dihydrogen monoxide

Senior Member
Slovene, Serbo-Croat
I'm a bit confused about adjectives Slovenian and Slovene. I've heard different things about it. First they said Slovenian is American English form and that Slovene is British English form. Then they said that you are Slovene (nationality,inhabitant) but you drink Slovenian wine. Slovene refers to nationality but Slovenian refers to things coming from Slovenia. I know that before that only Slovene existed in English. I was told that they found out that the word had similarity with the English word slovenly and that they invented Slovenian.
Slovene people tend to refer to themselves in English as Slovenian because the Slovene is similar to the word slovenly. These so called explanations and theories were given to me by my teachers. I know they are all synonyms but noone seems to know when to use one and some even say that there is a difference in usage as mentioned above.
I would like to know what are your thoughts on the adjective, which would you use, if you've heard about any of those stories before or if you have other, share. I'd like to know if they are really synonymous and can I use them in every context imaginable.
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I personally prefer Slovenian in all contexts, meanings, etc. Slovene has (I'm not sure why) a slightly old-fashioned feel to it.


    Senior Member
    American English
    In my part of the US, there are quite a few Slovenians (and that is what they call themselves). Locally, we have a Slovenian Club, a Slovenian Society, an annual Slovenian fair where people eat Slovenian food, etc. So, to me, Slovene sounds strangely wrong (but that's just due to habituation, I'm sure)!


    Senior Member
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    As Ned Flanders would say, that's a dilly of a pickle.

    I've heard and read a number of vastly different theories and conflicting recommendations from credible people:

    * If you're using British English, choose "Slovene". If you're using American English, go with "Slovenian".

    * If you're referring to the country of Slovenia, use "Slovenian". If you're referring to Slovenians/Slovenes as an ethnicity, go with "Slovene".

    * Use "Slovene" as a noun ("There are two million Slovenes"), and "Slovenian" as an adjective.

    * Don't use "Slovene" at all because it's just an archaic and excessively formal borrowing from French.

    * Don't use "Slovenian" at all because it was invented in the US by people who didn't know better.

    * Use "Slovenian" for the language, but "Slovene" for all other contexts.

    * Always use "Slovenian" because it follows the pattern used for most other countries ending in -ia (Australia --> Australian).

    * "Slovene" has a negative connotation because it's so similar to the word "sloven" (meaning "habitually careless").

    * Use "Slovene" because the British edition of the OED lists it first.

    * Use "Slovenian" because the other editions of the OED list it first.

    * Let's just call the whole thing off and adopt "Slovenic" instead (suggested by a Wikipedia editor during a debate on this subject).

    And so on.

    In other words, you can use either one. If you're writing for a publication, check what its house style is. I'd go with "Slovenian" when addressing wide audiences; it's just more common than "Slovene" these days, probably even in the UK.

    In either case, try to be consistent. For instance, if you're writing a research paper about Slovenia, pick either "Slovene" or "Slovenian" and stick with it throughout the paper.
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >