Saturday 16 April 2016

What's in a Name?

The Czech Republic is tired of its long name and wants to be called Czechia from now on.

What a shame.

The country already has a name. A beautiful one, with all kinds of pleasant connotations and a long history.

That name is Bohemia.

The usual argument against this name is that Bohemia is but one part of the country today, the other two being Moravia and Bohemian Silesia. Yet this is a historical fact: the Bohemian Kingdom absorbed Moravia and Silesia centuries ago (although it later lost much of Silesia to Prussia). Many other countries apply the name of a core region to a wider area.

Linguistically, this choice is strange too. In Czech, there is no difference between 'Bohemian' and 'Czech', and the Czech name for Bohemia, Čechy, is often used to denote the whole country anyway. The more recently invented short name, Česko, is just as Bohemian-centric as Čechy. So putting forward Czechia as a more inclusive name for the country only works in languages other than Czech. And this is more than a little awkward.

More importantly, think of the benefits of reclaiming the country's traditional name for tourism. Bohemian holidays has a sound that  Czech holidays can't ever match.

The unofficial national anthem would be the Bohemian Rhapsody. Or the official one.

The Bohemian ice hockey team would wear jerseys that don't say 'Check ya!'.

The Bohemian Army, Bohemian foreign policy, and Bohemian diplomacy would befit the means and abilities of a small country.

And let us not forget about the Bohemian President. The current one, chain-smoking, booze loving Miloš Zeman, fits the job description perfectly.