Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gli aggettivi di nazionalità - The adjectives of nationality in Italian


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Aggettivi di nazionalità are the adjectives that specify which country a person or thing comes from.

In English the adjective of nationality for Italy is "Italian".

Giovanni comes from Italy.  He is Italian.

In Italian, the adjective of nationality for Italy (Italia) is "italiano."

Giovanni proviene dall'Italia.  È italiano.

Chances are, you've heard "italiano" before, but what about the adjectives of nationality for other countries… like Antigua and Barbuda? Kenya?  Sri Lanka?

In Italian, like in English, even if you don't know the exact adjective, you can still express this idea by using the following construction:

di (definite article)* + (paese)
of/from +  (country)

*When the preposition di (of/from) is combined with a definite article, either: il, la, l', i, le or gli they get joined together to create the articulated forms:  del, della, dell', dei, delle, degli. Whether you can simply use "di" or must use one of the articulated forms in this construction depends on the country/context.

Kasun? Lui è dello Sri Lanka.
Kasun? He's from Sri Lanka.

La squadra olimpica del Kenya è bravissima!

The olympic team from Kenya is great!

That construction works, but often it sounds better to have a single word— the appropriate adjective of nationality.  

Kasun?  Lui è singalese (anche "cingalese")
Kasun?  He's Sri Lankan.

La squadra olimpica keniota è bravissima!
The Kenyan olympic team is great!

The following is an almost complete list of the countries of the world (listed alphabetically in Italian) and their corresponding Aggettivo di nazionalità: 

(available as a pdf on Google drive)


flip through the list here in Flashcard format:

Hint: you can also use the drop down menu on the bottom right hand side "Choose a Study Mode" to see the list in various learning modes and games.

There isn't always a corresponding adjective (in this case the aforementioned construction is the only option) and sometimes, more than one term is acceptable.  

Want more explanation and/or activities? Check out these sites:

Aggettivi di Nazionalità da One World Italiano
Esercizio- Aggettivi di Nazionalità da Impariamo Italiano

Mi chiamo Alex e sono americana (o statunitense!)... e tu?

See also: