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Mami
Which is better to say, foreign people or foreigners? I have learned "foreign people" is better to say than "foreigners." An English dictionary also says "foreigners" is sometimes offensive. However, the other day one foreign friend told me "foreigners" would be better to use. Thank you.
Oct 1, 2016 6:28 PM
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Answers · 15
Either is acceptable. In today's environment one can't win. No matter what you say, someone will be offended.
October 1, 2016
I agree with Alan and James. Foreign people, foreign students, foreign visitors or foreign friends, for example, is preferable to 'foreigners'. Take a look at these two sentences: Warwick University is full of foreigners Warwick University is full of foreign students The first sounds like a complaint, and could be taken as a xenophobic comment. The second sounds positive. Or, better still, do as James suggests. Rather than risk offence, it's better to say 'people - or friends/students/tourists etc) - from different countries' or 'people from all around the world' or a similar phrase. What you should NEVER do is say 'foreigner' when you mean 'a person who isn't Japanese', especially in an international context such as italki. Remember that the word 'foreigner' means a person in a country which isn't theirs. So, while it's OK to refer to a European person living in Japan as a 'foreigner', it IS offensive to call someone a foreigner to mean that they are a different nationality from you. Take a look at these examples: 1. There aren't many foreigners in my city, so I don't get the opportunity to practise my English here. 2. Hello everyone on italki! I'd like to meet foreigners to chat and improve my English. Can you see the difference? Can you see why the first sentence is OK, but the second seems offensive? Nobody minds being called a foreigner when they are in a country which isn't theirs. But we do get irritated when someone refers to everyone in the whole world who doesn't come from their country as 'foreigners'. That's where the problems start. So take James's advice - just say 'people from other countries'.
October 1, 2016
When referring to ethnicities, adjectives are preferable to nouns. For example "My workmate is Jewish" sounds neutral, but "My workmate is a Jew" makes the listener a little uncomfortable - "offensive" is too strong a word, but it's just better to avoid nouns like these. So if you say "foreigner", nobody will want to fight you, I can guarantee you! However if you want people to feel comforable around you, aim for "foreign people"
October 1, 2016
Another good way to say it just "people from other countries"
October 1, 2016
"Foreigners" is more common and more informal. "Foreign people" just sounds more proper or formal. I wouldn't find either of them offensive or rude in any way. However, I know that some people do. In that case, they would be just as offended by "foreign people" as by "foreigners". Personally, I don't think it matters unless you're writing an academic paper or something.
October 1, 2016
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Mami
Language Skills
English, Japanese
Learning Language
English