"Americans" shouldn't be a synonym for USA-native people

What do you think about these synonyms?: American=USA-native and America=USA


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Gustavoang

Senior Member
Venezuela / Castilian
Hello.

I've never liked to say "American" when I'm talking about an USA-native person... I'm venezuelan, thus I'm american too!

Is there other word/phrase that means the same?

Beside this common mistake (at least from my point of view It's a mistake, what about yours?), I often heard people to say "America" instead of USA... Could somebody explain me where does that country is located at? I can only find a continent named "America".

American = USA-native person :cross:
America = USA :cross:

Please post your point of view because It'll be interesting, even if you don't agree with me.

Cheers!

--------------------------------

Hola.

Nunca me ha gustado decir "Americano" cuando estoy hablando acerca de una persona estadounidense... Yo soy venezolano, así que también soy americano!

¿Existe otra palabra/frase que signifique lo mismo?

Además de este error común (por lo menos desde mi punto de vista es un error, qué tal desde el tuyo?), frecuentemente oigo a la gente decir "América" en lugar de EEUU... Podría alguien explicarme en dónde se encuentra ese país? Yo sólo encuentro un continente llamado "América".

Americano = Estadounidense :cross:
América = EEUU :cross:

Por favor escribe tu punto de vista porque será interesante, incluso si no estás de acuerdo conmigo.

Saludos!

========
EDIT: I'd like to set to private the option for the people to participate on this poll.
 
  • Markus

    Senior Member
    Canada - English
    As a Canadian, I have no problem with people from the USA being referred to as Americans. It's what I call them. After all, they're from the United States of America, so it's just a shortening. What other options are there? USAers? Sounds awful. :p When I'm referring to a continent, I call it North (or South) America. Therefore, I'm North American, but Canadian (not American).

    Just my $0.02. :)
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    We have had more threads on this topic than I can count. If you would like to see what dozens of people have had to say about it, use the Search function. You will find buckets of opinions, diatribes, rants, resentments, and perhaps even a few facts scattered among the words.

    Also, be sure you understand your own question. The terminology in English and that in Spanish have potentially distinct meanings, and evoke rather different feelings among the native speakers of the two languages.

    If you try to generalize the question, and whatever answer you prefer, to work equally in both languages, the results will be....let us say...interesting.

    Your poll is bound to create lots of controversy, as it does not allow for the reality that 'American' is used to mean many things, and not only one of the choices your present.
     

    irisheyes0583

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    I absolutely think that "American" refers to someone from the United States. Our country name is the United States of America, so we shorten it and call ourselves American.

    The problem is that many Americans call themselves "americano/a" when they translate their nationality into Spanish. American does not equal "americano"! In Spanish, "americano" refers to anyone form North or South America, not just someone from the USA. I believe the correct term is "estadounidense". Even "norteamericano" isn't specific enough, as it includes Canadians & Mexicans.

    So, Gustavoang, while I don't think that americano=someone from the USA, I do believe that American=someone from the USA. :D
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Hi Gustav,

    Maybe you should take a look at this thread, where the issue was recently, and rather hotly, debated.

    I have always been, and always will be "American." Perhaps this is seen as arrogant on my part, but I have no other means of describing who I am in relation to my nationality.

    At this point in time, my mother tongue, American Standard English, has no other word to describe my nationality. "United Statsian" simply does not exist.

    The name of my country is the United States of America. As Markus noted, "America" is a shortened version of the same, even though it also refers to the two American continents - "North America" and "South America."

    To be frank, we (Americans) never speak of the singular continent "America," because it does not exist. If geography serves, there are actually two American continents, North America and South America. So, depending upon where one is lives in relation to the equator, one is either North American or South American.

    I don't mean to claim that United Statsians Americans should have exclusive claim to the word American, simply that when calling a spade a spade, one should make the geographical distinction between North and South.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    What should the people of Mérida, Barcelona and Valencia call themselves, in order not to offend the people of other cities with the same names? These are all names of Venezuelan cities. If a Venezolano calls himself a Valenciano, is he committing an afront against the Spanish people who live in their own Valencia?

    There is no grammatical prescription or proscription in English which limits the use of the term American to residents of the U.S. Customs are a matter of common usage and choice.
     

    Swettenham

    Senior Member
    U.S.
    Gustavoang said:
    I'm venezuelan, thus I'm american too!
    Well, you're Americano, in Castellano. In English, you're Central American. As Chuchu, JenGen and others have pointed out, this is largely a linguistic issue. What is known as "America" in Spanish is known as "The New World" or "The Americas" in English. Hence, in our language, it is not at all confusing.

    Is there other word/phrase that means the same?
    No :)

    I often heard people to say "America" instead of USA... Could somebody explain me where does that country is located at?
    Sure. It's just north of Mexico and south of Canada. :rolleyes:

    We also call ourselves the United States. Now that's a confusing title. Which "United States?" Several other nations— Mexico, Brazil— call themselves the United States. Who are the Americans to claim that they are the "true" United States? On the other hand, no other nation in the world (that I know of) calls itself America.

    Please post your point of view because It'll be interesting, even if you don't agree with me.
    The way I see it, the United States of America was formed as a nation in the late 18th century. At the time, the rest of the New World was colonies of Portugual and Spain. I hate to say it, because I guess it sounds arrogant, but we did kind of have first dibs. :eek: I realize that in this day and age our name can be irritating, but historically, it's not all that illogical.
     

