Do Foreigners Know The Czech Republic?

Discussion in 'Culture' started by Zik, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    Well Czech very obviously wasn't dead before the national revival was it?

    And yes it is learned from the age of 3 (play school) to the age of 18/20 when you leave secondary school, you can also go on to study it in College.

    I think it is ridiculous to accuse other nations of being ignorant of the Czech Republic in particular when very few people in any country know about any small and unimportant nations like us. And we in turn know very little about each other.

    People make silly assumptions about countries they don't know anything about, just as you and many other Czech people I've met made silly assumptions about Ireland, it's perfectly natural and we shouldn't get annoyed, after all they have no reason to know anything about us.
  2. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Ctyri koruny wrote:
    I think it is ridiculous to accuse other nations of being ignorant of the Czech Republic in particular when very few people in any country know about any small and unimportant nations like us. And we in turn know very little about each other.

    People make silly assumptions about countries they don't know anything about, just as you and many other Czech people I've met made silly assumptions about Ireland, it's perfectly natural and we shouldn't get annoyed, after all they have no reason to know anything about us.

    Přesně tak! I couldn't have put it better myself!
  3. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    Never think of yourself as being unimportant.

    From a personal standpoint, the Czech Republic has given me more joy and wonder in the past four years since I first went there than I could have possibly imagined. It is a very important place to me, it changed my view of the world.
  4. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

  5. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    In my experience the average Englishman (I'm English) is the next level down in lack of Geography knowledge from Americans. Most of the people I know still say Czechoslovakia and I'm often asked how Croatia was when I return from there. Most know about Prague but I think Prague is a lot more well known than the Czech Republic.
    I think generally the only countries the average Englishman knows a little about are England, Scotland, Wales etc., USA, France, Spain and maybe Germany and Australia. They also know a little about super powers like Russia and China. When I was at school I don't remember ever learning about other countries, we only learned about how the weather and erosion works and stuff like that.
    It annoys me when Americans say stuff like - well you don't know where Idaho is, or when English people say - well you don't know where Birmingham is. You can't compare lack of knowledge about individual states or cities to lack of knowledge about entire countries. That's like a Czech expecting everyone in the world to know where in the country Brno or Slezko are.
    It's nobody's fault for not knowing stuff but admit it graciously and don't disrespect a country through ignorance just because it's less powerful or smaller or has less people etc. than your own.
  6. kibicz

    kibicz Well-Known Member

  7. Tagarela

    Tagarela Well-Known Member


    I agree with Hribecek, that it is expected that non-Unitedstatian people know a lot of United States... about Britain I guess that people know less. Probably well educated Brazilian people can say name of many states of US, but I don't expect a big knowledge about Britain, for sure, it is higher than about Czech.

    The Czechoslovakia thing is very strange. I mean, for my parents, I don't care... when they left school, it was still one... but for people of my age (about 20)... when we studied the situation of the present world in geography and history classes (not more than 8 years ago) the countries were already split. So, it seems that is something "atavic".

    But, I admit, that if I didn't have so much interest in Czech culture... I wouldn't know where is Brno, Slezko...and perhaps I would say "Czechoslovakia" ... by the way... I still don't know who is Anton Čermák. But I think I have read this name before...

    I've got an idea... we could do a little list about Czech Republic, some basic questions, and give to some people answer.

    For example:

    What is Czech Republic capital
    What are the bordering countries ...
    What language is spoken there
    Three famous Czech people
    Current Czech president/prime minister
    Famous Czech river
    Two big regions of Czech (or three..if ones consider Sleszko)
    What happened there in 1968...

    It could be nice... what do you think?

