What are the arguments for and against the proposition that a country should have the right to determine what it is called in a foreign language, and that speakers of that language should heed the country's preference?

Is the answer any different for languages such as English and French, which are working languages at the UN and other international organizations?

I have seen the question here, but it doesn't address the ethical aspect of the question.


(The) Ukraine

It is well-known that Ukraine objects to being referred to in English as the Ukraine. President Trump has recently been criticized for calling the country the Ukraine.

This n-gram chart shows that until the mid-1990s, "Ukraine" more frequently appeared in English with the definite article than without.

Ukraine's argument is that the definite article somehow implies that the country is really a region of Russia. Ukraine also has objections to the preposition Russians normally use to say "in Ukraine" and "from Ukraine," presumably on similar grounds.

(The) United States

On the other hand, I cannot imagine that English-speaking Americans would feel it was their place to decide whether their country should be known as Estados Unidos or los Estados Unidos in the Spanish-speaking world, particularly in unofficial contexts.



Browse other questions tagged .