    BasedowLives

    Senior Member
    uSa
    We also call ourselves the United States. Now that's a confusing title. Which "United States?" Several other nations— Mexico, Brazil— call themselves the United States.
    interesting point.

    in my experiences with people from other countries saying my nationality, they refer to me as American.
     

    Whisky con ron

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Español
    Swettenham said:
    Well, you're Americano, in Castellano. In English, you're Central American.
    Venezuela es parte del sub-continente de América del Sur.

    La pregunta de si son dos o es un continente, a mí desde pequeña me enseñaron que son 5 continentes en total: América, Asia, África, Europa y Oceanía. Los Europeos a quienes les he preguntado dicen que son cinco (por ende, el continente Americano es UNO). Los únicos que parecen sostener que son dos son, ehmm... los estadounidenses!
     

    Gustavoang

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Castilian
    Hello.

    I wasn't talking about if It's a good/bad idea to translate "American" into spanish as "Americano"... What I was saying is that in any language "American" shouldn't be a synonym for an USA-native person, at least that's what I think.

    I also think that in any language in the world I am american because I was born in Venezuela.

    What's a continent? According Wikipedia.org: It is a large continuous land mass. Are the United States of America, Canada and Mexico separate from other countries? No, they are not, therefore It's wrong to say that North America is a continent.

    Take a look at the spanish definition for "América" in wikipedia.org:
    América, llamado malamente también en la actualidad en plural las Américas, debido a que Estados Unidos se hace llamar América, lo que es más bien una señal de imperialismo, y llamado en la antigüedad el Nuevo Mundo, es un continente que se extiende en el hemisferio occidental de la Tierra desde el Océano Ártico por el norte hasta casi el Océano Antártico por el sur, y está a su vez cercado por el Océano Pacífico al oeste, y por el Océano Atlántico al este.
    The American continent consists of North America, Central America and South America.

    GenJen54 said:
    I have always been, and always will be "American."
    Yes, me too.

    GenJen54 said:
    Perhaps this is seen as arrogant on my part, but I have no other means of describing who I am in relation to my nationality.
    I don't think it's arrogant on your part because I agree with you... That's why I wanted to know if there's other way to say "USA-native person".

    cuchuflete said:
    What should the people of Mérida, Barcelona and Valencia call themselves, in order not to offend the people of other cities with the same names? These are all names of Venezuelan cities. If a Venezolano calls himself a Valenciano, is he committing an afront against the Spanish people who live in their own Valencia?

    There is no grammatical prescription or proscription in English which limits the use of the term American to residents of the U.S. Customs are a matter of common usage and choice.
    The ploblem here is that USA-native people and I belong to the same continent, and people uses our title of Americans to talk especifically of USA.

    Swettenham said:
    Well, you're Americano, in Castellano. In English, you're Central American. As Chuchu, JenGen and others have pointed out, this is largely a linguistic issue. What is known as "America" in Spanish is known as "The New World" or "The Americas" in English. Hence, in our language, it is not at all confusing.
    I think there're 2 wrong things here:

    1.- According the second WordReference's definition for American: It's a native or inhabitant of a North American or Central American or South American country. Therefore, in english I'm american too.
    2.- In english, I'm South American (or American).

    I know that the whole continent is known as "The Americas" by much persons because they're talking about North America, Central America and South America. However, I think we have to say "America".

    Swettenham said:
    Sure. It's just north of Mexico and south of Canada. :rolleyes:
    It was regarding America, not North America.

    Swettenham said:
    We also call ourselves the United States. Now that's a confusing title. Which "United States?" Several other nations— Mexico, Brazil— call themselves the United States. Who are the Americans to claim that they are the "true" United States? On the other hand, no other nation in the world (that I know of) calls itself America.
    Alright, I understand your possition, but understand this: no other nation in the world (that I know of too) calls itself America, but the whole continent where USA belongs to does call itself America.

    BTW, "The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" was officially named "The United States of Venezuela" and Venezuela-native people were (are and will be) venezuelans, and It was (is and will be) no problem because no nation nor continent called itself Venezuela.
     

    Gustavoang

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Castilian
    Whisky con ron said:
    Venezuela es parte del sub-continente de América del Sur.

    La pregunta de si son dos o es un continente, a mí desde pequeña me enseñaron que son 5 continentes en total: América, Asia, África, Europa y Oceanía. Los Europeos a quienes les he preguntado dicen que son cinco (por ende, el continente Americano es UNO). Los únicos que parecen sostener que son dos son, ehmm... los estadounidenses!
    Totalmente de acuerdo contigo. :thumbsup:
     

    Whisky con ron

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Español
    cuchuflete said:
    We have had more threads on this topic than I can count. If you would like to see what dozens of people have had to say about it, use the Search function. You will find buckets of opinions, diatribes, rants, resentments, and perhaps even a few facts scattered among the words.

    Also, be sure you understand your own question. The terminology in English and that in Spanish have potentially distinct meanings, and evoke rather different feelings among the native speakers of the two languages.

    If you try to generalize the question, and whatever answer you prefer, to work equally in both languages, the results will be....let us say...interesting.

    Your poll is bound to create lots of controversy, as it does not allow for the reality that 'American' is used to mean many things, and not only one of the choices your present.
    Después de este "corte" me siento totalmente aterrada de seguir con la conversación, ya que me parece que enfuria a su majestad comandante en jefe... sin embargo, me gustaría leer lo que se ha dicho "tantas veces que himself no las puede contar". Hice una búsqueda sin éxito, podría Vd. poner el link de las incontables discusiones?

