Unitedstatesian/ United Statesian

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Thomas1

Senior Member
polszczyzna warszawska
I'd like to find out a few things about this word:
Do you come it across? (if yes, how often?)
What is your opinion about it/How is it received by native Amercians?
Is it safe for non-Americans to use it?


Tom

PS: yes, I know it's nonstandard and probably doesn't even have its entry in dictionaries.
 
  • Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    It doesn't exist, as far as I'm concerned. I've only ever seen it on (this) Internet forum. The correct adjective to describe a citizen of the United States is American, nothing else.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I'd like to find out a few things about this word:
    Do you come it across?
    No, never -- because, as noted above, the word does not exist.

    What is your opinion about it/How is it received by native Amercians?
    My opinion is that it is a very strange invention. I think my opinion would be held generally by most Americans.

    Is it safe for non-Americans to use it?
    What do you mean by "safe"? Will you incite other people to violence if you say this strange thing? No, you won't. Will people know what you are talking about when you use a word that does not exist? It is very likely that they will not. You will probably get either puzzled looks, or laughter, in response.
     

    tomandjerryfan

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    I actually don't think that term is very often used. People here are pretty used to referring to the citizens of the United States as Americans. The term "Yankees" and "Yanks" are also sometimes used to refer to Americans, regardless of whether the person is really a New Englander or not, but it is usually intended as an insult and is not always too well received among Americans.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    [...]
    What do you mean by "safe"? Will you incite other people to violence if you say this strange thing? No, you won't. Will people know what you are talking about when you use a word that does not exist? It is very likely that they will not. You will probably get either puzzled looks, or laughter, in response.
    Well, maybe not violence but if it could offend an American. Thanks for your thoughts, btw.


    Tom
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    There would be good argument that citizens of the United States are not entitled to sole ownership of "American" or even "North American". There are many countries in the Americas and any one of them could make that claim. Except...

    That the United States did so first. It was the first country settled in the New World, and they used the word "Americans" first. By consensus, convention and history, the word "Americans" is the word used to describe U.S. citizens.

    I take some offense at the phrase "United Statesians" because the only reading I can make from that phrase it that some other country intends to steal "American" as its own. Too late.

    I would never use "United Statesians" and I would correct those that do.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello Thomas,

    On those extremely rare occasions that I see the term, I smile as the absurd political kerrectitude of it.

    I will never use it to refer to myself or any fellow citizen. I am not offended by it. It's just silly, contorted,
    and sounds like someone is trying too hard to accomplish something or other that I probably don't agree with, by means of a substitution of a goofy neologism for a valid term that has been in use for about 500 years.

    You might have deduced that I don't hold the term in high respect. :D
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    In the normal context of "safe" usage, no, it is not safe to use. To refer to an American as a Unitedstatesian would be an obvious indicator that you are not altogether familiar with the English language. Very few would view it as either a creative or a practicable substitution.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    It doesn't exist, as far as I'm concerned. I've only ever seen it on (this) Internet forum. The correct adjective to describe a citizen of the United States is American, nothing else.
    Agreed. I've only seen United Statesian here. Googling it, I see that it's been around for a while (article from 1986 - http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE2D61E3AF934A15754C0A960948260 ). Apparently it hasn't caught on with most United Statesians. :)

    "Safe" seems like an odd adjective to put in a question about this word. I'm not sure what you mean. It would probably cause confusion in many contexts, as GreenWhiteBlue said.

    I wonder if this will spread. Will we be encouraged to say, "United Kingdomer", for example?
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    For no really good reason, other than the fact that these are small numbers of hits, this seems like a good place to point out another mysterious characteristic of Google's counts. I think this is because it counts main pages and sub-pages, but I'm not sure.

    When you look through to the end of the listed links, you find that the end is sooner than you thought. So:
    1 - 81 of 81 for "United Kingdomer".
    431 - 439 of 439 for "United Statesian".

    The general impression of the result is not changed in this case, but it's a reminder to treat Google results with intelligent scepticism.

     

    lizzeymac

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I actually don't think that term is very often used. People here are pretty used to referring to the citizens of the United States as Americans. The term "Yankees" and "Yanks" are also sometimes used to refer to Americans, regardless of whether the person is really a New Englander or not, but it is usually intended as an insult and is not always too well received among Americans.
    As many have said, Unitedstatesian is just doesn't exist in America. I had never heard it before I joined this forum & I work with plenty of foreigners. If an American did understand what you meant, at best they might think it silly & unrealistic. I think it's pretty close to obnoxious.

