Fiendish blog home
Lots of coverage at the moment of the tension in the
Crimea, and you should know by now that you are not going
to get any sort of meaningful, reasoned analysis of the
No, what is vexing me is the US correspondent on
Bloomberg who is referring to Crimea.
Should it not be the Crimea?
While we are at it, when did it stop being the Ukraine,
and become, simply, Ukraine?
Apparently, there is no "definite article" in the
Ukrainian language, or in the Russian language
for that matter.
So, Ukrainians don't refer to their country as the
Ukraine, and by all accounts the rest of us should have
stopped doing it when the country achieved independence
from the USSR, in 1991.
According to Anatoly Liberman, a wordy professor at the
University of Minnesota, "ukraine" means "borderland", so
"the borderland" makes sense, but its usage does still
make it sound like a region, not a country, so Ukraine it
The Crimea is a region, not a country, so maybe the
definite article is still OK to use, but Crimea without
the definite article is also apparently all right, so I
owe the US journalist on Bloomberg an apology.