Resources and exercises

Country Names and Nationalities in Spanish

Mexican people

A group of Mexicans with the Mexican flag

Although you will easily recognise the names of many countries when written in Spanish because they are mostly similar to the English name, you should watch out for country names that are quite different. Even the familiar names usually have different endings from the English equivalents or maybe accented characters.

You may be surprised at the range of different word endings used when we are speaking in Spanish about people from various countries. As well as differentiating between males and females from those countries, some of the endings are a bit "special" and may not follow familiar patterns.

Notice too that in Spanish, adjectives from a country name start with a lower case letter and may be different from the nationality word, especially the endings of the words or with an accent mark added. For example:

  • I am from the United States. Yo soy de Estados Unidos.
  • I am American. Soy americano/estadounidense.
  • I speak English. Hablo inglés.
  • My wife is American. Mi esposa es americana/estadounidense.
  • My children are American. Mis hijos son americanos/estadounidenses.
  • I drive an American car and I like American music. Yo conduzco un coche americano y me gusta la música americana.
  • I am from Germany. I am German. I speak German. My wife is German. My children are German. I drive a German car and I like German music.
  • Yo soy de Alemania. Soy alemán. Hablo alemán. Mi esposa es alemana. Mis hijos son alemánes. Yo conduzco un coche alemán y me gusta la música alemana.

Asking and telling which country someone is from, or someone's nationality, is often one of the first things you do when you meet new people.

Note that in latin American Spanish, depending on the context, americano/americana (American) could mean someone from any part of the continent of America, north, central or south.

Although there is MUCH more to learn about individual countries, their peoples and cultures, we hope you will find these exercises a good start. In Latin America all the countries except Brazil speak Spanish as their mother tongue, and due to emigration, the population of Spanish speakers has increased around the world, specially in the United States.

Spanish language expanded in Latin America after the arrival of the Spanish, who brought their language and European traditions that are now part of Latin American culture as well.

Here are some interactive exercises about the Spanish words used to indicate someone's nationality.

Interactive Exercises

Exercise 1: Nationalities

Read the sentences below and type in the correct nationality word using upper/lower case letters correctly.

Lee las oraciones y completa con la palabra correcta.

A few hints: argentino, costarricense, hondureño/hondureña, panameño/panameña

Note: Try to use the correct written accents if you can e.g.: á, é, í, ó, ú, ñ, ü.

If you don't know the correct answer, type '?' to reveal it.

1. Un hombre de Colombia es  quiz answer.

2. Mi esposa es tambien de Colombia. Mi esposa es  quiz answer.

3. Una mujer de Chile es  quiz answer.

4. Un chico de Paraguay es  quiz answer.

5. Una chica de Ecuador es  quiz answer.

6. Un hombre de Honduras es  quiz answer.

7. Una mujer de Guatemala es  quiz answer.

8. Una persona de Costa Rica es  quiz answer. (una palabra)

9. Una mujer de Panamá es  quiz answer.

10. Una persona de Nicaragua es  quiz answer.

Exercise 2: Countries in Latin America

Read the sentences below and type in the correct country name using upper/lower case letters correctly.

Lee las oraciones y completa con la palabra correcta.

Note: Try to use the correct written accents if you can e.g.: á, é, í, ó, ú, ñ, ü.

If you don't know the correct answer, type '?' to reveal it.

1.  quiz answerestá en Sudamérica, al lado de Colombia. Su capital es Caracas.

2.  quiz answeres una isla del Caribe. Su capital es La Habana.

3.  quiz answerestá al sur de Ecuador, en Sudamérica. Su capital es Lima.

4.  quiz answeres famosa por sus gauchos. Su capital es Buenos Aires.

5.  es una pequeña isla del Caribe. Su capital es San Juan. (dos palabras)

6.  quiz answerestá al este de Argentina. Su capital es Montevideo.

 

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