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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Speak Shenzhen
The Gambia: the smiling coast of Africa
    2017-December-5  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

James Baquet

Usually when a country’s usual name starts with “The,” the name ends in a noun. This is transparent with countries like the United Kingdom or the United States. “Kingdom” and “states” are the obvious nouns. It’s a little harder with the Netherlands, but the “lands” in the name qualify, even though they’re incorporated into one word. Then there’s the Philippines, which are in fact the Philippine Islands (named after King Philip II of Spain). Lots of other island countries (the Seychelles, the Maldives) follow the same practice.

So what is the noun in The Gambia? (Note, by the way, as with The Bahamas, The Gambia is a country where “The” is always capitalized. These are also, not coincidentally, countries where “The” is an official part of the name.)

One clue might be the long, narrow shape of the country. In fact, a river called the Gambia River snakes through the center of The Gambia on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. The Gambia is the African continent’s smallest country, and is composed mainly of the Gambia River and its banks. So we can say that the Republic of The Gambia is named after the river, as one might informally call Egypt the Land of the Nile or Switzerland the Country of the Alps.

But this is merely “passing the buck,” since no one seems to know where the name “Gambia” (or Gambra) for the river came from!

Incidentally, whether it’s true or not, the prime minister of The Gambia said in 1964 that they used “The” in their name to avoid confusion with another African country, Zambia!

The Gambia is entirely surrounded by the West African country of Senegal, with which it made up the British province of Senegambia for two centuries, from 1765 to 1965. Prior to that the area had been occupied by Portuguese slave traders. The slavers once took advantage of the fact that the Gambia River is navigable through about half of the country’s length.

English remains the official language, though a number of tribal languages are used as well. The population is 96 percent Muslim.

Vocabulary:

Which word above means:

1. written with an upper-case letter

2. meet the requirements

3. the highest mountain range in Europe

4. able to be sailed on in a ship

5. happening by chance

6. sides of a river

7. shifting responsibility elsewhere

8. “by the way”

9. not officially

10. hint, indication

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