1417: "Seven"

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby Klear » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:28 am UTC

orthogon wrote:Yeah, North Americans should really be a subset of Americans. Anything else is an abuse of what an adjective is supposed to do. That's almost as bad as job titles in our department: there's a Head of Business and Operations who reports to the Head of Operations. It annoys me every time I think about it.


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Lisa: I believe they prefer to be called "conjoined twins."
Dr. Hibbert: And hillbillies prefer "sons of the soil." But it ain't gonna happen.


Youtube has failed me, I couldn't find the clip =/

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby armandoalvarez » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:44 am UTC

I worked in a home for children in Mexico, and I would correct the kids who would call me "americano" to say "estadounidense" until the adults told me, "Don't bother. Nobody cares about that." I personally always use "estadounidense" in Spanish and hear "americano" quite a bit from native speakers.
Nobody is confused in English about the difference between "inhabitants of the United States" and "inhabitants of North and South America," when someone says "American." In the vast majority of the cases, he or she means the former, and in the minority of cases where one means the latter, context makes the difference clear.
And it's not arrogant that our demonym is what it is. Nobody chose it. It developed organically. Would it have been nice if Columbia had stuck before the Colombians went and named their country something that sounds the same in English? I guess. But we call ourselves "Americans" and it's working out OK.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:46 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:To put it into context, one doesn't formally call people from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland "UKian". The UK can be used to refer to the country, but isn't a demonym for the people.

Well that's because we already have a good demonym for the people. Why would we need two?

We already have two. People from Northern Ireland are not, as far as I know, British.
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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:50 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Diadem wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:To put it into context, one doesn't formally call people from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland "UKian". The UK can be used to refer to the country, but isn't a demonym for the people.

Well that's because we already have a good demonym for the people. Why would we need two?

We already have two. People from Northern Ireland are not, as far as I know, British.

No, and I guess this could lead the discussion to another demonym: "Irish".

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby orthogon » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:51 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Diadem wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:To put it into context, one doesn't formally call people from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland "UKian". The UK can be used to refer to the country, but isn't a demonym for the people.

Well that's because we already have a good demonym for the people. Why would we need two?

We already have two. People from Northern Ireland are not, as far as I know, British.

A word to the wise: don't go there. (I don't mean don't go to Northern Ireland, which is a great destination).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby Klear » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:57 am UTC

I've recently trained myself to say British when talking about a random person form the British Isles, instead of English, which is much more common. But that's the best I can do. Sorry Ireland.
Last edited by Klear on Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:16 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby armandoalvarez » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:00 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Diadem wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:To put it into context, one doesn't formally call people from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland "UKian". The UK can be used to refer to the country, but isn't a demonym for the people.

Well that's because we already have a good demonym for the people. Why would we need two?

We already have two. People from Northern Ireland are not, as far as I know, British.

A word to the wise: don't go there. (I don't mean don't go to Northern Ireland, which is a great destination).

I thought it was fairly simply that people who want to keep Northern Ireland in the UK tend to call themselves "British" and people who don't tend to call themselves Irish. I do know that C.S. Lewis was for Northern Ireland remaining in the UK and referred to himself as "Irish," but I thought he was the exception.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby orthogon » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:31 pm UTC

armandoalvarez wrote:
orthogon wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Diadem wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:To put it into context, one doesn't formally call people from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland "UKian". The UK can be used to refer to the country, but isn't a demonym for the people.

Well that's because we already have a good demonym for the people. Why would we need two?

We already have two. People from Northern Ireland are not, as far as I know, British.

A word to the wise: don't go there. (I don't mean don't go to Northern Ireland, which is a great destination).

I thought it was fairly simply that people who want to keep Northern Ireland in the UK tend to call themselves "British" and people who don't tend to call themselves Irish. I do know that C.S. Lewis was for Northern Ireland remaining in the UK and referred to himself as "Irish," but I thought he was the exception.

