From the list, I find 8 major suffixes, they are:

  1. -ian (Italian, Norwegian)
  2. -ean (Chilean, Korean)
  3. -an (American, Mexican)
  4. -ese (Chinese, Japanese)
  5. -er (Icelander, New Zealander)
  6. -ic (Icelandic, Greenlandic)
  7. -ish (English, Irish)
  8. -i (Iraqi, Pakistani)

Looking at the map, we can probably notice some distributive patterns right away. For instance, –ish is mainly used for European nations, –i is for nations in the Middle East, –ic and –er seem to occur only after the word –land, but the others seem to be more random.

Not satisfied with the mere geographical picture, I decided to trace the histories of these suffixes.

Suffix Origin
-ian Latin
-ean Latin
-an Latin
-ese Latin → Italian
-er Latin → Germanic
-ic Latin → Germanic
-ish Germanic
-i Arabic

=

Chinian, not Chinese?

In an interesting twist on the “Shanghainese” issue, Kevin Keqing Liu at China Daily argues that it’s time to retire “Chinese” in favor of “Chinian”. His reasoning starts this way:

Group I: American, Australian, Austrian, Canadian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Russian…

Group II: Chinese, Congolese, Japanese, Nepalese, Portuguese, Sudanese, Vietnamese…

In the State of Ohio in the United States, what do local residents call themselves? Ohioese? Wrong. Ohioan. In Toronto, Canada, the people there call themselves yes, you guessed it Torontonian. Never Torontonese.

Not enough to make you feel superior should you fall into Group I, or inferior if you unfortunately happen to be in Group II? Let’s look at the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 1978, for the definition of “-ese”: suffix, 1. (the people or language) belonging to (a country); 2. (usually derogatory) literature written in the (stated) style. Examples: Johnsonese; journalese.

Or MSN Encarta Dictionary online: … 3. The style of language of a particular group (disapproving). Example: officialese. [Via Old French -eis; Italian -ese]

He continues the argument:

The English-speaking founding fathers of Singapore were well aware of the subtle significance behind the “-ese” and “-an” distinction, and opted for Singaporean when the nation became independent in 1965.

India has a different story. The Indians stemmed from Europe. Europeans saw Indians as relatives. You wouldn’t want to use harsh descriptions for your relatives, would you?

The same is true of Central and South Americans, who are cousins of North Americans and Mexicans.

You may ask: What about the Portuguese, also Europeans? Well, a few hundred years back, Portugal was a powerful nation warring fiercely with other major European countries for resources in overseas colonies, and was victimized by being hated and looked down upon by their European rivals.

and concludes:

In the 21st century, the world has evolved into an era when racial discrimination is not tolerated. It is time the names in Group II were abolished.

I don’t know the history in detail, but I believe that the development of the derogatory suffix for writing or speaking styles followed, rather than preceded, the use of -ese for adjectival forms of toponyms. That’s what the OED says:

A frequent mod. application of the suffix is to form words designating the diction of certain authors who are accused of writing in a dialect of their own invention; e.g. Johnsonese, Carlylese. On the model of derivatives from authors’ names were formed Americanese, cablese, headlinese, journalese, newspaperese, novelese, officialese, etc.

The earliest citation for this development is from 1898:

1898 F. HARRISON in 19th Cent. June 941 As Mat Arnold said to me..‘Flee Carlylese as the very devil!’ Yes! flee Carlylese, Ruskinese, Meredithese, and every other ese.
1899 Golf Illustr. 14 July 134 American ‘golfese’.
1906 Daily Chron. 2 Aug. 3/2 Deplorable guide-bookese.

As for the story of the affix itself, the OED gives it this way:

forming adjs., is ad. OF. -eis (mod.F. -ois, -ais): — Com. Romanic -ese (It. -ese, Pr., Sp. -es, Pg. -ez):– L. ēnsem. The L. suffix had the sense ‘belonging to, originating in (a place)’, as in hortēnsis, prātēnsis, f. hortus garden, prātum meadow, and in many adjs. f. local names, as Carthāginiēnsis Carthaginian, Athēniēnsis Athenian. Its representatives in the Romanic langs. are still the ordinary means of forming adjs. upon names of countries or places. In Eng. -ese forms derivatives from names of countries (chiefly after Romanic prototypes), as Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, and from some names of foreign (never English) towns, as Milanese, Viennese, Pekinese, Cantonese. These adjs. may usually be employed as ns., either as names of languages, or as designations of persons; in the latter use they formerly had plurals in -s, but the pl. has now the same form as the sing., the words being taken rather as adjs. used absol. than as proper ns. (From words in -ese used as pl. have arisen in illiterate speech such sing. forms as Chinee, Maltee, Portugee.)

There’s clearly a story to be told about the concentration of -ese derivatives in East Asia, but I don’t think that the story Liu tells is the right one, at least historically.

In sorting -ese and -ian, we need to note that English has other processes for forming adjectives from place names, including -ish (Irish, British, Flemish, Polish, Scottish, Spanish, Swedish), -i (Afghani, Iraqi, Israeli, Kuwaiti, Pakistani) and the motley collection of processes involved in cases like French and Greek.

