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Thread: Article or no article

  1. #1
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    Article or no article

    Names of rivers go with the definite article: the Mississippi, the Amazon, the Volga, etc. Why then do names like Fountain River, Red River, Cherry Creek, Horse Creek, Sybille Creek, and Powder River appear without the article in serious books by a renowned publishing house? Does the fact that the words "red," "cherry," and "powder" have a meaning of their own and "Mississippi" etc. are only proper names have anything to do with the use of the article?

    Lara

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    It is indeed a strange phenomenon. I'm sure someone else will have a proper explanation, but untill then, think of this:

    The United Kingdom
    Great Britain

    That confuses it even further, because they both have adjectives. Maybe it's just something that has to be learned, like "the Ukraine" and "the Lebanon"....
    Эдмунд Ричардович Вудфилд

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddo
    It is indeed a strange phenomenon. I'm sure someone else will have a proper explanation, but untill then, think of this:

    The United Kingdom
    Great Britain
    Or rather: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    That confuses it even further, because they both have adjectives. Maybe it's just something that has to be learned, like "the Ukraine" and "the Lebanon"....
    I would counsel against 'learning' either of these variants: they are both incorrect. To return to Lara's question, there isn't any satisfactory reason for the presence/lack of a definite article in these cases. Such things are a matter of convention: rivers have a 'the'; place names don't. Except the ones that do. This verily a nuisance is, even for native speakers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by joysof
    1)Or rather: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    2)I would counsel against 'learning' either of these variants: they are both incorrect.
    1)What? Why did you say that? Are you in some way suggesting that it is "incorrect" to say the United Kingdom? If you are then i have to point out that there is officially no "the."

    2)Have you ever heard someone say "Ukraine" without the "the?" It sounds stilted and strange. There is NO SUCH THING as incorrect in English. There are only conventions. Such as the conventions that every sentence starts with a capital letter and that "its" means belonging to it, whereas "it's" means it is or it has. With no official version of English, you cannot say that a perfectly normal phrase is incorrect. Trying to stop a language evolving of its own accord is pointless. Yes, it ought to be "Ukraine." Most maps say "Ukraine," but you would not hear it in conversation very often. I suppose you would also rearrange a perfectly good sentence in order not to split an infinitive?

    'Tis my language and I can do with it what I like.

    *edits in quote*
    Quote Originally Posted by Fritos
    not trying to be rude just to help you. It would not be " I have borned in the Ukraine." but would be " I was born in the Ukraine."
    A native speaker using the "the" here. Notice if you look at the topic itself, the person underneath does not use it, but they are Ukranian themself, and like a DUtch person with "Holland" and "the Netherlands" are using it because they are using it how they feel it should be. I don't disagree that it should be "Ukraine," but it isn't. Live with it.

    *rant over*
    Эдмунд Ричардович Вудфилд

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    According to AP style it's "Ukraine" not "The Ukraine," and as I have mentioned before, the AP stylebook is my Bible. But in this case I can take or leave the "the."

    There is NO SUCH THING as incorrect in English. There are only conventions.
    Respectfully disagree. There are points of contention, but certain errors are wrong. For example, confusing "its" and "it's." There is a difference between common convention and illiteracy. "The board of directors is..." and "the board of directors are..." may both be acceptable, depending on which side of the pond you originated, but "they is..." is still wrong.

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    I believe the solution to this [the] Ukraine puzzle was identified by badmanners and I in this thread: http://masterrussian.net/mforum/viewtop ... ht=ukraine

    but that's probably because I'm full of it!
    Море удачи и дачу у моря

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    Quote Originally Posted by waxwing
    I believe the solution to this [the] Ukraine puzzle was identified by badmanners and I in this thread: http://masterrussian.net/mforum/viewtop ... ht=ukraine

    but that's probably because I'm full of it!
    If you're full of that, may I draw your attention to "identified by [...] I". How's that for you?
    Jonesboro, Arkansas. Mean, stupid, violent fat people, no jobs, nothing to do, hotter than a dog with 2 d--cks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddo
    Quote Originally Posted by joysof
    1)Or rather: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    2)I would counsel against 'learning' either of these variants: they are both incorrect.
    1)What? Why did you say that? Are you in some way suggesting that it is "incorrect" to say the United Kingdom? If you are then i have to point out that there is officially no "the."
    Please read more carefully. It may help you to understand.