Yes, that's more or less the way I understand it too: i.e. it's a matter of political/sectarian identity. Hence "don't go there"! :wink:

The issue of England/Britain/UK/British Isles etc. has been discussed quite a few times here, but it's worth pointing out that "Britain" is often used interchangeably with "The UK" even by British politicians, and that "British" is more or less officially the demonym for the people of the UK. For example, my passport says "BRITISH CITIZEN", not "UK CITIZEN" under "Nationality". (Annoyingly, most websites offer "United Kingdom" as the only option when providing passport details, despite the dire warnings that the information you provide must match the passport exactly).

Anyway, if you're finding it confusing I suggest you wait until next Thursday before trying to understand it all.

(Also, our official ISO two-letter country code is "GB", although we have managed to reserve "UK" as well, including the rights to the ".uk" top-level domain. I can imagine that must have annoyed Ukraine, although the way things are going that might not be an issue for too much longer.)
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:51 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
armandoalvarez wrote:
orthogon wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Diadem wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:To put it into context, one doesn't formally call people from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland "UKian". The UK can be used to refer to the country, but isn't a demonym for the people.

Well that's because we already have a good demonym for the people. Why would we need two?

We already have two. People from Northern Ireland are not, as far as I know, British.

A word to the wise: don't go there. (I don't mean don't go to Northern Ireland, which is a great destination).

I thought it was fairly simply that people who want to keep Northern Ireland in the UK tend to call themselves "British" and people who don't tend to call themselves Irish. I do know that C.S. Lewis was for Northern Ireland remaining in the UK and referred to himself as "Irish," but I thought he was the exception.

Yes, that's more or less the way I understand it too: i.e. it's a matter of political/sectarian identity. Hence "don't go there"! :wink:

The issue of England/Britain/UK/British Isles etc. has been discussed quite a few times here, but it's worth pointing out that "Britain" is often used interchangeably with "The UK" even by British politicians, and that "British" is more or less officially the demonym for the people of the UK. For example, my passport says "BRITISH CITIZEN", not "UK CITIZEN" under "Nationality". (Annoyingly, most websites offer "United Kingdom" as the only option when providing passport details, despite the dire warnings that the information you provide must match the passport exactly).

Anyway, if you're finding it confusing I suggest you wait until next Thursday before trying to understand it all.

(Also, our official ISO two-letter country code is "GB", although we have managed to reserve "UK" as well, including the rights to the ".uk" top-level domain. I can imagine that must have annoyed Ukraine, although the way things are going that might not be an issue for too much longer.)

Then again, as the name may change to: "United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland", the gb country-code may similarly become obsolete.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby orthogon » Mon Sep 08, 2014 2:00 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:Then again, as the name may change to: "United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland", the gb country-code may similarly become obsolete.

Hence my advice to wait until next Thursday!

ETA: Given the ancestry of many Northern Irelanders, it's plausible that some "Unionists" might want want to leave the UK and enter a union with a newly independent Scotland.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby mathmannix » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:04 pm UTC

San Fran Sam wrote:Who could ever forget the three stooges?

Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, Joe Besser, and Joe DeRita.

All seven of them. :wink:


OK, so you have Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, Joe, and Curly Joe. Did you mean to also list Emil as a seventh?

Pfhorrest wrote:"North American" covers all of those (including Americans), and they've each got a specific demonym if you want to specify them specifically. The question is what is the USA-specific demonym?
[...]
there's no more natural demonym for people from the United States of America than "American".


Regarding "American", and all that, can't we just accept that "American" can refer to both the population of the entire two continents, and also - under different circumstances - citizens (or possibly residents) of the United States (including Hawaii)? And that this is because the word "American" is a ...

okay, I don't know the name for this word, but it definitely seems like it should already have a name. The opposite of metonym. As in, the term for an object or group of objects (or people or group of peoples) being appropriated by its most prominent part. Another example would be, how in the U.S., "Asian" (referring to people, or cuisine) usually means people (or food) from China, Korea, or Japan. (And also, to a slightly lesser extent, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, but they're usually "Southeast Asian".) Not India, not Vladivostok, and definitely not Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel, or Yemen. Yes, "East Asian" is more precisely what is meant, but "Asian" implies it.
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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby orthogon » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:11 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Another example would be, how in the U.S., "Asian" (referring to people, or cuisine) usually means people (or food) from China, Korea, or Japan. (And also, to a slightly lesser extent, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.) Not India, not Vladivostok, and definitely not Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel, or Yemen.