In this context, we should note that -ish also has a disparaging or belittling tinge in nonce formations, as the OED observes:

In recent colloquial and journalistic use, -ish has become the favourite ending for forming adjs. for the nonce (esp. of a slighting or depreciatory nature) on proper names of persons, places, or things, and even on phrases, e.g. Disraelitish, Heine-ish, Mark Twainish, Micawberish, Miss Martineauish, Queen Annish, Spectator-ish, Tupperish, West Endish; all-over-ish, at-homeish, devil-may-care-ish, how-d’ye-doish, jolly-good-fellowish, merry-go-roundish, out-of-townish, and the like.

This can hardly be because the adjectival forms of toponyms with -ish are themselves generally deprecated.

Reforming English to regularize all adjectival forms of toponyms using -an or -ian would, ironically, align everyone with the usage attributed to George W. Bush in what were (among) the earliest reported “Bushisms”: Grecians, East Timorians, Kosovians. On this line, I guess, you could pitch it as an educational reform to make it easier for schoolchildren to learn standard English, rather than as an exercise in political correctness designed to avoid negative connotations attached to anyone’s morphemes.

But perhaps we’ll see an alternative movement to rescue these morphemes from their historical degradation at the hands of elitist irony: “Say it loud: -ish and proud!”

[Update: Aaron “Dr. Whom” Dinkin asks whether Spaniard uses the same morpheme as words like bastard, canard, mallard, coward, buzzard, drunkard, laggard, sluggard etc.. It does, I believe. ]

Posted by Mark Liberman at January 26, 2006 06:51 AM

=

The -an, -ian, and -ese suffixes all stem from the Latin adjectival naming system:

-ian or -an, from Latin, –ianus, meaning “native of”, “relating to”, or “belonging to”

-ese, from the Latin, -ensis, meaning “originating in”

Why one nationality got assigned a -ian or -an suffix in the English language, while another got the -ese suffix is either an arbitrary evolution from an earlier form (usually from French), or simply whatever sounded nicer at the time, or maybe a combination of the two. At least, that’s my theory, anyway.
=
-ian; -ese Both suffixes come from a Latin tradition as previously mentioned. Sinensis and Japonensis are neo-Latin words for ‘Chinese’ and ‘Japanese’ found in some botanical names.

The -ian(us) suffix is Latin but appears to be more Late Latin. For example, the Imperial Romans used Dacicus, Macedonicus, Parthicus (Trajanus Parthicus = Roman emperor and conqueror 101-106 A.D.) as epithets for ‘Dacian’, ‘Macedonian’ and ‘Parthian’ rather than Dacianus, Macedonianus, Parthianus etc. .

There is no hard fast rule as to how they were used but generally -ensis was used for smaller places like cities or towns as in Gallia Lugdonensis, a part of ancient Gaul named after the town of Lugdunum (Celtic for ‘Lug’s Fortress’ < Lug the Celtic god of light), the modern French city of Lyon which has -ese in the adjectival form as in “eggs cooked Lyonese style.” But there was also Gallia Aquitania (Aquitanian Gaul) named after the province (or region) of Aquitania in western Gaul (France).
=
Listen, I’m Chinian, not Chinese
Kevin Keqing LiuChina Daily Updated: 2006-01-19 06:32

Group I: American, Australian, Austrian, Canadian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Russian…

Group II: Chinese, Congolese, Japanese, Nepalese, Portuguese, Sudanese, Vietnamese…

In the State of Ohio in the United States, what do local residents call themselves? Ohioese? Wrong. Ohioan. In Toronto, Canada, the people there call themselves yes, you guessed it Torontonian. Never Torontonese.

Not enough to make you feel superior should you fall into Group I, or inferior if you unfortunately happen to be in Group II? Let’s look at the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 1978, for the definition of “-ese”: suffix, 1. (the people or language) belonging to (a country); 2. (usually derogatory) literature written in the (stated) style. Examples: Johnsonese; journalese.

Or MSN Encarta Dictionary online: … 3. The style of language of a particular group (disapproving). Example: officialese. [Via Old French -eis; Italian -ese]

Even these two dictionaries published in modern times when racism is illegal reveal that, clearly, “-ese” here relates to derogation and shows a low opinion of people, to say nothing of centuries ago when the ancient Europeans saw themselves as the centre of the world, and called the countries near the eastern Mediterranean sea “Near East,” the Asian countries west of India “Middle East,” the Asian countries east of India “Far East,” and North America the “New World.”

In ancient times, China’s economy was comparatively developed and it made initial contact with Europe through merchandise trading such as porcelain or china hence the country name China via the Silk Road.

While excited about the unique goods, the arrogant old Europeans felt uneasy with this totally different people from the remote East having a strange physical appearance and inferior culture in their eyes, and laughed at the latter’s difficult languages, ugly attire, and dire foods; therefore they named them in a negative way.

