Names of people and places
Oh my God, those names. I really have to dedicate a blog to them :). Slovenians don’t have much imagination when it comes to names. Whether it is the names of people or places, it doesn’t matter. They just really aren’t creative with it. I’m going to give you some examples.
When Bine and I got to know each other and I decided to emigrate to be with him, we ended up in a small village near Begunje. He was working there as a truck driver and his boss had given us a basement room where we could stay temporarily. Of course, I didn’t know the language yet. When we were on the road, I paid attention to the nameplates of all the villages that we encountered so that I got to know the area a little bit. Often the word »Vas« appeared in the names, so I asked Bine about it. Turns out, »Vas« simply means »village«. I think that at least 25% of Slovenian villages have the word “village” in their name, haha. Near our residence, there were two consecutive villages called Srednja vas and Zadnja vas, or »Middle village« and »Last village«. Funny, right !? I still wonder today why there was no »First village«, hahaha.
Many village names also appear several times in Slovenia, such as Brezje. There are no fewer than 33! villages/places, called Brezje, making it the most common name for a town in the country. The most famous Brezje is the one where my brother-in-law lives. That is a kind of pilgrimage place, because of the beautiful church (basilica) that stands there.
But you also see villages with names like Nemška vas (German village) and Slovenska vas (Slovenian village) regularly. Also common are names with »Small« and »Large« or »High« and »Low« in the name. Examples include Mala Loka (Small Loka) and Velika Loka (Big Loka) and Spodnje Gorje (Lower Gorje) and Zgornje Gorje (Upper Gorje), two villages located behind each other, one lower and the other higher :). The word Pod, which means »under«, often stands in front of a name. Bine, for example, comes from the village of Podhom. That village is located at the bottom of a hill called Hom. The village is therefore literally called »Under Hom«. Makes sense ;).
And of course, there are also villages with very crazy names such as »Pekel« (hell) and »Nebesa« (heaven). Or Čudno selo, which literally translates to »Weird village« because »Selo« is another name for village. The craziest name I have come across so far is probably Ritoznoj, literally translated it means »Butt sweat«: D: D: D !! If you look at it that way, the Slovenians are actually very creative in coming up with names, hahaha.
But they really are not when it comes to first names. Sorry if I offended someone with this ;). Sure, with the younger generation it will be probably a bit better, but »my« generation (and the generations before that) had no imagination whatsoever in coming up with names for their children. Just as we have typically Dutch names in the Netherlands, such as Jan and Arie, here they have Janez and Jože. But these names are really very, very common! For example, in our village, of about 60 inhabitants, we have 7! men named Joze. It is sometimes quite a challenge to tell them all apart and find out which Jože someone is talking about. In addition, there are also 2 women named Jožica, the female variant of Jože. In a 2019 list of the most common names in Slovenia, Janez is in second place and Jože in eighth place. The first place is for Franc (pronounce: Frants). Other names in the top ten include Andrej, Marko and Ivan. I know a few of every one of them ;).
Women’s names almost always end with an A, with a few exceptions here and there. Marija, who is in 1st place and Mojca, in 5th place, are 2 very common women’s names. Jožica is on the aforementioned list in 11th place :).