David Appleyard's English Language User Guides and References
CUP free search box

Territory-Related Words, part 1

Who comes from where, speaking what, and waving which passport?
Section Contents
Introduction Destinations G–O
Destinations A–F Destinations P–Z

 

Introduction

Learning the English names of lesser-known countries or dependencies, and their corresponding citizens, nationality adjectives and languages, is no easy task. These word families tend to inflect somewhat inconsistently and are occasionally subject to change. Many of them are derived from languages with very different syllabaries to our own, and so it often occurs that more than one form gains acceptance in English, e.g. Azerbaijani and Azeri; Singhalese, Sinhalese and Sinhala; Turkmen, Turkmenian and Turkoman; or Tadjik and Tajik.

When presented with more than one name option, your ultimate choice might be influenced by all kinds of factors. To name a few examples: nationalistic sentiment (Serbian vs. Serbo-Croatian); political awareness (Burma vs. Myanmar); political correctness (a Netherlander vs. a Dutchwoman); differing British and American spelling norms (Argentinian vs. Argentinean); or perhaps even your attitude to loanwords perceived as pretentious or redundant (Côte d'Ivoire for Ivory Coast).

Where in the world do you come from?In official names, the inclusion of "Democratic Republic" or "People's Republic" or "Democratic People's Republic" is a sure sign that the regime is neither democratically elected nor particularly popular. In any bona fide democracy, people hardly need reminding of the self-evident.

Although most students of English will not have to become intimately familiar with this motley assortment of territorial vocabulary, they might still find it useful to browse through the chart below at their leisure. It has been compiled primarily as a handy reference.

Many English-learning sites list the names of countries, their native inhabitants and nationality adjectives. I've taken this one step further by including all the major languages spoken in each territory. There are something like 6,800 known languages on the planet, but barely 270 countries and dependencies. Consequently, relatively few of the language names turn out to be identical to nationality adjectives in the way one often takes for granted. The chart clearly shows just how geographically widespread English is in the world of today, be it as a first language, a second language, a lingua franca, or the language of officialdom. In other words, it's hard to overestimate the importance of learning English!


David Appleyard

 

 

Quickly find a country or territory

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z

 


