June 16, 2010

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Slovenia is not Slovakia is not Slovenia!

Let me tell you about the differences between Slovenia and Slovakia

Not sure, if he really said that ;-)

I couldn't believe it, when I heard that during the World Cup in South Africa, the two glorious European nations of Slovenistan and Slovakistan were mixed up again! Oh yeah, I'm talking about Slovenia and Slovakia of course. It's just impossible for some people to understand that they are two separate and different European countries, even though they share some common historic roots, have a similar name, speak a similar language and have a similar flag. But it's not really that hard to distinguish them, if you just put a little effort and remember the differences. So for those, who still don't know that Slovenia and Slovakia are two different countries, let me share with you the most basic differences...

Slovenia always on the left, Slovakia always on the right

1 The flags: Forget the colors! White, blue, red... it's all the same. Just focus on the two coats of arms, because that's what makes us different. Our flags without them would look like the Russian flag anyway. Remember that Slovenia's coat of arms is "stars, Triglav mountain and sea", Slovakia's coat of arms is "double cross on a mountain". Triglav is Slovenia's highest mountain, 2864m tall and our national symbol. Triglav
(pronounced tree-glau)
means "Three headed" (see the shape).

Memorize:

✰ Slovenia's national symbol is a mountain named Triglav.
✰ Slovakia's national symbol is a double cross.

2 Location and size: Both countries are located in central Europe, Slovenia in the southern part, Slovakia in the eastern. Slovakia is more than two times bigger than Slovenia and has a more than two times bigger population than Slovenia (2 millions vs. 5.3 millions). Slovenia is located near the Adriatic sea and has a small coast, Slovakia is a landlocked country. In addition: The capital city of Slovenia is Ljubljana (pronounced Lyoob-lya-nah), the capital city of Slovakia is Bratislava (pronounced Brah-tee-slah-vah).

Memorize:

✰ Slovenia is smaller, less populated than Slovakia and has a small coast.
✰ Slovakia is bigger, more populated than Slovenia, but it doesn't have a coast.

3 At the World Cup: The Slovenian National Football team's main uniforms are green with the Triglav motif on the chest, which is found in our coat of arms. The Slovakian National Football team's main uniforms are blue with the coat of arms on the chest (which includes the double cross motif).

Memorize:

✰ Slovenia -> green -> Triglav
✰ Slovakia -> blue -> double cross

4 The football fans: Same as before, the Slovenian fan loves to wear green, paints small flags (or the coat of arms) on their body or just the Triglav motif. The Slovak fan loves to wear blue with red and white and usually draws the double cross motif on their body.

Memorize:

✰ Slovenian fans wear green, the Triglav motif is most common.
✰ Slovakian fans wear blue, the double cross motif is most common.


So is it really that hard to distinguish these two countries? One is big, one is small, one loves green, one loves blue. One worships a famous mountain, one worships the double cross. It's so simple, if you just spend 5 min to study the main differences. So are you now able to explain the main differences to someone who has no clue about Slovenia and Slovakia? If your answer is yes, then you passed my test and I congratulate you. If your answer is no, study more on the subject here and here.

Slovenia has a small, but beautiful Mediterranean coast. Slovakia is landlocked.

For those who have more than 5 min: Here are some more differences between Slovenia and Slovakia, but read only, if you have basic knowledge in linguistics and history:

5 The similar names: If you go back in history, some 2000 years ago in Europe, there was no Slovenians or Slovaks in the modern sense, but our common ancestors, the Slavs (in their language they called themselves Slověni) and only the later Slovenians and Slovaks kept in the same root "slov-" in their names. "Slov-" means "word" (Slověni were therefore the people who speak same words or language, source). Now, besides us Slovenians and the Slovaks, there are other Slavs or Slavic peoples these days like Russians, Poles, Czechs, Croats, Serbians and others... We share a common historic and linguistic origin. Our languages have many similarities, more than German and English for example. That's why it's no wonder, that the names of our countries (Slovenia and Slovakia) are mistaken a lot, since they sound alike and even share a common origin. But it gets crazier...

