construction workers

Pedro, Hans, Fritz and Francois

Posted by on January 5th, 2018 | 0 comments | countries, languages, nationalities, speaking, vocabulary, writing

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.

Pedro is from Spain, but he works in the UK. He speaks English, and of course Spanish. Pedro works on a construction site. All of his workmates are British, except for Hans, who is from The Netherlands, Fritz, who is German, and Francois from France. 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 Spaniard‘. Meanwhile, Hans is ‘the Dutchman‘, Fritz is ‘the German‘, and Francois ‘the Frenchman‘. 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 English. However, none of the English guys can speak French. The site manager studied German and French,Spanish,German at school, and he also spent some time in Spain when he was younger. Hans is the only one on the site who speaks Dutch.

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