    2)Have you ever heard someone say "Ukraine" without the "the?" It sounds stilted and strange. There is NO SUCH THING as incorrect in English.
    It's people like you who'll have the language on its knees, Oddo. One reason why French is (for the most part) such a splendidly unadulterated tongue is the attentive proprietorship of its speakers: you won't find any mealy-mouthed Frenchman bleating on about the 'evolution of language' and other beige sentiments which only serve to cowtow to the ignorant and the idle. Creativity in language a wonderful thing is - no arguments here - but if All Shall Pass, then All Shall Pass. And we'll be even more swamped by illiteracy than we are now. Evil flourish good men nothing etc.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by waxwing
    I believe the solution to this [the] Ukraine puzzle was identified by badmanners and I in this thread: http://masterrussian.net/mforum/viewtop ... ht=ukraine

    but that's probably because I'm full of it!
    Just to cut you down to size:

    '...identified by bad manners and me...'.
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    joysof, you make me happy. You're the only person I know who's a bigger language snob than I am.

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    hmm it seems that 'i'm full of it' was not interpreted in the self-effacing way intended ..

    OK, so how much do I have to pay for you not to tell my students?

    (btw, lindzi, badmanners pointed it out as well, you know)
    Море удачи и дачу у моря

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    Quote Originally Posted by waxwing
    (btw, lindzi, badmanners pointed it out as well, you know)
    I was referring to joysof's post about French, not the posts correcting you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joysof
    Please read more carefully. It may help you to understand.
    Nope. I stil have no idea what you meant.

    BTW you cannot say French is unadulterated - it is Latin that has evolved Oh, sorry I'm not allowed to say that, am I? It is incorrect Latin. My mistake.

    And swamped by illiteracy? I believe the literacy rate is something like 101%. I wonder what the innumeracy rates are..

    On the same not as my "incorrect Latin," I will not have the language on its knees. If change does that, then it's already been done, when English became English from Latin, old Gothic and Norman French and all the other influences.
    Эдмунд Ричардович Вудфилд

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Линдзи
    Quote Originally Posted by waxwing
    (btw, lindzi, badmanners pointed it out as well, you know)
    I was referring to joysof's post about French, not the posts correcting you.
    oops .. sorry
    Море удачи и дачу у моря

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    Speaking of innumeracy, I don't think you can have a 101% literacy rate.

    PS: one of the definitions of "illiteracy" is "ignorance resulting from not reading." I would say that poor grammar falls into that category.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waxwing
    Quote Originally Posted by Линдзи
    Quote Originally Posted by waxwing
    (btw, lindzi, badmanners pointed it out as well, you know)
    I was referring to joysof's post about French, not the posts correcting you.
    oops .. sorry
    No problem

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    2 putt it anohter way oddo, wud U turn in a profesional paper writtn like this. if no why Not? u say there r only CONVENTIONS an this seem like convention 2 me. well i sure C a lot of it on the net!1! ^_^

    Seriously. There are rights and wrongs in English. They may change gradually over time, but they exist. There is linguistic evolution and there is ignorance, and most of the language errors I see as a proofreader fall firmly into the second category.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddo
    Quote Originally Posted by joysof
    Please read more carefully. It may help you to understand.
    Nope. I stil have no idea what you meant.
    Well, I can't help that now, can I?

    BTW you cannot say French is unadulterated - it is Latin that has evolved Oh, sorry I'm not allowed to say that, am I? It is incorrect Latin. My mistake...On the same not as my "incorrect Latin," I will not have the language on its knees. If change does that, then it's already been done, when English became English from Latin, old Gothic and Norman French and all the other influences.
    Young friend, you're confusing two entirely different things. Your rather simplistic 'Latin turned into French' premise is, in any case, entirely irrelevant: we're talking here about the defilement of a modern language, not the ebbs and flows - interesting though they are - of linguistic development. But if you're still convinced that we've come to where we have semantically on the basis of devil-may-care sloppiness, I suggest you do your reading: there's a world of difference between adulteration and time-bound synthesis. French has been enriched by the latter; it guards itself well against the former.

