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  1. #1
    Sir Shakespeare is offline Member
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    Shall I trust the first or the second ??

    Hullo afresh !



    While I was reading one of my English books entitled : 'University Grammar of English ' , I came across this piece of information :



    Name of country : (( China , Japan ))


    Adjective : (( Chinese , Japanese ))


    Specific reference


    Singular : (( a Chinese , a Japanese ))


    Plural : (( Chinese , Japanese ))


    Generic reference


    Plural : (( The Chinese , The Japanese ))



    -------



    Recently , I've read in another English book , published in Oxford , that we can't say : a Japanese* , a Chinese* … !!



    I'm totally confused . Shall I trust the first or the second ?? or both of them are correct ?? …. Could you help me in this ??



    Thanks in advance


    Last edited by Sir Shakespeare; 06-Aug-2010 at 20:41. Reason: 'or' instead of 'of' :)

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Shall I trust the first or the second ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Shakespeare View Post
    Hullo afresh !



    While I was reading one of my English books entitled : 'University Grammar of English ' , I came across this piece of information :



    Name of country : (( China , Japan ))


    Adjective : (( Chinese , Japanese ))


    Specific reference


    Singular : (( a Chinese , a Japanese ))


    Plural : (( Chinese , Japanese ))


    Generic reference


    Plural : (( The Chinese , The Japanese ))



    -------



    Recently , I've read in another English book , published in Oxford , that we can't say : a Japanese* , a Chinese* … !!



    I'm totally confused . Shall I trust the first or the second ?? or both of them are correct ?? …. Could you help me in this ??



    Thanks in advance


    There are some strange anomalies with these. Some nationalities seem to lend themselves to simply using a/an/the + adjective, and some don't.

    A Brit (or Briton)
    An Italian
    A German
    An Argentinian
    A Korean
    A Chilean
    An Australian
    A Greek
    An Austrian
    A Brazilian
    A Bolivian



    However:

    A Japanese person/man/woman etc
    A Chinese person/man/woman etc
    A Frenchman/Frenchwoman
    A Spaniard (whereas Spanish is the adjective)
    A Dutchman/Dutchwoman
    A Swiss person/man/woman

    And there are a few that I don't even know if there is an adjective:

    Greenland (a Greenlander)
    Iceland (an Icelander)
    New Zealand (a New Zealander)

    The only connection in the first list is that they all end in "n", whereas French, Dutch, Swiss etc don't.

    I don't think I would say "I met a Chinese last night". I would say "I met a Chinese person/man/woman etc last night". But I would have no problem with "I met an Italian last night".

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Shall I trust the first or the second ??

    [QUOTE=Sir Shakespeare;633730]
    Hullo afresh !




    While I was reading one of my English books entitled : 'University Grammar of English ' , I came across this piece of information :



    Name of country : (( China , Japan ))


    Adjective : (( Chinese , Japanese ))


    Specific reference


    Singular : (( a Chinese , a Japanese ))


    Plural : (( Chinese , Japanese ))


    Generic reference


    Plural : (( The Chinese , The Japanese ))



    -------



    Recently , I've read in another English book , published in Oxford , that we can't say : a Japanese* , a Chinese* … !!



    I'm totally confused . Shall I trust the first or the second ?? or both of them are correct ?? …. Could you help me in this ??



    Thanks in advance

    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello.

    (1) I have checked my books and wish to report the following:

    (a) Professor Quirk's book (which many teachers use) and Mr. Swan's

    book (which many students use) say that a Chinese is correct.

    (b) In my experience, however, I have seldom heard it used.

    (c) Professor Curme in his two-volume grammar book gives the reason:

    We do not like to say a Portuguese, a Japanese, a Chinese, etc.

    because native speakers consider those words as PLURALS.

    So that is why we usually say "He is a Chinese person, gentleman," etc.

    I also hear: He is Chinese.

    THANK YOU

    P. S. Many years ago, there was a noun used for "a Chinese person."

    Today that word is no longer used because it is considered an insult.

    I read, however, that it is a term still used in a certain English sport.


  4. #4
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: Shall I trust the first or the second ??

    Many years ago, there was a noun used for "a Chinese person."

    Today that word is no longer used because it is considered an insult.

    I read, however, that it is a term still used in a certain English sport.
    If anybody is wondering, the word is Chinaman, a term used in cricket - a worldwide sport, not an English one.

    I'm genuinely curious - are Chinese men insulted by being called Chinamen?

    Rover

  5. #5
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Shall I trust the first or the second ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    If anybody is wondering, the word is Chinaman, a term used in cricket - a worldwide sport, not an English one.

    I'm genuinely curious - are Chinese men insulted by being called Chinamen?

    Rover
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello.

    I do not know about the situation in the United Kingdom, but it is

    a grave insult in the United States. An employee could possibly be

    dismissed from his job for using this term. We also have "hate

    crime" laws in this country in which saying certain words can result

    in very unpleasant legal action. Every country is different, of course.

    Every country has its taboos. That word you mentioned is very

    insulting and offensive here. (In the early 20th century, that term

    was used as a matter of course. We like to think that we have

    become a more sensitive and enlightened people.)

    THANK YOU

  6. #6
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Shall I trust the first or the second ??

    And yet saying an Englishman, Irishman or Scotsman is not considered insulting.

  7. #7
    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Shall I trust the first or the second ??

    Being a Chinese, if you call me Chinaman(To me, it carries some depreciative sense) nowadays, I would say it is insulting. Similarly, if we address you expats as Gweilo(for men) or Gweipor(for women) in our country, (literally, they means ghost fellows in Chinese), what do you feel?
    Last edited by albertino; 07-Aug-2010 at 06:07.

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Shall I trust the first or the second ??

    Quote Originally Posted by albertino View Post
    Being a Chinese, if you call me Chinaman(To me, it carries some depreciative sense) nowadays, I would say it is insulting. Similarly, if we address you expats as Gweilo(for men) or Gweipor(for women) in our country, (literally, they means ghost fellows in Chinese), what do you feel?
    That's very interesting to know (about "Chinaman") though I'm unclear as to why it's considered insulting.

    In Spain, resident foreigners are called "guiris". I have no idea whether or not the locals actually mean it as an insult when they say it, but I certainly don't take it as one when I hear it.

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Shall I trust the first or the second ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Shakespeare View Post
    Hullo afresh !
    I suspect that I may have caused this, by saying 'start afresh' in another thread (the 'clean slate' discussion) - but the thing to say here would be 'Hello again' or [informally] 'Me again' [short for 'It's me again'].

    There are two very strong collocations with 'afresh': 'start afresh' and 'begin afresh. 'Hullo afresh' sounds very odd.

    b

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