    I am going a bit beyond the topic, but Yankee probably should not be used with people you do not know, unless you are referring to the baseball team from NY. There is a chance that a Southerner might not appreciate it.
     

    fleur de courgette

    Senior Member
    United States/English
    There would be good argument that citizens of the United States are not entitled to sole ownership of "American" or even "North American". There are many countries in the Americas and any one of them could make that claim. Except...

    That the United States did so first. It was the first country settled in the New World, and they used the word "Americans" first. By consensus, convention and history, the word "Americans" is the word used to describe U.S. citizens.

    I take some offense at the phrase "United Statesians" because the only reading I can make from that phrase it that some other country intends to steal "American" as its own. Too late.

    I would never use "United Statesians" and I would correct those that do.
    Pakard makes a good point here, that any of the citizens of North, Central and South America could appropriate, and some do use, the term "American" to describe themselves. The arguement that we were the first of the european colonies to claim independence is not a reasonable substantiation for claiming exclusive rights to this identity. In part this is due to the controversy of where the term originated (Amerigo naming the what would later be refered to as the Central American landmass or Amerike's bestowal of his name to what we consider NewFoundland now). And, more importantly, identities and their boundaries are in large part created through language; I see no reason for our American identities to be compromised by the recognition that we are not the only ones inhabiting the American continents given our current cultural hegemony. Further, I wish there were a reasonable adjective we could use to describe our natioanlity in place of the arrogant "American." I wouldn't mind being called Unitedstatesian, but is't mighty ugly and doesn't roll off the tongue well. ;)
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Pakard makes a good point here, that any of the citizens of North, Central and South America could appropriate, and some do use, the term "American" to describe themselves. The arguement that we were the first of the european colonies to claim independence is not a reasonable substantiation for claiming exclusive rights to this identity. In part this is due to the controversy of where the term originated (Amerigo naming the what would later be refered to as the Central American landmass or Amerike's bestowal of his name to what we consider NewFoundland now). And, more importantly, identities and their boundaries are in large part created through language; I see no reason for our American identities to be compromised by the recognition that we are not the only ones inhabiting the American continents given our current cultural hegemony. Further, I wish there were a reasonable adjective we could use to describe our natioanlity in place of the arrogant "American." I wouldn't mind being called Unitedstatesian, but is't mighty ugly and doesn't roll off the tongue well. ;)
    When I was a U.S. citizen growing up in Canada and called myself an "American", I sometimes was accused of appropriating the name of two continents. My response then, and now, is that "America" is part of the name of the United States of America, and to the best of my knowledge, it is not part of the name of any other country in either North or South America (although with political geography changing so fast, I won't claim to be up-to-date on this issue). So I rejected the view that I should start to call myself a "Usonian" [phonetic spelling of the word suggested at the time, with a long "o"]. :D
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    When looking for "United Statesian" I saw "US American". That seemed a lot less awkward.
    There is some merit to that if the USA wanted to kowtow to the other countries of the Americas.

    After all it is the U.S. of America, hence "Americans". The United States is the only country that uses the word "America" as part of its proper name.

    If another country, say Canada of America or Mexico of America or Brazil of America would want to make a similar claim, there is always the World Court.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    May I remind everyone that we have many other threads, and probably nearly one thousand posts, arguing every side of whether citizens of the US either do or should have rights, exclusive or shared, to the word American. That's not the topic of this thread. Hunt around the Cultural Discussions forum and you will find plenty of good historical information, etymology, vitriol and reasonable opinions.

    Back to the topic?
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I'd like to find out a few things about this word:
    Do you come it across? (if yes, how often?)
    What is your opinion about it/How is it received by native Amercians?
    Is it safe for non-Americans to use it?


    Tom

    PS: yes, I know it's nonstandard and probably doesn't even have its entry in dictionaries.
    I don't believe I've encountered the word before, and if I have, it would have to have been from someone on the Internet, not from anyone I know personally.

