Here is some additional information about Slovenia, which you won't find on official tourist Websites. These websites usually start with something like this: Slovenia lies at the heart of Europe, where the Alps and the Mediterranean meet the Pannonian plains and the mysterious Karst... Of course, all of that is true, but just to be honest regarding the position and size - Slovenia lies more at the liver of Europe, and it is actually very, very small. So small that most people don't even know what it is or where it is. This is the reason why famous American designer Paula Scher (Pentagram, New York) made a logo by highlighting Slovenia's proximity to Italy.
But Italy isn't the only neighbouring country, Slovenia is also squeezed between Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. Like most European nations with that many borders, we've been repeatedly invaded throughout history, assimilated and marched across for several thousand years, leaving us with a rich cultural heritage, and a legacy of viciously tactical voting at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Despite its size, Slovenia has a lot to offer, and is stunningly beautiful. The changing landscapes are constantly surprising, again and again. You can enjoy the beauty of the Adriatic Sea, and then look in another direction and be surrounded by the high mountains of the Alps. Going further into the forests, you can see the green plains below you. This proximity of opposites and contrasts is a hallmark of this country. With so much beauty, Slovenia enrolled for Unesco site with one of the most important cave complexes in the world, the Skocjan Caves, which represent the most significant underground phenomena in the Karst region.
Some famous citizens:
Slovenia is a nation with two million people, mostly living in the capital city Ljubljana, among them are many famous world figures. Let's start with the eminent philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj iek, to put it in simple words, he uses Lacanian psychoanalysis, Hegelian philosophy and Marxist politico-economic critique to interpret social phenomena. iek is also prepared to turn his critical gaze on himself, analysing his private life and contemplating his conflicted relationship with his growing celebrity. Perhaps somewhere there is a University where he has not taught, and if you have missed that - you can frequently read his essays in the New York Times.
The next Slovenian filling the world stage is Martin Strel. He is an overweight alcoholic, part-time flamenco guitar instructor, keen eater of horseburgers and, at the same time the Guinness World Record-winning marathon swimmer. He has swum the Mississippi, the Danube, and the Paran Rivers, but the toss-up for most dangerous is between the Yangtze, the world's most polluted river, and the Amazon, which is supposedly the world's wildest. His award winning documentary Big River Man is currently playing at the movies (www.bigriverman.com). This documentary is also the winner on Sundance film festival 2009.
In addition to him, Slovenia has other serious athletes. At the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Slovenian alpine skier Tina Maze didn't just win two silver medals in super-G and Giant slalom, but was also an Olympic winner for the best helmet.
Slovenia had one more hero in Vancouver, the cross-country skier Petra Majdic won the Olympic bronze medal in the women's 1.4 km individual classic sprint while suffering from four broken ribs, and collapsed lung after a disastrous fall during her training, prior to the competition.
Slovenia is also the smallest country in the 2010 FIFA World Cup playing in Group C against England, the USA, and Algeria. By the time the iCAT2010 Conference take place, we will already know if Slovenia won the Cup.
LANGUAGE (By Victor Irving)
Slovenian is one of the most complicated languages on earth.
Take this joke from students who were struggling with the language:
- Lets order two coffee.
- All right, coffee is kava en two is dva, so dva kava?
- No, its dva kavo 4th case because its the object of the sentence: (Id like) dva kavo.
- But hey, adjective and noun should match, so shouldnt it be: dvo kavo?
- Not really, because with two its an exception: dve kavo
- All right, the dualism
- Oh yeah, two has a separate ending! Ena kava, dve kavi, tri kave.
- So it should be Dve kavi, prosim,
- Dont forget its still the 4th case.
- Same as the 1st for dual, female gender words.
- But Id like my coffee with whipped cream: z smetan.
- Thats the instrumental case. Z smetano.
- No, I think its s smetano because of the pronunciation.
- Screw this: Two beer please.
Another situation: Guys sees a girl walk by and wants to invite her for a coffee.
- He is about to say: Zdravo! Gremo na kava?
- Then he remembers: Oh wait, were going somewhere, so fourth case: gremo na kavo. No wait, with gremo shell think its for three or more persons, so: greva na kavo? Then he realises its more polite to ask if she would like to go: Bi rad da greva na kavo? But since hes talking to a girl he has to say: Bi rada da greva na kavo?
- Zdravo! Bi ra
-The girl has passed by a minute ago.
Even more interesting is the way Slovenian bends city-names. The city is called Ljubljana, but you are from Ljubljane. The a changes into an e, however, if a city-name does not end with an a you add one. For instance, I am from Amsterdama. But if you go to the city, it becomes Ljubljano. And if you say you live there, you say in Ljubljani, or in case there is no a to change into an i, you say you live in Londonu. The same with names: You are at Victorju (Victors), the belch came out of Victorja and youre crying about an impossible grammatical system with Victorjem and you know about Victorjevega macka and havent understood Victorjevega teksta.
Lets take a moment now to fully appreciate that six cases, three genders and singular, dual and plural endings lead to 54 options, and with adjectives that may differ from nouns, about 108 options. For newcomers, creating a sentence may take some time.
Most interesting, however, is that there are a few words that are the same in every case. Roza (pink) never changes, and neither does a name like Karen. Great. How about something similar for all words in Slovenian? People may still be able to understand each other; in English or Dutch coffee is coffee whether you drink it, see it, dont have it, order it or throw with it. Moreover, these days national identity is no longer dependant on a languages complexity. Slovenia is a real country, so the language can develop as all other languages: get easier. Maybe then foreigners can devote some brain capacity to what they want to say instead of how they have to say it.
Victor Irving lives in Ljubljani and is desperately trying to learn Slovensko.