[World News ★★★]
(P1) The Czech Republic, possibly taking its cue from how its neighbors aren’t known as the Austrian Republic or the Slovak Republic, wants to change the name it’s known by internationally. President Milos Zeman and other officials announced this week that they plan to ask the United Nations to update the name to “Czechia” instead of the longer name it has been known by since Czechoslovakia split up in 1993, the Guardian reports. The country, which hopes to use the new name in the Olympics this summer, already uses “Czech” on export beer labels and its international hockey team’s uniforms, but because Czech is an adjective, it’s like referring to France as “French,” the BBC notes.
(P2) Other rejected names include “Czechlands” and “Bohemia,” reports the New York Times. The Go Czechia website makes the case for the new name by listing 16 myths, explaining that the name was used as early as 1634. It says that while the name “might sound strange to some people the first time they hear it,” so do names like Massachusetts and Utah. But the name has its critics, including Czech sculptor David Cerny, who complains that “Czechia is neither sexy nor rock ‘n’ roll,” and regional development minister Karla Slechtova, who warns that it might lead to people confusing the country with Chechnya. (The Spanish town “Kill Jews” has also decided to change its name.)
VOCABULARY: cue, officials, uniforms, referring, rejected, myths, critics, sculptor
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Do you think The Czech Republic should change their name? Why or why not?
- Do you like the name Czechia? Why or why not?
- Have you ever been to The Czech Republic? If yes, describe your time there. If no, do you want to go?
- Do you like the name of your country? Why or why not?
EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:
What do the following expressions or phrases mean?
- Split up (P1)
- Makes the case (P2)
- Neither sexy nor rock ‘n’ roll (P2)