recently a story broke out about the Czech republic wanting to change its name and it is has been misreported by all major outlets including The Economist and BBC or Wikipedia (shocking right ?).
The Czech republic did not change its name in any way. The Czech foreign minister Zaoralek requested adding a new name to the UN list of names of member countries. The official name did not and will not change. It is still the Czech republic.
Here is to why he made such a request. Foreigners tend to call people from Czech republic “Czech” which is correct, but it is also an adjective (and adjective only) and that results in a very frustrating questions like “so you are from czech ?” which is equivalent to asking “I guess you are from English or Arabic ? In a nutshell, I assume the foreign minister and the officials in the government who frequent international meetings have had enough of being called an adjective.
Now I would like to turn to why they picked Czechia. Historically, the country is a compound of lands of the Czech crown that are Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. Logically then based on the pattern we get “Czechia”. Bohemia is the western half of the country and the other two share the rest. Bohemians are the majority of the Czech nation and that is also where the capital Prague is. People from Bohemia region colloquially call the whole country by a word that translates as Czechia (despite Wikipedia saying otherwise), ignoring the other regions. In the same way Moravians do not usually identify as Czech people, but as Moravians and ignore the rest. Unfortunately for them, Prague lies within Bohemia and majority of the government is Bohemian, so of course they will pick a term that is used in their colloquial speech and that talk of “confusion” you hear in the news are voices of people from the other two regions who, of course, don’t agree. Some people might also suggest using Bohemia, but in old French and older English that is the term for “gypsies” so it would essentially be like calling the country “gypsyland”. I guess that is why it didn’t make the cut. Some also suggested including Moravia in a joint name, but that was already done during Hitler’s occupation, so probably we don’t want to revisit that.
To close the matter, even if the new name added to UN name list sounds funky or confusing or whatever, it is at least a NOUN and it solves more problems than it brings, since it is a friendly nudge (not an official name change) to you all who, understandably, don’t know how the Czech language works or don’t understand what an adjective is.
P.S. “So you are from English ?” I mean really… how annoying is that.
Other articles you might be interested in :
The Hip Father Francis https://thinknewsblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/the-hip-father-francis/
The American problem with NATO https://thinknewsblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/the-american-problem-with-nato/