Conversely, in the UK it does include India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and possibly Nepal, but not (unless qualified with "East-") China, Korea or Japan.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby mathmannix » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:16 pm UTC

LockeZ wrote:If I still had my textbook I could add a citation to that motherf*cker.

This remound me of another list of seven...
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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby Klear » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:16 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Regarding "American", and all that, can't we just accept that "American" can refer to both the population of the entire two continents, and also - under different circumstances - citizens (or possibly residents) of the United States (including Hawaii)? And that this is because the word "American" is a ...

okay, I don't know the name for this word, but it definitely seems like it should already have a name. The opposite of metonym. As in, the term for an object or group of objects (or people or group of peoples) being appropriated by its most prominent part.


I'm not sure that's what happened with the name "America", since the name of the country (United States of America) refers to the greater whole. People are not calling USA America because it's the most prominent country in the continent(s), but because it's got the word in its name.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby HES » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:30 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
mathmannix wrote:Another example would be, how in the U.S., "Asian" (referring to people, or cuisine) usually means people (or food) from China, Korea, or Japan. (And also, to a slightly lesser extent, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.) Not India, not Vladivostok, and definitely not Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel, or Yemen.

Conversely, in the UK it does include India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and possibly Nepal, but not (unless qualified with "East-") China, Korea or Japan.

Debatable, and probably variable within the country. For me food|people from China and India are primarily referred to as "Chinese" and "Indian", but this doesn't stop unqualified "Asian" being used for all of the above.

I certainly agree that the middle east is never referred to as "Asian".
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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:43 pm UTC

To be fair, "the Netherlands" formerly referred to a region comprising current Northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands (country) (and maybe Luxembourg). I think the name stuck with the North when France annexed the South (from Spain) and Belgium seceded from the Netherlands (country).

I suspect a similar situation may occur with the word British upon secession of Scotland.

I think the situation for the German and Dutch words for German are much more similar to the "American" issue: It was originally an ethnic demonym including majorities of Austria, Switzerland?, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany (and Western Poland, Kaliningrad and maybe parts of Lithuania, but they were expelled/murdered there so it's not really relevant anymore) and was then taken up by Germany as a demonym. I just fear that ethnic demonyms disappear faster than demonyms for a continent.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:44 pm UTC

HES wrote:
orthogon wrote:
mathmannix wrote:Another example would be, how in the U.S., "Asian" (referring to people, or cuisine) usually means people (or food) from China, Korea, or Japan. (And also, to a slightly lesser extent, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.) Not India, not Vladivostok, and definitely not Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel, or Yemen.

Conversely, in the UK it does include India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and possibly Nepal, but not (unless qualified with "East-") China, Korea or Japan.

Debatable, and probably variable within the country. For me food|people from China and India are primarily referred to as "Chinese" and "Indian", but this doesn't stop unqualified "Asian" being used for all of the above.

I certainly agree that the middle east is never referred to as "Asian".


I would use "Oriental" for China/Japan and other countries of the Far East.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:03 pm UTC

Now that I think about it: to me "African" somewhat suggests Sub-Saharan African. Otherwise it's generally "Northern-African" or a subset of "Arab countries". I guess we're also lacking in a less awkward demonym for Northern-Africa and the Middle-East.

Asian is less specific but the literal translation here tends to mean either Asian, East-Asian (excluding Russia), South-East Asian, rarely South-Asian, while it being used for Central-Asia, Russia or the Middle-East is almost unheard of.

The scope of "European" also varies a lot to include Anatolia, Turkey completely, to either include or exclude the whole or part of Russia, and variations in countries east of the Black Sea and east of Southern Russia; lately I even hear Israel being included sometimes (ridiculous without including Turkey Lebanon, and Syria).