    Agradecida...
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Gustavo,

    Thanks for the clarifications and the reasoned statements. I may have to break the reply into pieces, due to vBulletin size limits.
    Gustavoang said:
    Hello.

    I wasn't talking about if It's a good/bad idea to translate "American" into spanish as "Americano"... What I was saying is that in any language "American" shouldn't be a synonym for an USA-native person, at least that's what I think. If using 'American' in English were mutually exclusive of any other use of the term, I would quickly agree with you. However, the word is used in English, to denote residents of a nation, as well as of one or more continents. Given that multiple usage, I find no problem.
    As to what people do with the term in their own languages, that is a matter of their own choice. Nobody suggests, much less requires, that a Paraguayan or Peruvian use the term americano to refer to an estadounidense. If such people freely choose to use the term in parallel to the way it's used in English, to signify both a national of one country, and all peoples and places in a continent, that's their choice. Context normally clarifies the intended meaning, so there is no difficulty with precision.

    I conclude that there is no linguistic problem here. If there is a problem, it's political, and should be discussed openly as a political, and not a linguistic issue. That way, we won't waste time discussing the obvious over and over again.

    I also think that in any language in the world I am american because I was born in Venezuela. Of course you are!

    The ploblem here is that USA-native people and I belong to the same continent, and people uses our title of Americans to talk especifically of USA. And people from New York City call themselves New Yorkers. In so doing, they typically do not trouble or offend the many millions of other New York State residents who are also New Yorkers. What exactly is "the problem"?


    I think there're 2 wrong things here:

    1.- According the second WordReference's definition for American: It's a native or inhabitant of a North American or Central American or South American country. Therefore, in english I'm american too. Absolutely correct! You and all the Brasileiros and Chilenos etc. are american.
    2.- In english, I'm South American (or American). Also correct. This identifies you with greater geographic specificity. I'm an American, and a Mainer. I'm also a northeasterner, just as someone from Bahía is a nordestino.

    I know that the whole continent is known as "The Americas" by much persons because they're talking about North America, Central America and South America. However, I think we have to say "America". Why do we "have to"? These are nothing more than customs of popular speech. The meaning of "the Americas" to a resident of the U.
    S., and 'América' to a Venezuelan, are identical when referring to the continent(s).
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Originally posted by Whiskey Con Ron
    La pregunta de si son dos o es un continente, a mí desde pequeña me enseñaron que son 5 continentes en total: América, Asia, África, Europa y Oceanía. Los Europeos a quienes les he preguntado dicen que son cinco (por ende, el continente Americano es UNO). Los únicos que parecen sostener que son dos son, ehmm... los estadounidenses!
    In a sense, this entire argument is moot, as our respective educational systems and governments accept different numbers of continents.

    In the "American" (US) education model, there are no fewer than seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Australia (Oceania), Asia, North America, South America and Europe. According to Wikipedia.org, this education system is taught in the US, Australia, Western Europe and much of Asia. Canada also subscribes to the "seven-continent" model, although with a slight variant regarding Australia/Oceania which is irrelevant to this arguement.

    The six-continent "combined America" model is taught in Japan, Iran and Latin America.

    This is where the discrepancy comes in, and why the argument regarding the use of "America/American" to describe someone from the United States is strongest from those who were raised in Latin America - and thus followed the 6-continent model.

    Call us "isolationist" (we've been called worse), but those in North America believe that none other than the Panama Canal - a mere fifty-one mile stretch of water - is enough to separate us geographically from South America. As such, we believe that the two continents are separate.

    In a way, this is an arguement between "North Americans" and "South Americans."

    I do not deny you your right to consider yourself an "American" as in "person from the Americas." Egalement, I should not have to concede my right as an "American" from the United States, since I am from the "United States of America," nor bow to the whims of "political correctness" by declaring myself a "United Statesian." (aren't you proud of me, cuchu?) ;) After all is said and done, it all boils down geographical semantics.
     

    Alundra

    Senior Member
    España - Castellano
    I totally agree with cuchu...:)



    They aren't synonyms for me.

    One thing is to be American: From American continent

    And other thing is to be Estadounidense, Canadiense, Venezolano, Mexicano, Puertorriqueño, Colombiano, etc...

    Can't you be the two both? American and Venezolano?

    Same that I'm Spanish, European, Manchega, Albaceteña, etc...

    I think it's very easy... for me... all of you are americans, and every one is american, and besides he is Venezuelan, Canadian, and so on...

    Don't you like to be named like your continent? Do you prefer like your country?

    Do you think the europeans aren't named europeans, but Spaniard, French, Portuguese?...
    I'm named european sometimes... and I like it... no matter... I'm european

    I'm european, but besides, I'm Spaniard, Manchega, Albaceteña, etc...

    What's the matter? I have seen many threads about the issue and I'm amazed...

    Do you think we don't know where your country is? When I say American, I think you are from American Continent... not only from USA.

    Thanks and correct me, please.
    Alundra.
     

    Whisky con ron

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Español
    I have no problem with people from the USA calling themselves Americans. My problem is that the name should not be kidnaped for that nationality only. It is the not accepting that people from the American continent are Americans too.... And I have seen that kind of ignorance many many times... "I am American, you are Hispanic"
     

    *Cowgirl*

    Senior Member
    USA English
    If you are Venezuelan does that mean you are a native of Venezuela? America is just a shortened version of United States of America. So, if I'm a native of the USA what am I if I'm not an American........
     

