23 August 2009

Slovakian Fun Facts

1. In Slovakian, they actually call their country Slovensko, and themselves Slovenes. This is intentional obfuscation, in the hopes that people will confuse their country with the much more interesting and successful nation of Slovenia.

2. Up until recent times linguists have had great difficulty in classifying the Slovakian language. Some evidence pointed to it being a regional dialect of Polish, while others claimed that it deserved status as its own language.

Recent DNA and population studies have helped to piece together the historical puzzle, and Slovak now has the special status of a creole based solely on one inherited language, Polish. The descendants of the initial brain damaged exiles to Slovakia regrammaticised the basic Polish being spoken by their elders, the result being the bizarre stepchild to Polish we hear today.

3. Spite is the national characteristic Slovaks are most well known for.

4. Since the collapse of communism in the early 90s, all infrastructure has been abandoned. Tourists can see highways, power plants, and factories in various states of neglect and decay. It is a point of honour and friendly competition among Slovakian municipalities to see who has the worst utilities.

5. The national dish of Slovakia is a McDonalds cheeseburger that has sat for 30 minutes under a heat lamp. Since the introduction of McDonalds, all previous national dishes and specialties were abandoned and forgotten.

6. The primary export of Slovakia is slaves. Men are recruited as dishwashers and women as sex workers in Western European cities. This is why you never see people in Slovakian towns.

7. Slovakia has adopted the Euro, unlike most of its recently acceded EU neighbours. The finance minister explains the choice: "Most other countries are waiting for their economies to harmonize with the rest of the Euro zone. But let's face it, we will never be ready, so best to bite the bullet and just do it now. At least we don't have to bother with a national bank or mint any more."

8. Useful Slovak phrases for the traveller:

Where is the Polish border? --> Kde je tu hranica poľský?
Where is the Czech border? --> Kde je tu hranica český?
Where is the Hungarian border? --> Kde je tu hranica maďarský?
Where is the nearest border? --> Kde je tu najbližší hranica?
How much for your son? --> Koľko za chlapec?
How much for your daughter? --> Koľko za dievčatko?
That is too much, I will give you half that. --> Aj drah, dam polovina tak.


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