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The language spoken by the dwellers of Bashkortostan is Bashkir language. There's company named Bashkirian Airlines but also another company named "Bashkir Soda Company". Are the two adjectives interchangeable? That is, could both Bashkir and Bashkirian be used as adjectives meaning of or relating to Bashkiria, or would Bashkir be normally used only in relation to language or a person?

Or is there a distinction between business usage and usage in everyday speech? Are companies' choices of the nationality/language-related adjectives less confined?

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    In business names it does not matter. Usage in regular statements may be another matter.
    – user3169
    Oct 10 '14 at 5:55
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This example looks quite like, for example, Uzbekistan where the Uzbeks speak Uzbek and their national airline is Uzbekistan Airways.

Uzbek is a noun, but it can also be used as an adjective:

Uzbek president asks Putin to help fight radical Islam

This will be the same for Bashkir, ie. the Bashkir president.

What's confusing things, though, is that Bashkortostan is also known as Bashkiria. This means you can also say, for example, the Bashkirian president. Either is acceptable.

I suspect that most native English speakers would go with Bashkirian, as it's the more generalised example. That is, Italy - Italian, Canada - Canadian, etc.

It's worth noting that national airlines are generally named for the country, so if it wasn't Bashkirian Airlines it would be Bashkortostan Airlines.

Note: Pakistan is the only '-stan' that I'm aware of where the rules are different. The country's Pakistan and the people are Pakistani. You would be at risk of causing offence if you tried to follow the rules for the other '-stans'.

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Bashkir is not used as an adjective in "Bashkir language" but as a noun functioning as an attributive.

So the relationship between Bashkir and Bashkirian might be similar to how Italy is a noun and Italian is an adjective.

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  • Thanks, Helix! However, the Oxford Dictionaries list Bashkir both as a noun and as an adjective. But even if it is a noun adjunct, I'm curious whether it's on par with Bashkirian in its adjective role. Oct 10 '14 at 9:15
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    What do you mean by on par? Usage-wise?
    – Helix Quar
    Oct 10 '14 at 9:36
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    @CopperKettle Yes, but dictionaries are wrong.
    – user230
    Oct 10 '14 at 10:13
  • Yes, usage-wise. If a native speaker will feel okay reading "A Bashkir company has signed a contract with..", I will be satisfied. (0: Thanks, @snailboat! Oct 10 '14 at 10:33

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