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niende
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American

Postby niende » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:18 am UTC

I have often wondered why the citizens of the US are called 'Americans' when it is the name of the whole continent? Why should 'South-Americans" feel off center?

And if you regard it as "South" and "America", what disqualifies Canada and Mexico from being "american"?

Help me find a suitable replacement.

USer? (you-ess-err)
United-statesian?

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Re: American

Postby Quixotess » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:26 am UTC

I think you've kind of answered your own question. It's difficult to think of a replacement that sounds as good and that everyone would accept.

Don't forget, South America is a *continent.* They share landmass, not government. I mean, we do refer to "Asians" and "Africans" but I don't like that very much. More usually we say "Japanese" or "Chinese," at least when we know enough. And we don't refer to "North Americans." Maybe because, again, it doesn't sound as good. Two words and all that.

America is part of the name of our country. It's not just US, but USA. The "America" refers to the country, not the continent.
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Re: American

Postby Adalwolf » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:56 am UTC

It is accepted that when the word American, or America is seen, it is referring to the USA. It sounds good, and there is no need to change it.
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Re: American

Postby TheAmazingRando » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:38 am UTC

There are names for the citizens of every other country on the American continents, and we're the only country here with America in our name. Why not?

America is really only ever used to refer to the USA. Otherwise there's "the American continents" or "The Americas" or "North America and South America."

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Re: American

Postby joeframbach » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:44 am UTC

I don't think we're stepping on anybody's toes with this one. Canadians have a name, Brazilians have a name, Equadorians have a name. We got the leftovers, it seems.

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Re: American

Postby ThorFluff » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:08 am UTC

Unitées :P ?
I tend to agree with Joe, though it might seem very selfrigtheous to call yourself america, as though the USA is the only real part of america. It's really in-lack-of-a-better-name. And it is kinda nondescript and boring so... I'm not complaining:P
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Re: American

Postby Ours » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:01 am UTC

In the German language citizens of the USA are usually referred to as "Amerikaner" (=Americans) or abbreviated and more familiar as "Amis". (Edited for additional information: "Amerikaner" can technically be used for inhabitants of the continent itself, whereas "Amis" cannot.)
Sometimes though, especially if there might be any chance of misunderstanding or confusion, they are called "US-Amerikaner" (=US-Americans), which is longer and not as simple to use, but is pretty exact w.r.t. logical terms.

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Re: American

Postby SpitValve » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:02 pm UTC

When I was little this used to confuse me. I figured "American" referred to both continents, not just one country. So when people said they'd been to America, I asked which country they'd been to.

Isn't it weird that "North American" is less specific than "American" ?

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Re: American

Postby aetherson » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:02 pm UTC

ThorFluff wrote:stuff....as though the USA is the only real part of america.....stuff

You mean it's not?
:)
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Re: American

Postby Garm » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:17 pm UTC

Ours wrote:In the German language citizens of the USA are usually referred to as "Amerikaner" (=Americans) or abbreviated and more familiar as "Amis". (Edited for additional information: "Amerikaner" can technically be used for inhabitants of the continent itself, whereas "Amis" cannot.)
Sometimes though, especially if there might be any chance of misunderstanding or confusion, they are called "US-Amerikaner" (=US-Americans), which is longer and not as simple to use, but is pretty exact w.r.t. logical terms.


Could we be refered to as Amerikanischers instead? At least then we'd be tasty.

I submit that we take our 'nationality' from the state that our president came from. So right now we'd be Texans. If Hillary gets elected we'll be New Yorkers, Illini for Obama and so on. :D :lol:
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Re: American

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:32 pm UTC

I am perplexed by this problem often. We don't really *have* a name, we have a description. We live in the United States of America. We're states, united, in America, specifically North America, but I often feel like our country as a whole has no name. So I've decided to call it Bob.
And those of us in it can be Bobbins. And I have also decided I rule it with an iron fist.
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Re: American

Postby Aleril » Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:49 pm UTC

Maybe XKCD could come up with a new name for the USA.
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Re: American

Postby Pandercolour » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:27 pm UTC

United States of American is a mouthful to say.

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Re: American

Postby darren » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:32 pm UTC

Don't worry, pretty soon the US, Canada and Mexico will be one country and we'll all be (North) Americans.

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Re: American

Postby Pandercolour » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:33 pm UTC

How do you figure?

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Re: American

Postby Goatboy » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:36 pm UTC

Also to consider is that Mexico are also, officially, united states. Estado Unidos Mexicanos. States united in Mexico. America may not have a big fancy name like United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but I think the world gets by pretty well knowing who's being referred to.
And in Spanish it's "estadounidense" which pretty much translates to "United Statesian."
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Re: American

Postby Quixotess » Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:50 pm UTC

Meaux_Pas wrote:I am perplexed by this problem often. We don't really *have* a name, we have a description. We live in the United States of America. We're states, united, in America, specifically North America, but I often feel like our country as a whole has no name.


It seems to me that a lot of things are either beautiful and nonsensical or boring and understandable. For example, you can lay out your streets in a grid, and then people will be able to find it, but it's so very boring and predictable, or you could have them go every which way, and then it's kind of fun. United States of America tells you a lot about our origins and our location--it is useful. Australia doesn't do that for you, but it does sound nice.
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Re: American

Postby darren » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:03 pm UTC

Pandercolour wrote:How do you figure?

Google "North American Union". It's a logical next step in globalization.

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Re: American

Postby Jessica » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:08 pm UTC

Oh you silly Columbians, stealing the name of a continent as your own.
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Re: American

Postby PictureSarah » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:14 pm UTC

I generally forego country altogether and just call myself Californian.
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Re: American

Postby aetherson » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:15 pm UTC

Garm wrote:I submit that we take our 'nationality' from the state that our president came from. So right now we'd be Texans. If Hillary gets elected we'll be New Yorkers, Illini for Obama and so on. :D :lol:


Ummm...GW isn't from Texas. He's from Connecticut. (which is where he was born and grew up. His family moved to to Houston and Midland for a time but he went to Philips Academy in Andover, Mass. for HS...)

