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who has which nationality Options
luckyguy
Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 1:42:07 AM
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I am not sure how to say this about people's ethnic backgrounds or nationalities. Let me try it.

(ex) In this group, the people are French, British, Mexican or American.

(1) I cannot figure out who has which ethnic background.

(2) I cannot figure out who has which nationality.

Does it make sense to say "who has which ethnic background or nationality"? Thanks for your help.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 6:06:55 AM
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Well I'm not sure if I'm understanding you? French, British, Mexican and American are people who are citizens of those countries. Their religions, colours, etc. are not important - they are just French etc. people.

But, for example, in Britain - the ancestors or even just parents & grandparents of many British people come from all over the world and, tho' British now, their ethnic background can be Pakistani, or African, or Syrian or Celtic or French i.e. their family background differs from person to person.

Simply - you can't always tell a person's nationality just by looking at them, but sometimes you can guess at their ethnic background. The Mayor of London, for example, is an English as I, but his ethnic background is Islam and...well actually I have no idea. His family originated somewhere in the sub-Continent I think. Whereas my ethnic background is Celtic and Romany.

America is the only English-speaking country where citizens have their ethnic-background tacked on to their nationality: people are African-American, or Mexican-American. Elsewhere one is just French, English etc., NOW, AT THIS MINUTE, so we don't bother tracking back to what/where a family may have been generations ago i.e. their ethnic background.

TheParser
Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 9:38:01 AM
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NOT A TEACHER


Dear Learners:


If you come to the United States, please remember that if someone asks, "Excuse me, but what is your nationality?," that person may actually NOT want to know what your citizenship is.

Sometimes Americans use "nationality" to mean race. It is considered too rude to use the word "race" (Caucasian, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American).

So nowadays the word "ethnicity" is often used instead of "race."

And some people will even say something like, "What are the demographics of the neighborhood?" ( = What are the races/ethnicities of the people who live in this neighborhood?)

Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 10:21:23 AM

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TheParser wrote:
If you come to the United States, please remember that if someone asks, "Excuse me, but what is your nationality?," that person may actually NOT want to know what your citizenship is.

This is news to me. I've always thought the English word 'nationality' meant exactly 'citizenship'. That's what I observed in Canada. Sometimes it would lead to confusions 'cause I would answer differently to a direct question if I was Russian. If I felt like Canadian I would say "Yes I am", if I felt like Russian I would say "My mother is Russian. Me? I'm taking my time".

The Russian word 'национальность' is understood is ethnic origin. We had this printed in our Soviet passports:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Union_passport

Quote:
As mentioned, the internal passports identified every bearer by ethnicity (национальность, natsional’nost’), e.g., Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Estonian, Jew, etc. When an individual applied for his passport at age 16, he had to select ethnicity of one of parents.

UPDATE
To address the original question:

Quote:
(ex) In this group, the people are French, British, Mexican or American.

As I understand it in English these mean nationalities, that is, citizenship of the members of the group. To talk of ethnic background you would need to state this explicitly and then you wouldn't throw 'French' and 'American' in the same heap. One can not be ethnic American.

აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
TheParser
Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 12:38:23 PM
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Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1 wrote:

This is news to me. I've always thought the English word 'nationality' meant exactly 'citizenship'.



NOT A TEACHER

You are correct: "nationality" refers to one's citizenship.

But in the United States, race is the elephant in the room.

So well-mannered people try to avoid the word.

If a person asks a Caucasian (white) person his "nationality," then it means exactly that: what country is he a citizen of?

But when it comes to people of color, well-mannered people would NEVER ask "What is your race?" So some people resort to the word "nationality," which is -- as you have said -- the WRONG word. But they want to be as gentle as possible.



Joe: Excuse me, but, uh, what is your, uh, "nationality"?

Susan: I'm an American. (Susan was born in the States.)

Joe: Oh, uh, I mean what is your, uh, ethnicity?

Susan: You mean my race?

Joe: Well, uh, yes.

Susan: My parents came to the United States from Korea.

Joe: So you're Asian.

Susan: Correct.

Joe: I apologize for having asked you, but someone thought that you were a Native American (American Indian).

Susan: No problem. Have a nice day.





Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 2:20:06 PM

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TheParser wrote:
You are correct: "nationality" refers to one's citizenship.

But in the United States, race is the elephant in the room.

So well-mannered people try to avoid the word.

If a person asks a Caucasian (white) person his "nationality," then it means exactly that: what country is he a citizen of?

But when it comes to people of color, well-mannered people would NEVER ask "What is your race?" So some people resort to the word "nationality," which is -- as you have said -- the WRONG word. But they want to be as gentle as possible.

Thank you TheParser! Thanks for clearing this for me.

აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
almo 1
Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 4:51:13 PM
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TheParser
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 6:39:51 AM
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Joined: 9/21/2012
Posts: 4,348
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Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1 wrote:

Thank you TheParser! Thanks for clearing this for me.



NOT A TEACHER


You're very welcome.

Because race is such an emotional issue in the United States and is such a part of the American experience, only someone who has lived here for a good period of time can understand the nuances.

For example, some Americans use another courteous way in order to avoid the word "race."



Jose: I have a new girlfriend. I'm crazy about her!

Maria: I'm so happy for you. By the way, what is her background?

Jose: What do you mean?

Maria: Well, you and I are Hispanic ...

Jose: Oh, I understand now. She's Asian.

Maria: Is she a citizen?

Jose: She was born in Las Vegas, so she's as American as apple pie.


