The vs. zero aticle

English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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The vs. zero aticle

Post by Rustamsher » Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:52 am

At school we learnt that it is correct to say either English or the English language, but it is a mistake to say just 'English language' without the.

Yet I recently happened to read an article in some learning materials about New Zealand and the author many times wrote just Maori language (without the), although a few times he did it with thethe Maori language. How is it possible? Was it a mistake of a native speaker or the rule itself has become shaky?

Here is the context:

Recently, Maori language became a core school subject. Many New Zealanders encourage this development, recognising that Maori language is an integral part of New Zealand’s culture. The Maoris probably originated from around Japan, as the pronunciation of the Maori language is very similar to Japanese, and the Japanese can often say Maori words more convincingly than the average non-Maori New Zealander.

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Re: The vs. zero aticle

Post by Alan » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:45 am

With regard to major world languages, prefixation of the article is standard. In the case you cite, however, its omission does not sound particularly strange, and may quite possibly suggest a group of closely related languages/dialects classified for convenience as a single linguistic unit.