Yakov Smirnoff

Carlusha

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Re: Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name
« Reply #6 on: 17:42 18-Feb-2016 »
Wasn't it Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris on the Wheaties back then?  ;)


Dunno but I do recall Hopalong Cassidy and Topper on TV ..... in glorious B&W to boot!


Offline David Rochlin

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Re: Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name
« Reply #7 on: 00:34 19-Feb-2016 »
People say, "The US," or "The UK"...

This is because it is grammatically correct! United States or United Kingdom are both plural proper nouns. Use of the article is designated by rules of grammar (at least by American English rules!). Conversely, America or Great Britain are singular proper nouns, and use of the article is incorrect. Ukraine, France, Italy, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, etc. are all examples of singular proper nouns; use of the article is incorrect. Anyone with a Fourth Grade education should be capable of explaining these basic concepts, since this is the level at which they are taught; next time an opportunity arises to have a discussion about grammar with a ten-year-old, take advantage of it...you could be amazed at what you'll learn!

...times like these is when I wish Claus were here...

I used abbrieviated country names, US and UK and the use of the article before an abbrieviation is less appropriate, and while optional for country names, sounds awkward or in some sentences.  This might be a higher grade than Fourth Grade English, though. 

Offline jbenet

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Re: Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name
« Reply #8 on: 07:57 19-Feb-2016 »
I ask those asshats who say the article is part of the name in Slavic usage (THE borderlands) and insist on using it, if they call Denmark (THE Dane's mark) The Denmark. And I've noticed always that those who insist on using the article, they are openly, or in not so secret denial, supportive of Russia.

Carlusha

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Re: Let's Call Ukraine By Its Proper Name
« Reply #9 on: 11:46 19-Feb-2016 »
Mind your language! Nearly 40 years old and still provides a chuckle!


! Mind your language