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QUESTION

I can't understand why some countries have articles for example Switzerland is a die word. Why then, are other countries (Großbritannien) for example, not have an article?

{ asked by Harvey }

ANSWER

According to Carsten Schultz' comment, there are some rules:

  1. Compound of common noun
    • Die Elfenbeinküste » Die Küste
    • Die Sowjetunion (or) Die UdSSR » Die Union
    • Die Zentralafrikanische Republik » Die Republik
    • Die Dominikanische Republik » Die Republik
    • Die Marshallinseln » Die Insel
    • Die Cookinseln » Die Insel
  2. Plural
    • Die USA (or) Die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika » Die Staaten (Plural of Staat)
    • Die Niederlande » Die Lande (Plural of niederes Land, an old German word)
    • Die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate » Die Emirate (Plural of Emirat)
  3. Article derived from long form to its short form
  4. Transfer of landmarks on country name
  5. Country name ending on -ei (Not true for Brunei, which is still neutral)
    • Die Mongolei
    • Die Tschechei
    • Die Slowakei
    • Die Türkei
  6. Without a rule

Still unclear


The list considers only short forms of country names. Most official long forms contain their polity system like Republik (129 of 196) or Königreich, and the article derives from that noun. As a result an article can differ between short and long form. For example it's "Der Kongo" (male) but "Die Demokratische Republik Kongo" (fem.)

Further reading
{ answered by nixda }
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