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What do you call a person from Slovakia? This article will provide the definitive answer to this often made a mistake.
A person from Slovakia who is ethnically Slovak is a Slovak. Anyone else, ethically Slovaks included, who has citizenship of Slovakia is a Slovakian. Both words are grammatically correct, but most people prefer the term, Slovak.
Continue reading this article to learn and see a more in-depth explanation of the differences and uses of Slovak and Slovakian. And also why a lot of people prefer the word Slovak.
If you want to buy Slovak gifts or useful Slovak products, you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
Is Slovak or Slovakian Correct?
We must examine what each term represents to find the correct answer to which word we should use. The official name of the governmental entity is Slovak Republic.
So it seems like a pretty straightforward answer to calling people Slovak. This, however, is not as easy as it looks. The shorthand name for our country is Slovakia.
And the region is made up of Slovak people. So a Slovakian is someone who lives in Slovakia – the Slovak Republic, meaning a citizen of the Slovak republic. Slovakians can also refer to anything related to the Slovak Republic, Slovakia, and Slovaks, such as foods, traditions, customs, etc.
Most dictionaries and official sources cite that Slovak and Slovakian are the correct terms for anything related to the Slovak Republic and its people. Slovak is used more widely than Slovakian by the locals. Slovakian is a term that most foreigners use.
To make this a bit clearer, take a look at this example. You would not call a person from the Czech Republic a Czechian, even though the shortened version is Czechia.
You call them Czech, same as here; we are Slovak, not Slovakian, even though it is grammatically correct either way. It will not be an issue for you with a bit of practice.
Difference between Slovak and Slovakian
If you are looking for differences between Slovak and Slovakian words, you might not find many, apart from the spelling.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, both Slovak and Slovakian are used concerning Slovakia and its people. Although Slovak is more widely used, it represents the ethnically native Slovak people with Slovak citizenship.
From my general observation, people like Slovak more because it is very close to the translation “Slovák” in our language. Which makes it sound more pleasing rather than Slovakian.
To help you further understand, we have a couple of examples. In the first example, you might have heard before that people from Czechia (Czech Republic) are generally called Czech and not Czechian.
In the second example, let’s say someone came to live in Slovakia from Ukraine. This means that an immigrant from Ukraine can be a Slovakian – if they get citizenship in the Slovak republic. Ethnically, however, they are Ukrainian, not Slovak.
This is why the word Slovak is more widely used and preferred when talking about a person from Slovakia. If they are an ethnic Slovak with citizenship, they are Slovak, not Slovakian.
Most Slovaks, however, will not mind which word you use too much. As long as you are not rude or disrespectful, there will be no problems. And no matter which word you use, you use the correct term.
In our language, we use the word Slovák, so Slovak is naturally closely related to our language, which I think is what makes people like it more. So you can use Slovak in most cases, and no one bats an eye.
TIP: The Slovakian flag has a pretty rich history and was changed a lot in the relatively short history of the Slovak nation. Find out more in the article below:
The Slovakian flag: The Colors, History, and Meaning
So What Do We Call a Person from Slovakia?
According to dictionaries and other sources, you can call a person from Slovakia Slovak and Slovakian. Although usually the former is preferred.
Many people might correct you if you say they are Slovakian and instead call them Slovak. However, both of these words are correct.
Therefore you can use the term Slovakian for anyone from Slovakia. And you can use Slovak for anyone from Slovakia who is a native or citizen. The difference is not huge, however, and not many people care.
TIP: Check out my list of recommended Slovak products. They are perfect as gifts, or you will use them during your visit to Slovakia (Amazon links)
- Slovakia Flag
- The book about Slovak History
- Slovak Travel Guide
- Slovakia Adventure Map (by National Geographic)
- T-shirt with Slovakia Flag
- Slovakia Shot Glass
- Legendary Horalky Biscuit (Original)
So, in conclusion, a person from Slovakia, if he is ethnically Slovak and has citizenship, is called Slovak. Anyone else who has citizenship of Slovakia is a Slovakian. These words are both grammatically correct according to many dictionaries.
If you need better help understanding the problem, imagine a person from Czechia. You would most likely call them Czech, not Czechian. So the same thing applies to Slovaks from Slovakia.
Most people prefer the word Slovak, which is very similar to the word “Slovák” in our language. However, no one will mind too much about which word you use.
TIP: Our little big country offers everyone many traditional and tasty dishes. Check out the best tips on traditional Slovak food in the article below:
Traditional Slovak Food: Tips for National Dishes by Locals