The end of North-America also varies: the US-Mexican border (with Central-America being a separate entity), or various locations along the Isthmus of Panama. The former is more common when specifying somethings origin and the second mostly when talking about geography.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby orthogon » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:05 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
HES wrote:
orthogon wrote:
mathmannix wrote:Another example would be, how in the U.S., "Asian" (referring to people, or cuisine) usually means people (or food) from China, Korea, or Japan. (And also, to a slightly lesser extent, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.) Not India, not Vladivostok, and definitely not Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel, or Yemen.

Conversely, in the UK it does include India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and possibly Nepal, but not (unless qualified with "East-") China, Korea or Japan.

Debatable, and probably variable within the country. For me food|people from China and India are primarily referred to as "Chinese" and "Indian", but this doesn't stop unqualified "Asian" being used for all of the above.

I certainly agree that the middle east is never referred to as "Asian".


I would use "Oriental" for China/Japan and other countries of the Far East.

OK, strictly I meant "Asian" as used to describe a person's ethnicity/background, which in the UK means "South Asian" and in the US means "East Asian".
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby HES » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:11 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:OK, strictly I meant "Asian" as used to describe a person's ethnicity/background, which in the UK means "South Asian" and in the US means "East Asian".

I contest that. Which is why I said it probably varies within the country.

I am starting to realise how internally inconsistent I am, though.
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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby Klear » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:29 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:I think the situation for the German and Dutch words for German are much more similar to the "American" issue: It was originally an ethnic demonym including majorities of Austria, Switzerland?, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany (and Western Poland, Kaliningrad and maybe parts of Lithuania, but they were expelled/murdered there so it's not really relevant anymore) and was then taken up by Germany as a demonym. I just fear that ethnic demonyms disappear faster than demonyms for a continent.


This is only tangentially related, but I like how in Czech we call Germans "němci", meaning "the mute ones". They were simply the weird people we couldn't understand, while slavs, in Czech "slované" are those who know words (Czech "slova"). So basically either you speak our language, or you are a German.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby orthogon » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:59 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
PinkShinyRose wrote:I think the situation for the German and Dutch words for German are much more similar to the "American" issue: It was originally an ethnic demonym including majorities of Austria, Switzerland?, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany (and Western Poland, Kaliningrad and maybe parts of Lithuania, but they were expelled/murdered there so it's not really relevant anymore) and was then taken up by Germany as a demonym. I just fear that ethnic demonyms disappear faster than demonyms for a continent.


This is only tangentially related, but I like how in Czech we call Germans "němci", meaning "the mute ones". They were simply the weird people we couldn't understand, while slavs, in Czech "slované" are those who know words (Czech "slova"). So basically either you speak our language, or you are a German.

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xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby xtifr » Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:01 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:The problem is that it's ambiguous: it's like refering specifically to someone from the United Arab Emirates as an "Arab", to someone from Saudi-Arabia as an "Arab", to someone from England with the word "Great-Brit and Northern Irelander", to someone from the Federated States of Micronesia as a "Micronesian" or, if this ever becomes a thing, to someone from the EU as a "European". Besides, part of the US isn't even near America: calling someone from Hawai'i an American is just ridiculous, akin to calling someone from Vladivostok "European" because most Russians happen to live in Europe.


A) Being ambiguous is the norm for English words.
B) It's not really ambiguous; in English, "America" basically always refers to the US. In the rare cases where there is some ambiguity (mostly referring to historical events such as the "discovery of America"), the meaning is almost always clear from context--just like with all the other bazillion ambiguous words in English that are rarely ambiguous in context.
C) Wishing the language were different from the way it is won't change the language. "America" refers to the US. And yes, that includes Hawaii. And this is not just American usage; Canadians, Brits, and Aussies use the term the same way.
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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby HES » Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:54 pm UTC

armandoalvarez wrote:I thought it was fairly simply that people who want to keep Northern Ireland in the UK tend to call themselves "British" and people who don't tend to call themselves Irish. I do know that C.S. Lewis was for Northern Ireland remaining in the UK and referred to himself as "Irish," but I thought he was the exception.

I get the impression from my mother (who grew up in NI) that they mostly call themselves Irish regardless.
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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby Mikeski » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:03 pm UTC

So, do people complain that "Australian" refers to people from that country, even though Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and bits of Indonesia are part of the Australian continent? Or is it just the USA==American thing that sets people off?