    And I hope I haven't said anything too silly about Czech Land in this post :D

    Na shledanou.:
  8. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    I can tell you now what the typical answer from an average Englishman on the street would be to those questions -
    1. Capital - 50% Prague, the rest - Zurich, Bucharest, Talinn, Riga, Bratislava, Geneva etc. or don't know.
    2. Border countries - Any from Russia, Slovakia (if they know it exists as a country), Poland, any Eastern Europe country. About 1-3% would know the answer I think.
    3. Language - Czech, Russian or maybe German or Polish.
    4. Famous people - Petr Cech, Pavel Nedved, Milan Baros. Very, very few would know any outside of football or maybe athletics or tennis - Navratilova, Lendl, zelezny.
    5. President/prime minister - Absolutely no idea, maybe 1 in 1000 would know or even less and to be honest I'm not sure anymore - Is it Klaus and Polanek? Please remind me.
    6. Maybe 3% would know the Vltava or Labe.
    7. Regions - Most would say Czech and Slovakia I reckon!
    8. They would have no idea about 1968, would probably guess at some war. Actually a small percentage would know.
    I'm not intending this to be a criticism of English people as I didn't know several of those answers until 3 or 4 years ago, just as now I couldn't answer some of those questions for most countries in the world. I'd be fine with capitals and maybe bordering countries and languages but after that I'd be as lost as the next man generally.
  9. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    I've been on this site for four years and I still couldn't answer the questions about the regions or who the current president-prime minister is.
    I know full well the average american would not know.
    Famous people, I would have missed that one too.

    How much do czechs know about U.S?
    Who was first president?
    How many nations share borders with the U.S.?
    When was the civil war fought and why?
    How many states in the union?
    What's the river that flows south that splits the nation in half?
    Name the three Great lakes.
    Three branches of government, what are they?
    Is the US a democracy or a republic?..trick question, vague, most americans would probably just guess
  10. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    I would have an educated guess at the first president and the river that splits the country, I'll let the Czechs try it though as the question is for them.
    I wouldn't know exactly when the civil war was fought, not even certain about the century, also don't know the detailed reason why, only the very vague basic reason.
    I've no idea what the 3rd branch of government is.
    Aren't there 5 great lakes? Or do 2 of them only belong to Canada or are 2 of them not considered 'great'?

    Only an American could ask questions of this difficulty about his country to foreigners and expect them to maybe know them.
  11. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Ok, I try answer that without cheating - no Google, no internet sources -only my memory (and I expect I will say some really stupid answers :)

  12. Ceit

    Ceit Well-Known Member

    Hah! I would bet anybody anything that the average American couldn't answer any of scrimshaw's questions, except maybe who the first president was. No guarantees though.

    Don't worry, we don't know either.

    Now, now hribecek. It's not simply American hubris; whenever Americans have the opportunity to associate with non-Americans, it's usually because those non-Americans are interested in the country and learning about it. When I was studying abroad I met plenty of Europeans who had plenty of knowledge about the US and were more than happy to demonstrate for the Americans - usually to throw it in our faces our awful our society was and how ignorant we were about everything, compared to them. Just knowing data isn't being intelligent anyway, it's being prepared to win a game of Trivial Pursuit. And don't get me wrong; I love Trivial Pursuit! But that's not human intelligence, that's just being a computer. It's more important to be able to extrapolate from the knowledge you have and make connections to what you learn, in my opinion.
    Full disclosure: I don't remember the name of the current Czech president. I do know the names of the head of state, head of government, the past two ex-heads of government, regional and municipal leaders in the place where I'm residing, though. Not that I could tell you much else about them... :oops:
  13. Tagarela

    Tagarela Well-Known Member


    Okay...perhaps we could change the question about the president for something like that:
    Czech Republic has: Only a president , a president and a prime minister, a king and a prime minister.

    Hum... I know about the half of the answers of USA. I don't know the exact years of the War, but I know the reasons. It is well studied in our class history - but if you asked me about some dates about Brazilian history too, perhaps I would know.

    States...42, no? The number of stars in the flag.

    As for the Czech questionaire... but would like to really try it? I mean, we could make some standard questions, and give to two or three people answer it.
    And I agree with Ceit, that knowing other countries sometimes may have this meaning...of "showing off", for sure. And also that only memorizing things about other countries may not be a big thing... but if you have some informations and think a little, you can avoid saying silly things (not that I don't say silly things...I say, but I do my efforts).
  14. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Wow, I think you did better than most americans would have, Eso.

    Who was first president?

    - George Washington? ..right

    How many nations share borders with the U.S.?