ENJOY SOME LANGUAGE CONFUSION! Let me see, if you can understand following:

In Slovenian language:

01 Slovenia in Slovenian: Slovenija (pronounced Slo-véh-nee-ya)
02 Slovakia in Slovenian: Slovaška (pronounced Slo-vásh-kah)
03 Slovenian woman in Slovenian: Slovenka (pronounced Slo-véhn-ka)
04 Slovenian man in Slovenian: Slovenec (pronounced Slo-véhn-ets)
05 Slovakian woman in Slovenian: Slovakinja (pronounced Slo-váh-kee-nya)
06 Slovakian man in Slovenian: Slovak (pronounced Slo-váh-k)
07 Slovenian language in Slovenian: Slovenščina (pronounced Slo-vénsh-chee-na)
08 Slovak language in Slovenian: Slovaščina (pronounced Slo-vásh-chee-na)

In Slovakian langauge:

01 Slovakia in Slovakian: Slovensko (pronounced Sló-vehn-sko)
02 Slovenia in Slovakian: Slovinsko (pronounced Sló-veen-sko)
03 Slovakian woman in Slovakian: Slovenka (pronounced Sló-vehn-ka)
04 Slovakian man in Slovakian: Slovák (pronounced Sló-vah-k)
05 Slovenian woman in Slovakian: Slovinka (pronounced Sló-veen-ka)
06 Slovenian man in Slovakian: Slovinec (pronounced Sló-veen-ets)
07 Slovakian language in Slovakian: Slovenčina (pronounced Sló-vehn-chee-na)
08 Slovenian language in Slovakian: Slovinčina (pronounced Sló-veen-chee-na)


Do you have a headache already? Hehehe... well, I know it's complicated, because it sounds really similar, but we know what we're talking about and so do the Slovaks. But actually you don't need to know all that, screw Slovenka or Slovinka (I mean figuratively), just remember that SLOVENIA is the only country in the world, that has LOVE in its name ;-)

Anyhow, the only thing that matters these days is the World Cup! While Slovenia beat Algeria few days ago, Slovakia has only drawn with New Zealand today. Objectively speaking, we currently have a better football team than Slovakia. ;-) If anyone has arguments against mine, let the debate begin. Until then...

Slovenija gre naprej!*

Links and sources: [Slovenia.info][Slovensko.com][Photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5][*Slovenia moves on]
On my blog before: Where is Slovenia? (A cute Slovenian girl explains it for you)
You can also join Facebook groups: I'm from Slovenia....bitch...NOT Slovakia

53 comments:

  1. Haha! Thank for the lesson!

    I know there are two countries with similar names "down there", but I have to admit (even though I'm embarrassed to admit that to you!!) that I mix them up. It's the name thing like you said, sometimes it's hard to remember: did that happened in SlovENia or en SlovAKia... what did that man on the news say?Easier to remember something that is different. It's like a tongue twister type thing, does that expression exist in English? We have it here anyways. "I's important to keep you tongue straight in the mouth".( expression sounds weird when you translate them!!) It simply means that it's important to give extra attention to details like if its EN or AK that goes in the middle when thing becomes similar..

    You would think who ever came up with the names could had been more creative! Up here, the languages are very similar to, but Sweden, Norway, Denmark are still easy to separate. By name at least.I've encountered a surprising high number of people who thought Norway was the capital of Sweden...

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  2. Oh wow, thanks for these extra bits of info, it's always nice to learn about other countries :)

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  3. @Carina: Oh.. You mix up Slovenia and Slovakia? So bad, you need to get spanked by your mum, hehe :P Well, I hope that my article was helpful. I'm not denying that it's a bit complicated. Some people don't know the difference between Afghanistan and Pakistan or Iceland and Ireland or Paraguay and Uruguay... And these countries are bigger and more famous than Slovenia. So I guess my article is just a small contribution to help at least few people distinguishing these two awesome countries.
    Well, the names Slov-enia and Slov-akia actually have the same root as the name for Slavs. Same as Germans (in English) can mean the German peoples like Swedish, Norwegians etc. or just the modern people from Germany.