Also, why do we need a two-continent demonym "American" to refer to everyone there? Is there a cultural/ethnic/religious identity that covers everyone from Barrow, Alaska, USA to Ushuaia, Argentina, and everywhere in-between... but also excludes the rest of the world?

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby operagost » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:10 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
PinkShinyRose wrote:I think the situation for the German and Dutch words for German are much more similar to the "American" issue: It was originally an ethnic demonym including majorities of Austria, Switzerland?, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany (and Western Poland, Kaliningrad and maybe parts of Lithuania, but they were expelled/murdered there so it's not really relevant anymore) and was then taken up by Germany as a demonym. I just fear that ethnic demonyms disappear faster than demonyms for a continent.


This is only tangentially related, but I like how in Czech we call Germans "němci", meaning "the mute ones". They were simply the weird people we couldn't understand, while slavs, in Czech "slované" are those who know words (Czech "slova"). So basically either you speak our language, or you are a German.

That reminds me of the Amish, who call everyone who isn't Amish "English". Incidentally, they speak a dialect called Pennsylvania Dutch among themselves (except in church, where standard German is used).

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby da Doctah » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:57 pm UTC

HES wrote:
orthogon wrote:
mathmannix wrote:Another example would be, how in the U.S., "Asian" (referring to people, or cuisine) usually means people (or food) from China, Korea, or Japan. (And also, to a slightly lesser extent, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.) Not India, not Vladivostok, and definitely not Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel, or Yemen.

Conversely, in the UK it does include India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and possibly Nepal, but not (unless qualified with "East-") China, Korea or Japan.

Debatable, and probably variable within the country. For me food|people from China and India are primarily referred to as "Chinese" and "Indian", but this doesn't stop unqualified "Asian" being used for all of the above.

I certainly agree that the middle east is never referred to as "Asian".


Back when "Heroes" was on NBC, I happened to catch an awards show for the "Asian-American Achievement Awards". Both Sendhil Ramamurthy and Masi Oka were nominated as actors in a drama series. Farther into the program an award was given for "Best Part-Asian Actor", which went to Rob Schneider.

Yes, Adam Sandler's buddy, the guy from "The Animal", "The Hot Chick" and "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo".

Apparently he's one-quarter Filipino.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:57 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:So, do people complain that "Australian" refers to people from that country, even though Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and bits of Indonesia are part of the Australian continent? Or is it just the USA==American thing that sets people off?

Also, why do we need a two-continent demonym "American" to refer to everyone there? Is there a cultural/ethnic/religious identity that covers everyone from Barrow, Alaska, USA to Ushuaia, Argentina, and everywhere in-between... but also excludes the rest of the world?

Islands are not part of a continent. They're associated with a continent and this may be through a plate tectonics definition, but is generally through proximity or cultural association (except in case of Oceania, which is kind of nowhere and grouped with Australia if it needs to be assigned a continent because it is nearby and really too small to be considered a continent by itself anyway so it can use the additional islands).

Obvious examples of this include Iceland (generally associated with Europe despite it being partially on the North-American plate), Japan (generally associated with Asia despite being largely on the Okhotsk and Okinawa plates, with Okinawa being on the Okinawa plates and Hokkaido being mostly on the Okhotsk plate), Taiwan (generally associated with Asia but mostly on the Philippine Sea plate and partially on the Okinawa plate), Sakhalin (situation is similar to Hokkaido), Sicily (generally associated with Europe but on the African plate) and Indonesia (generally associated with Asia, is mostly on the Sunda plate but east of Borneo it's like a mosaic with Sulawesi and Timor being on one or more plates not shared with part of a continent).

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby Flumble » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:20 pm UTC

In conclusion, there are roughly 14-15 significant plates continents. And you need to learn at least the following by heart:
[x] Africa
[x] Antarctica
[x] Eurasia
[x] Indo-Australia (might become India and Australia in the near future)
[x] North America
[x] Pacific
[x] South America
And remember that Carribia, Scotia, Arabia, Nazca, Philippine, Juan de Fuca and Cocos are not part of the listed plates continents. :mrgreen:

I trust the geologic community more than society to sensibly partition the Earth's surface.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby orthogon » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:20 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:So, do people complain that "Australian" refers to people from that country, even though Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and bits of Indonesia are part of the Australian continent? Or is it just the USA==American thing that sets people off?


