Countries, Nationalities and Languages in French

In this lesson we will talk about countries, nationalities and languages in French.  You will learn to say what your nationality is, the names and genders of countries and continents in French, and what languages are spoken in the countries you will learn.  I will teach you how to say that you are going to or from a country, continent or city based on the number and gender of the geographical location.

👉 Scroll down to the bottom of this page to watch a video tutorial of this lesson 👈

Countries, continents, languages and nationalities

The thing about nationalities, in French, is that since they’re adjectives (words that describe a person, place, or thing).  Adjectives ALWAYS have to agree in gender and number with the noun they describe.

F = Feminine

M = Masculine

Most countries that end in the letter E are feminine in French.  There are some exceptions.

Country (English)Official
Nationality (feminine form noted unless the m & f forms are the same)
l’Afrique du Sud (f)South Africal’afrikaans
+ 11 autres langues
l’Algérie (f)Algerial’arabeAlgérien(ne)
La Belgique (f)Belgiumle néerlandais
le français
Le Brésil (m)Brazille portugaisBrésilien(ne)
Le Canada (m)Canadal’anglais
le français
La Chine (f)Chinale chinoisChinois(e)
l’Égypte (f)Egyptl’arabeÉgyptien(ne)
l’Angleterre (f)Englandl’anglaisAnglais(e)
La France (f)Francele françaisFrançais(e)
l’Allemagne (f)Germanyl’allemandAllemand(e)
l’Inde (f)Indiale hindi
+ 20 autres langues
l’Irlande (f)Irelandl’irlandais
l’Italie (f)Italyl’italienItalien(ne)
Le Japon (m)Japanle japonaisJaponais(e)
Le Mexique (m) *exception,
ends in
E but is masculine
Le Maroc (m)Moroccol’arabe
le berbère
Les Pays-Bas (m)The Netherlandsle néerlandaisNéerlandais(e)
La Pologne (f)Polandle polonaisPolonais(e)
Le Portugal (m)Portugalle portugaisPortugais(e)
La Russie (f)Russiale russeRusse
Le Sénégal (m)Senegalle françaisSénégalais(e)
l’Espagne (f)Spainl’espagnolEspagnol(e)
La Suisse (f)Switzerlandle français
le romanche
Les États-Unis (m)The United Statesl’anglais
*there is no official language in the USA
La Tunisie (f)Tunisial’arabeTunisien(ne)
La Suède (f)Swedenle suédoisSuédois(e)


All continents are feminine in French.

l’Europe (f)Europe
l’Amérique (f)
l’Amérique du Nord
l’Amérique du Sud
l’Asie (f)Asia
l’Afrique (f)Africa
l’Océanie (f)Oceania

Capitalization of nationalities and languages

➤ Capitalize nationalities when they are used as NOUNS

Les Français aiment le fromage.

➤ Don’t capitalize nationalities when they are used as ADJECTIVES

C’est un passeport suisse.

Il est cubain.

➤ Languages are not capitalized in French.

Je parle français.

Prepositions before geographical locations:  Going to

To say you are going to or are in a geographical place:

AUIn / to a masculine, singular countryAU Japon
ÀIn / to a city *some exceptions applyÀ Paris
À LA Nouvelle Orléans
ENIn / to any feminine, singular country and all continentsEN France
EN Europe
AUXIn / to any plural countryAUX États-Unis

Prepositions before geographical locations:  Coming from

To say you are coming from or are from a geographical place:

DUFrom a masculine, singular countryDU Maroc
DE / D’From a city *some exceptions applyDE Londres
DU Caire
DE / D’From a feminine, singular country and all continentsD’Espagne
DESFrom any plural countryDES Pays-Bas

Quizlet:  Practice the Nationalities

Quizlet:  Practice Countries and Continents

Quizlet:  Countries and their Nationalities

Quelle est votre nationalité?

To tell someone what your nationality is, you only  need a couple of key ingredients:

subject + verb + nationality


The verb you need to learn to state your nationality in French is ÊTRE.

Je suis français(e).
I am French.
Nous sommes belges.
We are Belgian.
Tu es anglais(e).
You are English.
Vous êtes japonais(e)(s).
You are Japanese.
Il / Elle / On est suisse.
He is / She is / One is (We are) Swiss.
Ils / Elles sont marocain(e)s.
They are Moroccan.

*Note that you still use the verb AVOIR to say things like “I am hungry, I am thirsty, etc.”

*Note that when using the verb «être» with professions, you must omit «un / une» in French:  Je suis professeur, not Je suis un professeur.

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