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Questions tagged [ethnonyms]

Names for ethnic groups and the usage of those names.

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3answers
3k views

Why do Americans still call Native Americans “Indians”? [closed]

Why do some Americans still call the indigenous people of the Americas "Indians" when they now know that they're not from India?
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2answers
16k views

What should I call a person from New Zealand?

The question “They are Australian” vs “They are Australians” on English Language Learners made me think of what people from New Zealand should be called. With Australian people it's quite clear, you ...
34
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5answers
4k views

Is there a word for “a person from another race”?

I am searching for a word that means ‘of another race’ to be used in context of a sentence such as "She was deeply protective to her [of other race] foster children." "They shunned the [...
3
votes
2answers
389 views

What's the origin of the demonym Thai?

I was curious why we called people from Thailand "Thai" and those from Taiwan "Taiwanese." The latter by itself is a bit less surprising, though. See also: Are there any rules governing what we call ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

South American Indians: Incan vs Inca?

Reading a little about the Inca people of South America and I see that most commonly the word Inca is used instead of Incan, e.g.: The Inca Empire vs The Incan Empire My natural instinct would be to ...
18
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5answers
3k views

How did “Italian” and “Italic” develop different meanings?

Although English is not my mothertongue, I am pretty sure the adjective for the modern country Italy is Italian as in Italian restaurant or Italian cars. I have just used the italic font for the ...
2
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3answers
5k views

What is an appropriate replacement for the term “oriental” when used as an ethnicity? [duplicate]

When I was a child I remember frequently hearing references to "oriental" people. Of course "oriental" now has a pejorative connotation, and generally "asian" is preferred. However, I can't help but ...
21
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6answers
4k views

We say “U.S. citizen”, but why can't we say “China citizen”? Or can we?

Is the word "U.S." an adjective or a noun modifier in this case? It seems to me that it is an adjective that goes before citizen, because we say "Russian citizen", "Chinese citizen", etc. But if it's ...
4
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3answers
188 views

Term for aboriginal people of Canada in a historical context

The tribes that inhabited Canada before European contact are generally known as First Nations today. From what I can tell, this term is fairly new. What term could I use to refer to First Nations ...
20
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3answers
3k views

Americans can eat Chinese, but Chinese can't eat Americans?

No offence!! Please take it just for knowledge. I heard one of my friends saying Americans can eat Chinese but Chinese can't eat Americans. He said so for fun, and everybody was just laughing. But I ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

A query about the use of Generic Reference with nationalities

In English, generic reference takes three possible forms: A. Cats are cute. B. A cat is cute. C. The cat is cute. But the names of nationalities seem to me to make an exception to this rule. As ...
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5answers
13k views

What’s a word for people sharing a common culture? [closed]

Tribe is good. But what more? I need more words, but exactly mean “they have same culture, traits, etc.”
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2answers
19k views

Pronunciation of “Celt”: /kɛlt/ vs. /sɛlt/

Both /kɛlt/ and /sɛlt/ are considered acceptable pronunciations of the noun Celt and similarly of the adjective Celtic. Is there a reason for the different pronunciations? Which is the more common? Is ...
8
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6answers
43k views

Is 'Jap' still considered an ethnic slur?

~Seventy years after 'The War', is Jap still considered to be an ethnic slur in the US? Is/was it also considered offensive in the UK?
3
votes
2answers
563 views

Concise term for Native Americans of California

I'm trying to figure out what the concise, non-offensive term is for Native Americans from the area that became California (like Ohlone or Chumash people). California Natives doesn't work, since it ...
32
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12answers
288k views

What is the difference between “English” and “British”?

As an American, I naively think of British and English as exact synonyms. I know I'm wrong, but I just don't know in what way. I am vaguely aware that people in the UK hold strong opinions about one ...
12
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6answers
29k views

Proper term for people from eastern Asia

I once posted an article on the web in which I referred collectively to people from China, Japan, and the Koreas as "Oriental". I got an email from someone who informed me that this is an offensive ...
6
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10answers
20k views

Usage of “East Indian” to distinguish from “Native American”

I know someone who uses the term "East Indian" to refer to people from India, or whose ancestors are from India, lest they be misunderstood to mean Native American. This struck me as unusual and ...
3
votes
1answer
264 views

Is there a pejorative word for an ethnic appeal?

When ultra-conservative Jesse Helms ran against Congressman Nick Galifianakis in 1972, he is considered to have gained ground with the slogan, "Jesse Helms: He's One of Us," presumably referring to ...
5
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4answers
4k views

Is “gaijin” considered offensive?

Is gaijin a term that's only acceptable when it's a non-Japanese person using it self-referentially (similar to n-word privileges in TV Tropes), or is it considered ok to use in normal conversation ...
16
votes
8answers
8k views

Does the term “Asian” have different meanings among various English-speaking countries?

I have always had the view that the term "Asian", when pertaining to cultures, primarily refers to the cultures of the Far East. Recently I have been told that it also includes Indian and other ...
5
votes
1answer
774 views

History of “Asian American” / “African American” nomenclature

Why are some Americans named to indicate their ancestry? It is not common to say, German Americans, or Russian Americans; however, African American, and Asian American are accepted nomenclatures. Even ...
12
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6answers
15k views

Why did the descriptive “Orientals” shift into a pejorative?

It seems as if a shift occurred and the descriptive "Oriental" was replaced by "Asian" as the accepted term in polite society — what caused this shift?
20
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8answers
2k views

Why do we say “Japan earthquake” and not “Japanese earthquake”?

Isn’t earthquake a noun and the preceding word an adjective? Isn’t “Japanese” the adjectival form of “Japan”?
17
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12answers
117k views

What would you call a person from India?

My guess would be Indian, but that sounds like a guy with a feather on his head who hunts buffalo. Is there a better name?
24
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6answers
73k views

Is “Eskimo” a universally offensive term?

I know that "Eskimo" is an offensive term in Canada; they use the term "Inuit". But I see the term "Eskimo" popping up regularly in news articles that I read; I hardly see the term "Inuit" being ...