We used to call the continent "Australasia" to distinguish it from the country. For some reason that went out of fashion sometime in the '80s, although I suspect it's making a comeback.

Mikeski wrote:Also, why do we need a two-continent demonym "American" to refer to everyone there? Is there a cultural/ethnic/religious identity that covers everyone from Barrow, Alaska, USA to Ushuaia, Argentina, and everywhere in-between... but also excludes the rest of the world?


You could say the same about all the continents. Is there a cultural/ethnic/religious identity that covers everyone from Colombo to Urumqi to Tokyo to Manila to Jakarta? Or from Lisbon to Edinburgh to Moscow to Ljubljana?
PinkShinyRose wrote:Islands are not part of a continent. They're associated with a continent and this may be through a plate tectonics definition, but is generally through proximity or cultural association (except in case of Oceania, which is kind of nowhere and grouped with Australia if it needs to be assigned a continent because it is nearby and really too small to be considered a continent by itself anyway so it can use the additional islands).

Obvious examples of this include Iceland (generally associated with Europe despite it being partially on the North-American plate), Japan (generally associated with Asia despite being largely on the Okhotsk and Okinawa plates, with Okinawa being on the Okinawa plates and Hokkaido being mostly on the Okhotsk plate), Taiwan (generally associated with Asia but mostly on the Philippine Sea plate and partially on the Okinawa plate), Sakhalin (situation is similar to Hokkaido), Sicily (generally associated with Europe but on the African plate) and Indonesia (generally associated with Asia, is mostly on the Sunda plate but east of Borneo it's like a mosaic with Sulawesi and Timor being on one or more plates not shared with part of a continent).

I always thought that islands were associated with continents because they were separated by seas (or channels) rather than oceans; this was all sorted out before plate tectonics was a thing. Also, are you cutting us (the UK) off from the European continent? I know we aren't sure ourselves, but you mainland guys are normally mystified why we sometimes talk about "Europe" as if we aren't part of it.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:39 am UTC

orthogon wrote:You could say the same about all the continents. Is there a cultural/ethnic/religious identity that covers everyone from Colombo to Urumqi to Tokyo to Manila to Jakarta? Or from Lisbon to Edinburgh to Moscow to Ljubljana?

I think it works for Europe, it's all culturally similar. Just not for any other continent, probably because the nonsense was made up by Europeans. It also works rather nicely for modern America, it's all Western-European culture with a tiny bit of local culture mixed in in some areas but the predominating Western-European part of the culture makes it similar to the European situation.
orthogon wrote:
PinkShinyRose wrote:Islands are not part of a continent. They're associated with a continent and this may be through a plate tectonics definition, but is generally through proximity or cultural association (except in case of Oceania, which is kind of nowhere and grouped with Australia if it needs to be assigned a continent because it is nearby and really too small to be considered a continent by itself anyway so it can use the additional islands).

Obvious examples of this include Iceland (generally associated with Europe despite it being partially on the North-American plate), Japan (generally associated with Asia despite being largely on the Okhotsk and Okinawa plates, with Okinawa being on the Okinawa plates and Hokkaido being mostly on the Okhotsk plate), Taiwan (generally associated with Asia but mostly on the Philippine Sea plate and partially on the Okinawa plate), Sakhalin (situation is similar to Hokkaido), Sicily (generally associated with Europe but on the African plate) and Indonesia (generally associated with Asia, is mostly on the Sunda plate but east of Borneo it's like a mosaic with Sulawesi and Timor being on one or more plates not shared with part of a continent).

I always thought that islands were associated with continents because they were separated by seas (or channels) rather than oceans; this was all sorted out before plate tectonics was a thing. Also, are you cutting us (the UK) off from the European continent? I know we aren't sure ourselves, but you mainland guys are normally mystified why we sometimes talk about "Europe" as if we aren't part of it.

