"Icelandic" as a nationality name

AndrasBP

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello,

Does the word "Icelandic" refer to the language only, or is it also possible to use it for a person?

Jón is Icelandic.

Is that OK or should I stick to "Jón is from Iceland" and "Jón is an Icelander"?
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    "Icelandic" sounds all right when used to refer to food or customs or things like that, but it sounds a little off when used to refer to an Icelander. I can't really say why though.

    Jon is of Icelandic origin.:tick:
    Jon is Icelandic.
    - Doesn't sound all right, but maybe it's just me.

    Cross-posted.
     
    Last edited:

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Thank you for your replies.

    It's just something about "[Name of person] is Icelandic" that I don't like but I don't know why, and I can't think of a similar example. Must be just me then.
    That's exactly how I felt about it. "Pierre is French" or "Rasmus is Danish" are obviously OK, but "Einar is Icelandic" is somehow strange.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "Einar is Icelandic" is perfectly normal to me, as are
    "Einar is an Icelander"
    and
    "I like Icelandic fish."
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    OK then. Perhaps I'm influenced by the adjective Arabic, which is supposed to refer to the language only.
    You mean as in
    "This is an example of Arabic art?" or
    "This is an Arabic custom."
    "She labeled the cards with Arabic numerals."
    "The Arabic system had a decimal point and a zero as a ‘place-holder’,
    "Spain's first school of riding..followed the classic Arabic style of riding and handling of horses.
    "Tall, dignified, lean Nuer, Shilluk or Dinka men from the south mingled with the lighter skinned Arabic northerners."
    "The explorer Tim Severin, who was building an Arabic ship..to follow the voyages of Sindbad the Sailor."
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You mean as in
    "This is an example of Arabic art?" or
    "This is an Arabic custom."
    [...]
    Some of your other examples seem fine, but I would have said "Arab art / custom" or "Arabian art / custom" (with a potential difference in meaning between the two).
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    You mean as in
    "This is an example of Arabic art?" or
    "This is an Arabic custom."
    "She labeled the cards with Arabic numerals."
    I've read a thread on the use of Arab/Arabic/Arabian, and the issue seems to be controversial. Some people seem to accept the use of "Arabic" for other things than the language, literature and numerals, some don't. But clearly I was wrong to think that "Arabic" refers exclusively to the language.
    Still, you wouldn't say that "Hassan is Arabic" sounds just as normal as "Einar is Icelandic", would you?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Still, you wouldn't say that "Hassan is Arabic" sounds just as normal as "Einar is Icelandic", would you?
    I would not make that generalisation. English is very context-dependant and thus the context would make a difference as to how natural it sounded.


     
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