Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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?

share|improve this question
    
possible duplicate of Using the definite article before a country/state name –  FumbleFingers May 25 '12 at 16:14

3 Answers 3

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.

share|improve this answer
    
aha! thank you!! –  Stretch May 24 '12 at 23:54

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.

share|improve this answer

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.

share|improve this answer
    
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was previously a book, with that same plot. –  GEdgar May 25 '12 at 13:11

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.