I wouldn't want to offend the British by saying they were part of Europe :P. I also think there are two parts to the continent thing: large landmasses (Afro-Eurasia, America, Australia and Antarctica) and arbitrary divides on the landmasses (Europe, Africa, Asia, North-America, South-America, Australia and Antarctica), in English there is no real distinction between the two concepts. If we assume geological continents then only the former makes sense (or pure plate tectonics but that didn't seem intended by the one I was replying to from context) and it doesn't make sense to associate islands with the former definition (so neither the British Isles nor Japan are part of Afro-Eurasia) but they are part of the continents in the latter definition (so I guess the British Isles are part of Europe and Japan is part of Asia). I just didn't want to address the definition thing at the time.

As for your idea for associating islands with continents: take Cyprus, it's separated from Asia, Europe and Africa only by the Mediterranean Sea, with your definition the entire island would be in Europe, Asia and Africa simultaneously, yet it's generally associated with Europe (the same goes for other islands in the Mediterranean and similar situations exist between other sets of continents: Bering Sea, Caribbean Sea, Red Sea, Black Sea and everything around Indonesia). What is sea and what is ocean also varies by language (in Dutch for example the Arctic Ocean is a sea: "Noordelijke Ijszee" literally Northern Ice Sea).

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby armandoalvarez » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:13 am UTC

You guys need to check out the CGPGrey video on youtube on continents. It's all arbitrary. If you say, "It's a big landmass separated by water," then your options seem clear enough (Afro-Eurasia, America, Australia, Antarctica), but then you have to decide which landmass is small enough to be the largest island rather than the smallest continent. (Is it Australia? Greenland?)
My definition would be "large landmass mostly separate from others" and isthmuses would be good enough, so you'd have Eurasia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Antarctica. I don't see any reason to say, "Well, Africa is a continent, but there's definitely only one America." Why? Why is Sinai more of a connection than Panama? And to say "Europe is a continent, but North and South America goes together" seems a bit too arbitrary. But that's just my definition. You can really draw the lines however you way.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby orthogon » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:46 am UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
orthogon wrote:You could say the same about all the continents. Is there a cultural/ethnic/religious identity that covers everyone from Colombo to Urumqi to Tokyo to Manila to Jakarta? Or from Lisbon to Edinburgh to Moscow to Ljubljana?

I think it works for Europe, it's all culturally similar. Just not for any other continent, probably because the nonsense was made up by Europeans. It also works rather nicely for modern America, it's all Western-European culture with a tiny bit of local culture mixed in in some areas but the predominating Western-European part of the culture makes it similar to the European situation.


So, in fact this is the real answer about why Eurasia is considered as two continents. Way back when, we drew an arbitrary line separating "us" from "them".

PinkShinyRose wrote:I wouldn't want to offend the British by saying they were part of Europe :P.

Thanks for your sensitivity ;-)

For me, it all comes down to our different mains electricity sockets. With apologies to Shaw, I would say we are "divided by a common voltage".
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby da Doctah » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:12 am UTC

orthogon wrote:For me, it all comes down to our different mains electricity sockets. With apologies to Shaw, I would say we are "divided by a common voltage".


Once upon a time, I defined "Third World" as "places where the broadcast standard is SECAM".

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby orthogon » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:10 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:
orthogon wrote:For me, it all comes down to our different mains electricity sockets. With apologies to Shaw, I would say we are "divided by a common voltage".


Once upon a time, I defined "Third World" as "places where the broadcast standard is SECAM".

So the landmasses that really matter are Palgea, Ntscartica, Atscarctica, Secamia and ... can anyone make a pronounceable name based on DVB-T or ISDB-T?
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:05 pm UTC

armandoalvarez wrote:You guys need to check out the CGPGrey video on youtube on continents. It's all arbitrary. If you say, "It's a big landmass separated by water," then your options seem clear enough (Afro-Eurasia, America, Australia, Antarctica), but then you have to decide which landmass is small enough to be the largest island rather than the smallest continent. (Is it Australia? Greenland?)