    @Krissy: You're welcome. :)

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  4. I know they were different. Feeling super good about that :P.

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  5. @Harini: Yay, you passed the test :)

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  6. good writeup!
    to be honest, i do think of u when i saw slovakia in the WC match but i kept reminding myself that you're from slovenia not slovakia! LOL
    the flags are really almost similar but now thanks to you, i know how to differentiate btw the two :D

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  7. @Sharon: Ooooh, you did?? *Spanks Sharon's butt Haha.. I really hope that now you will finally know the difference now. When we meet one day, I will ask you what's the difference between Slovenia and Slovakia. If you fail to answer, you owe me a yummy Penang-style dinner :P

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  8. I only knew Slovenia and the nice tattoo above! :)

    Didn't know about Slovakia until now hahahhaha

    Btw, I think I'm the only one here that does not follow football. :)

    Cheers Bro

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  9. there was a awesome cute girl video on this blog as well who taught us about the difference

    she was SWEET!

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  10. @Netster: Haha.. ok, well, so my post was good for Slovakia in this case :P Ah, you don't watch? Hehe.. ok, then skip my posts :P

    @Amogh: Haha.. I need to link to that post, I forgot. Thanks for reminding me, hehe.

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  11. Sorry but who was so ignorant to say such a thing? I mean maybe it was an Italian (we are reaching such a degree of ignorance on TV), but I really hope not!

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  12. What do you say we throw those commentators off guard and have a Slovenia vs Slovakia match? :)
    You know, one thing this past weekend that me and my family were admiring was our country flag. It's so simple yet straight to the point and there's no confusion. Nobody else has a huge maple leaf or a similar looking leaf in the middle of their flag. It's because as we were driving we noticed so many European country flags (on other cars) looking so similar.
    But I like your little lesson - I'll just remember Slovenia with the three mountains, green, and small place near water :)
    By the way, your English is very good! Is English your second language? Is English studied as a second language in school in Slovenia?

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  13. i liked the pictures comparing the football fans myself...Slovenia looks far more attractive! ;)

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  14. OMG!! It's like u read my mind babes. Was just wondering bout this yesterday and thot i should check with you...thanks for clearing that up :)

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  15. @Daisy: Haha.. no, it were South African journalists. Usually Italians know about Slovenia, haha. Well, the ones in north east at least.

    @Karen: Yep, Canada is famous and your flag is unique. Ours is not, but what to do... 20 years ago, during our time of independence, we had to pick symbols fast, maybe we were too fast. But now it is what it is and we're pretty used to it, only the foreigner need to get used to it, too :) If we attend more sporting events like the World cup, the better. Regarding English: I speak two foreign languages fluently, German and English. I taught myself through TV since I was a young boy in the 80s. And later in school I also learned English and even studied German at the university. Many young people in Slovenia speak English, because we're cool like that ;)

    @adamantixx: Your have the eyes of an eagle ;)

    @Saby: Hehe.. glad you now know that Slovenia and Slovakia are two different countries :)

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  16. Thanks for the info Nino! I have to confessed, I do think that they are the same....opps! But now i know! :)

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  17. Oh that's really interesting!
    That's terrific that you speak two languages fluently. And the fact that you started to learn English by watching television is very good. I only speak one language fluently. Linguistics have always been a weakness of mine :( I didn't do that well in my English courses (the marking system is so subjective) so I totally avoided any linguistics in University.

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  18. I did know the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia, but the added information is very interesting!

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  19. @Crystal: Haha.. at least you know now :)

    @Karen: Well, but I like the way you speak, I think it's easy to understand you, you speak very clearly, you should do more vlogs :)

    @Becks: Good, happy to hear that :)

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  20. Great article. I use the following to identify the flags: the "n" in Slovenia reminds me of the mountain you call Triglav. The "k" of Slovakia reminds me of the angularity of the double cross.