    Alundra

    Senior Member
    España - Castellano
    Whisky con ron said:
    I have no problem with people from the USA calling themselves Americans. My problem is that the name should not be kidnaped for that nationality only. It is the not accepting that people from the American continent are Americans too.... And I have seen that kind of ignorance many many times... "I am American, you are Hispanic"
    Luckily, I don't think it so... and I think Spanish people (the most) either.


    Alundra.
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Originally posted by Whiskey Con RonI have no problem with people from the USA calling themselves Americans. My problem is that the name should not be kidnaped for that nationality only. It is the not accepting that people from the American continent are Americans too.... And I have seen that kind of ignorance many many times... "I am American, you are Hispanic"
    I don't disagree with you. However, I don't think that "American" has necessarily been kidnapped for the US nationality only. The sad truth is, most "Am'ur-kins" don't have a broader cultural understanding that is inclusive of our Central, South and Latin "American" bretheren. Thanks in part to our own government the countless census- type forms where people must check off their "ethnicity" - many people tend to assume that "ethnicity" equals "nationality," even when this is not true.
     

    Alundra

    Senior Member
    España - Castellano
    *Cowgirl* said:
    If you are Venezuelan does that mean you are a native of Venezuela? America is just a shortened version of United States of America. So, if I'm a native of the USA what am I if I'm not an American........
    Cowgirl, for me, you are american because you are from American continent, and you are "estadounidense" because you are from USA.

    Don't you like to be named "estadounidense"? Is it an affront for you?

    Alundra.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Whisky con ron said:
    I have no problem with people from the USA calling themselves Americans. My problem is that the name should not be kidnaped for that nationality only. It is the not accepting that people from the American continent are Americans too.... And I have seen that kind of ignorance many many times... "I am American, you are Hispanic"
    Kidnapped?

    Show me the kidnapper. If millions or tens of millions of Spanish speakers choose, of their own free will, to use--or if you prefer, misuse-- the word 'americano' to refer to residents of the U.S., by all means tell them how wrong they are, and guide them to enlightenment.

    If you read the posts of any of the U.S. residents in this and the other threads that have been cited in this one, you will find that the term, in English has multiple meanings, one of which--and not the only one--refers to a country. English language dictionaries whether of the AE or BE variety are uniform in specifying multiple meanings also.

    My problem is that the name should not be kidnaped for that nationality only.
    I fully agree with you. And it has not been.

    This obviously isn't a discussion of language...rather it's about nationalism and emotional reactions to the way a word is used some of the time.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    It is the not accepting that people from the American continent are Americans too.... And I have seen that kind of ignorance many many times... "I am American, you are Hispanic"
    Well, obviously this is what's really on your mind, and a use of the word 'american' is just a pretext to vent about it. I don't blame you a bit for being very angry at such ignorance. I would call it arrogance as well, and stupidity. And it does exist. Many of my countrymen are quite thoroughly ignorant of what goes on in the next state, and don't seem to know or care about the names of other countries.

    Can I come to their defense? Only in a small but perhaps meaningful way. Generally it is ignorance and nothing inherently malicious. But sometimes there's a lot of pride mixed in, and then it is just as bad as if it were malicious.

    Big countries, mine absolutely included, pressure and meddle in the affairs of other nations. That causes resentments, many of which are justified. So the big, strong, proud U.S., in great measure through its own actions, becomes a target.
    So I not only understand, but agree with, those who are provoked and resentful.

    My plea is that if you want to talk about policy matters, by all means do so. If your indignation and hurt stems from economic and political interference or bullying, then come right out and discuss it directly.

    If all the feelings get tangled up with what is supposedly a discussion about the use of a word, then be prepared for opposing viewpoints. If you have facts to back up your assertions, you will be persuasive.
     

    Gustavoang

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Castilian
    Cuchuflete, regarding your post:

    I wasn't talking about if It's a good/bad idea to translate "American" into spanish as "Americano"... What I was saying is that in any language "American" shouldn't be a synonym for an USA-native person, at least that's what I think. If using 'American' in English were mutually exclusive of any other use of the term, I would quickly agree with you. However, the word is used in English, to denote residents of a nation, as well as of one or more continents. Given that multiple usage, I find no problem.
    As to what people do with the term in their own languages, that is a matter of their own choice. Nobody suggests, much less requires, that a Paraguayan or Peruvian use the term americano to refer to an estadounidense. If such people freely choose to use the term in parallel to the way it's used in English, to signify both a national of one country, and all peoples and places in a continent, that's their choice. Context normally clarifies the intended meaning, so there is no difficulty with precision.
    Yes, I do agree with you here because that's the point: The common usage of the "American" and "America" words.

    The ploblem here is that USA-native people and I belong to the same continent, and people uses our title of Americans to talk especifically of USA. And people from New York City call themselves New Yorkers. In so doing, they typically do not trouble or offend the many millions of other New York State residents who are also New Yorkers. What exactly is "the problem"?
    That's a good point.

    We could say that we got different cultures in a set of several countries which I've ever known as America, and one of them takes our name to use it for itself. I feel excuded with this situation.

    Regarding New York City and New York State, I think that there's no problem because It's the same culture, as well as in Venezuela with: Mérida State and Mérida City, Barinas State and Barinas City, among others. I think that if I was a "La Culata" native person (It's in Mérida State, but out Mérida City), I would have no problem for the Merida State people to call themselves Merideños.
     

