Apparently, there are some terms that are never used naturally by native speakers. They may only appear under extremely peculiar circumstances (e.g. in some translations of foreign-language texts). A possible example is Malvinas Islands. In view of the fact that apparently no English-speaking countries support Argentina's territorial claims, a native speaker of English may never naturally use Malvinas Islands instead of Falkland Islands. Nonetheless, Malvinas Islands is arguably an English term since it has appeared in Encyclopædia Britannica.

Such words and phrases are somehow akin to, but not the same as, exonyms.

  • 4
    It seems perfectly plausible to me that a native speaker would say "the Falkland Islands, known in Spanish as the Malvinas Islands", even if it's not the official name in any English-speaking country.
    – Draconis
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 17:50
  • 4
    The words a person knows the meaning of, but never uses in one's speech are called the passive vocabulary.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 18:22
  • also whilst the Argentinian claims aren't recognised by any English-speaking country, that doesn't mean no native English speakers accept such claims as valid. I suspect there are several such native English speakers who live in Argentina for instance
    – Tristan
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 9:05
  • This is a political question not a linguistics question. As for "terms not used naturally by native speakers", that too, is not a linguistics question. This is not passive vocabulary.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


This would be unidiomatic usage of terms.

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