by Paul Niquette
Copyright ©1996 Resource Books All rights reserved.

Scotch adj. 

  1. Of or pertaining to the people, language, or culture of Scotland; Scottish; Scots. 
  2. Tight with one's money; frugal
      You want to teach a principle?  Give a case. 
      -- Paul Niquette

Generalize from the particular -- that's a whole lot easier than the other way around.  The stratagem comes naturally to children, and we never outgrow it.  It's the best way to learn.

Humans are natural-born generalizers.
Particularize from the general -- that's a whole lot harder than the other way around.  Still, the stratagem comes naturally to the efficacious teacher.
 Permit me to give a case.
A person from China is "Chinese."  How do you describe a person from Burma?  Right, "Burmese."  So, concludes the observant child, if the name of the country ends in an "a" then to describe a person from that country, all you need to do is take away the "a" and add "ese."  Notice how naturally the child generalizes, making a "rule."
Thus, a person from America, you describe as...
Well then, maybe if the initial of the country name is an "a," you leave the "a" at the end and just add an "n," as in "American" and "Alaskan," a principle that works well elsewhere in the world, "African" and "Armenian" -- even with other vowels as initials, "Estonian" and "Indian," and with the initial consonant "r" as in Russian and Rumanian.  Now, Israel and Iraq, both lacking an "a" at the end, apparently get an "i" instead, a rule not acceptable to "Iranians" and "Egyptians."

At least in the Western Hemisphere, you just add an "n" to get "Venezuelan," "Bolivian," and "Honduran," except for Argentina, which replaces the "a" with an "e" -- and Brazil, which does better with "ian," as does Canada, surprisingly.  Natives of Quebec, of course, are "Quebecois" or "Quebecers" or "Quebeckers," your choice.  You have Chile, which needs an "an" to achieve the same effect, a suffix capable of truncating the "o" in Mexico.  Let us not forget Peru and Panama, for which, of course, you interpose "v" and "n," respectively, before the "ian."

Generalizing about Europe is not quite so easy.  Hailing from Holland inexplicably has a person described as "Dutch," a procedure vaguely similar to that of the "French," but quite different for what you do for "Germans."  How hard it is to find more than a single case in point.  As a rule, you may use the "ian" in certain countries, Italy and Luxembourg, but country names such as Belgium and Norway suffer intrusions and thus become "Belgians" and "Norwegians."  Nothing like the "Swiss" and "Czechs," however.   They might take their "rule" from the "Swedes" and the "Scots."  No wonder, some child might mistakenly call Greeks "Grecians."

People from England and Ireland are curiously inclined to give up their "land" to become, whatever their gender, "Englishmen" and "Irishmen."  People from Poland prefer to be called "Poles" than something else, a fate to which the "Finns" are not vulnerable.  Then there are "Spaniards" with their own "rule."

Leaving us with the "Portuguese" to remind us of the "Japanese," neither allowed to be shortened in polite company.  Japan, ending in an "n," only requires the addition of "ese," and thus we have come full circle.  Therefore, students, a person from Jordan, which, like Japan, also begins with a "J" and ends in an "n," would likewise be described as...

Scotch obeys many rules at once.

"Scotsman," "Scot," and "Scotchman" are all employed to designate a person from Scotland.  "Scotsman" is the term generally preferred; "Scotchman" is sometimes considered offensive.  "Scot" is not an adjective, but "Scots" is.  "Scots" and "Scottish" are generally preferred to "Scotch."  Nevertheless, each has become an established form in certain well-known combinations: "Scots Guard," "Scottish rite," and "Scotch whiskey."  Groaner Alert: "Scotch Tape," of course, is a registered trade mark, which adheres (ugh!) to other rules.

Accordingly, having a desire to offend neither person nor corporation and unable to generalize from the particular, a certain teacher has become a verbal teetotaller and abstains from Scotch.

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