runenklinge (runenklinge) wrote in linguaphiles,

Confused with Nationalities

Hello linguaphiles!

This has the potential to turn a bit nasty, so beforehand: I mean no disrespect, and I just don't know what to say, or how to say some things properly, and basically want to make sure I don't sound racist.

First: Greek vs Grecian
I was always told that the adjective to Greece is Greek, aka the Greek language, Greek restaurant, etc.
But, mostly in tv shows, I come upon the word Grecian....which is somehow also an adjective to Greece, but not quite. I've seen it most used in relation to art and such. I don't think they're synonyms, but what are they?
Does Grecian refer only to things from Ancient Greece?
Would it be correct to say that Grecian describes rather the style than the point of origin of something?
Do other word-pairs like this one exist?

Second: Native Americans - is it okay to say that?
Again, I was taught that the proper name is "Native American", and under no circumstance should you say "Indian"; so far, so good.
But then I hear, again in tv shows, that people use "American Indian". Is that also correct? Or rather, is that proper?
I have never seen it before in literature, so I guess it's rather recent with tv shows as my source, but I don't know about this one. Maybe because in 5th grade we were told you should absolutely not say "Indian", that that was offensive.
I guess it's a distinction from immigrants since it's a reversal "African American", "Filipino American" etc put the American at the back and not the front, but...I'm sorry, it just seems strange to me.
Would I then say to an immigrant who came from India to America "Indian American" and to a native American "American Indian", so to speak?
My gut tells me to continue using "native american", but I'm just not sure about this new term and wanted to ask someone.

on that note: German speakers, would you classify "Indianer" as politically correct, use "amerikanische Ureinwohner" instead, or do....something else?

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