    @joysof: 'kowtow' is spelled with a 'k', you miserable pedant.
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    What is your problem with me not understanding your UK comment? If it's so simple that it can be understood by reading it again, could someone more reasonable explain it to me please?

    Also, how exactly are changing a language gradually from one main source (in this case Latin) into others (IE French, Spanish, Italian etc.) and changing the resulting language slightly different? They are just on a different scale. You could probably not give an exact time when English became the language it is now, because it was a gradual process. I am glad that the word "whom" is disappearing. It serves no useful purpose. You may or may not disagree, but when people first started to say who when they "meant whom" I bet it was severely frowned upon. I suppose some people desperately clung on to "thou." Luckily it has gone. The only difference between that and new changes is that people like you don't like them because they grew up taught that they were wrong.

    @ Lindzi, poor-joke-detector not working? You say that there are rights and wrongs, but why? (Other than convention) There is nothing better about describing a small fluffy animal as a "mouse" than calling it a "sliff" or whatever. It's just what we have gradually come to call it. The reason I would not give a profesional paper writtn like that is that people have generally decided that it is professional and written. There is nothing specifically better about professional or forming the past with -ed, it's just what we do. It helps us communicate more easily. I would never say "you see them fings over there?" because it's not "right" (that is to say what most people agree is right,) not because there is somethign particularly wrong with it.

    Incidentally, is it "right" to put punctuation inside or outside a bracket? I'm never quite sure...
    Эдмунд Ричардович Вудфилд

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddo
    I am glad that the word "whom" is disappearing. It serves no useful purpose. You may or may not disagree, but when people first started to say who when they "meant whom" I bet it was severely frowned upon.
    Whatever gives you the idea that such slovenliness is no longer 'severely frowned upon'? Even at http://www.usatoday.com (and this, correct me if I’m wrong, is not an organ renowned for its high-flown style), 'whom' is largely retained; and if I had littered my fourth-year dissertation with non-nominative 'whos', I'd have been quite rightly brought to book for it. 'Whom' is very much alive in serious (and semi-serious) circles, thank Christ. Bear in mind, also, that this discussion is about the written language, which, in English as much as in Russian, has its own well-tested conventions (you seem to think, incidentally, that 'convention' means 'something you're allowed to break/ignore/tread all over whenever the mood takes you'. Not strictly the case, unless you're an American military guard and the convention concerned is named after a certain lakeside city of note). Colloquial speech is a completely different animal: your 'say' has no place here.

    'Academics who Kuntz shared his findings with and who his researches had brought financial benefit to were evidently bound to draw different conclusions about those who he condemned'

    Look at the word order, too. If you, as a discerning, well-educated sort, would be willing put up with this sort of nonsense, then you and your generation will have the language on its knees, however splendidly libertarian your intentions. Such usage is not just ugly, it obscures meaning and - here comes the cliche - it's the thin end of a horrible wedge.

    The only difference between that and new changes is that people like you don't like them because they grew up taught that they were wrong.
    No. I don't like them because I have a well-developed critical faculty.

    ‘I had long lamented, that we had no lawful standard of our language set up, for those to repair to, who might choose to speak and write it grammatically and correctly . . . The time for discrimination seems to be now come. Toleration, adoption, and naturalization, have run their lengths. Good order and authority are now necessary. But where shall we find them, and at the same time the obedience due to them? We must have recourse to the old Roman expedient in times of confusion, and choose a Dictator.’

    And I'm with Lord Chesterfield. Revol, revol.

    Incidentally, is it "right" to put punctuation inside or outside a bracket? I'm never quite sure...
    Externally-relevant punctuation goes outside. But, hey, you do what you like with it, kid. Why bother with the parenthesis at all? Or the inverted commas, for that matter? Orspacesbetweenthewords? You're just a faceless 'droid if you do, after all. Cut loose, man: we're all little Ferlinghettis and the world is ours. Oh yes.
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