What Are the French Names of Countries, Nationalities, and Languages?

French flag under an archway

Simon Jakubowski / EyeEm / Getty Images 

Using the names of countries around the world is fairly easy if you have memorized them. This is an easy vocabulary lesson because the French names are very similar to what you are used to saying in English. The only tricky part is making sure you use the correct prepositions, which change with the gender of the country or continent you're discussing.

Beyond the country name itself, we will learn the word describing the nationality of a country's residents and the names of the primary languages spoken. Plus, we will review the names for the world's continents. 

Note that the additional letters required to make nationalities and adjectives feminine are indicated in parentheses after the relevant words. Finally, wherever you see a little speaker after a name, you can click on it and hear the word pronounced.

The Continents (Les Continents)

There are the seven continents of the world; seven is the prevailing convention at present, while some countries list six continents and others, five.

Notice the similarities between the English and French names. The adjectives are very similar and can be used to describe the residents of each continent.

Continent In French Adjective
Africa Afrique Africain(e)
Antarctica Antarctique
Asia Asie Asiatique
Australia Australie Australien(ne)
Europe Europe Européen(ne)
North America Amérique du Nord Nord-Américain(e)
South America Amérique du Sud Sud-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 are translated between English and French; it's intended as an indicative list, not a comprehensive list of countries. That said, we do have a comprehensive list of the French names for the world's countries elsewhere, which you do well to review.

For nationalities, the proper noun and adjective are exactly the same, except the proper noun is capitalized, while the adjective is not capitalized. Thus: un Américain but un type américain.

You will also note that the masculine adjective for many of these countries is spelled and pronounced just like the languages. 

Only the primary languages for each country are included in the list, though many countries have citizens who speak many languages. Also, note that the names of the languages are always masculine and are not capitalized.

Country Name Name In French Nationality Language(s)
Algeria Algérie Algérien(ne) l'arabe, le français
Australia Australie Australien(ne) l'anglais
Belgium Belgique Belge le flamand, le français
Brazil Brésil Brésilien(ne) le portugais
Canada Canada Canadien(ne) le français, l'anglais
China Chine Chinois(e) le chinois
Egypt Egypte Égyptien(ne) l'arabe
England Angleterre Anglais(e) l'anglais
France France Français(e) le français
Germany Allemagne Allemand(e) l'allemand
India Inde Indien(ne) l'hindi (plus many others)
Ireland Irlande Irlandais(e) l'anglais, l'irlandais
Italy Italie Italien(ne) l'italien
Japan Japon Japonais(e) le japonais
Mexico Mexique Mexicain(e) l'espagnol
Morocco Maroc Marocain(e) l'arabe, le français
Netherlands Pays-Bas Néerlandais(e) le néerlandais
Poland Pologne Polonais(e) le polonais
Portugal Portugal Portugais(e) le portugais
Russia Russie Russe le russe
Senegal Sénégal Sénégalais(e) le français
Spain Espagne Espagnol(e) l'espagnol
Switzerland Suisse Suisse l'allemand, le français, l'italien
United States United Stats Américain(e) l'anglais
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Team, ThoughtCo. "What Are the French Names of Countries, Nationalities, and Languages?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/french-vocabulary-countries-nationalities-and-languages-4079488. Team, ThoughtCo. (2023, April 5). What Are the French Names of Countries, Nationalities, and Languages? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-vocabulary-countries-nationalities-and-languages-4079488 Team, ThoughtCo. "What Are the French Names of Countries, Nationalities, and Languages?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-vocabulary-countries-nationalities-and-languages-4079488 (accessed May 28, 2023).