Date: Tue, 29 Nov 1994 19:21:54 -0800 From: "Alan S. Kaye" Subject: Re: 'the' in place names (Kaye) Re the loss of the definite article in languages: English names such as 'The Sudan' is a direct calque from Arabic. Lebanon is via French influence. Cairo is (in Arabic) al-qaahira (I have never seen 'The Cairo' in English, but cf. 'Le Caire'). What is interesting about Alexandria is that the Al (Arabic def. art. historically) is dropped in spoken Arabic, yet is never dropped in writing or in the classical standard. The answer for this change is simple: there is no functional yield to the article. It is beginning to be dropped in spoken Arabic in other cases. The Calif. English case cited re 'the 91' or '91' for freeway names is a fantastic parallel (universal grammar) or a coincidence (again universal gm), or both? Does everyone agree? I would like to ask other linguists for 'the' losses in dialects/ idiolects of the same language and/or different registers (Arabic diglossia). Do some Spanish dialects delete the el or la on names of places? Ever? Alan Kaye Linguistics CSU Fullerton, CA 92634