French Vocabulary: Countries, Nationalities, and Languages

Learn How to Speak About World Geography in French

At some point in your study of the French language, you will want to use the words for countries around the world to complete a sentence.  This is a very easy vocabulary lesson because the French names are very similar to what you are used to saying in English.

Beyond the country name itself, you will also learn how to speak of the nationality of its residents and the primary languages that they speak.

You will even review the world's continents.

Tip: The parentheses ( ) in the lesson indicate the additional letters required to make the proper noun or adjective feminine. 

Note: Many of the words below are linked to .wav files. Simply click on the link to listen to the pronunciation.

The Continents (Les Continents)

To begin this French geography lesson, here are the seven continents of the world. Notice the similarities between the English and French names. The adjectives are very similar and can be used to describe the residents of the continent.

ContinentIn FrenchAdjective
North AmericaAmérique du NordNord-Américain(e)
South AmericaAmérique du SudSud-Américain(e)

Languages and Nationalities (Les langues et les nationalités)

It would be a very long list if we were to include every country in the world, so only a small selection is included in this lesson.

It is designed to give you an idea of how countries, nationalities, and languages translate between English and French, rather than be a comprehensive list of countries.

For nationalities, the proper noun and adjective are exactly the same, except the proper noun is capitalized, while the adjective is not.


You will also note that the masculine adjective for many of these countries is spelled and pronounced just like the languages. That makes this a very easy French lesson and one that you should have no trouble learning.

Only the primary languages for each country are included in the list, though it should be recognized that some countries have speakers of many languages. Also, note that the names of the languages are always masculine and are not capitalized.

Country NameName In FrenchNationalityLanguage(s)
AlgeriaAlgérieAlgérien(ne)l'arabe, le français
BelgiumBelgiqueBelgele flamand, le français
BrazilBrésilBrésilien(ne)le portugais
CanadaCanadaCanadien(ne)le français, l'anglais
ChinaChineChinois(e)le chinois
FranceFranceFrançais(e)le français
IndiaIndeIndien(ne)l'hindi (plus many others)
IrelandIrlandeIrlandais(e)l'anglais, l'irlandais
JapanJaponJaponais(e)le japonais
MoroccoMarocMarocain(e)l'arabe, le français
NetherlandsPays-BasNéerlandais(e)le néerlandais
PolandPolognePolonais(e)le polonais
PortugalPortugalPortugais(e)le portugais
RussiaRussieRussele russe
SenegalSénégalSénégalais(e)le français
SwitzerlandSuisseSuissel'allemand, le français, l'italien
United StatesUnited StatsAméricain(e)l'anglais