Guess what? Ukraine defeated Saudi Arabia today. It was a joyous day for Ukrainians, unfortunately the horrid announcers at ESPN kept referring to the country as “The Ukraine.” Any Ukrainian will tell you that the country is simply referred to as “Ukraine.” I know this because I went to high school with a Ukrainian kid, and I thought he was going to kill someone every time someone referred to his homeland as “The Ukraine.”
He does have a valid argument. At what point did the world start putting “The” in front of Ukraine? This doesn’t happen with other countries. What if we started referring to other countries like this? We’d have The England, The France, The Russia, and The China. Poor Ukraine. Your name will forever be misstated.
I also have a problem with all these Americanized versions of European cities. Why can’t we just refer to Munich as München, just like the Germans. Same thing with Torino—why did it have to become Turin? I don’t get it.
This morning, I was looking over an ad at my new job at The Group. It contained the word “smorgasbord.” I thought I had spotted a spelling error, and felt compelled to bring it to the attention of my new boss so I could impress her with my diligence. I wanted to be sure, so I went to Dictionary.com. It turns out I was incorrect, and the word is actually “smorgasbord.” I felt like a fool, well at least until the afternoon meeting with other accounts people. Two other girls saw it and said, “Smorgasbord? Is that how it’s spelled.” I said, “Yep. I checked it this morning cause I thought it was spelled wrong, too.” We all thought it was spelled “smorgasborg.” I know it’s because we all saw it on a childhood animated feature or cartoon. I’m inclined to say that I heard it in Looney Tunes or Charlotte’s Web. In Looney Tunes, anyone could have said it. In Charlotte’s Web, I’m thinking of the scene where the rat is singing about all the garbage he gets to forage through for food. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?