South America, West Africa, North Korea

None of these take a hyphen in English. Simple.

GrootBrittanniĆ«. Noord-Ierland. There’s not much to say about this one. The convention is different in English to Dutch, which does hyphenate these geographical entities.

  • English doesn’t even use the hyphen in the demonymic form (North American, South African, New Zealand)
  • Not just countries and continents: the same applies to e.g. New York

One to be careful with, as the spelling checker won’t always spot it!

Prevalence: moderate. Anywhere that geographical nomenclature turns up.
Frequency: very high. Dutch authors tend not to realize that the convention might be different, so it’s bingo nearly every time.
Native: no. Quite a good give-away of a non-native text, actually.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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