Q: What is "nationality" in Slovakia, Central Europe?
The two Slovak, and broadly Central European, concepts, commonly translated to English as citizenship and nationality, are not interchangeable. While the former one is a correct translation of (štátne) občianstvo or štátna príslušnosť, the latter one is a routine (mis)translation of národnosť, a source of confusion.
Národ, ethnic group
The disorienting word národnosť is based on národ as conceived in the 18th century, by the philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder among others, adopted by German, Slovak, Hungarian, and other activists especially during the 19th century, and current in Central Europe through the present. It refers to a set of people seen as sharing traits that differentiate them from others, with language as a central one, regardless of their citizenship, of the political borders that may split the group up among several countries.
Better conveyed by the phrase ethnic group in contemporary English, the word and concept is commonly translated as nation. But národ does not readily match a nation as it is used especially in modern American English in the sense of "a country" and "the sum total of the citizens of a country."
19th-century kingdom: Nations or ethnic groups? Slovak: národ; Croatian, Slovene, Serbian: narod; German: Nation; Hungarian: nemzet; Romanian: națiune; Rusyn: нація.
The U.S. and Central European concepts of a nation and národ developed along opposing trajectories. While Americans fought the natives and each other for a larger country, and their activists and politicians began to convince its immigrant inhabitants that they were a single nation after the Civil War, Central European activists and politicians started with their language-defined homegrown národs and eventually sought to establish a country for each of them to avoid Budapest's alienating policy toward the kingdom's non-Hungarian majority. The Pittsburgh Agreement was an important step in that direction by Slovak-Americans.
Boxes in Slovak permanent residency application:
Box for národnosť
Many Slovak bureaucratic forms, including birth certificates and school reports, have a box for štátne občianstvo (štátna príslušnosť), "citizenship," determined by the law on citizenship, and another box for národnosť, "ethnicity, ethnic identity," but commonly translated as nationality in English. The latter one is freely chosen by (the parents of) the person it applies to, remains freely changeable throughout the person's life, and has no legal consequences.
The census also collects only one such identity. When the authorities wanted to give people the option to record more than one národnosť in the late 1990s, similar to the multiple "ancestry" entries in the U.S. Census, they backed down under pressure from especially the Hungarian minority politicians in Slovakia, who saw keeping the box on národnosť in documents and allowing only one entry as a way to showcase their ethnic group as undiluted.
First and last name, date and place of birth, "nationality," citizenship, and SSN on a Slovak high-school graduation exam report card.