LINGUIST List 3.847

Thu 29 Oct 1992

Disc: Place-Names and Articles

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  1. , Place-Names and Articles
  2. Michael, group names

Message 1: Place-Names and Articles

Date: Tue, 27 Oct 92 20:15:26 ESPlace-Names and Articles
From: <>
Subject: Place-Names and Articles

Just in case no one else writes in on this, the posting by
seems to me to be in need of some commentary on two points which,
while inessential, may possibly give rise to misunderstandings.

(1) 'The Hague' would appear to be based, not on the full official
Dutch name 'sGravenhage' but rather on the more common short form
'Den Haag'.

(2) Arabic does not use the definite article with ALL place names,
but only with certain ones, typically ones which are also common
nouns, e.g., al-Qahira 'the Victorious'.
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Message 2: group names

Date: Tue, 27 Oct 92 22:10:10 ESgroup names
From: Michael <MNEHCCUNYVM.bitnet>
Subject: group names

I don't mean to imply that this is the whole reason behind the reported object-
tionableness of some group names, but I noticed an interesting tendency when
I lived in England about twelve years ago, and that was that people tended to
avoid the traditional nouns used for members of nations. That is I rarely
heard Spaniard, Frenchman/woman, Dane from any English speakers; only
second language learners who were taught that these were the correct appela-
tions for themselves used these terms. I became aware of this when I was lis-
tening to a Scottish cmedian (Billy Connolly) who described himself by saying
"I'm a Scottish person." I wondered to myself why use this long way around
when Scot was semantically equivalent. Then I noticed the rest, and that in
fact, I as an American would be probably not say any of these terms either.
The problem seems to be limited to words that are not also adjectives, but
that of course does not explain why "A gay" or "A black" might be considered

comments from any Turks, Poles, Croats, Slovaks, or Serbs?
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