Loud & Clear: Listeners on Ukraine vs. the Ukraine, and their most-despised clichés

Listen Now
Image: Loud and Clear typewriter

Colorado Matters regularly airs feedback from listeners and readers in Loud & Clear.

Earlier this week, Ryan Warner spoke with Adm. Bill Gortney, the commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs, about a rising number of Russian bomber flights and the strategic concerns posed by climate change -- specifically: melting ice in the Arctic.

References to the country just west of Russia -- Ukraine -- inspired listener Ihor Figlus, a small business owner in Wheat Ridge, to contact us. He noted that both Warner and Gortney called the country "the Ukraine." That's incorrect, Figlus wrote.

"News organizations and governments all over the world have figured this out," he wrote to Colorado Matters. "Get with it."

We checked with Ukraine's consulate in New York and confirmed that Figlus is correct. "The" should not precede Ukraine. The article harkens to Ukraine's pre-independence days when it was part of the Soviet Union.

"It is kind of a belittling term as far as referring to it as more like a territory rather than a country," Figlus said when reached by phone. "Somebody started using the article [the] with it and it just kind of stuck, but then later on it became a point of contention, a point of pride."

He added that the U.S. State Department should correct the admiral for his usage. But we found instances where even President Obama has made the mistake in conversation.

Colorado Matters also recently aired a segment with University of Colorado Boulder lexicographer Orin Hargraves, who has cataloged clichés in the English language.

Andrea Tollefsrud, of Boulder, wrote on our Facebook page: "I cannot STAND clichés. Especially if the same ones are used by the same person, repeatedly. Have an original thought, would you?!!!!"

She also listed her least favorites, which were: "Like a bull in a china shop," "I'm just calling a spade a spade," and, "It's six of one, half dozen of the other."

Tony Morris, from Austin, Texas, advised us to "avoid clichés like the plague."

To use one of our favorite clichés, radio is a two-way street and we love hearing from you. E-mail your comments to us at www.CPRNews.org, connect on Twitter at @ColoradoMatters or find us on Facebook at CPRNews.