    - 2? Mexico and Canada ..right
    I'm not sure about Cuba and Guantanamo status..across the water don't count

    When was the civil war fought and why? 1861 to 1865

    - I'm bad with dates I now there was industrial North and agricultural South - The South didn't want give up slavery, because their agricultural production depended on work of slaves....excellent explanation

    How many states in the union?

    - hmm. 52? ....50

    What's the river that flows south that splits the nation in half?

    - Wild guess - Missisipi? ..right

    Name the three Great lakes. Lakes Huron, Michigan, Superior, and Eerie, and are right Hrbiček, there are 5

    - I have NO idea.

    Three branches of government, what are they? Executive...president, legislative...congress(made up of both senate and House of Representatives) and Judicial(courts)

    - Hm, I'm not sure about terminology in this one.
    Is it 1. President, 3. Kongress and 3. Senate...
    Or 1. president (executive), 2. kongress+senate and 3. courts ?

    Is the US a democracy or a republic?..trick question, vague, most americans would probably just guess

    - USA is a republic ...right, because we vote for people to represent us, speak for us, not for just a leader to do whatever he wishes. Checks and balances, the key to a stable government.
    But this is kind of debatable, some say it's a democracy. The definitions kind of overlap.

    You're knowledge of our country far outdoes most americans knowledge of yours.
  15. hribecek

    hribecek Well-Known Member

    I didn't mean that it was wrong for Scrimshaw to expect us to have a chance of answering the questions. I think most people on this site are probably very interested in the US; we all know that for example the elections there have an impact on the whole world and so does the financial crisis.
    I was just stating the fact that only Americans can actually ask questions of that difficulty and expect people to maybe know them, it's not a criticism or a comment about the American psyche, it's just true I think.
  16. kibicz

    kibicz Well-Known Member

    to late..
  17. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Čoč Fošinton, Mám to rád. :D Also General in the War of Independence(Revolutionary War) 1776 to 1881

    Civil Eso says, difference between Industrial north and agricultural south.
    The issue of allowing slavery in new states added to the union had been brewing for a decade or so. North wanted to prohibit new states from allowing slavery. Everyone knew, even south in their hearts I would think, that slavery was wrong. But the south, unlike the north, was very dependent on slave labour to work the fields. They figured if slavery was outlawed their economy would collapse. It was a way of life.
    The big issue was framed like this, States Rights, the federal government could not tell southern states what to do.
    When Abraham Lincoln, with strong anti slavery sentiments, was elected, the southern states seceded(left the union), and joined up to become the C.S.A. (Confederate States of America) Their president..Jefferson Davis
    Lincoln would not allow the union to be broken in half.
    South Carolina, first state to secede, fired guns at a federal(northern) fort in Fort Sumpter in 1861. And the die was cast. War had started.
  18. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Is that a Halloween slip, scrimshaw? :) Erie starts with only one E.

    No, it's not debatable. The USA is a representative republic. In a democracy a 50% majority can pass any law (we have a bill of rights to protect minorities and minority opinion in specific circumstances), and laws are voted on directly by the people, not by elected representatives.
  19. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    I defer to Sova....USA is a representative republic.

    Halloween's got a grip on me. :lol:
  20. Zik

    Zik Well-Known Member

    Well, I think I could answer Scrimshaw's questions, including the Great Lakes, but these questions were not difficult. And I'm interested in geography and history, I don't know a lot about chemistry or biology. I don't think it's catastrophical, but it's not enough.

    But I don't know why do we speak about Americans? I gave you an English example. People like to say Americans are not good at knowing other countries. Well, I think some western European nations know much less - and these nations live in the same continent.

    No, I think Americans know other countries quite well - on this forum, most foreign users are Americans, I have never seen some German, Austria, French, Russian etc., just few Italians and one Englishman. American tourist in Prague are usually the best - they are really interested in culture, they visit sights, try Czech cuisine. A lot of for example English tourist comes only to drink.

    Of course, as I already told, we can't judge nations from few people. There are stupid people in the Czech Republic and in the USA, as they are inteligent people in both these countries.

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