Nach dem Artikel erwarten Sie Übungen zum Thema. Einfach PDF herunterladen, ausdrucken und mit Ihrem persönlichen Englischtraining starten. Viel Spaß dabei!
Ralf is an Austrian interpreter working for the EU in Brussels. He is talking to his Indian friend Anil about languages spoken in Europe and beyond:
In the dialogue, you can see that adjectives referring to languages and countries have different endings. Most country adjectives end in “-an” or “-ian” (German, Italian), “-ish” (Spanish) or “-ese” (Chinese). Some end in “-i” (Bengali) or “-ic” (Arabic), and quite a large number fall into the category “exceptions”.
The names of languages are often the same as the names of nationalities. But often, the language spoken in a country has nothing to do with the country’s name. In Argentina, for example, the people are Argentines, but speak Spanish. In Switzerland, they don’t speak Swiss, but (Swiss) German, French, Italian or Romansh.
The words used to refer to a nationality, ethnic or cultural identity often have one form that is both an adjective and a noun. This is the case with country adjectives ending in “-an” or “-ian”, but also with some others:
Sometimes, there is a special noun to refer to the people of a particular country or ethnic group that is different from the adjective. This is the case with many country adjectives ending in “-ish”, but also with some others:
A person from Finland is Finnish (adjective), or a Finn (noun). A Swedish person is a Swede, a Polish person a Pole and someone from Spain is not a Spanish, but a Spaniard. To avoid making mistakes with the noun forms of nationalities, it is safest to use the country adjective with a noun such as “person” or “people”: a Finnish person, Polish people, an Icelandic man, etc.
People from Wales or Scotland are not English, but Welsh or Scottish. We can also refer to all people from Great Britain (including the English) as British. Someone from Scotland, by the way, is “a Scot” (noun) or “Scottish/Scots” (adjective), but not “(a) Scotch”.
Arabic - [wg. Aussprache] Arabisch
Argentine - Argentinier(in)
Breton - Bretonisch
Catalan - Katalanisch
Chinese - [wg. Aussprache] Chinesisch
Icelandic - Isländisch
interpreter - Dolmetscher(in)
Luxemburgish - [wg. Aussprache] Luxemburgisch
Maltese - Maltesisch; Malteser(in)
mother tongue - Muttersprache
native language - Muttersprache; auch: (vorherrschende) Landessprache
noun - Nomen, Substantiv
Romansh - Rätoromanisch
Welsh - Walisisch