I know English has a set 'general opinion, specific opinion, size, shape, age, colour, nationality, material' order for adjectives, but how is the ordering of multiple nationalities decided?

For example, 'British-American' sounds right, whilst 'American-British' sounds daft.

I can see why, for example, 'African-American' is the way it is because it refers to an American of African descent, rather than a joint African and American citizen, but is there a rule for the orderings of people who possess dual nationalities/projects delivered by companies from various countries/etc.?

Or how about more than two nationalities: why is Rome a 'British-American-Italian historical drama' rather than an American-Italian-British one?


A British American is phonetically easier to say than American British. Similarly for British American Italian. If you're referring to a person then a British American is an American of British descent whereas an American Briton would be a Brit of American descent.

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    What does “phonetically easier” mean? – tchrist Feb 7 '17 at 23:21

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