Do you know what your country is called in Spanish? Do you know how to say where you are from in Spanish? If you don’t, you should keep reading because in this article you will learn all the phrases (or chunks, as we call them) and vocabulary you need to talk about countries and nationalities.
First, we are going to learn how to ask and answer to the question “where you are from”.
Imagine you are in a gathering and people ask “¿De dónde eres?” (Where are you from?). If you don’t know how to pronounce your country or nationality in Spanish, ¡qué verguenza! (how embarrassing!) So let’s start with the basics:
- ¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?)
- Yo soy de México (I am from Mexico)
- ¿De qué nacionalidad eres? (What’s your nationality?)
- Soy mexicana (I am Mexican).
Nota importante (Important note): When talking about nationalities in Spanish, we will use the verb ser (to be) as follows:
personal pronoun + ser + nationality
Yo soy mexicana / I am Mexican
Countries + Nationalities ending with an A
- Sudáfrica (South Africa)
Nationality is sudafricano or sudafricana. (Remember, A for feminine; O for masculine).
Example: La copa del mundo fue en Sudáfrica. (The world cup was in South Africa.)
- Australia (Australia)
Nationality is australiano or australiana.
Example: Los canguros son australianos. (Kangaroos are Australian.) — Here we just added and S to make it plural.
- Noruega (Norway)
Nationality is not vikingo or vikinga, but noruego or noruega.
Example: Las luces boreales se ven en Noruega. (Northern lights may be seen in Norway.)
- Argentina (Argentina)
Nationality is argentino or argentina.
Example: La Antártida forma parte de Argentina (Antarctica is part of Argentina).
Countries and Nationalities ending with an E or an accented vowel
The nationalities corresponding to the following countries encompass both the masculine and the feminine:
- Estados Unidos (United States)
The nationality is estadounidense — since the word ends with an E, it encompasses both masculine and feminine, and we would know more about the specific gender by context.
Example: Su esposa era estadounidense y él, mexicano. (His wife was American and he was Mexican).
The reason why Spanish speakers don’t say americano or americana is because americanos are the people who live on the American continent.
- Canadá (Canada)
Same as Mexico, the spelling is the same, but the pronunciation is different, due to the accent mark on the last A.
People from Canadá are called canadiense.
Example: El hockey es muy popular entre los canadienses (Hockey is very popular among Canadians). Did you notice an S was added to make it plural?
- Costa Rica (Costa Rica)
Did you know that the literal meaning of this country’s name is Wealthy Coast?
Christopher Columbus named the country after being impressed by the beauty and resourcefulness of the Island and for the richness of the gold ornaments that the aborigines wore.
The nationality would be costarricense.
Countries and Nationalities ending with a consonant
In this case, an A should be added to make it feminine:
- España (Spain)
The nationality is español (masculine) or española (feminine).
Example: El mejor tenista del mundo es español. (The best tennis playeris Spanish.)
- Francia (France)
The nationality is francés or francesa — the accent mark on the E should be removed when adding an A.
Example: La torre Eiffel está en Francia. (The Eiffel Tower is in France.)
- Inglaterra (England)
The nationality is inglés or inglesa.
Example: El verano inglés es famoso porque llueve. (The English summer is famous because it rains.)
- Nueva Zelanda (New Zealand)
The nationality is neozelandés or neozelandesa.
Example: La película “El señor de los anillos” fue filmada en Nueva Zelanda. (The movie “The Lord of the Rings” was filmed in New Zealand.)
- Irlanda (Ireland)
The nationality is irlandés or irlandesa.
Example: Extraño vivir en Irlanda. (I miss living in Ireland.)
- Japón (Japan)
The nationality is japonés or japonesa.
Example: Karate es un deporte japonés. (Karate is a Japanese sport.)
Nota importante (Important note): Unlike English, nationalities in Spanish are not capitalized.
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Muy bien! So, ¿de dónde eres? (Where are you from?) Let us know in the comments!
If you would like to learn more, feel free to check out the other videos on our channel! Now, if you’re ready to take it a step further and get serious about learning Spanish, we have a free Spanish training on our website where you’ll discover the method we use in our Spring Spanish Academy to teach students to speak fluent Spanish. You also get some free sample Spanish lessons there that come straight from our Academy!