    I would advise anyone learning English as a foreign language to stick with American as the noun for a citizen of the USA. There is no other single term*, only such things as US citizen or citizen of the USA. These latter expressions are pretty much out of place in everyday speech when you're not discussing citizenship as such, but instead want the US equivalent to Frenchman or Canadian or Japanese.

    * There is Yank, which was mentioned earlier in this thread, but it's not used by Americans here in the US and it seems to me to be a nickname rather than a name. I don't believe any native speaker of English now uses Yankee with the meaning "US citizen."
     

    AWordLover

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi All,

    I am a big fan of wordplay. In the absence of a compelling reason to believe otherwise I would think the term Unitedstatesian was being used in an attempt to be funny.

    AWordLover
     

    lizzeymac

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I understand the continent concept put forward as an explanation for the terms "unitedstatesian," etc., to describe citizens of The United States of America, a term used by people who are not from The United States of America.

    To me, the issue is that we are not talking about the name of a continent. We are talking about the name of a country.
    If someone asks me what continent I am from I say North America.
    If someone asks me what country I am from I say America or the USA.
    I was actually taught that it was presumptuous to say I was from "The United States" as there are other countries that are composed of United States. There are no other countries with the name "America."

    I understand being from "the Americas" - I am from "the Americas" & I like the inclusiveness of the term. However, in English (& I assume also in other languages) there is a difference between being "from the Americas" & "being an American."

    What I find unlikely is the argument that a person would identify themselves primarily by continent rather than by country.

    Do citizens of France say they are European or that they are French?
    When I refer to The United States of Mexico informally, I call it Mexico, not Los Estados Unidos. Is this incorrect or offensive?
    Should I refer to all countries by the descriptions of their political structure that precede their specific names?
    "The Republic" rather than France or Paraguay or Italy or Argentina or Peru or Albania?
    "The Kingdom" rather than Spain or Denmark or Sweden?

    Or does this rationale apply only to The United States of America?
     

    tomandjerryfan

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    If someone asks me what country I am from I say America or the USA.
    I'm in agreement with most of the other points you've made. I think the only rationale that applies mostly to the U.S. is the one of referring to the U.S. as America. Although I know what is meant when Americans say they're from America, to me personally it sounds a bit strange, considering America could also be used as a synonym for the Americas, which would include North, Central, and South America. When talking about the United States of America, I generally prefer to use such terms as the U.S., USA, US of A, or just "the States." American seems fine to me, but America to refer to the just the U.S. comes off a bit strange.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I'm in agreement with most of the other points you've made. I think the only rationale that applies mostly to the U.S. is the one of referring to the U.S. as America. Although I know what is meant when Americans say they're from America, to me personally it sounds a bit strange, considering America could also be used as a synonym for the Americas, which would include North, Central, and South America. When talking about the United States of America, I generally prefer to use such terms as the U.S., USA, US of A, or just "the States." American seems fine to me, but America to refer to the just the U.S. comes off a bit strange.

    Well, this makes it clear what you'd call the country, but what term would you use for a person from that country?
     

    lizzeymac

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I'm in agreement with most of the other points you've made. I think the only rationale that applies mostly to the U.S. is the one of referring to the U.S. as America. Although I know what is meant when Americans say they're from America, to me personally it sounds a bit strange, considering America could also be used as a synonym for the Americas, which would include North, Central, and South America. When talking about the United States of America, I generally prefer to use such terms as the U.S., USA, US of A, or just "the States." American seems fine to me, but America to refer to the just the U.S. comes off a bit strange.
    So you agree ... except ...........
    Which means you don't agree.

    I'm not not "yelling" this, really. Agree or don't agree with me, that's OK. But it sounds as though you want it both ways, or as though you are making an effort not to sound unpleasant or hostile - which is lovely.

    I suppose I could understand and not take offense if this term "Unitedstatesian" was used only in a language other than English. After all, it's not a word in English, and it sounds like a rock rolling downhill.

    I know "Italy" is not the proper name for Italia, Italy is what Americans call the country Italia. If I could speak Italian well enough to speak it, I would say Italia when speaking in Italian. If an Italian speaks English to me I don't expect them to say Italy instead of Italia, it seems like an absurd imposition. I happen to think Americans, a theoretically multi-cultural country, should use the proper names for all countries. It's not that hard.
    I think a country gets to decide on the word for its own name in its native language, and by extension, the appellation for its' citizens.

