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    Bounty Ended with 100 reputation awarded by Mari-Lou A
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By analogy with U.S. citizen, you think you can say China citizen, but Chinese citizen blocks it. U.S. citizen is different either because it predates American citizen or it means something different. e.g., it's shorthand for the legal term "citizen of the united states"United States" (see below).

Also, United States doesn't have a corresponding preposed adjectival formdemonym, but China does. My hypothesis is that countries where there is no such form, or you don't know it, you treat like "US citizen": Vanuatu citizen, UAE citizen, Papua New Guinea citizen. English speakers, do thosethese sound better than "China citizen"?

By analogy with U.S. citizen, you think you can say China citizen, but Chinese citizen blocks it. U.S. citizen is different either because it predates American citizen or it means something different. e.g., it's shorthand for the legal term "citizen of the united states" (see below).

Also, United States doesn't have a corresponding preposed adjectival form, but China does. My hypothesis is that countries where there is no such form, or you don't know it, you treat like "US citizen": Vanuatu citizen, UAE citizen, Papua New Guinea citizen. English speakers, do those sound better than "China citizen"?

By analogy with U.S. citizen, you think you can say China citizen, but Chinese citizen blocks it. U.S. citizen is different either because it predates American citizen or it means something different. e.g., it's shorthand for the legal term "citizen of the United States" (see below).

Also, United States doesn't have a corresponding preposed adjectival demonym, but China does. My hypothesis is that countries where there is no such form, or you don't know it, you treat like "US citizen": Vanuatu citizen, UAE citizen, Papua New Guinea citizen. English speakers, do these sound better than "China citizen"?

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Why can't you say China citizen?

Two guesses that just assume that the usageBecause you can already say "Chinese citizen". The phenomenon is called "blocking" in linguistics. You don't say something because there's already something else that you do say. For example, you you don't say "gloriosity" ( < glorious) because you can already say glory, even though by analogy with viscous>viscosity, you would think it's a quirkreasonable thing to say.

By analogy with U.S. citizen, you think you can say China citizen, but Chinese citizen blocks it. U.S. citizen is different either because it predates American citizen or it means something different. e.g., it's shorthand for the legal term "citizen of American Englishthe united states" (see below). 

Also, United States doesn't have a corresponding preposed adjectival form, but China does. My first guesshypothesis is that countries where there is no such form, or you don't know it, you treat like "US citizen": Vanuatu citizen, UAE citizen, Papua New Guinea citizen. English speakers, do those sound better than "China citizen"?

If you know the preoposed adjectival form, then it blocks the N-N compound: Czech, Russian, Soviet, etc.

Why can "U.S." act to modify a following noun?

Another guess: it comes from journalism. There are newspaper headlines with phrases like "U.S. troops", "Boston man", "Philadelphia lawyer", etc. which were used in newspaper headlines, then in radio broadcasts, then in television broadcasts. U

But English can productively form N-N compounds, so when someone says "U.S. news tends to concern Ucitizen", a native speaker can make a good guess about what it means, even if he/she hasn't heard it before.S E. peopleg., so the phrase "China citizen" would have never been picked upa freshly-coined, highly embedded series of N-N compounds such as dog food factory management regulations will be understood by most English speakers.

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And U.S. citizen itself...

An alternate theory: it may beI think this is shorthand for "Citizen of the United States" invented by U.S. lawmakers. The 14th amendment to the U.S. constitution refers to "Citizens of the United States". The U.S. Code (1918 U.S. Compiled Statutes) gives the following definition for U.S. Citizens as of 1918:

Two guesses that just assume that the usage is a quirk of American English.

My first guess is that it comes from journalism. There are newspaper headlines with phrases like "U.S. troops", "Boston man", "Philadelphia lawyer", etc. which were used in newspaper headlines, then in radio broadcasts, then in television broadcasts. U.S. news tends to concern U.S. people, so the phrase "China citizen" would have never been picked up.

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An alternate theory: it may be shorthand for "Citizen of the United States" invented by U.S. lawmakers. The 14th amendment to the U.S. constitution refers to "Citizens of the United States". The U.S. Code (1918 U.S. Compiled Statutes) gives the following definition for U.S. Citizens as of 1918:

Why can't you say China citizen?

Because you can already say "Chinese citizen". The phenomenon is called "blocking" in linguistics. You don't say something because there's already something else that you do say. For example, you you don't say "gloriosity" ( < glorious) because you can already say glory, even though by analogy with viscous>viscosity, you would think it's a reasonable thing to say.

By analogy with U.S. citizen, you think you can say China citizen, but Chinese citizen blocks it. U.S. citizen is different either because it predates American citizen or it means something different. e.g., it's shorthand for the legal term "citizen of the united states" (see below). 

Also, United States doesn't have a corresponding preposed adjectival form, but China does. My hypothesis is that countries where there is no such form, or you don't know it, you treat like "US citizen": Vanuatu citizen, UAE citizen, Papua New Guinea citizen. English speakers, do those sound better than "China citizen"?

If you know the preoposed adjectival form, then it blocks the N-N compound: Czech, Russian, Soviet, etc.

Why can "U.S." act to modify a following noun?

Another guess: it comes from journalism. There are newspaper headlines with phrases like "U.S. troops", "Boston man", "Philadelphia lawyer", etc. which were used in newspaper headlines, then in radio broadcasts, then in television broadcasts.

But English can productively form N-N compounds, so when someone says "U.S. citizen", a native speaker can make a good guess about what it means, even if he/she hasn't heard it before. E.g., a freshly-coined, highly embedded series of N-N compounds such as dog food factory management regulations will be understood by most English speakers.

And U.S. citizen itself...

I think this is shorthand for "Citizen of the United States" invented by U.S. lawmakers. The 14th amendment to the U.S. constitution refers to "Citizens of the United States". The U.S. Code (1918 U.S. Compiled Statutes) gives the following definition for U.S. Citizens as of 1918:

6 Replaced "gotten" with "been"
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5 Reverted an erroneous revision, "gotten" is in fact the more proper word here.
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3 Fixed a couple typos
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