    Swettenham

    Senior Member
    U.S.
    cuchuflete said:
    Well, obviously this is what's really on your mind, and a use of the word 'american' is just a pretext to vent about it. I don't blame you a bit for being very angry at such ignorance. I would call it arrogance as well, and stupidity. And it does exist. Many of my countrymen are quite thoroughly ignorant of what goes on in the next state, and don't seem to know or care about the names of other countries.
    I'm guilty.

    Big countries, mine absolutely included, pressure and meddle in the affairs of other nations. That causes resentments, many of which are justified. So the big, strong, proud U.S., in great measure through its own actions, becomes a target.
    So I not only understand, but agree with, those who are provoked and resentful.

    My plea is that if you want to talk about policy matters, by all means do so. If your indignation and hurt stems from economic and political interference or bullying, then come right out and discuss it directly.
    In other words, please advise us to stop making war. But leave the name alone. We have a right to call ourselves as we please.
     

    Gustavoang

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Castilian
    Alundra said:
    I totally agree with cuchu...:)



    They aren't synonyms for me.

    One thing is to be American: From American continent

    And other thing is to be Estadounidense, Canadiense, Venezolano, Mexicano, Puertorriqueño, Colombiano, etc...

    Can't you be the two both? American and Venezolano?

    Same that I'm Spanish, European, Manchega, Albaceteña, etc...

    I think it's very easy... for me... all of you are americans, and every one is american, and besides he is Venezuelan, Canadian, and so on...

    Don't you like to be named like your continent? Do you prefer like your country?

    Do you think the europeans aren't named europeans, but Spaniard, French, Portuguese?...
    I'm named european sometimes... and I like it... no matter... I'm european

    I'm european, but besides, I'm Spaniard, Manchega, Albaceteña, etc...

    What's the matter? I have seen many threads about the issue and I'm amazed...

    Do you think we don't know where your country is? When I say American, I think you are from American Continent... not only from USA.

    Thanks and correct me, please.
    Alundra.
    Alundra: That's what I mean.

    The definition you have about America and American are the right ones for me, but much people got a wrong definition of these words.
     

    Gustavoang

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Castilian
    Alundra said:
    Cowgirl, for me, you are american because you are from American continent, and you are "estadounidense" because you are from USA.
    And that's what I think too.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hi Gustavo,

    We seem to have plenty of gounds for agreement, but there is one area remaining where we are not in accord.
    Gustavoang said:
    We could say that we got different cultures in a set of several countries which I've ever known as America, and one of them takes our name to use it for itself. I feel excuded with this situation. That you "feel excluded" would be easier for me to understand if the English uses of the word were only a single use, that referring to one country. But in fact, there are multiple common and equally valid uses of the term. American describes a geographic area. It also describes all of the people living in that geography. And, yes, it certainly is commonly used to describe the people of one country. I haven't grasped how any one of these uses excludes any of the others.



    Regarding New York City and New York State, I think that there's no problem because It's the same culture, This is perhaps a minor point to you and to many others reading this thread, but it is not the same culture.
    A farmer from Utica feels no affinity with one of the 10+ million city dwellers in and near New York City. They speak with different accents, live totally different kinds of lives, and often have very different fundamental values. Imagine that Caracas was the name of a small city and surrounding province in the interior of your country, in addition to the very large, cosmopolitan city of the same name. This would be a fair parallel.

    Of course we are talking about smaller political sub-divisions, without questions of national pride involved. Still, people from Albany, NY and Binghamton,NY would be troubled if someone from Maracaibo thought they were from NY City. Words can carry a lot of emotion with them.
    regards,
    Cuchu
     

    Swettenham

    Senior Member
    U.S.
    Gustavoang said:
    Alundra: That's what I mean.

    The definition you have about America and American are the right ones for me, but much people got a wrong definition of these words.
    A wrong definition? :confused: :( I don't agree that anyone can decide that a culture's own self-image is wrong.

    What do you call the Chinese? Los Chinos? And what do they call themselves? The Zhongguoren? Will you tell them that they are wrong; they are not Zhongguo; they are Chino, because that is what you call them?

    Does water taste different when you call it agua? Moreover, are Americans of the United States wrong to call it water? Is your name the right one?
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Originally posted by Gustavoang
    The definition you have about America and American are the right ones for me, but much people got a wrong definition of these words.
    This is your opinion. This is not fact. Even Spanish-only dictionaries have multiple meanings of the word, which is inclusive of the use of "Americano" to mean "person who is a native of the United States."

    This is from the Real Academia Espanola website (which is linked to WordReference).

    1. adj. Natural de América. U. t. c. s.
    2. adj. Perteneciente o relativo a esta parte del mundo.
    3. adj. indiano (ǁ que vuelve rico de América).
    4. adj. estadounidense. Apl. a pers., u. t. c. s.

    This is from diccionarios elmundo.es.

    americano, na
    1. adj. y s. De América o relativo a este continente: países americanos.
    2. Suele aplicarse restrictivamente a los naturales de Estados Unidos y a todo lo relativo a este país: costumbres americanas.

    Do you not accept the fact that there is more than one meaning to this word? Neither culture claims exclusivity on "American."

    As cuchu said, there are perhaps other cultural biases or resentments that come into play. Otherwise, this is just a word.

    The fact remains that there exists no other word for me to describe my own nationality in my language. In this case, I'm afraid we must just "share and share alike."

    Originally posted by Alundra
    Don't you like to be named "estadounidense"? Is it an affront for you?
    I cannot answer for *Cowgirl,* but I will say that I am not personally offended by "esatounidense" because that is a word your language has to describe my nationaliy; just as my language has the word "Spanish" to describe someone from your country.

    However, I still do not believe it is necessary to change my own language and create a new word that is mutually exclusive to those of us from the United States simply because the existing word has more than one meaning.
     

    MiriamArg

    Senior Member
    River-Plate Spanish/English
    After reading the entire thread, I think all that can be said about this topic has been said here, so my opinion won't contribute anything original.

    Anyway, here it goes: I think we all know that literal translations may have unhappy results. I am Argentinian, and when I am speaking Spanish I say "soy argentina", and I can also say "soy americana" because I live in what we call the "continente americano". When I'm speaking English, I say "I'm Argentinian", BUT I don't say "I'm American" -not even when I am "americana", if this makes any sense to you. I know it does to me. If, in English, you say you're "American", most people will believe you were born in the USA.
    In Spanish, "americanos" are all the people born in "América" (I'm using the Spanish word here, hence the stressed "é"), and that comprises North, Central and South America. In Argentina's "rioplatense Spanish", when we say América we're referring to all three parts of the continent.
    Now, when I refer to people born in the USA, I call them "Americans" if I'm speaking English, because that's what they call themselves and, if I want to be understood by someone who speaks a different language, then it's only logical that I will use those people's "code". When I refer to people born in the USA, in my first language, I always say "estadounidenses". I understand the difference, and don't have a problem with it.
    If the people from the USA call themselves "Americans", then why should I call them something different if I'm speaking THEIR language and if I am trying to get my message -whatever it may be- across?

    I'm fussy and touchy about a million things, but not about this one in particular. Let people call themselves what makes them happy and, at the same time, do keep in mind that different "cultures", different peoples, may have different meanings for words that may look and sound alike in different languages.

    Let the people from the USA be "Americans" in English and "estadounidenses" in Spanish. I don't feel "Americans" are robbing me of anything. And, as long as I am not called something I am not, I'll be happy.

    BTW, I'm not voting here because whatever the people born in the USA call themselves in their own language doesn't make a difference to me. If it's ok with them, then it is ok. I've never heard anyone complain about my calling myself "Argentinian" or "argentina".

    This is, after all and in my opinion, only a matter of labels.

    Miriam
     

    Gustavoang

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Castilian
    Hi, cuchuflete.

    We could say that we got different cultures in a set of several countries which I've ever known as America, and one of them takes our name to use it for itself. I feel excuded with this situation. That you "feel excluded" would be easier for me to understand if the English uses of the word were only a single use, that referring to one country. But in fact, there are multiple common and equally valid uses of the term. American describes a geographic area. It also describes all of the people living in that geography. And, yes, it certainly is commonly used to describe the people of one country. I haven't grasped how any one of these uses excludes any of the others.

    I don't think that the English uses that word to talk of USA only, actually I quoted the WordReference's english definition for American because I agree with it. What I think is that a lot people think that, which is wrong (at least from my point of view).


    But in fact, there are multiple common and equally valid uses of the term. American describes a geographic area. It also describes all of the people living in that geography.

    That's what I think.

    Regarding New York City and New York State, I think that there's no problem because It's the same culture, This is perhaps a minor point to you and to many others reading this thread, but it is not the same culture.
    A farmer from Utica feels no affinity with one of the 10+ million city dwellers in and near New York City. They speak with different accents, live totally different kinds of lives, and often have very different fundamental values. Imagine that Caracas was the name of a small city and surrounding province in the interior of your country, in addition to the very large, cosmopolitan city of the same name. This would be a fair parallel.

    Of course we are talking about smaller political sub-divisions, without questions of national pride involved. Still, people from Albany, NY and Binghamton,NY would be troubled if someone from Maracaibo thought they were from NY City. Words can carry a lot of emotion with them.

    It was an hypothesis, I don't know very well these situations. I also agree with what you said.
     

    QUIJOTE

    Senior Member
    USA
    GenJen54 said:
    In the "American" (US) education model, there are no fewer than seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Australia (Oceania), Asia, North America, South America and Europe. According to Wikipedia.org, this education system is taught in the US, Australia, Western Europe and much of Asia. Canada also subscribes to the "seven-continent" model, although with a slight variant regarding Australia/Oceania which is irrelevant to this arguement.

    The six-continent "combined America" model is taught in Japan, Iran and Latin America.
    Am I missing something here? I always thought there were only five continents in the world...America, Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe, please either update my education or correct me....Never mind I am answering my own question, I guess it comes down to the way you look at it.

    Continents of the World
    The Definition of a Continent
    A continent is a large body of land, above water, that has a natural geological border.

    How Many Continents Are There?
    Depending on how you count them, there are anywhere from 4 to 7 continents. The difference of opinion arises because some people consider Europe and Asia to be one continent, some people consider North and South America to be one continent, and a few people even consider Europe, Asia, and Africa to be one huge continent called Eurafrasia.

