Hi,
Spanish is my native languague and I'm learning english. I'd like to ask what's the difference in saying:
Spanish people, or
the Spanish,
and saying Spaniards.
Thanks,

chabral
1 2
Hi, Spanish is my native languague and I'm learning english. I'd like to ask what's the difference in saying: Spanish people, or the Spanish, and saying Spaniards.

My impression is that "Spaniard", though still in dictionaries, has become rather quaint these days - rather like Chinaman or Frenchman. I believe I now usually only hear it on football commentaries. We tend to just use the adjective "Spanish" for preference but "the Spanish" and "Spanish people" both sound fine.

Phil C.
My impression is that "Spaniard", though still in dictionaries, has become rather quaint these days - rather like Chinaman or Frenchman.

I don't see anything quaint about "Frenchman". Surely it's still the normal way to refer to a male person from that country?
I believe I now usually only hear it on football commentaries. We tend to just use the adjective "Spanish" for preference but "the Spanish" and "Spanish people" both sound fine.

i would say "a Spaniard" in preference to "a man from Spain" or some other such phrase. "A Spanish" sounds wrong to me, even though "a Chinese" is probably now acceptable.

John Hall
"The covers of this book are too far apart."
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
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To my ear, the quaintness comes when such terms seem to concentrate on the adult male. Although my dictionaries don't restrict the term to adult males, I wouldn't expect to hear a Spanish woman or child described as a Spaniard. The female equivalents of Englishman, Chinaman etc etc either sound clumsy or don't exist. And there simply isn't an equivalent for children - the age when most of us encounter the issue of describing origin/nationality. So we get used to just using the adjectival form - "I'm English/Spanish etc" and restrict the indefinite article to national terms that seem comfortable with it. I doubt I've ever used the word "Spaniard" to describe a Spanish person in normal conversation. Nor has my random sample of one - Mrs C., though Spanish people figure prominently in our lives.

FWIW, I wouldn't use the term "Briton" in everyday circumstances, unless insisting hoarsly that Britons Never Never Shall Be Slaves. I'd just say I'm British.

Phil C.
i would say "a Spaniard" in preference to "a man ... to me, even though "a Chinese" is probably now acceptable.

To my ear, the quaintness comes when such terms seem to concentrate on the adult male. Although my dictionaries don't restrict the term to adult males, I wouldn't expect to hear a Spanish woman or child described as a Spaniard.

That's interesting, as it hadn't occurred to me that maleness was implicit in the word. I think I would find it quite natural to refer to a woman or a child as a Spaniard.

John Hall
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
George Bernard Shaw
To my ear, the quaintness comes when such terms seem to concentrate on the adult male. Although my dictionaries don't ... or child described as a Spaniard. The female equivalents of Englishman, Chinaman etc etc either sound clumsy or don't exist.

I've been hearing words like Englishwoman, Irishwoman, Scotswoman, Frenchwoman all my life and they don't sound clumsy or quaint to me. On the other hand I would find Chinaman very old-fashioned with slightly sinister (and racist) overtones reminiscent of old Fu manchu films.

Regards, Einde O'Callaghan
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To my ear, the quaintness comes when such terms seem ... Englishman, Chinaman etc etc either sound clumsy or don't exist.

I've been hearing words like Englishwoman, Irishwoman, Scotswoman, Frenchwoman all my life and they don't sound clumsy or quaint to me. On the other hand I would find Chinaman very old-fashioned with slightly sinister (and racist) overtones reminiscent of old Fu manchu films.

It's interesting, though (FWIW) that "Englishwoman" gets only a tenth as many Google hits as "Englishman" - and "Irishwoman" a twentieth of those of "Irishman". "Scotswoman" manages a mighty 0.23% of "Scotsman". Even allowing the obvious caveats on such comparisons, they don't seem to be popular terms.

Phil C.
Thank you all for your excelent comments!

chabral
I've been hearing words like Englishwoman, Irishwoman, Scotswoman, Frenchwoman ... sinister (and racist) overtones reminiscent of old Fu manchu films.

It's interesting, though (FWIW) that "Englishwoman" gets only a tenth as many Google hits as "Englishman" - and "Irishwoman" a ... a mighty 0.23% of "Scotsman". Even allowing the obvious caveats on such comparisons, they don't seem to be popular terms.

I didn't say they were popular, just that they didn't seem strange. I also have the impression that they are more common in spoken English than in the written form, which would mean the Google statistics weren't particularly relevant.
Regards, Einde O'Callaghan
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