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    • Join Date: Nov 2010
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    #1

    Question asking nationality

    what is the right question ...
    what are their nationality or what is their nationality?
    because my doubt was the verb ''is'' is linked with the person or the nationality?

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: asking nationality

    Hi and welcome.

    Here's how I'd say them:

    Many people, from different countries: What are their nationalities?
    Many people, all from the same country: What is their nationality?
    One person, whose sex you don't know: What is their nationality?

    (Ignore people who tell you that "their" is used only for multiple people.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. Eden Darien's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: asking nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Hi and welcome.

    Here's how I'd say them:

    Many people, from different countries: What are their nationalities?
    Many people, all from the same country: What is their nationality?
    One person, whose sex you don't know: What is their nationality?

    (Ignore people who tell you that "their" is used only for multiple people.)
    precisely!

    their

    used when talking about someone who may be male or female, to avoid saying 'his or her'
     Everyone is free to express their own opinion.
     Each student will have their own course-work folder.

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    #4

    Re: asking nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by winchester View Post
    what is the right question ...
    what are their nationality or what is their nationality?
    because my doubt was the verb ''is'' is linked with the person or the nationality?

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



    Winchester,


    I thought that you would like this cultural note:


    If you come to the United States, be careful before

    you ask someone his/her "nationality."

    Some people who ask that question do NOT want to know

    what country you are a citizen of. Instead, they want to

    know your racial group. The matter of race is a SUPER

    sensitive issue in our country. Most people understand that

    it is very rude to ask "What is your race?" So some people

    try to "soften" the question by asking "Excuse me. What is

    your nationality?"


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

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    #5

    Re: asking nationality

    It's not just a way to soften questions about racial differences. Even plain old white people will ask each other about their ethnic backgrounds.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: asking nationality

    Nationality and race are entirely different things.
    Your nationality is the country of which you are a citizen.

  4. Eden Darien's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: asking nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********



    Winchester,


    I thought that you would like this cultural note:


    If you come to the United States, be careful before

    you ask someone his/her "nationality."

    Some people who ask that question do NOT want to know

    what country you are a citizen of. Instead, they want to

    know your racial group. The matter of race is a SUPER

    sensitive issue in our country. Most people understand that

    it is very rude to ask "What is your race?" So some people

    try to "soften" the question by asking "Excuse me. What is

    your nationality?"


    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********
    I would go for 'where are you come from?' instead...
    Still in this millennium, xenophobe does exist and quite rampant, I would say...

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    #8

    Re: asking nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by Eden Darien View Post
    I would go for 'where are you come from?' instead...
    Still in this millennium, xenophobe does exist and quite rampant, I would say...

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


    Eden Darien,

    Thank you for your kind note.

    ***

    I do not think that many of our friends in other countries

    understand that the issue of race, nationality, religion, etc.

    is a very touchy (sensitive) matter. We call it a "hot

    potato" (nobody wants to touch it).

    If you come to the United States, it might be a good idea

    not to ask a stranger "Where are you from?" or "Where do

    you come from?" Some very sensitive people might become

    angry and ask, "Where do you come from!!!" Every country

    has certain subjects that are dangerous to discuss. In our

    country, it is better not to discuss this particular matter unless

    you know someone very well.


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

  5. Eden Darien's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: asking nationality

    TheParser..

    I do have lots of friends from the States and I do aware of such situation...
    Anyway, thank you for sharing this issue, I believe we call it as 'taboo'...

    Fyi, I am a foreigner now have been studying in South Korea for 2 years. I have been trying to survive with xenophobia since the first day I came here. Not all, majority of Koreans are very friendly but some of them just get all over head sometimes. But I do not blame them, since I do love Korea: its language and its culture.

    However, sometimes I can't help myself feeling a bit 'insecure' and 'odd'. Well, nothing ventured nothing gained! Having said that, I still would let my self to keep an open mind...

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: asking nationality

    There are many reasons why knowing the citizenship of a group of people may be necessary. The question is not taboo if there is a good reason for knowing the information.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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