    In any event, thanks so much for your post. I liked it so much I wrote a little blog myself about your site, linking to you. Hope you don't mind.

    Keep up the blogging. You're a good writer with a healthy world perspective. The world needs more of your kind.

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  21. @William: Thanks for linking to my blog and the nice things you wrote :) Good luck to USA at the World cup... but not today, next time against Algeria :)

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  22. Bananaz is a very slow learner learning slov surely and slowly will know the difference. You explained them so superbly and will add in my Chinese version of "山shān" for mountain which is also three headed Triglav. To recap would be sipping tea on top of green *山shān* gazing at 3 stars enjoying the sea breeze and feeling the LOVE in sLOVEnia tQ.

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  23. @Bananaz: That's a smart way to learn our national symbol, 山 really does resemble our highest mountain. Good job :)

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  24. Hi,
    Greetings from Indonesia!
    Thank you for such a great explanation about ur country! ^.^
    The first time I realized that Slovenia is different from Slovakia was when I read Veronika decides to die (Paulo Coelho), but what you write gives a simple way to differ the both countries..
    Am watching the match between Slovenia and USA.... and Slovenia is the one..hhehehehe
    So far its 2:0 for Slovenia, yay!

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  25. @MyNameIsD: Hello Indonesia :) Happy to hear, if people find my posts useful. I just wanna provide good info, that's all. And I hope that both Slovenia and Slovakia will be well known on their own merits :)

    Yay, 2:0 for Slovenia at this moment. We need to play well and keep the lead :)

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  26. Its 2:1 now for Slovenia now...arrgggghhhh :(

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  27. Well...it's 2:2...^.^

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  28. US:Slovenia. So the better team won?

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  29. @MyNameIsD: Yep, what to do, it was a great game, though.

    @William: It was 2:2, nobody won. I think the result is fair, both played great, the game was one of the best at the WC so far :)

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  30. calm down bro... i sure can differentiate...

    love that slovenia flag :P

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  31. @zewt: I'm perfectly calm :P

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  32. The explanation is very plain.
    It is a small country, but soccer is very strong.
    In any kind of country, it has what excel in.

    Thank you.

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  33. Well, you really deserved to go to the Round 16 of the WC.

    Oh, well, this time Slovakia was luckier. Too bad.

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  34. @Anonymous: Thank you. And I wish Slovakia all the best.

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  35. Hiya

    Nice blog, came across it by chance.
    I've got a little, quite embarrassing, fact to add to this. I know it would be a late response but still, it's worth mentioning.

    Some time before the World Cup Slovenia was pitted against Belgium in a friendly match. I attended (go Dragons) and was shocked to hear the *Gasp* Slovak national anthem being played instead of the Slovenian.

    The confusion seems global though and, in hindsight, I'm not all that surprised that it got mixed up but still. It's psychological warfare I tell you.. :-)

    Another thing: Whenever I tell people that I'm going to Slovenia for my holiday they make this weird face and ask why I would go to such a far and cold place.

    It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

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  36. @Wes: Yeah, the confusion is big.. same as Uruguay and Paraguay (who really knows the difference?) or Taiwan and Thailand... We just need a longer history as a sovereign state and possibly win the Worldcup.. then we may.. no, I don't think so, haha.. it's just tragic, but it can also be seen as funny. Actually Slovaks share the same problem. Maybe we should become one country: Slovakenia :P

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  37. Well, I suppose it's a good thing there are people like you around who can 'educate' a part of the world's population :-)

    Slovakenia? Hmm, I'm afraid it would just cause more confusion. Quite the idea though.
    Winning the World Cup? Let us first try to qualify for the European Championship. Next up: Italy!

    As far as confusion goes, yeah there are a lot more, beautiful countries out there that people mix up or don't even know about. It's not all that bad, but having to explain 'where' and 'what' most of the time can become annoying.

    Anyhow, like I said before: Nice blog, I think I'll follow it some more.

