Names of Kosovo
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The name Kosovo (as referred to in this spelling) is the most frequently used form in English when discussing the region in question. The Albanian spelling Kosova has lesser currency. An alternative spelling - Kossovo - was frequently used until the early 20th century and before that Cossovo, Italianisations of the name.
Kosovo is not given the definite article ("the Kosovo") in English. Albanian usage varies (Kosova vs. Kosovë). The question does not arise in Serbian, which has no definite article. French has the definite article, le Kosovo. In German, no article, or the masculine or neuter articles, are variously used (Kosovo, der Kosovo, das Kosovo). In Portuguese, both forms are commonly used - the form without the article was the preferred form when the region began to appear frequently in the news; nowadays, a trend has been observed both in Portugal and Brazil of using the definite masculine article "o Kosovo".
Kosovo (Serbian Cyrillic: Косово, pronounced [kosoʋo]) is the Serbian neuter possessive adjective of kos (кос) "blackbird", an ellipsis for Kosovo Polje "field of the blackbirds", the site of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo Field. The name of the field was applied to an Ottoman province created in 1864. In Greek the full name of the historical region is Kossyfopèdio meaning field (-pèdio) of the blackbirds (Kossyfi-).
The use of these spelling variants is a highly sensitive political issue for both Serbs and Albanians, who regard the use of the other side's name as being a denial of their own side's territorial rights.
Some Kosovan Albanians refer to Kosovo as Dardania, the name of the Roman province of Moesia that was formed in 284 AD which covered the territory of modern Kosovo and part of the Republic of Macedonia. The former Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova had been an enthusiastic backer of a "Dardanian" identity and its flag and presidential seal refer to this national identity. However, is recognised by all international power and the name "Kosova" remains more widely used among the Albanian population.
- "Kossovo". Volume V15, Page 916 of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica