Indian

Outsider

Senior Member
Portuguese (Portugal)
There's an ongoing discussion on the Spanish forum about the ambiguity and possible impropriety of the word indio. One of the problems is that it's used both for Native Americans and for the inhabitants of India. In English, this also happens with the word "Indian".
How many other languages have this problem, and how do they solve it?
 
  • Vanda

    Moderesa de Beagá
    Português/ Brasil
    How many other languages have this problem, and how do they solve it?
    Our most respectable dictionary gives three terms referring to the inhabitant of India: índio, hindú, indiano (so, the problem as on the discussion remains). We use indiano in order to avoid mixing up with our native índios.
     

    Anna Più

    Senior Member
    Catalonia, Catalan
    Hi Outsider,
    In Catalan we have only one word for both. It's "indi (m)/ índia(f)", and we need to specificate wich we refer to, if the context doesn't help us.

    If you want to have a look to a Catalan entrance for "indi", here is a reference.:)

    Salut!
    A+
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    Outsider said:
    How many other languages have this problem, and how do they solve it?
    Russian has индеец(m)/индианка(f) for Native Americans and индиец(m)/индийка(f) for natives of India.
     

    Ilmo

    Member Emeritus
    In Finnish we have no problem or confusion about it.
    "intiaani" means an American Indian though we know, of course, that Mr. Kolumbus committed an error. The word cannot be used as an adjective but can be the first part of a compound.
    "intialainen" means, except a citizen of India, also almost anybody living in the Indian peninsula. The word is used also as an adjective.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Vanda said:
    Our most respectable dictionary gives three terms referring to the inhabitant of India: índio, hindú, indiano (so, the problem as on the discussion remains).
    In Portugal, no one calls an inhabitant of India índio, at least nowadays; it's always indiano. Índio is used exclusively for Native Americans.
     

    Roi Marphille

    Senior Member
    Catalonia, Catalan.
    Outsider said:
    In Portugal, no one calls an inhabitant of India índio, at least nowadays; it's always indiano. Índio is used exclusively for Native Americans.
    it's curious, an indiano in Castilian (indià in Catalan) is the name given to people who went to America (spc. in Cuba) to trade with textiles (commonly), sugar, cotton...or slaves...and came back to homeland very rich. They usually liked to show up their richness and hired good architects to built their brand new houses. They were very very rich. Many of big and beautiful houses from beg. of XXth Century in Barcelona city or the Catalan coast are from them.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    That's interesting! Now I understand why Spanish speakers never used the word to refer to the people of India.
     

    Mutichou

    Senior Member
    France - French
    In French, we have the same word for both, "indien".
    But the word "amérindien" is sometimes used for native Americans.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    No confusion in Arabic:

    native of India: هندي (hindi)
    native American: هندي أحمر (hindi ahmar)

    The latter literally means "red Indian."
     

    SpiceMan

    Senior Member
    Castellano, Argentina
    No such problem in Japanese
    インド人 (indojin) for a native of India
    先住民 (senshuumin) for native americans, meaning literally aborigine

    I'd also like to point out that aborigine in English refers only to people (at least according to Merriam-Webster), unlike Spanish' aborigen which can mean plants, animals, etc. besides people
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    Well, the term India is actually foreign to begin with! The word came from the river found in Pakistan, locally known as Sindhu (where the southern most Pakistani province Sindh is). Anyway, the Persians soon came and renamed it Hind, and all Indians (regardless of relgion) were hindu. Then in some way/shape/form the name became India for the British. Meanwhile, with Indians (or at least North Indians), there are two common terms used: Bhaarat and Hindustaan. Bhaarat came from the name of a legendary king, and Hindustaan from the words Hindu (Indian) and sthaan (land). But now, it is 100% inacceptable to use the word Hindu in English to refer to a generic Indian. That is why it is kind of uncomfortable for me in Spanish to say "Soy hindu" because Im not!
     

    symposium

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    In Italian we call "indiano/indiani" the inhabitants of India, we use the Spanish words "indio/indios" or, less often, the Italian words "amerindio/amerindi" for the native peoples of Latin America, but we still call "indiano/indiani" the native peoples of North America.
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Hungarian:

    Native of India: indiai
    Native American: indián

    It seems that apart from English and Romance languages, there's no confusion at all.
    Maybe it has to with the fact that the confusion was "created" in Romance-speaking countries.;)
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Russian has индеец(m)/индианка(f) for Native Americans and индиец(m)/индийка(f) for natives of India.
    In Macedonian it is similar to Russian:

    Native American:
    Индијанец (Indijanec) [indi'janɛʦ] m.
    Индијанка (Indijanka) [indi'jaŋka] f.
    индијански (indijanski) [indi'janski] adj.

    Native of India:

    Индиец (Indiec) ['indiɛʦ] m.
    Индијка (Indijka) ['indijka] f.
    индиски (indiski) ['indiski] adj.
     
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