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 👈

Common 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 (French)Country (English)Official language(s)Nationality (feminine form noted unless the m & f forms are the same)
l’Afrique du Sud (f)South Africal’afrikaans, l’anglais + 11 autres languesSud-Africain(e)
l’Algérie (f)Algerial’arabeAlgérien(ne)
La Belgique (f)Belgiumle néerlandais, le français, l’allemandBelge
Le Brésil (m)Brazille portugaisBrésilien(ne)
Le Canada (m)Canadal’anglais, le françaisCanadien(ne)
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, l’anglais + 20 autres languesIndien(ne)
l’Irlande (f)Irelandl’irlandais, l’anglaisIrlandais(e)
l’Italie (f)Italyl’italienItalien(ne)
Le Japon (m)Japanle japonaisJaponais(e)
Le Mexique (m) *exception, ends in E but is masculineMexicol’espagnolMexicain(e)
Le Maroc (m)Moroccol’arabe, le berbèreMarocain(e)
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, l’italien, l’allemand, le romancheSuisse
Les États-Unis (m)The United Statesl’anglais, l’espagnol *there is no official language in the USAAméricain(e)
La Tunisie (f)Tunisial’arabeTunisien(ne)
La Suède (f)Swedenle suédoisSuédois(e)

Continents

All continents are feminine in French.

l’Europe (f)Europe
l’Amérique (f) l’Amérique du Nord l’Amérique du SudAmerica
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 D’Australie
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

ÊTRE

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 the «un / une» in French:  Je suis professeur, and not Je suis un professeur.



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