*****

In the United States, many companies and governmental organizations are required to keep records on their employees. This often involves identifying the employees' racial group. It seems that the generally accepted term in 2017 is "ethnicity." If you use that term, you should have no problems.




Romany
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 7:32:47 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
The reason we use 'ethnicity' and not 'race' is that 'race' can pretty much be seen or guessed at on sight. Ethnicity, however, is one's culture and no-one can tell a person's ethnicity just by looking at them.

"Ethnicity" refers to the culture/s you were shaped by. As I said previously, both my sons are, by ethnicity, African. They speak African languages, they received African education, the things they were brought up doing and knowing all pertained to Africa. But they aren't black - i.e. their ethnicity is African, their 'race' is Caucasian.

Thus, in the conversation above, a) the girlfriend's 'ethnicity' which was asked for is NOT Asian as the person exclaims. Her ethnicity is American. She was born and raised there. and b) why on earth would the question of her 'race' be important? I cannot imagine anyone asking a friend about their new partners race? I simply, absolutely, do not get it. She's American. And none of the American friends, colleagues or room-mates I've ever had have ever asked such a ridiculous question.
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 8:30:41 AM

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Location: Dzerzhinskiy, Moskovskaya, Russia
Romany wrote:
The reason we use 'ethnicity' and not 'race' is that 'race' can pretty much be seen or guessed at on sight. Ethnicity, however, is one's culture and no-one can tell a person's ethnicity just by looking at them.

No it's all of that - cultural, religious and genetic. 'Race' is too broad a category. I can tell you at sight a Georgian from an Armenian, an Armenian from an Azerbaijani and all of them from a Russian. In more cases than I will fail. And this has nothing to do with race - they all are Caucasians.
Here's the greatest Russian poet:



He is an ethnic Russian though you can see some African features in the visage. This is his great grand father:



We will never say that he is an ethnic Russian - he has nothing Russian in his blood. Though he is a Russian national, a Russian general, belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church and generally is a good Russian guy.

Romany wrote:
"Ethnicity" refers to the culture/s you were shaped by. As I said previously, both my sons are, by ethnicity, African. They speak African languages, they received African education, the things they were brought up doing and knowing all pertained to Africa.

Don't tell me stories! Ethnicity is not something you get in school - it comes from your family. And they speak English most certainly.

აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
Y111
Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 9:02:43 AM
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Location: Kurgan, Kurgan, Russia
Also, Africa is not a country, it's a continent. And not all Africans are black.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 2:46:09 AM

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It seems you are each using a different meaning of "Ethnicity"

Some official forms (particularly in the USA, South Africa - but also here in the UK sometimes) have multiple-choice questions:
What is your ethnicity?
European
African
Asian
Native American
etc.
That would mean "What colour is your skin, from what ancestry/broad racial background?"

Another meaning is culture:
Romany and I are both basically (very) British.
Yet our ethnics are worlds apart in some ways - the way we understand different phrases is an obvious difference which can be seen in these forums - because of the different cultures in which we were educated.

ethnic adj
1. (Anthropology & Ethnology) relating to or characteristic of a human group having racial, religious, linguistic, and certain other traits in common
2. (Anthropology & Ethnology) relating to the classification of mankind into groups, esp on the basis of racial characteristics
3. (Sociology) denoting or deriving from the cultural traditions of a group of people

Collins Dictionary
1. pertaining to or characteristic of a people, esp. a group (eth′nic group′) sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, etc.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary

Harben's "Greatest Russian Poet" would not be considered an ethnic Russian in the USA - his 'ethinicity' would be "mixed African and European" or something like that.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2017 4:15:26 AM

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Location: Dzerzhinskiy, Moskovskaya, Russia
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Harben's "Greatest Russian Poet" would not be considered an ethnic Russian in the USA - his 'ethinicity' would be "mixed African and European" or something like that.

No. I'm not going to take this. 'Mixed African and European' is his race. Ok! Here's another good Russian guy:



You can clearly see he is not your average Russian. We say it's his 'национальность'. But if you translate it literally into English you'll get 'nationality' and he is a Russian citizen. To speak of race - you will probably smile but he is much more Caucasian than Donald Trump is. We also use the expression 'этническая принадлежность' as a synonym for 'национальность' and that's 'ethnicity'. Now you say I can not use the word 'ethnicity' to mean this. I can not use 'nationality', I can not use 'race', I can not use 'ethnicity' So what word should I use to mean what I mean?

აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
Romany
Posted: Friday, July 21, 2017 5:58:26 AM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 12,350
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Well - the good news is that you don't 'have to' change anything if you don't want to. If your understanding of the words is shared by everyone in Russia then it would be even more confusing if you started messing about the the National interpretation of the word!

We are merely trying to give the current English interpretations. Some of our Learners here will some day need to fill in forms for travel, admission, visa's etc. in English. We're just preparing them for the fact that race and ethnicity MAY mean something different to the way the applicant/Learner has always used them.

No worries.



almo 1
Posted: Monday, August 07, 2017 12:15:12 AM
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Location: Fussa, Tokyo, Japan
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1 wrote:


Romany wrote:
"Ethnicity" refers to the culture/s you were shaped by. As I said previously, both my sons are, by ethnicity, African. They speak African languages, they received African education, the things they were brought up doing and knowing all pertained to Africa.


Don't tell me stories! Ethnicity is not something you get in school - it comes from your family. And they speak English most certainly.







Ken Tanaka can speak English with Japanese accents




/Ken Tanaka meets a Caucasian Japanese man/







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