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Matching Pairs: Countries and Nationalities

All about Countries and Nationalities

In this post, we are going to tell you more things about country names and their nationality words.

Nationality Word Formation

There are a lot of different endings for this kind of words. There are no rules or tips you can follow to be always right. But some endings are more common than others:

  • -és/-esa: inglés / inglesa (Inglaterra); japonés/ japonesa (Japón); portugués / portuguesa (Portugal); francés / francesa (Francia); escocés / escocesa (Escocia)
  • -ano/-ana: italiano / italiana (Italia); boliviano / boliviana (Bolivia); lituano / lituana (Lituania); coreano  / coreana (Corea); venezolano / venezolana (Venezuela)
  • ol/-ola: español / española (España); mongol / mongola (Mongolia)
  • -ense: canadiense (Canadá); costarricense (Costa Rica); londinense (Londres)
  • -ino/-ina: chino / china (China); argentino / argentina (Argentina)
  • -eno/-ena: chileno / chilena (Chile); esloveno / eslovena (Eslovenia)

Nationality Word Changes

Every nationality word can have different endings. They depend on the person or people they refer to. This changes can talk about gender or number. But we are going to talk about the nationality word construction first.

Nationality Gender in Spanish

Nationality adjectives can refer to males and females, so the word is different in both examples. These words can be masculine or feminine. That’s why I’ve written above two forms of each nationality word:

  • Leo Messi es argentino; él nació en Argentina.
  • Penélope Cruz es española; ella nació en España.

Nationality Number in Spanish

Nationalities, like any other adjective in Spanish, can refer to one person or two or more people, so they can be singular or plural:

  • Mi madre es inglesa, pero mis abuelos son alemanes.

So, most of nationality adjectives in Spanish have 4 different forms, but those that are gender-neutral only have two. Here you have some examples:

  • España > español / española /españoles / españolas
  • Francia > francés / francesa / franceses / francesas
  • Alemania > alemán / alemana / alemanes / alemanas
  • Grecia > griego / griega / griegos / griegas
  • Estados Unidos > estadounidense / estadounidenses
  • Canadá > canadiense / canadienses
  • América > americano / americana / americanos / americanas
  • Inglaterra > inglés / inglesa / ingleses / inglesas
  • China > chino / china / chinos / chinas
  • Tailandia > tailandés / tailandesa / tailandeses / tailandesas
  • Rusia > ruso / rusa / rusos / rusas
  • Japón > japonés / japonesa / japoneses / japonesas

Online Activity: Nationalities in Spanish

As yoohz, don’t forget to practice countries and nationalities vocabulary with this online activity.


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