With Czechia, Czech Republic Hopes Vowels Will Solve Name Puzzle
The Czechs, pushed and pulled between East and West over the centuries, have long suffered from an identity crisis.It doesn’t help that many foreigners consistently confuse their proud country, the Czech Republic, with its predecessor, Czechoslovakia, or its poorer cousin, Slovakia.
Or that, in 2013, some analysts mistakenly described the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing as hailing from the Czech Republic — confusing it with Chechnya, a restive region of Russia nearly 2,000 miles away, and alarming Czech diplomats who issued a clarification.
So Czech leaders have proposed a new name that they hope will give the birthplace of Milan Kundera, Franz Kafka and Martina Navratilova greater recognition on the global stage: Czechia (pronounced CHECK-iya).
While the new name does not necessarily resolve the potential confusion with Chechnya — it might even cause more confusion, some critics say — proponents hope Czechia rolls off the tongue in English more easily than Czech Republic.
I’m not sure the difference between Czech Republic and Czechia is great enough to really make a difference.