Dec 6th, 2008, 12:14 pm
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Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
| | Re: "I visited the place which is Korea."
Had to admit that I had to sleep on this one ... but here are some ideas.
First of all, there's a problem with ....is Korea. the function here is "naming" and in English we normally name using "is called" - eg not My brother is Jon but My brother is called Jon. So first of all I'd add "called" to the sentence.
Ssecondly, there's a problem with the naming function in the relative clause. Relative clauses can either add information - eg My brother, who is called John, lives in the UK.
or they can define - eg My brother who is called John lives in the UK (whereas my brother who is called Paul lives in the States).
Here we seem to have a defining clause. But then "the" doesn't work. Change it to "a" and it's fine : I visited a place which is called Korea. The oddness which remains is not grammatical but semantic - Korea is well known and it would (as you suggest) be odd to have to specify that it's a place. But imagine it was an extraterrestrial who had visited the earth and was reporting back - change the point of view and it becomes semantically possible. So it's not a grammatical problem.
In your example using "the", the problem seems to be that the relative clause neither adds information nor defines.
"the" would only work if there was a clear contrast which allowed the name to become a definition. Compare eg a "Trivial Pursuit" question like :
What was the previous name of the place which is (now) called Zimbabwe.
I think .... but it's the product of a half hour siesta after a rather large lunch. Does it make sense?