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Czech Country Names

An entry in the New York Times blog on the World Cup led to a page of simplistic goal animations out of the Czech Republic. So far, so good. What I found intriguing was just how idiosyncratic -- and, well, alien -- are the Czech renditions of many country names. Some are conveniently literal, such as Argentina and Angola. Some are straightforward, such as Mexiko and Portugalsko. Some are guessable, such as Anglie (England) and Švédsko (Sweden). But many are incomprehensible to an English speaker, including:

  • Chorvatsko
  • Německo
  • Nizozemsko
  • Pobřeží slonoviny
  • Srbsko a Černá Hora
  • Švýcarsko
Try guessing these, and then select the paragraph below to see the answers.

  • Chorvatsko (Croatia)
  • Německo (Germany)
  • Nizozemsko (Netherlands)
  • Pobřeží slonoviny (Côte d'Ivoire)
  • Srbsko a Černá Hora (Serbia and Montenegro)
  • Švýcarsko (Switzerland)
Now, to be fair, we do the same thing in English. Germany is Deutschland. Finland is Suomi. Japan is Nihon. It's just that I'm used to English.

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