Saturday, November 8, 2008

Czechia

From the Language Hat:
<www.languagehat.com>

When I read this post by Joel of Far Outliers, I felt a lightbulb go
off in my head:

Last weekend, I also had the opportunity to meet a scholar visiting
from the Czech Republic, who repeatedly referred to her nation as
Czechia—a most sensible formulation which I subsequently found to have
had official sanction since 1993 (along with Česko, the Czech
equivalent), but which seems to be very slow to spread among English
speakers, who perhaps still feel guilty about agreeing to carve up
Czechoslovakia in 1938 and want to compensate by resisting any attempt
to shorten the fuller form of its current name. However, feeling no
guilt on that score despite my English heritage, I henceforth resolve
to refer to that glorious center of historic dissidence as Czechia,
plain and simple. In fact, I've just added Czechia to my list of
country categories for this blog. I had already added Bohemia before,
but that does no justice to Moravia, which has, if anything, an even
greater tradition of religious dissidence.

Sure enough, the Czech Republic Country Guide says: "Czechia is the
official one-word name of the Czech Republic. In 1993 the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in its memorandum to to all
Czech embassies and diplomatic missions recommended to use the full
name 'Czech Republic' only in official documents and titles of
official institutions." I have often lamented the absence of a simple
term like "Czechia" in English, but never realized that I could be
helping to spread it and save people the trouble of constantly
repeating "the Czech Republic." I hereby join Joel in his resolve.