From Americans to Zimbabweans: How to Form Nationalities

From Americans to Zimbabweans
How to Form Nationalities

Stacy Zeiger
by Stacy Zeiger 6,552 views

One question your students are likely to answer many times throughout their lives is "Where are you from?" Another might be, "What is your nationality?" Knowing how to answer this question in English or describe the nationalities of other people they know can sometimes be tricky. Thankfully, there are a few simple rules students learn to express their nationalities with pride.

Rules for Determining Nationality

Countries that End with -IA

In countries that end with -IA, you say the nationality with -IAN at the end. For example, a person from Croatia is Croatian.  A person from bulgaria is Bulgarian.

Countries that End with -A

In countries that end with -A, like America, you either add -AN or -IAN to the end. For example, people from America are American, but people from Canada are Canadian. People from Ghana are Ghanaian, but people from Andorra are Andorran.

Countries that End with -STAN

In countries that end with -STAN, the way to pronounce the nationality can vary. In countries like Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, or Kazakhstan, you simply add an i to tne end of the name (Pakistani, Kyrgyzstani, Kazakhstani). However, in some countries, such as Afghanistan, your shorten the name, so a person from Afghanistan is Afghan.

Countries that End with -AN/-EN/-IN

Similar to countries that end with -STAN, in most countries that end with -AN/-EN/-IN, you add an i to the end to form the nationality. For example, someone from Azerbaijan is Azerbaijani. Someone from Yemen is Yemeni. However, not all countries follow this rule. For example, people from Iran are Iranian, people from Bhutan are Bhutanese, and people from Sweden are Swedish.

Countries that End with -LAND

In countries that end with -LAND, the way you form the nationality varies. A person from Iceland is Icelandic, while a person from Finland is Finnish and a person from Switerzland is Swiss. When in doubt, however, choose to end the nationality with -ISH as people from Ireland are Irish, people from Poland are Polish or just take off the ending all together, as people from Swaziland are Swazi and people from Thailand are Thai.

Countries that End with -Y

In most countries that end with -y, you form the nationality by making the final sound -an or -ian. For example, people from Hungary are Hungarian, people from Italy are Italian, and people from Paraguay are Paraguayan. However, there are some exceptions. People from Norway are Norwegian, people from Germany are German, and people from Turkey are Turkish.

Nationalities that End with -ESE

In addition to forming nationalities based on the ending of a country's name, there are a handful of countries where the nationality ends in -ese. For example, a person from China is Chinese. A person from Burma is Burmese. A person from Japan is Japanese. A person from Portugal is Portuguese.

Multinational States

In some countries, nationality is not determined by the name of the country, but rather the ethnic or cultural group a person originates from. For example, someone from Uzbekistan is only an Uzbek if he/she is a native of that group.

Practice Makes Perfect

When it comes to learning nationalities, the best way to help students is to practice. You can have students practice introducing themselves as if they are from different countries.

  • Hello, my name is _____________________. I am from _______________________. I am ____________________________.

You can also set up a game where you print out pictures of the flags or names of different countries and have students guess the nationalities of the people who are from there.

Of course, you can also just regularly drill nationalities with students if you find that learning nationalities is something you really want to focus on in your classroom. If you need help figuring out a nationality, reference our handy list below.

Country Nationality Country Nationality Country Nationality
Afghanistan Afghan Denmark Danish Lebanon Lebanese
Albania Albania Djibouti Djiboutian Lesotho Mosotho
Algeria Algerian Dominica Dominican Liberia Liberian
Andorra Andorran Ecuador Ecuadorian Libya Libyan
Angola Angolan Egypt Egyptian Liechtenstein Liechtensteiner
Antigua and Barbuda Antiguan/Barbudan El Salvador Salvadoran Lituania Lithuanian
Argentina Argentinian/Argentine Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinean Luxembourg Luxembourger
Australia Australian Eritrea Eritrean Macau Macanese
Azerbaijan Azebaijani Estonia Estonian Macedonia Macedonian
Armenia Armenian Ethiopia Ethiopian Madagascar Malagasy
The Bahamas Bahamian Fiji Fijian Malawi Malawian
Bahrain Bahraini France French Malaysia Malaysian
Bangladesh Bangladeshi Gabon Gabonese Maldives Maldivian
Barbados Barbadians Gambia Gambian Mali Malian
Belarus Belarusian Georgia Georgian Malta Maltese
Belgium Belgian Germany German Marshall Islands Marshallese
Belize Belizean Ghana Ghanaian Mauritania Mauritanian
Benin Beninese Greece Greek Mexico Mexican
Bhutan Bhutanese Grenada Grenadian Micronesia Micronesian
Bolivia Bolivian Guatemala Guatemalan Moldova Moldovan
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnian Guinea Guniean Monaco Monegasque
Botswana Motswana Guyana Guyanese Mongolia Mongolian
Brazil Brazilian Haiti Haitian Montenegro Montenegrin
Brunei Bruneian Honduras Honduran Morocco Moroccan
Bulgaria Bulgarian Hong Kong Hong Kongers Mozambique Mozambican
Burkina Faso Burkinabe Hungary Hungarian Namibia Namibian
Burma Burmese Iceland Icelandi Nepal Nepalese
Burundi Burundian India Indian Netherlands Dutch
Cambodia Cambodian Indonesia Indonesian New Zealand New Zealander
Cameroon Cameroonian Iran Iranian Nicaragua Nicaraguan
Canada Canadian Iraq Iraqi Niger Nigerien
Cabo Verde Cape Verdean/Cabo Verdean Ireland Irish Nigeria Nigerian
Centrial African Republic Central African Israel Israeli Norway Norwegian
Chad Chadian Italy Italian Oman Omani
Chile Chilean Jamaica Jamaican Pakistan Pakistani
China Chinese Japan Japanese Palau Palauan
Colombia Colombia Jordan Jordanian Panama Panamanian
Comoros Comoran Kazakhstan Kazakhstani Paraguay Paraguayan
Congo Congolese Kenya Kenyan Peru Peruvian
Costa Rica Costa Rican Kiribati I-Kiribati Philippines Filipino
Cote d'Ivoire Ivorian North or South Korea Korean Poland Polish
Croatia Croatian Kosovo Kosovar/Kosovan Portugal Portuguese
Cuba Cuban Kuwait Kuwaiti Qatar Qatari
Curacao Curacao Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz Romania Romanian
Cyprus Cyprian Laos Laotian Russia Russian
Czechia Czech Latvia Latvian Rwanda Rwandan


P.S. If you enjoyed this article, please help spread it by clicking one of those sharing buttons below. And if you are interested in more, you should follow our Facebook page where we share more about creative, non-boring ways to teach English.

Entire BusyTeacher Library
Get the Entire BusyTeacher Library:
Dramatically Improve the Way You Teach
Save hours of lesson preparation time with the Entire BusyTeacher Library. Includes the best of BusyTeacher: all 80 of our PDF e-books. That's 4,036 pages filled with thousands of practical activities and tips that you can start using today. 30-day money back guarantee.
Learn more

Popular articles like this

How to Teach Nationality Adjectives and Nationality Nouns

0 86,049 0

Silence Is Golden
20 Tips on What Not to Say in Class

0 12,498 0

Talking About Countries Of The World
Top 10 Conversation Ideas

0 84,263 0

How To Avoid Sensitive Issues When Teaching ESL

0 10,978 0

Letís Be P.C. Five Important Tips for Teaching Etiquette and Cultural Differences

0 13,531 0

Wave High and Proud
Celebrate Flag Day June 14th

0 6,644 0