Countries such as Japan, Nepal and Viet Nam resemble China in human physical appearance and culture, and were also victimized.

Why, then, the survival of many Africans such as Egyptian and Tunisian, and Central and South Americans such as Jamaican and Brazilian, as well as some Asians Korean, Malaysian and Indian?

My research indicates that, firstly, when Europeans made initial contact with Koreans and Malaysians, hundreds of years later than with the Chinese, Europe was more civilized and less racist; secondly, by now, Europeans were getting used to the Asian physical appearance and culture and began to accept them; and finally, Europeans happened to like the way the Koreans and Malaysians interacted with Europeans, when both made initial contact.

The inferences can be applied to the Africans whose names end with an “-an.”

The English-speaking founding fathers of Singapore were well aware of the subtle significance behind the “-ese” and “-an” distinction, and opted for Singaporean when the nation became independent in 1965.

India has a different story. The Indians stemmed from Europe. Europeans saw Indians as relatives. You wouldn’t want to use harsh descriptions for your relatives, would you?

The same is true of Central and South Americans, who are cousins of North Americans and Mexicans.

You may ask: What about the Portuguese, also Europeans? Well, a few hundred years back, Portugal was a powerful nation warring fiercely with other major European countries for resources in overseas colonies, and was victimized by being hated and looked down upon by their European rivals.

In the 21st century, the world has evolved into an era when racial discrimination is not tolerated. It is time the names in Group II were abolished.

(China Daily 01/19/2006 page4)
=
The Anglo-Burmese, also known as the Anglo-Burmans, are a community of Eurasians of Burmese and European descent, who emerged as a distinct community through mixed relations (sometimes permanent, sometimes temporary) between the British and other European settlers and the indigenous peoples of Burma from 1826 until 1948 when Burma gained its independence from the United Kingdom.
After the Portuguese and the French, the Dutch also established trade missions in Burma and with them came Armenian settlers, both communities intermarrying with the already established Eurasians or marrying local Burmese people. The VOC (Dutch East India Company) was active in Burma in the 18th century and many Anglo-Burmans of Dutch heritage are descended from the Dutch merchants who settled in the country. Today’s Anglo-Burmese can count a very diverse lineage in their blood.
=
Myanmar
Myanmar: The advent of the Burmans at Pagan
Another group of Tibeto- Burman speakers, the Burmans, also had become established in the northern dry zone. They were centred on the small settlement of Pagan on the Irrawaddy River. By the mid-9th century, Pagan had emerged as the capital of a powerful kingdom that would unify Myanmar and inaugurate the Burman domination of the country that has continued to the present day.
=
The word “Japan” is actually not Japanese. It’s rather from Chinese. It is from World War II when people went over to China and heard Chinese people say something similar to “Japan” were saying “Riben” in Mandarin Chinese but somehow someone got confused and used the Cantonese word for Japan “Yat boon”. So being British, they used the Wade-Giles Romanization, where the r sound is turned into a y sound but written with a j. The actually confusion started when someone forgot which to use, Mandarin or Cantonese, so they mixed it up. So, instead of Nihon or Nippon, it became “Japan” which is nowhere close to the original pronunciation from the Japanese language.

All European languages used this British made word, Japan, as is, or a variation, like “Japon” in French.

“Cipangu” is not a Portuguese word, it’s a word made up by Marco Polo, from 13th century Venetian’s Italian, who NEVER visited China, but yet made a ridiculously inaccurate map, which Christopher Columbus was trying to use to steal Japan’s riches, but failed because Columbus NEVER found Japan.
=
The suffixes -ese and -an come from Romance languages, while -ish comes from Germanic languages (including Old English). Those that have other suffixes (eg Iraqi, Filipino, Afrikaner) are generally direct from the native language.

How the suffix is picked is based on a mixture of etymology and what sounds nice. Our word German, for example, came to us through Latin, and as such has a Romance, rather than Germanic, ending.
=
Burma and the Empire of Kublai Khan

Though the account is mainly known for its wealth of information about the Yuan state and Chinese/Mongolian society and culture, it also contains some information about the empire’s neighbors. Burma is the subject of four chapters (chapters LI-LIV of Book II).

In Polo’s account, Burma appears under the name Mien; this is how the country was called by the Chinese in those days. The kingdom’s capital also bears its Chinese name: Amien. In terms of global history, the Burma of Marco Polo is the Burma of the Bagan kingdom; Amien is the city of Bagan itself.

The book tells the short story of the troubled relations between the two states. Those years were dominated by a war that ended with the defeat and subjugation of Bagan Burma.

Chapter LII of Book II describes the battle that took place at Vochan in the empire’s south. He gives a glimpse of the Burmese military.

It was written that the Mien/Bagan king was able to amass an army of 60,000 footmen and horsemen. Battle elephants played a special role in strategy, and the explorer wrote how the giant creatures frightened the horses of the Mongols but, in turn, were forced to retreat under the assault of archers.
=

kai

About kai

Kai has written 933 post in this Website..

Editor - The Myanmar Gazette || First Amendment – Religion and Expression - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.