Interestingly enough, i've noticed that when traveling outside of the United States, when someone from Texas is asked where they're from, the generally say "Texas". People from other places in the US say "the States" or "America"...or Canada But that's just in my experience.
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Re: American

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:18 pm UTC

The best name i've heard is the South American "nortamericans" Lumps Canada in too, but that just adds to the fun.
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Re: American

Postby Goatboy » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:24 pm UTC

I've generally heard "norteamericanos" used to specify white people. Maybe I'm wrong.
Also, Mexico is North America, as are Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Belize, &c. I had a Mexican friend you liked to talk about how South America doesn't want Mexico, Central America doesn't want Mexico and North America kind of lumps Mexico in with Central and South America, so by process of elimination, Mexico is America.
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Re: American

Postby Antimatter Spork » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:25 pm UTC

It's because Americans are big fat jerks.

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Re: American

Postby Azrael » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:55 pm UTC

I think it's pretty simple. The name of our country ends with the word AMERICA. Thus ... "Americans".

Brazil -- Brazillians.
Peru -- Peruvians.
Canada -- Canadians.

etc.

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Re: American

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:14 pm UTC

It's really not that simple. Britons. French. Germans. Greeks. Zimbabweans. Tibetans. Chinese.
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Re: American

Postby Jessica » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:21 pm UTC

European, African, Asian
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Re: American

Postby Quixotess » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:28 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:I think it's pretty simple. The name of our country ends with the word AMERICA. Thus ... "Americans".

Brazil -- Brazillians.
Peru -- Peruvians.
Canada -- Canadians.

etc.


Spain -- Spanadians.
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Re: American

Postby Blubb3r3ng3l » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:31 pm UTC

Because people from Canada are called Canadians, people from Mexico are called Mexicans, people from Guatemala are Guatemalan, and so on. We're not United States of American, we're not Civilians of USA, we're Americans. I happen to also be Minnesotan. Some others are Californian. There is nothing else to call us, because we are from Americans. I SUPPOSE you could call Candians Americans, since they are from North America, but thats confusing to everyone, and we seem to have a good system worked out.
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Re: American

Postby 22/7 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:33 pm UTC

aetherson wrote:Interestingly enough, i've noticed that when traveling outside of the United States, when someone from Texas is asked where they're from, the generally say "Texas". People from other places in the US say "the States" or "America"...or Canada But that's just in my experience.

This is one of my least favorite things about Texas. We did an assignment in Australia and part of the assignment was "what country are you from". Everyone in our group from Texas wrote "Texas" and everyone from any other part of the US wrote "USA, the States, America", etc.

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You're naming continents, not countries.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: American

Postby Jessica » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:53 pm UTC

Yes, I am naming continents. I'm glad you caught that.

I love the word Columbian. It's an excellent word and should be used more.
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Re: American

Postby Goatboy » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:58 pm UTC

I think it's used fairly frequently. Y'know, to describe people from Columbia...
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Re: American

Postby Jessica » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:01 pm UTC

doogly wrote:On a scale of Mr Rogers to Fascism, how mean do you think we're being?
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Re: American

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:22 pm UTC

I. never. knew. that.

Now I feel dumb, but I'm glad I finally know why Washington D.C. is the District of Columbia.
(sure I could have googled it. But that's like, effort and shit.)
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Re: American

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:25 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
aetherson wrote:Interestingly enough, i've noticed that when traveling outside of the United States, when someone from Texas is asked where they're from, the generally say "Texas". People from other places in the US say "the States" or "America"...or Canada But that's just in my experience.

This is one of my least favorite things about Texas. We did an assignment in Australia and part of the assignment was "what country are you from". Everyone in our group from Texas wrote "Texas" and everyone from any other part of the US wrote "USA, the States, America", etc.


Texas : America's Quebec.
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Re: American

Postby Jessica » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:26 pm UTC

I learned it a few years ago when I was having this very conversation with some americans and some europeans.
Mainly because non-english speaking countries actually have more trouble with the "american" meaning "from the country USA" instead of "from the continent of America".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_%28word%29
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Re: American

Postby Goatboy » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:47 pm UTC

Indeed. In my defense, for some reason Colombia is spelled Columbia in English. And using Columbian instead of American would cause confusions further. At least officially. It's good to know, though, and also explains why CBS is the Columbia Broadcast System. Knowledge!!

Also, I propose we replace Columbus Day with Cabot Day. Who's with me?
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Re: American

Postby Jessica » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:53 pm UTC

The way I always make sure i don't mix up columbia and colombia is because of british columbia.
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Re: American

Postby kellsbells » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:03 pm UTC

This has always bothered me too. Americans... it's like calling people in the United Kingdom something like "Kingdomers" or something. Just weird.

On the other hand, I knew an Australian person who, probably jokingly, referred to Americans constantly as usians. Like asians. I found it hilarious.
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Re: American

Postby Goatboy » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:07 pm UTC

Having thought about it a bit I feel that the better argument to make against the term "Columbian" is that the parts of the continents that ended up as Spanish colonies owe a lot more to Columbus than These United States. Of course, they also owe a lot more to Vespucci. So as far as changing things go, I'm stumped for new terms. But, come on, people, if we're going to allow South Africa to remain South Africa, I think we can keep the US commonly known as America, and if confusion arises then explanation should be simple. Neh?

Edit: Americans is like calling people in the United Kingdom something like "Britons," since it's the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Calling Americans "Statesers" or something is more like what you've described.
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