Countries, nationalities and languages

Using ‘the’

Most names of countries are used without ‘the’, but some countries and other names have ‘the’ before them, e.g. The USA, The United Kingdom / UK, The Commonwealth.

Some countries may be referred to with or without ‘the’ (the) Lebanon, (the) Gambia, (the) Ukraine, (the) Sudan.

Adjectives referring to countries and languages

With-ish: British Irish Flemish Danish Turkish
Spanish With -(i)an: Canadian Brazilian American Russian Australian
With -ese: Japanese Chinese Guyanese Burmese Maltese Taiwanese
With -i: Israeli Iraqi Kuwaiti Pakistani Yemeni Bangladeshi
With -ic: Icelandic Arabic

Some, adjectives are worth learning separately e.g. Swiss, Thai, Greek, Dutch, Cypriot.

Nationalities

Some nationalities have nouns for referring to people, e.g. a Finn, a Swede, a Turk, a Spaniard, a Dane, a Briton, an Arab. For most nationalities we can use the adjective as a noun, e.g. a German, an Italian, a Belgian, a Catalan, a Greek, an African. Some need woman/man/person added to them (you can’t say ‘a Dutch’), so if in doubt, use them, e.g. a Dutch man, a French woman, an Irish person, an Icelandic man.

World regions

Peoples and races

People belong to ethnic groups and regional groups such as Afro-Caribbeans, Asians and Orientals and Latin Americans. What are you? (e.g. North African, Southern African, European, Melanesian)

They speak dialects as well as languages. Everyone has a|mother tongue or first language; many have second and third languages. Some people are perfect in more than one language and are bilingual or multilingual.

name: Wanija Krishnamurthan second/third languages: English, Malay

nationality: Malaysian type or dialect of English: Malaysian

mother tongue: Tamil (S. India) ethnic group: Asian (Tamil Indian)