[b-hebrew] definate article on proper place name

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman joel at exc.com
Fri Jan 20 12:13:02 EST 2006

>What is the significance of the definite article on a proper place name?
>Most proper place names do not ever occur with a definite article. The
>following are the only place names I found that were preceded by the
>definite article: 

Cross linguistically, we know that definite articles on names, as well
as other minor variations in how names are used grammatically tend to
be idiosyncratic.

For example, in English we have "the Ukraine"/"Ukraine" but not "the
Russia."  (Similarly, in Russian, it's V ROSSIE `in Russia' but NA
UKRAINE.)  In New York, it's "The Bronx" and never "Bronx," but
"Manhattan" and never "The Manhattan."

Other examples abound.

Frequently, the article reflects the etymology of the place name.

-Joel M. Hoffman

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