The word comes from the Polish okrajina meaning borderlands, so for centuries Украина was used that way grammatically. Ukraine dropping the "the" is a recent nationalistic demand by Ukrainian politics. And in Russian, it was always said «на Украине» (in Ukrainian «на Україні») meaning "in the Ukraine" when referring to location. Now, it's considered politically incorrect. They demand that Ukraine be treated as any other independent country, so «в Украине» means "in Ukraine."
Украина the name of the country comes from the word окраина/okrajina. Both the Russian Empire and the Polish Kingdom referred to those Cossacks that lived in between the borderland of both Russia and Poland that way. Those Cossacks were the people that would become Ukrainians. The first mention of the word Украина/украинцы in the historical record was only as early as 1674 during the uprising led by Bogdan Hmelnitskiy ("Bohdan Hmelnyts'kyy" [UA]). Prior to that, they were just known as Казаки (Cossacks) or Ruthenians. Only as recently as the 2000s was "the" dropped from "the Ukraine," and in Russian "на Украине" became "в Украине," dropping the preposition signifying a land rather than a country/nation. На окраине stayed на Украине then became в Украине.
As far as I remember, окраина and украина were just different words with the same base root. У really corresponds to the modern у, like in украсть (оукрасти→украсть, оукраина → Украина):
- Князь Андрѣи Олгердович с полочаны от своея оукраины пригнавше без вѣсти, и повоеваша нѣколико Вороначькоя волости; и се первое начя воиноу.
Окраина was a different word. It seems the term appeared later than оукраина:
- ....выслали де вы насъ противъ орды оберегать государевы окраины
Очень странно объяснять название страны от созвучия со словом из другого языка, тем более, что на родном Украинском название страны звучит иначе. Интересно, Вы не пробовали объяснять происхождение названий других Европейских государств от созвучий с русскими или польскими словами?)))
The same Wikipedia article writes, "In the sixteenth century, the only specific ukraina mentioned very often in Polish and Ruthenian texts was the south-eastern borderland around Kiev, and thus ukraina came to be synonymous with the voivodeship of Kiev and later the region around Kiev. Later this name was adopted as the name of the country." (Don't forget that Russia was not called Rossiya until Tsar Peter the Great changed it to this name in the 1700s, so technically Russia didn't exist either. Old maps show Muscovy/Moscovia/Tartaria as the name for this country before "Russia.")
I watched this Polish documentary on the history of Ukraine:
It was interesting that the Poles supposedly called them Ukrainians first, as they lived on the outskirts of the Polish/Lithuanian kingdoms, supposedly before the ancestors of modern-day Russia referred to them as "border-dwellers." The root word край/kraj works in both Polish and Russian, with slightly different evolutions of course. Plus, a lot of them were known to Russians as казаки (kazaki), meaning "Cossacks" rather than "Ukrainians"
The big change must have completely missed me (born 1995), "w Ukrainie" just sounda ungrammatical in Polish, I don't thing people caught up. We also use "na" with Slovakia and Hungary. It's just how the grammar works and I would call it idiomatic. When using English i still write Kiev and never thoughg it could be different, only saw it written like that somewhere. It is not insulting, just so old it aounds wrong. I have always believed that Ukrainians arw our brothers and sisters, for a long time I thought "krajanie" means friends/brothers. So screw you all with your silly proaganda.
Well, I guess they only care about the use in Russian. The word Украина or Украйна was used with в OR на in the 19th century, with на being a bit more typical in Ukraine. Either would have worked. In the 20th century Soviet dictionaries picked the apparently more common на Украине as THE norm, as well as standardising the Ukrainian stress Украи́на instead of the old-fashioned Укра́ина.
It is not like the use never changed.
We English speakers residing in the Americas tend to corrupt the language as it suits us. As a Canadian living in the USA, I am amused that compound words referring to émigrés from Mexico to "the u.s. of A." are called Mexican-Americans. Similarly, German-Americans, Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans, but nobody uses the term Canadian-American. I was told that was because anybody living in this hemisphere is technically an American. Confused? I am, and I'm writing this. Which brings me to the term Dominion of Canada. We Canadians are forever attempting to define ourselves. We don't know what we are, but we know we are not Americans (as in citizens of the u.s. of A.). This is a matter of great Canadian pride ... to say were are not something else. So a term like "the co-operative collective of provinces (not to be confused with any similar looking French word) originating from the colonial territories of Lower Canada (sometimes referred to as Nouvelle-France) and Upper Canada" proved to be somewhat awkward. The "united provinces of America" sounded too ... American. The "commonwealth of Canada" sounded too ... colonial. So drawing from a somewhat ethereal perspective, the term "Dominion of Canada" was formed. Ask a Canadian what is a Dominion, and you will most likely hear, not American, not British, and definitely not French.
Thanks, mosfet. In colloquial English, and more particularly the Scottish variant, "big" can have implications of importance and of being impressive.
"Hey, big man!" is a common, very informal form of address. The man in question may be the boss, or simply someone the speaker is trying to be respectful to (perhaps because he is about to ask for something!) However, the man so addressed may actually be only 5 feet tall!
With the Bolshoi Ballet in mind, I therefore wondered if the same effect existed.
Страна is nominative, because Украина and страна are being equivocated.
Украина = страна. Since the subject, Украина, must be in the nominative case, so does its equivalent in the sentence.
If you change the verb to past or future tense, the verb "to be" is not longer omitted, so the object takes the instrumental case.
Украина была большой страной. Ukraine was a big country.
Украина будет большой страной. Ukraine will be a big country.
Ukraine is an independent country. It does not take the article, for the reasons that lnguin-freyr gives.
Older history books may refer to "the Ukraine" in English; they are using a descriptive term for a region of the Russian Empire, much as the British talk about the Midlands, or the Black Country (or as Americans talk about the Deep South). This may be what has misled you.
"The Ukraine" was a descriptive term for a region. Ukraine is the name of the country.
That's right. Before Ukraine became independent, since the word у-кра-'ина comes originally from о-'кра-ина "borderlands" in both Russian and Polish (okrajina), exactly where the ancestors of modern Ukrainians were living, between the borders of Lithuania-Poland and the Tsardom of Muscovy, it was referred to as more of a noun than a proper noun in the same way that we say "the land" instead of "land," or "the Netherlands," hence, the Ukraine. But since Ukraine has established itself as an independent nation with an independent language and identity, it stopped being referred to as a noun, and it became referred to by its proper noun, Ukraine.
Does English grammar require the definite article the before Ukraine? Ukraine is the name of an independent country. There are only two groups of countries which require the article in English: Those with plural names such as the United States or the Netherlands. The others have names with adjectival or compound forms which require the article, such as the United Kingdom, the Dominion of Canada, or the Ukrainian SSR.
English grammar does not require a definite article before the names of singular countries such as England, Canada or Ukraine.
The Congo doesn't get all bent out of shape because of "the." The Netherlands is singular, just ends in s. This is just pointless hypernationalism that fears the article.