Wikipedia:Argentine, not Argentinian

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There is very much confusion with regard to demonyms and adjectives for Argentina. The country we now call Argentina was traditionally called the Argentine in English.[1] This usage is, bizarrely, much closer to the Spanish name of the country. "Argentina" is an adjective, that means "silvery" or "argentine".[2] The official name of the country in Spanish is la República Argentina (English: Argentine Republic). Argentina, in that phrase, is not a noun, as seen in the translation. It is an adjective that modifies the word "republic". In fact, Argentines never refer to "Argentina" as a noun. It is always referred to as la Argentina (the Argentine), which drops the noun from the following originating expressions (la [tierra] Argentina", la [República] Argentina).[3] So, as has been established, the English name "Argentina", in an attempt to get closer to Spanish, has actually gotten further from its proper meaning. Argentina can't be a noun."The Argentine", the traditional usage, is actually a direct translation of the Spanish.

So, what does this mean? Well, I'll get to the point. If the word "Argentina" is already an adjective, then what should be the proper demonym for people from Argentina? It is simple: Argentine. Proper usage: "He is proud to call himself an Argentine" or "Argentine President Cristina Kirchner will visit her compatriot Pope".[4] Argentina is already an adjective and a demonym, and serves those purposes in Spanish. Simply translating it into English as "Argentine" is the most correct demonym. "Argentinian" is terribly redundant, because, as has been established, Argentina is already an adjective. Adding "ian" to the end of the word doesn't add anything to the meaning, but simply doubly implies it is an adjective.

This usage, "Argentinian", is fairly new, only arriving into English speech towards the end of the 20th century. Its rise coincided with the downfall of "the Argentine", because as the name Argentina gained popularity, people lost the real sense that the country has no one-word nounal form, and that the name of the country is based on an adjective. Because English-speakers do not recognize that the Spanish word argentina is an adjective, many seem to have assumed it was necessary to add the "ian" suffix to make it one.

Well, now you know that this is not correct. "Argentinian" is genuinely misinformed. The proper adjective/demonym for Argentina is Argentine, and this should always be the preferred usage.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Argentina from Oxford Dictionaries Online
  2. ^ argentum. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.
  3. ^ Instituto Geografico Nacional (Spanish)
  4. ^ Merolla, Daniel (18 September 2014). "Argentine leader seeks pope's backing for debt battle". Buenos Aires: Yahoo! News. AFP. Argentine President Cristina Kirchner will visit her compatriot Pope Francis Saturday, seeking to enlist his support for her fight against hedge fund creditors before taking her pitch to the UN.  Archived 19 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine