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Nationalities, Part I

In today's lesson, we are going to talk about the names of some major countries, the main languages they speak, and the adjectives used to describe somebody from that country. Usually the noun for the language spoken is the same as the adjective for somebody from that country. For instance in France, the French speak French. But there are also exceptions: In the United States, most Americans speak English. Note too that in English, unlike many other languages, even the adjectives are usually written with a capital letter!

 

Let's start off with two countries whose names have only one syllable

 

And where would I like to go? That's easy: France.

Caption 8, Parts of Speech: Question Words

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People speak French in France, and as noted above, the adjective for something from France is also "French." One of the few national adjectives in English that is not standardly written with a capital letter is in the term "french fries." This is what is called a "misnomer" or mistaken name, because so-called french fries probably came from Belgium or Netherlands! 

 

He was throwing french fries at you?

Caption 38, 7-10 Split: Short Film

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And on to the Greeks in Greece, who speak Greek: 

 

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...especially those who were considering going to Greece.

Caption 15, Job interviews: Mr. Alan Hint monologue

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"K" is a very old letter. It comes from the Greek letter "kappa."

Caption 12, The Alphabet: the Letter K

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There are a lot of countries whose languages and nationalities end in the letters -ish. Note that the adjective for somebody from Britain is "British," but they usually speak "English" in the form of "British English":

 

The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day in Britain.

Caption 38, Christmas traditions: in the UK

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We also drop the letter "r" at the end of words in British English.

Caption 29, British vs American: English Pronunciation Lesson

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And on to Spain, where the Spanish speak Spanish: 

 

I should speak in Spanish because Custo Barcelona is a Spanish designer.

Caption 13, New York Fashion Week: Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA take over

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Here I am in Southern Spain in the height of summer

Caption 2, Tara's recipes: Delicious Fruit Salad with Greek Yoghurt

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla English and find more videos that use some of the following country names, languages, and nationalities. You can also see a more complete list of countries, their people, and their languages here.

 

Country          Language          Nationality
France             French                French
Greece            Greek                  Greek
Britain              English                British
Denmark          Danish                Danish
Finland             Finnish                Finnish
Poland              Polish                  Polish
Spain                Spanish              Spanish
Sweden            Swedish              Swedish
Turkey               Turkish               Turkish

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