Pedro, Hans, Fritz and Francois

In this post we review country names, language names, nationalities, etc. Students sometimes use the nationality when they mean the country, or the country when they mean the language, and so on. I’ve chosen to focus on four countries in western Europe whose vocabulary most often causes confusion.

First of all here’s a table showing available word forms.

Name Country Language, Nationality Person (Nationalism)
Pedro Spain Spanish Spanish man Spaniard
Hans Holland, The Netherlands Dutch Dutch man Dutchman
Fritz Germany German German man German
Francois France French French man Frenchman
Others Britain British/ English English man Englishman, Briton, Brit (inf)

I wasn’t sure what to call the right hand column (Nationalism). Nationalism words also have limited use. If you’re French and you’re in a situation where nobody else is French, then you might be referred to as ‘the Frenchman’. If the Spanish navy attacks the British navy, then the British might refer to the Spanish as ‘the Spaniards’. Often these words have a negative connotation, and my advice would be to avoid ‘Nationalism’ words altogether in your writing and speaking!

OK so bearing this in mind, read through the text below and fill in the gaps with appropriate word forms.


Enter the following items into the gaps, then click 'Check your answers!'
frenchman, english, france, Netherlands, British, spanish, german, french, Spanish, German, spaniard, Germany, Spain, holland, The Netherlands, spain, Dutch, French, dutchman, Franch, dutch

Pedro is from (1) , but he works in the UK. He speaks (2) , and of course (3) . Pedro works on a construction site. All of his workmates are (4) , except for Hans, who is from (5) , Fritz, who is (6) , and Francois from (7) . There are more than 50 workers on the site and so Pedro and his other European friends stand out. When they are chatting among themselves the English workers refer to Pedro as ‘the (8) ’. Meanwhile, Hans is ‘the (9) ’, Fritz is ‘the (10) ’, and Francois ‘the (11) ’. To avoid causing offence, the English guys don’t use these nicknames in front of their friends from across the water, although they probably wouldn’t be offended – they’re all very easy-going. Like Pedro, Hans, Fritz and Francois can all speak (12) . However, none of the English guys can speak (13) . The site manager studied (14) and (15) at school, and he also spent some time in (16) when he was younger. Hans is the only one on the site who speaks (17) .

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