https://www.duolingo.com/kitbogan

Use of the word “Czechia”?

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Ahoj všechny—I was writing a skit about getting lost on the way to the Czech Republic, and for variety I referred to it a few times as Czechia. A Czech native reviewed the skit and liked it, but she warned against saying “Czechia” because it is “old and offensive.” Is this feeling widespread? I thought it was made official by the government recently, but I have no cultural awareness here. Thanks.

8 months ago

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/liamstudies
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8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/widle
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I wouldn't call it "old and offensive", it's just something people are not used to. It's true that short versions are always disputed and often disliked by people, I don't use "Czechia" myself, on the other hand I think having a short name is useful and people get used to it in a few years.

Why old? Yes, it's inspired by an old name that hasn't been much in use recently, until they resurrected it.

Why some people might find it offensive? It might sound to them like it only refers to Bohemia, the Western (and largest) part of the country, while Moravia and Silesia are brushed aside. But we don't have a better name that would specifically include all of them. The full name, Czech Republic, is not disputed, although the word root is the same.

Some time ago (OK, maybe a decade or two) the same dispute took place for a short name to be used in the Czech language. Media started using "Česko" and the same arguments arose, people called the word ugly, because they weren't used to it (although it uses the same model as other country names), and of course people argued that it doesn't refer to the whole country. These days, the word is in use and nobody looks at it twice (OK, some people might still grumble, but I don't hear them).

So my guess is that it's only a question of time and the same will happen to Czechia.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/svrsheque

thanks for your thoughtful reply. we should probably add "republika" in the next version so the long/short name distinction can be appreciated. the course does accept "the Czech Republic" as a translation of "Česko".

this issue will surely remain a living proof that není na světě člověk ten, aby se zachoval lidem všem.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/case02
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widle, How are you learning Finnish?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/widle
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By combining many resources. Slow Finnish (a course here in Duolingo discussions) with the help of Memrise/Anki, Clozemaster, reading simple news, trying out lots of other resources.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MariaDiPraga

Ahoj, thank You for Your question. As a native Czech speaker I prefer to use Czech Republic. The name Czechia reminds me the old names: Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia. These words have for me a rich cultural and historical context. But I feel that our identity refers to the word Republic as to a democratic modern state form. The name Czechia is expressing just a part of our national roots.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Picazen
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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The Somali Democratic Republic.... Having the word 'republic' in the title doesn't make a country a modern democratic state, it simply means the leader is not a monarch, and as you can see, even having the word 'democratic' usually doesn't help. Československá socialistická republika was also a republic of course! ^_^

I'm a big fan of the change, use it all the time, and think with time it will simply catch on. I actually know a few Czechs who were using it even before it became official. How many French people say they come from the French Republic, Indians from the Republic of India, or Greeks from the Hellenic Republic?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VladaFu
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I kind of like it actually. I think it is logical and the poetic name Čechie has been used for ages. Both Czechia and Česko are completely fine for me. But I am a Bohemian (Čech jak poleno), perhaps people from Moravia or Silesia view it differently or some even take it offensively...

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tom_V.
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Ač jsem Morávak jako poleno, tak s "Czechia" ani "Česko" problém nemám. Jen s některými "Čecháčky". :-)

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/InPxgX6K

perhaps people from Moravia or Silesia view it differently

Yup!

In very informal writing it is “CZ” all the way. In speaking most of the time we just say “the country”. I still have to hear someone say “Czechia” (in English, it is however the usual form in French, German, Italian and a bunch of other languages).

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kacenka9
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I completely hate it. As well as Česko mentioned by Widle.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
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lol I thought it was the opposite: that Czechs are encouraging everyone to use Czechia now

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/3nnROO4R

As a native Czech, I can tell you that people here don't really like the name, because the government made it official out of nowhere, noone used it before. I don't think it's old, it just seems really unnatural. Google Maps for example use "Czechia" though, so it's likely that more and more people will start to use it aswell, especially foreigners. Since you're not Czech, noone will probably be offended by you saying Czechia.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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I also thought the Czech government were pushing for 'Czechia' to supersede 'the Czech Republic' as the common word for their country in English (by analogy with 'Slovakia'), which would be a very strange thing to do if it were offensive to Czechs!

However, I must say that I've never, ever heard a native English speaker naturally use this word rather than 'Czech republic', so its ubiquitous presence as the default English name for the country in the course certainly doesn't follow Duolingo norms of calling things by their most common English names.
DL should by all means reflect real changes in usage, but only once they already very common and widespread, neither of which criteria 'Czechia' currently satisfies (have a look at this Google ngram).

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VladaFu
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Google ngrams only searches books. That is not a very relevant corpus here. You should use a corpus that includes newspapers and magazines. And also a corpus of spoken communication and informal written communication.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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That is true; a normal Google search (which includes all the things you mention other than spoken communication) produces 417,000,000 results for "Czech Republic" and only 14,600,000 results for "Czechia"—'Czech Republic' still appears to see more use by at least an order of magnitude, and I have still never heard a native English speaker naturally refer to 'Czechia'.
I've nothing for or against the word; I merely observe that it is not a very common term for the country in English, and I dare say that there are an awful lot of English-speakers who have never heard of it at all.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VladaFu
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The numbers reported by the normal Google search are completely unreliable and hence useless. They are estimates and can easily be off by orders of magnitude.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BoneheadBass
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I'm an American living in Prague, and I really don't like Czechia. I cringe every time I read or hear it -- and generally put it in quotes if I do use it.

I can understand that it can be cumbersome to have a country name as long as The Czech Republic. But, to me, the Czech Republic sounds like a real country, while Czechia just sounds like a made-up name attached to a real country for the convenience of outsiders.

I do like Česko, which is not only short but also has a friendly ring to it. Czechia just sounds... FAKE. :-)

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaanBanaan18
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Czech Republic might be longer, it rolls better off the tongue and it sounds more inclusive to Moravians and Silesian too for some reason. Czechia to me is like calling the Netherlands Holland, which can be done informally, but to make it official would be quite blunt.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/endless_sleeper
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The Czech Republic ^

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaffyDuck978329

Czechia sounds like the Dutch Tsjechië, but the Czech ice hockey team just stuck to Czech Republic so discussion closed? :)

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Picazen
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I'm not quite sure how "the Czech Republic" can phonetically roll of the tongue better than Czechia, or how having the words 'the' and 'Republic' make it more inclusive of Moravians and Silesians than the '-ia' suffix : And in English, the "Čechy" region is Bohemia, so I don't think Netherlands/Holland comparison is exactly apt either

1 week ago
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