    What are the Names of the Continents?
    As mentioned above, not everyone agrees on exactly how the world is divided into continents, but these are the entities you will sometimes see referred to as continents:

    Africa
    Asia
    Eurasia
    Eurafrasia

    Antarctica
    Europe
    Oceania
    Australia

    America
    North America
    South America


    Five Ways to Count Continents
    #1 - Seven Continents
    Africa - Antarctica - Asia - Europe
    North America - South America - Oceania

    #2 - Six Continents
    Africa - Antarctica - Eurasia - Oceania
    North America - South America

    #3 - Six Continents
    Africa - America - Antarctica
    Asia - Europe - Oceania

    #4 - Five Continents
    Africa - America - Antarctica
    Eurasia - Oceania

    #5 - Four Continents
    Eurafrasia - America - Antarctica - Oceania

    More About Continents
    Wikipedia.org - Continents Defined
    Wikipedia.org - Countries by Continent
    WorldAtlas.com - Countries by Continent

     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Hi.

    Even though I have "played Devil's advocate" in other threads, I do not, personally, object to the U.S. and U.S. citizens being called 'America' and 'American', respectively.

    As a matter of fact, I would be a bit hypocritical if I did. My own country is now a part of a political entity which has unabashedly decided to call itself "the European Union". The media around here often call it and its citizens simply "Europe" and "Europeans", even though over half of the continent is not included in this Union. I didn't like it when they started doing that (it was called the European Economic Community, before, as you might remember), and I know other "E.U.-ians" who think it's inappropriate, too. But, honestly, in practice, with the context before you, this ambiguity never causes any confusion. We are perfectly aware that our "Europe" is not the whole continent. So, although I'm not a fan of the term, I don't think it's a big deal to use it.

    In any case, trying to change the designation from 'America' and 'Americans' into something else (for those who do feel strongly about this) seems like a lost cause. Even if all the other languages in the world come up with other words, Americans will keep calling themselves 'American'.

    Some comments to previous posts:

    Swettenham said:
    We also call ourselves the United States. Now that's a confusing title. Which "United States?" Several other nations— Mexico, Brazil— call themselves the United States. Who are the Americans to claim that they are the "true" United States? On the other hand, no other nation in the world (that I know of) calls itself America.
    To be fair, although other countries have called themselves the "United States of" something, the U.S.A. are the only country in the world known simply as "the United States". And with good reason: they were the first.

    Gustavoang said:
    What's a continent? According Wikipedia.org: It is a large continuous land mass. Are the United States of America, Canada and Mexico separate from other countries? No, they are not, therefore It's wrong to say that North America is a continent.
    There is no unique definition of continent. Different authors, and different schools of thought, use different definitions. The definition you cited is interesting; have you noticed that, according to it, Africa, Asia and Europe are not continents on their own, but a single continent? (Eurafrasia.) Is this what you were taught in school?

    GenJen54 said:
    In the "American" (US) education model, there are no fewer than seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Australia (Oceania), Asia, North America, South America and Europe. According to Wikipedia.org, this education system is taught in the US, Australia, Western Europe and much of Asia. Canada also subscribes to the "seven-continent" model, although with a slight variant regarding Australia/Oceania which is irrelevant to this arguement.
    It seems that the Wikipedia has changed its entry. I honestly don't remember how they taught me this in school.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Not a linguistic problem at all ?

    Then how come I can't be totally sure what the following sentence means ?

    The rate of unemployment is about 10% in Europe. It's slightly less in America.

    (fictional figures)
     

    Whisky con ron

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Español
    I won't fall into the teenager argument of "you say that because you hate us... you hate us you hate us why don't you say it and cut the crap and blah blah blah..."

    I have said, I have no problem with USA natives calling themselves Americans. The only problem is if this then excludes everybody in the continent from being called American too (without "central, north, south" being put in front). I mean, no-one can argue with the fact that Belgians are Europeans, correct? But why when a Venezuelan says he's American, he is quickly "corrected" into "no, you are South American" (assuming they get the sub-continent right, eh?).

    That's all... Use it but don't claim exclusivity. Full stop.
     

    Whisky con ron

    Senior Member
    Venezuela / Español
    LV4-26 said:
    Not a linguistic problem at all ?

    Then how come I can't be totally sure what the following sentence means ?

    The rate of unemployment is about 10% in Europe. It's slightly less in America.

    (fictional figures)
    Beautifully explained - Thank you.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Whisky con ron said:
    Use it but don't claim exclusivity. Full stop.
    Sounds like a reasonable proposition. I've just re-read many of the threads on this topic. Nowhere did I find anyone advocating for exclusivity.

    Not a single post by any person, from any nation, suggests that the word be used to describe a single country's people to the exclusion of anyone else...
    You have given, earlier in this thread, an example of a way to mis-use the term, and have said that's not good. Agreed.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    When the terrorists hijack a aircraft,
    and they start shooting the "Americans",
    it wil be only the US passport holders.

    In ordinary English, unadorned "America" = USA, unadorned "American" = citizen of the USA

    Like it or not, that's the fact of the matter. The likelihood of it changing is infinitesimal.
     

    Swettenham

    Senior Member
    U.S.
    Whisky con ron said:
    I won't fall into the teenager argument of "you say that because you hate us... you hate us you hate us why don't you say it and cut the crap and blah blah blah..."

    I have said, I have no problem with USA natives calling themselves Americans. The only problem is if this then excludes everybody in the continent from being called American too (without "central, north, south" being put in front). I mean, no-one can argue with the fact that Belgians are Europeans, correct? But why when a Venezuelan says he's American, he is quickly "corrected" into "no, you are South American" (assuming they get the sub-continent right, eh?).

