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I've long used the terms anglophone and francophone to describe English and French speakers respectively, but I recently found myself about halfway through a sentence where I needed a similar term for Spanish speakers before I realized I actually had no idea what it was or how they're created. A quick search turned up the following list of "established" terms.

  • anglophone (English-speaking)
  • arabophone (Arab-speaking)
  • francophone (French-speaking)
  • germanophone or teutophone (German-speaking)
  • hellenophone (Greek-speaking)
  • hispanophone (Spanish-speaking)
  • italophone (Italian-speaking)
  • lusophone (Portuguese-speaking)
  • russophone (Russian-speaking)
  • sinophone (Chinese-speaking)

Are there additional commonly used terms? Is the construction still productive?

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  • For what its worth, I would just say someone is a "Chinese speaker" and the like. I think it would take people longer to look up what a "lusophone" is.
    – user10893
    Aug 7, 2011 at 4:19
  • @simchona - in general I do, but there are situations where I find the -ophone construction more elegant. Besides, I like knowing things.
    – Dusty
    Aug 7, 2011 at 4:30
  • 1
    I'm a lover of languages, especially English. Even so, I wouldn't/don't use any of those terms outside of anglo- and francophone. Why needlessly clutter the language with useless words that 0.01% of the population will use 0.02% of the time? "Chinese speaker" is succinctly clear, and has zero chance of confusing the listener.
    – narx
    Aug 7, 2011 at 16:59
  • Is there a language called "tel"?
    – JeffSahol
    Aug 7, 2011 at 18:50
  • We need someone from Canada to answer, whether they prefer francophone/anglophone or French/English speaker.
    – GEdgar
    Aug 7, 2011 at 19:04

1 Answer 1

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Is the construction still productive?

Other than anglophone and francophone, the other terms are very rarely used and are best avoided and clear forms such as "Italian speaker" used instead. In fact, I would probably avoid anglophone and francophone as well.

-phone comparisons on Google Ngrams

Are there additional commonly used terms?

No, anglophone and francophone are the only common terms. There are plenty of other terms, but I wouldn't use them. For example:

  • Allophone = Other language speaker (n m/f), Other language-speaking (adj) [i.e. with regard to one or more majority language(s)].

  • Anglophone = English speaker (n m/f), English-speaking (adj)

  • Arabophone = Arabic speaker (n m/f), Arabic-speaking (adj)

  • Fennophone = Finnish speaker (n m/f), Finnish-speaking

  • Finnophone = Finnish speaker (n m/f), Finnish-speaking

  • Francophone = French speaker (n m/f), French-speaking (adj)

  • Danophone = Danish speaker (n m/f), Danish-speaking (adj)

  • Gaélophone = Gaelic speaker (n m/f), Gaelic-speaking (adj)

  • Gallophone = Welsh speaker (n m/f), Welsh-speaking (adj)

  • Germanophone = German speaker (n m/f), German-speaking (adj)

  • Grecophone = Greek speaker (n m/f), Greek-speaking (adj)

  • Hellénophone = Greek speaker (n m/f), Greek-speaking (adj)

  • Hispanophone = Spanish speaker (n m/f), Spanish-speaking (adj)

  • Italophone = Italian speaker (n m/f), Italian-speaking (adj)

  • Lusophone = Portuguese speaker (n m/f), Portuguese-speaking (adj)

  • Néerlandophone = Dutch speaker (n m/f), Dutch-speaking (adj)

  • Polonophone = Polish speaker (n m/f), Polish-speaking (adj)

  • Russophone = Russian speaker (n m/f), Russian-speaking (adj)

  • Sinophone = Chinese speaker (n m/f), Chinese-speaking (adj)

  • Suécophone = Swedish speaker (n m/f), Swedish-speaking (adj)

  • Suédophone = Swedish speaker (n m/f), Swedish-speaking (adj)

  • Swahiliphone = Swahili speaker (n m/f), Swahili-speaking (adj)

  • Turcophone = Turkish speaker (n m/f), Turkish-speaking (adj)

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  • 4
    bananaphone Aug 8, 2012 at 12:14
  • 2
    sousaphone
    – tchrist
    Mar 11, 2013 at 13:12
  • 1
    What's the reason for the acute accent on so many of these? Are they all English words, or are some of them French or Spanish?
    – herisson
    Aug 22, 2016 at 17:41
  • @sumelic: My guess is that the accent is there for pronunciation - it probably marks that you pronounce both the vowels. [su-eco], not [sweco]. Dec 4, 2018 at 9:07

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