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There's a film just out called Salmon fishing in the Yemen.

I've also heard people talk about the country Yemen as "the Yemen".

Is it wrong to call Yemen "The Yemen" - or does it date back to some colonial era, where that was what people said?

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possible duplicate of Using the definite article before a country/state name –  FumbleFingers May 25 '12 at 16:14
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

See also Using the definite article before a country/state name .

The names of regions often take the definite article, especially if they are named after a natural feature such as a river or mountain, as in "the Congo" or "the Lebanon." Before Yemen was the name of a country, it was a historical region, and called "the Yemen" much like "the Argentine" or "the Gold Coast."

The article has fallen out of use in some cases (e.g. Sudan for the Republic of the Sudan), in other cases it is officially discouraged (e.g. Ukraine, not the Ukraine), in others it is part of the name and always included (e.g. The Gambia), and in still others it is not considered part of the name but is nevertheless always included (e.g. the United Kingdom).

I am not sure of the era when the film is set. It is possible that "the Yemen" is what the main character, an Brit, would have called that region in that time, or that the old name is used deliberately to highlight a prejudice or neo-colonial attitude toward Yemen on his part.

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aha! thank you!! –  Stretch May 24 '12 at 23:54
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It may be something else entirely, like salmon fishing in the Columbia, or the Amazon, or the Nile.

It’s not like people call British Columbia “the Columbia”. It’s a river.

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tchrist is right. From the description of a movie:

A British fisheries expert is cast to bring to life a sheik’s vision of spawning hope and peace for his people through the introduction of salmon into the Yemen River.

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As far as I can tell there is no such thing as the Yemen River, and in fact Yemen seems to have no permanent bodies of water at all. That said, the film is a work of fiction, so there's nothing to stop them from creating a "River Yemen" out of thin air. –  choster May 25 '12 at 0:23
    
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was previously a book, with that same plot. –  GEdgar May 25 '12 at 13:11
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