Pending an expected stamp of approval by its parliament, the Czech Republic is poised to become a country called Czechia.
The Central European nation’s full, formal name will still be the Czech Republic, but the officially shortened geographic moniker will be changed to Czechia, reports BBC News.
The new-fangled, short-form appellation is similar to many such names which already exist around the world. France’s official name is the French Republic, for example. Denmark is officially the Kingdom of Denmark. There’s also the Hellenic Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Czech Republic’s — sorry, Czechia’s — neighbor, Slovakia (the Slovak Republic).
The Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic became independent countries in 1993, four years after the Velvet Revolution eliminated Communist rule in what had been Czechoslovakia since 1919.
Prior to the name Czechoslovakia, the locale was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It has been known variously as the Duchy of Bohemia and the Kingdom of Bohemia.
The reasons for the new name are that the words Czech Republic are a bit of a mouthful and that the word Czech is an adjective — which, apparently, no human has the ability to turn into a noun.
“The Dominican Republic and the Central African Republic are the only two countries in the entire world that do not have readily available short names,” the website Go Czechia explains. “Furthermore, the history of Czech statehood is much longer than its republican political system. Czechia can be applied throughout the entire history of Czech statehood and irrespective of its actually existing political system.”
Other names considered for the Czech Republic’s casual name included “Czechlands.”
The way to pronounce Czechia is “CHEH-khiyah” or “CHEK-iyah,” notes NPR. So don’t sound like a yokel and say a “ch” sound in the middle, even though the letters “ch” are clearly right there together in the middle of the word “Czechia.”
Not everyone is happy with the new sobriquet. Critics, including the current development minister of the Czech Republic, have noted that Czechia looks and sounds too much like the word Chechnya — the Chechen Republic, an unhappy and generally miserable precinct of Russia. (RELATED: The Last Days Of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev)
The Czech Republic — err, Czechia — has several excellent exports including Pilsner Urquell beer and Victoria’s Secret supermodel Karolina Kurkova. (RELATED: Check Out These Sexy Snowbunnies)