I think when you compare the surface area of Afro-Eurasia to the area of Australia the inclusion of Australia becomes dubious, I suspect they differ an order of magnitude (base 10) whereas America and Afro-Eurasia do not.
armandoalvarez wrote:My definition would be "large landmass mostly separate from others" and isthmuses would be good enough, so you'd have Eurasia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Antarctica. I don't see any reason to say, "Well, Africa is a continent, but there's definitely only one America." Why? Why is Sinai more of a connection than Panama? And to say "Europe is a continent, but North and South America goes together" seems a bit too arbitrary. But that's just my definition. You can really draw the lines however you way.

If you count the man made things: the Panama canal had locks whereas the Suez canal does not. A counter would be that the Isthmus of Panama is smaller
orthogon wrote:
da Doctah wrote:
orthogon wrote:For me, it all comes down to our different mains electricity sockets. With apologies to Shaw, I would say we are "divided by a common voltage".


Once upon a time, I defined "Third World" as "places where the broadcast standard is SECAM".

So the landmasses that really matter are Palgea, Ntscartica, Atscarctica, Secamia and ... can anyone make a pronounceable name based on DVB-T or ISDB-T?

But do they use a combination of NTSC and SCART anywhere?

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby Zinho » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:57 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Regarding "American", and all that, can't we just accept that "American" can refer to both the population of the entire two continents, and also - under different circumstances - citizens (or possibly residents) of the United States (including Hawaii)? And that this is because the word "American" is a ...

okay, I don't know the name for this word, but it definitely seems like it should already have a name. The opposite of metonym. As in, the term for an object or group of objects (or people or group of peoples) being appropriated by its most prominent part. . .


Synecdoche is I think the term you want. Specifically, it falls into the sub-class of synecdoche called "totum pro parte", and is in fact the first example listed on the sub-class's wikipedia entry.

I'm going to take a second to rant about the silliness of how figures of speech are categorized. Per my research just now Synecdoche is considered a sub-class of Metonymy; however, Metonymy is the substitution of names specifically, whereas Synechdoche can refer to any part or property of a thing (e.g. "pinks" for automobile ownership papers relates a things color to its identity). How, then is the more general term a subset of the specific one? And that's why engineers aren't poets... If any poetry wonks want to enlighten me, feel free.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby orthogon » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:43 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
orthogon wrote:So the landmasses that really matter are Palgea, Ntscartica, Atscarctica, Secamia and ... can anyone make a pronounceable name based on DVB-T or ISDB-T?

But do they use a combination of NTSC and SCART anywhere?

The substring "scart" was entirely accidental. I was pleased with Palgea and struggled to make the others sound like continents past or present.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:19 pm UTC

Zinho wrote:I'm going to take a second to rant about the silliness of how figures of speech are categorized. Per my research just now Synecdoche is considered a sub-class of Metonymy; however, Metonymy is the substitution of names specifically, whereas Synechdoche can refer to any part or property of a thing (e.g. "pinks" for automobile ownership papers relates a things color to its identity). How, then is the more general term a subset of the specific one? And that's why engineers aren't poets... If any poetry wonks want to enlighten me, feel free.

My understanding is that synecdoche is part-refers-to-whole and whole-refers-to-part, while metonymy is the more general thing-refers-to-related-thing, where the relationship can be anything rather than just that between part and whole.
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Re: 1417: "Seven"

Postby Mikeski » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:22 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Also, why do we need a two-continent demonym "American" to refer to everyone there? Is there a cultural/ethnic/religious identity that covers everyone from Barrow, Alaska, USA to Ushuaia, Argentina, and everywhere in-between... but also excludes the rest of the world?

You could say the same about all the continents. Is there a cultural/ethnic/religious identity that covers everyone from Colombo to Urumqi to Tokyo to Manila to Jakarta? Or from Lisbon to Edinburgh to Moscow to Ljubljana?

Exactly my point. It's convenient to have a word that means "Citizen of [Country]". It's not as convenient to have one that means "Citizen of [Continent]", but it's still sometimes useful. It's pretty pointless to have one that means "Citizen of [hemisphere]".

So complaining that we can't let "American" mean "Citizen of the USA" because it SHOULD mean "Citizen of the (political) western hemisphere" is a really, really weird complaint.


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