Tuesday, April 5, 2011

WGTB goes to Slovenia!

In the English-speaking world we accept that the language we speak is English. We might be American, British, Canadian, Australian, Indian, New Zealander, etc. but we all speak a language that takes its name from England. This past weekend WGTB -- by simply buying a comic book -- learnt that that there are some identical languages that actually have different names depending on their nation of use.

How did this come about you ask? Well, this past weekend WGTB visited Slovenia. Not familiar with this place? Well, you’re missing out! Slovenia is a small central European republic and true delight to visit. Cue the gratuitous tourist shots:

The above photos are from Piran, a former city within the larger Venetian Republic. This place is spectacular and situated almost directly across the water from Venice proper – hence the strikingly similar architecture. Below is Portorose, once the centre of the 'Austrian Riviera' and now a tourist hot-spot with casinos and flashy hotels.

Finally we come to Ljubljana, a midsized and thriving city with all the amenities one would expect from the capital city of a NATO, European Union and Eurozone member nation. There is a mixture of older Baroque and Vienna Secession along with Yugoslavian and modern architecture.

Which brings us to language of comic books in this land, and the interesting fact that in Slovenia it is NOT Slovenian! It's actually Serbo-Croatian, a cousin Slavic language that is (for the most part) accepted by Slovenians to be a language of greater expression and colour. Take for example, the comic of Zagor I bought. Zagor is a Western/Native American character who was created in Italy during the 1960s and is still immensely popular in the former Yugoslavian countries:

This book is actually printed in Serbo-Croatian -- nearly 20 years after the break-up of Yugoslavia. Moreover, and this goes to the point I mentioned above: Serbo-Croatian is a hybrid language but takes different names, (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian) depending on the nation where it is spoken.

Of course, this may just be because the market for Slovenian comics is too small to print Slovenian language comic books. If that's the case then I'm sorry to have misled and I hope you enjoyed the pictures! But if not, then this is just another little interesting thing about how our medium reflects a diverse and interesting world.

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