a greater affinity with Europe to the west

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SuprunP

Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
The protests have been strongest in the Kiev area and western Ukraine, where there is a greater affinity with Europe to the west, rather than in the Russian-speaking east and south. But there have been protests in eastern Ukraine too.
(BBC News;Why is Ukraine in turmoil?)

Would you be so kind as to tell me what role the part in bold plays in the sentence? How would the meaning change if it were left out?

Thanks.
 
  • srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The only thing that I can imagine might confuse you is that it might seem to read that Europe has a greater affinity to the west. It just says that Ukraine has a greater affinity to the part of Europe to its west rather than to its east. If that isn't it, please say what bothers you.
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It serves to emphasise the geographical divisions in Ukraine. Those in the western part of the country tend to look towards the West (principally the EU, hence "Europe") for future relationships while those in the eastern part tend to look towards Russia.
     

    SuprunP

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian & Russian
    Thank you srk and Andygc!

    What confuses me a bit is that 'western Ukraine, where' in 'The protests have been strongest in the Kiev area and western Ukraine, where there is a greater affinity with Europe' seems to be already indicating where an affinity with Europe is greater.

    Thanks.
     

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "Where there is a greater affinity with Europe to the west" is set off with a comma, indicating it is a non-essential clause. It can be omitted without changing the news. The clause serves to suggest why the protests have been strongest in Kiev and western Ukraine.

    It seems that I still don't understand.

    Edit: Rereading your post #4, I think I do understand, and the problem is that you have read this clause as an essential clause. It is not. It does not define where the protests are strongest. It is almost parenthetical and says why the protests were strongest there. That's the role of the comma in setting off that clause: to warn you that what is coming is something else the writer wants to tell you and that you might like to know, but inessential.

    I like to work in my office where there is air conditioning. the area of the office that is air-conditioned, not other parts of the office.
    I like to work in my office, where there is air conditioning. I like to work anywhere in my office and, by the way, the appeal is that the whole office is air-conditioned.
     
    Last edited:

    SuprunP

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian & Russian
    Thank you srk!

    I like to work in my office, where there is air conditioning.

    I'd assume that 'where' here refers to 'my office'. Following this logic, 'where' in 'where there is a greater affinity with Europe to the west' should refer to 'the Kiev area and western Ukraine', hence I find it slightly difficult to understand why 'to the west' had to be added.

    Thanks.

    I should admit I am being rather obtuse today.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "To the west" isn't really necessary if you know that Europe is west of Ukraine. It simply points out, for the reader who isn't map-oriented, that the people of western Ukraine probably feel (emotionally) closer to Europe because they're geographically closer.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The "to the west" describes the position of 'Europe' in relation to [the whole of] Ukraine, Suprun.

    The idea is that western Ukraine has more affinity than eastern and southern Ukraine with the countries which are Ukraine's neighbours to the west.

    Does that help?:)

    (cross-posted with Parla)
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The meaning is not obvious at first. The passage is from a BBC background Q&A page, and the style has suffered a little from the effort to pack in the maximum of information with the minimum of syntax.

    The phrase 'with Europe to the west' is short for 'with Europe, which lies to the west'. This is a useful reminder for people who think Ukraine may be somewhere off the coast of Scotland.
     
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