Switzerland, Sweden, and Swaziland: the Swinglisher’s inaugural post made reference to all three of these countries – or, rather, to Zwitserland, Zweden, and Zwasiland. (You’ll have to check out the post to see why.)
Confusion between Switzerland and Sweden, the countries, is legendary. To wit:
- “I’m from Switzerland.” “Ah, so you speak Swedish?”
- “Did you hear that Sweden beat Switzerland in the world ice hockey championships?” “Wait, what, how can the same country play itself?”
- “The Swedish company Spotify is entering the New York Stock Exchange? Let’s hoist the Swiss flag!”
And so it goes. I mean, just Google “switzerland sweden confusion” and you get two and a half million results in a demi-second.
Here are some principal reasons why: both are located in Europe and have mountains and colder climates. And, of course, both begin with Sw-. Reasonable, right?
In the Swinglisher’s opinion, confusion between Switzerland and Swaziland, the countries, is not as marked as that between Switzerland and Sweden. Google backs this up, showing less than half the quantity of results for “switzerland sweden confusion.”
Although the names of this pair of countries also begin with Sw-, and sound more similar than do Switzerland and Sweden, the countries can be more easily distinguished by geographic location (Europe vs. Africa) and climate (colder vs. hot). Granted, Swaziland – like Switzerland – is mountainous, although one may doubt that Swaziland’s mountains are as well-known as Switzerland’s, despite the Swinglisher’s belief that the Lubombos look beautiful.
Personally, the only time that the Swinglisher has confused these two – Switzerland and Swaziland – is when selecting country of residence from a drop-down list. (This is not to say that the Swinglisher has ever confused the other pair.) Although the alphabetical order of the three countries in English is Swaziland, Sweden, and Switzerland, in French it is Suède, Suisse, and Swaziland, hence the slip of the cursor in selecting the latter. The Swinglisher, and others in a similar predicament, will be much aided by the alphabetical distance between eSwatini and Switzerland – although the risk of a slip of the cursor still remains between la Suède and la Suisse. (And it would be just a slip of the cursor, right?)
According to the King of Swaziland – ahem, of the Kingdom of eSwatini – the country’s previous name had caused confusion. “Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland,” he stated. Can you understand why …?
Given this name change, then, there should be no further mistaking Switzerland and Swaziland, or Switzerland and eSwatini, and thus let the next global priority be for the masses to finally recognize that the Swiss don’t speak Swedish, and the Swedish don’t speak Swiss.
And nor do the Swiss speak Swiss – although happily for the Swinglisher, the Swinglish Language abounds in this fine country. Come on, let’s lift our Ikea glasses – or our Swazi spears – in a toast to that!