Have you ever thought about which word in your language is the most beautiful? I'm sure you have. If not, I invite you to try.
I find thinking about nice words amusing, and also somewhat romantic. We are all a bit infatuated with our mother tongue, wouldn't you say? Some words sound nice, others look pretty when written.
I like several of them but, for me, the most beautiful one is "popek" (belly button). Because it sounds nice; because it means life and connectedness.
And also because I find it very Slovenian. Some experts may not share my opinion, as it might also sound Czech, Polish or Slovakian to them. Well, to me it is beautiful, the most beautiful in my language. My female co-workers love the words "čokolada" (chocolate), "metulj" (butterfly), "cof" (tassel).
Refugee, European champions, bee
Slovenians seem to contemplate the most beautiful word a lot, since this is already the fourth year that we're choosing one. Anyone can participate. In 2016 we chose the most beautiful Slovenian word for the first time. That year's winner was "refugee". I don't find it particularly nice, but Slovenians apparently like it. I prefer the word "bee", the winner of 2018.
In 2017 the winner was a phrase, "European champions", which isn't surprising: our basketball players won the championship on 17 September 2017, and in doing so achieved a historic success.
Sure, Slovenians are a sporting nation, proud of their athletes, so the choice doesn't surprise me. Our Austrian neighbours choose their most beautiful word each year as well. This year, they opted for "Ibiza". No wonder, in this cold I also tend to think about words related to summer: sun, sea, beach, palm trees…
- In 2016 the word 'begunec' (refugee) was chosen for most beautiful slovenian word. Photo: Juanmonino-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto
- Slovenian basketbal team won the European championship which can be related with the choice in 2017 when the winning phase was 'evropski prvaki' (European champions). Photo: KZS
- The word 'čebela' (bee) was the winner of 2018. Photo: STA
Ten finalists this year
What about this year? An expert panel, consisting of representatives of the ZRC SAZU (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts), Delo newspaper and MMC web portal, reviewed 300 proposals for the most beautiful Slovenian word (phrase) and selected ten finalists:"brezogljični" (carbon-free), "milenijec" (millennial), "nebralec" (non-reader), "novinec" (rookie), "podnebje" (climate), "prisilka" (forced settlement), "skiro" (scooter), "šarcizem" (šarecism), "trgovinska vojna" (trade war) and "volk" (wolf).
Well… I like two of them: "non-reader" and "scooter". And which one is the winner? "Climate". I like it. Do you?
- Postojna cave and its diverse fauna. The fascinating subterranean paradise shaped by tiny droplets over millions of years. Photo: Iztok Medja
- Slovenians are becoming more environmentally conscious and are using alternative sources of electricity production. Photo: Mischa Keijser-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto
- The winning word in 2019 is 'podnebje' (climate). Photo: Borchee-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto
They probably all look strange and sound funny to you. Can you even understand them? Even translated into your language? Do you like them? Amusing, isn't it? "Laughter" is also a nice word.
Playing with words is interesting. In the company of friends, no two people would agree on the most beautiful word. People are different, and that is how it should be; otherwise life would be much too boring. "Diversity" is nice as well; written; just a suggestion for next year.
Date: 6. February 2020
Time to read: 1 min