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I would like to know the proper usage of the following words relating to the Philippines: Filipino and Filipina.

She is a beautiful Filipino woman.

Is the statement above correct? Given that the word Filipino can function as an adjective but Filipina is an adjective more specific to female citizens of the country (Even though both words can also serve as a noun).

Or should it rather be written as:

She is a beautiful Filipina woman.

Digression!

She is a beautiful Filipina.

I think the statement above is correct. Here, the word Filipina acts as a noun.

The usage for male citizens of the Philippines is a bit clear to me. The main problem is about the proper adjective for female citizens.

He is a good-looking Filipino man.
He is a good-looking Filipino.

Since the word Filipino can function as a noun and as an adjective, that's my opinion.

2 Answers 2

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The usage in English of foreign words, particularly those from languages with gender differences, is best clarified using a style guide. It is to be noted that some style guides suggest using Filipino as the adjective for both sexes. if you are writing for publication, or for academic purposes, you should consult the relevant style guide. If you are writing for yourself, you can choose Filipino or Filipina as the adjective, but remember to be consistent.

the Philippines inhabited by Filipinos (male) and Filipinas (female); adjective Filipino for both sexes, but Philippine for, say, a Philippine island or the Philippine president

Guardian and Observer Style Guide (P)

Philippine, Filipino, Filipina Adjective form of place-name. The Philippines takes a singular verb.

Filipino is the official language and the noun and adjective form for a native of the Philippines.

Filipina may be used to specify a Filipino girl or woman.

Philippine, Filipino, Filipina (National Geographic Style Manual)

Adjective form of the Philippines

Philippine is generally used with inanimate nouns. Examples: the Philippine National Anthem, the Philippine Senate.

Philippine is also used as an adjective for people when it describes people representing the Philippine nation. Examples: the Philippine president, the Philippine ambassador, a Philippine politician, the Philippine goalkeeper.

Note that Philippine cannot be used as an adjectival noun: The Philippine was talking to the Frenchman is not idiomatic English.

Filipino is used as an adjective and adjectival noun to refer to male Philippine citizens or people with Filipino ancestry: Examples: a Filipino actor, He is [a] Filipino. It is mainly used for males or mixed-gender groups, or where the gender is unknown. Example: Many Filipinos believe ...

Filipino may also be used with inanimate nouns, though it is more commonly >applied to people. Examples: Filipino jeep, Filipino pottery.

Filipino is also the name of the national language. Examples: She speaks Filipino, Filipino-speakers.

Filipina is used when referring to women, both as an adjective and as an adjectival noun. Examples: a Filipina poet, The company is run by a Filipina.

Filipino women is an expression that is mainly used outside the Philippines and should be avoided in Philippine-related articles; in Philippine English, standard usage is Filipinas, Filipina women or, more rarely, Philippine women. Pinoy and the feminine form Pinay are the slang equivalents to Filipino and Filipina respectively, and apply to people only. Pilipino or Pilipina are rarely used in English. They may be found in the former name of the Filipino language as well as in the acronym OPM, or Original Pilipino Music.

Phillippino, Phillipino, Philippino, or Philipino are simply wrong.

Wikipedia Manual of Style (Philippines-related)

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The fully anglicized adjective is Philippine. Therefore, someone using the terms Filipino and Filipina is choosing to use Spanish words, and some of the Spanish grammar rules still apply. Specifically:

  • Filipina and Filipinas are feminine
  • Filipino and Filipinos are either masculine, or for use where the gender is mixed or unknown.
  • Filipina woman is redundant.
  • Filipino man is redundant.
  • The plural of Filipina (the noun) is Filipinas.
  • The plural of Filipino (the noun) is Filipinos.

But in a mostly-English sentence, follow the English rule that adjectives do not have grammatical number.

  • So the plural of Filipina (the adjective) is Filipina (in English), and Filipinas (in Spanish).
  • And the plural of Filipino (the adjective) is Filipino (in English), and Filipinos (in Spanish).

Thus, the best options are:

  • "She is a beautiful Filipina."
  • "She is a beautiful woman from the Philippines." (Unless she was born and raised elsewhere.)
  • "She is a beautiful Philippine woman."

The following option is redundant, but still grammatically and semantically correct:

  • "She is a beautiful Filipina woman."

The following options are self-contradictory, and risk great insult:

  • "She is a beautiful Filipino woman."
  • "She is a beautiful Filipino."
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  • Is French woman redundant?
    – Lambie
    Sep 25, 2022 at 18:41

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