In dialects that do not have /ð/ (voiced dental fricative), the is pronounced with a voiced dental plosive, as in /d̪ə/ or /d̪iː/).
In English most cities and countries never take the definite article, but there are many that do. It is commonly used with many country names that derive from names of island groups (the Philippines), mountain ranges (the Lebanon), deserts (the Sudan), seas, rivers and geographic regions (the Middle East). Such use is declining, but for some countries it remains common. Since the independence of Ukraine, most style guides have advised dropping the article, in part because the Ukrainian Government was concerned about a similar issue involving prepositions. Another example is Argentina, which is now more usual than 'the Argentine', which is old fashioned.
The definite article is always used for countries whose names are descriptions of the form of the state rather than being purely geographical; for example, the United States, the Soviet Union, the Czech Republic.
The U.S. Department of State  and CIA World Factbook  show the definite article with only two countries: The Bahamas and The Gambia.
Similarly, in other languages some geographic names take the article while others do not: die Schweiz, Switzerland; les Pays-Bas, the Netherlands.
According to Merriam-Webster' online dictionary, "the" is pronounced with a schwa (as in "uh") before words beginning with consonants (e.g. b, c, d, f), and usually with a different vowel sound /i/ (as "y" in "easy") before words beginning with vowels and in cases of proper nouns or emphasis.
* A and an
* Definite description
1. ^ Articles, Determiners and Quantifiers
2. ^ The Use and Non-Use of Articles
3. ^  Peter Master (1997), The English article system: Acquisition, function, and pedagogy, System, Volume 25, Issue 2, Pages 215–232
4. ^ Sidney Greenbaum, The Oxford English Grammar (Oxford University Press, 1996) ISBN 0-19-861250-8
5. ^ Dorothy Disterheft, "Advanced Grammar" (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004) ISBN 0-13-048820-8
6. ^ World English. "The 500 Most Commonly Used Words in the English Language". http://www.world-english.org/english500.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
7. ^ "the - definition". Merriam Webster Online Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/the.
8. ^ How English works, p25, Michael Swan
9. ^ Ukraine or "the Ukraine"? by Andrew Gregorovich InfoUkes.com
10. ^ the — Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
* Vietnamese learners mastering english articles
* "The Definite Article: Acknowledging 'The' in Index Entries," Glenda Browne, The Indexer, vol. 22, no. 3 April 2001, pp. 119–22.
* Low MH 2005: "The Phenomenon of the Word THE in English — discourse functions and distribution patterns" — a dissertation that surveys the use of the word 'the' in English text.
* When Do You Use Articles: A, An, The
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Categories: Parts of speech | English language