    That's all... Use it but don't claim exclusivity. Full stop.
    I may be guilty of making that kind of teenager argument. I realize that it weakens my position, so I do try to abstain from such emotional histrionics.

    I just don't understand what the big deal is. In Spanish, you are americano and I am estadounidense. In English, I am American and you are South American (or an American from South America). I'm sorry if you feel disenfranchised. And I won't deny, for the sake of political correctness, that we use the term exclusively. Since this discussion began here (threads and months ago), I have honestly tried to remember instances in which something outside the USA was referred to as simply "American," a secas. I know that such examples exist, but they are extremely rare. I can't think of one. That doesn't mean that I personally believe that you cannot call yourself American-- it's just a word to me. But I'm sure you understand that if you do call yourself American, I will assume that you mean estadounidense, so you will have to explain that you mean "of the New World," not "of the United States."

    United States of Americans have not stolen or kidnapped any words. For instance, we do not tell Spanish-speakers how to use the word "americano." That is your word, and you are free to use it as you please. You are also free to call us whatever you like-- "gringuito" is my favorite term. "American," an English word, is ours to use as we like. Don't kidnap it from us, please. We've already found a home for it, thank you.
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Originallly posted by Whiskey Con Ron
    But why when a Venezuelan says he's American, he is quickly "corrected" into "no, you are South American" (assuming they get the sub-continent right, eh?).
    Because that is how those "Americans" from the United States of America LEARNED it. It is our accepted belief because we were taught that North America and South America are two separate continents. Via our education, you are South American, even though you are also "American."

    Your education follows the model that there is only one "American" continent.

    People who correct you do so because they are assuming, based upon the education model under which they have been taught, that what they are saying is correct. Just like you assert that you are correct, based upon the education model you have been taught.

    Neither is more "right" than the other. They both just are.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Whisky con ron said:
    I mean, no-one can argue with the fact that Belgians are Europeans, correct? But why when a Venezuelan says he's American, he is quickly "corrected" into "no, you are South American" (assuming they get the sub-continent right, eh?).
    Why not just say that he is Venezuelan, though? It would avoid any confusion.

    Edited to add: Nevermind. Rereading the thread, I think I misinterpreted Whisky con ron's point. :eek:
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    LV4-26 said:
    Not a linguistic problem at all ?

    Then how come I can't be totally sure what the following sentence means ?

    The rate of unemployment is about 10% in Europe. It's slightly less in America.

    (fictional figures)
    Of course there is a linguistic problem in your example Jean-Michel: Lack of context.:)

    By 'Europe', do you mean to include part or all of Russia? What about 'Europe' as an ever more frequent synonym for the EU? Shall we start to think that 'Europe' includes Turkey? Yes, free of context, the sentence is quite ambiguous.

    "Rate of unemployment" could be the percentage of the workforce who have held jobs, but do not at present. Alternatively, it might mean all those of working age who now do not have jobs reported to local authorities. Are those who work at home, raising children and maintaining households, for no wages, considered unemployed? More ambiguity.
     

    Roi Marphille

    Senior Member
    Catalonia, Catalan.
    Swettenham said:
    But leave the name alone. We have a right to call ourselves as we please.
    Well, I'm with you here. :tick:
    We may all remember that it is much worse to be named as you do not like, isn't it?
    If they are happy to be called Americans, it's OK with me. What it is not OK with me is when people IMPOSE against others will.

    Roi
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello Roi,

    You make an excellent point. I know you and your people were subjected to decades of imposed will. Just let us know how you prefer to be addressed. I assume most foreros will be happy to show their courtesy to you.

    Cuchu
     

    Swettenham

    Senior Member
    U.S.
    But why when a Venezuelan says he's American, he is quickly "corrected" into "no, you are South American" (assuming they get the sub-continent right, eh?).
    If South America is a "subcontinent," then so is Asia. Please see Outsider's above comments on this matter.
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    John-Paul Miller, NYC
    Gustavoang said:
    What I was saying is that in any language "American" shouldn't be a synonym for an USA-native person, at least that's what I think.
    When discussing language, once you use the word "should", you are almost always going to be wrong. Oh you can be right all you want, in theory. But in practice, you'll be wrong every time?

    You can't argue with language and usage.

    It is what it is, and it is not going to change based on what anyone thinks it should be. Um. Excepting communist china, of course. ;-)

    My favorite? Portugal having a national referendum on whether "Bue" should be added to the official language / dictionary. Um. Guys? If enough people know the word to be ABLE to have enough informed voters, then by definition it al already in the language. And if they don't know, the frikkin dictionary is where they should be ABLE to find out!!
     

    Swettenham

    Senior Member
    U.S.
    Entonces, ¿de qué exactamente trata esta discusión?

    ¿Nos mandan a los estadounidenses cambiar nuestro punto de vista? ¿Creen que nuestras palabras han de cambiar?

    ¿O nos recuerdan que ustedes tienen un punto de vista diferente? ¿Que tienen palabras diferentes?

    Claro que es importante recordarles a nuevos foreros estadounidenses que no se llamen americanos en español excepto cuando se refieran a sí mismos como habitantes del nuevo mundo. Personalmente yo nunca me he llamado "americano" (en español), ni como ciudadano de los Estados Unidos ni como habitante del nuevo mundo. No la encuentro una palabra muy útil.

    En todo caso, soy orgullosamente estadounidense, o humano, o como les guste, a sus órdenes.
     
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