    Do you, as a Canadian citizen, wish to called an American?
    As a native English-speaker, knowing the grammatical difference between "an American" and "The Americas?"
    Do you live in America or Canada? Do you refer to yourself as an American in conversation? Really? If I go to Montreal or Quebec or Winnipeg and refer to the locals as "Americans" it would be understood and accepted?

    I truly believe that many, if not most Americans have no idea that this is a topic of conversation anywhere in the world, and if I tried to explain it to them many of them would think I was making this up.

    I think it's fine if other citizens of The Americas refer to themselves as Americans, though I think it may be confusing on occasion.
    I really would have thought that citizens of other countries would have been offended if I referred to them as Americans rather than the name of their own country.
    I would worry that it sounded as though I was minimizing their own country's uniqueness and singularity, and was reducing them to a small part of a large group.

    What really bothers me is the notion that another person thinks they can deny me my name in my own language.
     

    tomandjerryfan

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    I understood your point and I totally agree with it. I think it's more efficient to refer to yourself by the country you live in rather than by the continent. It even more of a ring of patriotism.

    That said, depending on the context, I wouldn't take offence to being referred to as an American, but I would definitely prefer to be referred to as a Canadian. I also wouldn't mind being told I lived in America, but again, without context, my inclination would be to correct the person. In general conversation I usually refer to the citizens of the U.S. as Americans, the citizens of Canada as Canadians, and the citizens of other countries by their respective names.

    So my point was that, although most people will know what you mean if you say America or American, the use of America to describe the U.S. is somewhat frowned on by some people (at least here and by some people). I do not have a problem referring to the citizens of the U.S. as Americans and can't think of a better name myself. I understand that U.S. citizens don't use the terms American or America to exclude other countries from the continent.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I'm in agreement with most of the other points you've made. I think the only rationale that applies mostly to the U.S. is the one of referring to the U.S. as America. Although I know what is meant when Americans say they're from America, to me personally it sounds a bit strange, considering America could also be used as a synonym for the Americas, which would include North, Central, and South America. When talking about the United States of America, I generally prefer to use such terms as the U.S., USA, US of A, or just "the States." American seems fine to me, but America to refer to the just the U.S. comes off a bit strange.

    Many countries refer to their nationals by adding "ans" or a variation on that to the end of the country name. So Canada has Canadians; Mexico has Mexicans; Columbia has Colombians; The United States of America has Americans. Very consistent with the exception that United States of Americans is too much of a mouthful and it is truncated to Americans.
     

    dobes

    Senior Member
    US English(Boston/NY)
    Like my fellow countrymen, I've never seen it before, and, like most of them, I hate it. We are Americans, sharing the continents with Canadians, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Brazilians, et al., and we'll all just have to deal with that.

    But I wanted to say that, in the original poster's note, when they asked how 'native Americans' would feel about the term, I thought they meant North American Indians! We Americans whose ancestors originated outside the Americas cannot refer to ourselves as 'native', since that term has been taken by the aboriginal populations. So, like a Canadian who can't really refer to him/herself as 'American' even though they were born on the North American continent, I cannot refer to myself as a "Native American" though I was born in the US. I guess whoever takes the name first gets to keep it!

    And, finally, Yankee -- inside the US it is still sometimes used as a derogatory term for people from the North by people from the Southern US. For instance, my family is from New England, and I raised my sons there and in New York City. A couple of years after one son moved to Texas, he took a driving class from an instructor who spoke and moved very quickly, contrary to usual Southern behavior. So, during a break, my son approached him and asked if he was from New York. The instructor scowled menacingly and said, "I ain't no damn Yankee!"
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    When I was a U.S. citizen growing up in Canada and called myself an "American", I sometimes was accused of appropriating the name of two continents. My response then, and now, is that "America" is part of the name of the United States of America, and to the best of my knowledge, it is not part of the name of any other country in either North or South America (although with political geography changing so fast, I won't claim to be up-to-date on this issue). So I rejected the view that I should start to call myself a "Usonian" [phonetic spelling of the word suggested at the time, with a long "o"]. :D
    In Esperanto the United States of America is called Usono - and an inhabitant is called an Usonano.

    In Esperanto Ameriko is the entire continent.
     
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