Destinations A–F

Location and Profile Citizen Nationality Adjective Languages Spoken
Afghanistan an Afghani Afghan Pashto (Pushtu), Dari,
Uzbek, Turkmen, Balochi, Pashai + other Turkic and tribal languages
Albania an Albanian Albanian Albanian, Greek
Algeria an Algerian Algerian Arabic, Berber, French
American Samoa an American Samoan American Samoan Samoan, English
Andorra an Andorran Andorran Catalan (Catalonian), French, Castilian, Portuguese
Angola an Angolan Angolan Portuguese, Bantu
Anguilla an Anguillan Anguillan English
Antigua & Barbuda an Antiguan
a Barbudan
Antiguan
Barbudan
English
Argentina (the Argentine) an Argentinean
an Argentinian
Argentine
Argentinean
Argentinian
Spanish, English, Italian,
German, French
Armenia an Armenian Armenian Armenian
Aruba an Aruban Aruban Dutch, Papiamento,
English, Spanish
Australia an Australian
an Aussie [colloq.]
Australian
Aussie [colloq.]
English, Aboriginal
Austria an Austrian Austrian German
Azerbaijan an Azerbaijani
an Azeri
Azerbaijani
Azeri
Azerbaijani (Azeri), Russian, Armenian
Bahamas a Bahamian Bahamian English, Creole
Bahrain a Bahraini Bahraini Arabic, English, Persian, Urdu
Bangladesh a Bangladeshi Bangladeshi Bengali (Bangla), English
Barbados a Barbadian Barbadian English
Belarus a Belarusan
a Belarusian
a Byelorussian
Belarusan
Belarusian
Byelorussian
Belarusian (Belarusan, Byelorussian), Russian
Belgium a Belgian Belgian French, Dutch, German
Belize a Belizean
a Belizian
Belizean
Belizian
English, Spanish, Mayan, Carib, Creole
Benin a Beninese Beninese French, Fon, Yoruba
+ tribal languages
Bermuda a Bermudan
a Bermudian
Bermudan
Bermudian
English, Portuguese
Bhutan a Bhutanese Bhutanese Bhutanese (Dzongkha), Tibetan, Nepalese
Bolivia a Bolivian Bolivian Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Bosnia-Herzegovina a Bosniak
a Bosnian
Bosniak
Bosnian
Bosnian (Bosniak), Serbian, Croatian (Croat)
Botswana a Tswana
a Motswana, pl. Batswana
Botswanan English,
Tswana (Setswana)
Brazil a Brazilian Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish
+ Amerindian languages
British Virgin Islands a Virgin Islander Virgin Island English
Brunei a Bruneian Bruneian Malay, English, Chinese
Bulgaria a Bulgarian Bulgarian Bulgarian
Burkina-Faso a Burkinese Burkinese French
+ Sudanic languages
Burma (Myanmar) a Burmese Burmese Burmese
Burundi a Burundian Burundian Kirundi, French, Swahili
Cambodia a Cambodian
a Khmer
Cambodian
Khmer
Cambodian (Khmer),
French, English
Cameroon a Cameroonian Cameroonian French, English
+ tribal languages
Canada a Canadian Canadian English, French,
Eskimo (Inuit)
Cape Verde a Cape Verdean Cape Verdean Portuguese, Crioulo
Cayman Islands a Caymanian
a Cayman Islander
Caymanian English
Central African Republic a Central African Central African   French, Sangho
+ tribal languages
Chad a Chadian Chadian French, Arabic, Sara
+ more than 100 tribal languages and dialects
Chile a Chilean Chilean Spanish
China a Chinese Chinese Standard Chinese (Mandarin), Cantonese, Shanghainese, Fuzhou, Hokkien-Taiwanese, Xiang, Gan, Hakka + numerous other Chinese dialects and ethnic minority languages
Christmas Island a Christmas Islander Christmas Island English, Chinese, Malay
Cocos (Keeling) Islands a Cocos Islander Cocos Island English, Malay
Colombia a Colombian Colombian Spanish
+ indigenous languages
Comoros (Comores) a Comoran Comoran Arabic, French, Shikomoro
Congo Brazzaville
Congo Kinshasa
a Congolese Congolese French, Lingala
+ tribal languages
Cook Islands a Cook Islander Cook Island English, Maori
Costa Rica a Costa Rican Costa Rican Spanish
Croatia a Croat
a Croatian
Croat
Croatian
Croatian (Croat)
Cuba a Cuban Cuban Spanish
Cyprus a Cypriot   Cypriot   Greek, Turkish, English
Czech Republic a Czech Czech Czech
Denmark a Dane Danish Danish
Djibouti a Djiboutian Djiboutian French, Arabic, Somali, Afar
Dominica a Dominican Dominican English, French patois
Dominican Republic a Dominican Dominican Spanish
East Timor a Timorese Timorese Portuguese, Tetum
+ 15 indigenous languages
Ecuador an Ecuadoran
an Ecuadorean
an Ecuadorian
Ecuadoran
Ecuadorean
Ecuadorian
Spanish, Quechua
Egypt an Egyptian Egyptian Arabic, English, French
El Salvador a Salvadoran
a Salvadorean
a Salvadorian
Salvadoran
Salvadorean
Salvadorian
Spanish, Nahua
England an Englishman
an Englishwoman
English English
Equatorial Guinea an Equatoguinean
an Equatorial Guinean
Equatoguinean
Equatorial Guinean
Spanish, French, pidgin English, Fang, Bubi,
Igbo (Ibo)
Eritrea an Eritrean Eritrean Tigre, Arabic, Tigrinya, Kunama, English
Estonia an Estonian Estonian Estonian, Russian, Ukrainian, Finnish
Eswatini a Swazi Swazi Swazi (Siswati), English
Ethiopia an Ethiopian Ethiopian Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromigna, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic
Falkland Islands a Falkland Islander Falkland Island English
Faroe Islands a Faroese Faroese Faroese, Danish
Fiji a Fijian Fijian English, Fijian, Hindustani
Finland a Finn Finnish Finnish, Swedish,
Lappish (Sami)
France a Frenchman
a Frenchwoman
French French, Provencal,
Breton, Alsatian,
Catalan (Catalonian), Corsican, Basque, Flemish
French Guiana a French Guianese French Guianese French
French Polynesia a Polynesian Polynesian French, Tahitian

 

 

Quickly find a country or territory

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z