    In the meantime, I wish you the best of luck.

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  38. @Wes: I knew this topic will be googled a lot, so I wrote this post. At least those who are seriously interested, will be "educated", but most people may still not know, where Slovenia is. For me, that's actually good. Whenever I travel around the world, I have to explain to locals about my country and of course I only mention the good things ;) If I was American, almost everywhere around the world people have fix ideas (stereotypes) about them and I think it's much harder to proof that you're not as bad as they think than just explain that you're from a small beautiful country in central Europe.

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  39. After reading your story about Slovenia and Slovakia, I don't understand one thing: Your blog is called My Kafkaesque Life. Kafka is a German speaking Czech citizen, from former Czechoslovakia. To my knowlegde he has nothing to do with Slovenia. Why is your blog called Kafkaesque? (This is a serious question).
    By the way, your blog is really good and funny. I like it very much.
    Greetz, Frank.

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  40. @F Hill: Because I have Czech and Jewish roots. I was living in Prague for 7 years in the same neighborhood as Kafka.

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  41. I would think that also non Czech people or German people use, and should be able to use, the term "kafkaesque"?

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  42. @Karoline: It's a word, that has nothing to do with nationality. It relates to themes in literature, themes and the writing style, that was unique to Kafka. That's a universal good, exceeding the limitations of a state.

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  43. @ F Hill: For most of Kafka's life, both the Czech Republic and Slovenia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Besides, literary references transcend national boundaries.

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  44. Which was my point ;)

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  45. I was wondering how far Slovenia made it compare to Slovakia in the World cup...
    I am sure you made point with making a difference but I feel from this blog that you put Slovakia a bit down because of stupid arguments ... (Slovenia has beautiful coast, Slovakia doesn't) ... (Slovenia beat Algeria ... and Slovakia has ONLY drawn with New Zealand today) ...
    I am sure both countries have many things to offer as well as any team who made it to World Cup must be appreciated (first time for Slovakia to experience the World Cup)...

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  46. @Martin: This post wasn't meant too be too serious, you do get the light tone of it, don't you?

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  47. Well, actualy it's not strange for non Europeans (and even Europeans) to mix those two countries. Suprise, suprise they have almoast the same name (in English: Slovenia, Slovakia), but in their native language both nations call themself Slovenci/Slovninci or if we read the official state names of Slovenia (Republika Slovenija) and Slovakia (Slovenská republika). Their names are almoast THE SAME! If we also include the name Slavonia (today a region of Croatia) we confuse our minds even more ;)

    Why is that so? Why are all three names practicaly identical?

    Becouse of the same history! In the past all thee were inhabited by a native Europe's population which called themself SLOVENI (latin: Sclaveni, Sclavini, Sclavi, Sclabeni, Sclabenoi, etc) and populated the wast territories of central Europe but were never united in single state (only perhaps in Samo's kingdom, 623-658 AD). In year 900 or so Huns from the east and Bavarians from the west made a wedge into this big nation (raided their land and then settled down). This was a long process lasting many centuries, not a short event. From that time on they went different ways in history, belonging to many bigger states and finaly to this date when we have only the leftovers of the leftovers belonging to once a big native population of Sloveni (today reffered as territorial names: Slovenia/Slovakia/Slavonia).

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  48. I always tell them apart because Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia and part of the word CzechoSLOVAKIA, and therefore Slovenia is the country that used to be part of Yugoslavia. Problem solved. It's really not that difficult.

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  49. Hi! from Slovenia :) .. nice description ;)

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  50. Hellow. I'm Slovenian and when I saw that explanation of difference between our country and Slovakia, I'm impressed. Well done! It all seems logical to me, obviously! :P
    Great job, MKL! :D

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  51. Amazing Olympic hockey game today -- Slovenia, who has seven ice rinks, beat Slovakia today, who has 12 NHL players on the team.

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  52. Hello! I'm from Slovakia! :P I don't think, that Slovenia's better, 'cause better tha us's Czech republic. xD

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