What forms the basis of the suffix used when describing which country someone comes from?

By: | Post date: 2017-02-14 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: English, Linguistics

There are no rules, but there are trends.

  • -ish is used for country names that the English would have been familiar with in the Middle Ages.
  • -ese is used for country names that the English learned of via the Italians or Spanish. That includes East Asia.
  • -(i)an is used as a default for new-fangled country names, or names which look like they are Latin. That includes all country names ending in -y and -ia.
  • -i is used for Arabic-speaking countries; it is an Arabic suffix.

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