Author Topic: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread  (Read 46032 times)

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Venus193

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #45 on: April 10, 2013, 06:37:12 AM »
I've only had neutral conotations with yank/yankee.  Especially as I really know the latter word from history class, and Yankee Doodle Dandy.  Who must've been insane, come to think of it...

Who else would think a feather in the hat was macaroni? :o

 'Macaroni' was a Regency term for a dandy - I think it either was or became a terms for the most extreme, effeminate style of men' s dress (http://www.britishmuseum.org/system_pages/beta_collection_introduction/beta_collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1637773&partId=1&subject=16631&page=1)  - I'm guessing the song was making fun of 'colonials' from the backwoods, for trying to be fashionable.

Yeah, it was meant to be an insult.  A doodle is a not very intelligent 'country hick' and a dandy is a conceited, ill mannered, pretentious jerk.   Yankee Doodle Dandy was a combination of both those extremes.  Not a very flattering concept at all.
But amazingly it got put to a catchy tune and really caught on as a fun little ditty!  We humans are hard to discourage!   ;D

You're obviously a fan of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmU0fMJiSf4

I'm a native New Yorker.  It does bug me that the term "American" appears to only be associated with those of us from the USA but I'm not sure we did that ourselves.  My remaining thoughts about that are best left unexpressed.

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #46 on: April 10, 2013, 06:57:46 AM »
No other country, other than Australia, uses the name of the whole continent as the name for it's denizens so it is understandable that this may be controversial and create some discussion. There is no other precedent for it, so I don't see any way to compare it to other country's national designations as you have tried to do above.

I'd like to address just this point if I may.  We Americans *don't* refer to ourselves by continent name.  We don't call ourselves North Americans.  We call ourselves Americans because America is the accepted international shorthand for United States of America.
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sparksals

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #47 on: April 10, 2013, 07:29:47 AM »
The USian discussion has been interestly.  About 10 years ago was the first time I learned some citizens of countries in North and South American countries were irritated or offended by US citizens referring to themselves as Americans.  It immediately made sense to me so I stopped and when asked would say I was from the US or from the States.

About a year ago my teen son asked why I did that and I explained. He said he thought it silly.  Amercian's were called Americans while still a colony.  We didnt' name outselves that. Also, the USofA is the only country with America in their name so why not continue to use the long standing globally accepted terminology of an American can be a citizen of the US.  He asked me if I'd ever met a Argentenian or a Chilean who referred to themselves as an American or even a S. American and I had to admit that no. He also asked me how I expected African Americans to refer to themselves, African "from the States".  He also pointed out that if we were to change the definition of American to just generalized continent we'd really mess up the term Mexican American.  With the revised American definition, Mexican American would mean a person from Mexico living on the continent of America, i.e. most Mexican citizens. 

After that discussion, I decided to drop the global political correctness and have gone back to referring to myself as an American... but of course being 4th generation I'm just as likely to say I'm a Texan.

And speaking on generation tracking, what other states do people of other states track the number of generations their families have lived that specific State? Or for that matter, do Canadians? The only other states I've ever heard anyone mention it was in California and it was friend who's family still owned real estate from a family Mexican Land Grant and Louisiana Cajuns will talk about when their family's arrived.

I'm on my phone so it is a pain to clip the entire post for one.paragraph.  I'm answering about the first when people in N and S America were offended by Americans calling themselvea American.   I have never heard of that, but have heard the opposite in that people in N or S America do not like being referred to as American bc of the continent.  This is true for Canadians.   I'm sure people in Mexico or Argentina feel the same way.   We are the 'ian of our country, not continent.

sparksals

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #48 on: April 10, 2013, 07:37:31 AM »
Marcel wrote. 
Quote
.   I just have a question for people who say I am an American, not a USian. Will youi at least recognize the fact that a person from Guatemala is just as much an American as you are? Because

Absolutely not because then you are saying a Canadian is American and we are not.   We identify with our country, not continent.   

TootsNYC

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #49 on: April 10, 2013, 08:00:03 AM »
No other country, other than Australia, uses the name of the whole continent as the name for it's denizens so it is understandable that this may be controversial and create some discussion. There is no other precedent for it, so I don't see any way to compare it to other country's national designations as you have tried to do above.

I'd like to address just this point if I may.  We Americans *don't* refer to ourselves by continent name.  We don't call ourselves North Americans.  We call ourselves Americans because America is the accepted international shorthand for United States of America.

Yes.

And we didn't "co-opt" it. We were here first.

And they all HAVE a country name: Canadians, Mexicans. And Guatemalans, Brazilians, etc.

There's also an accuracy problem--if someone SAYS "Americans" meaning "citizens of the US, Canada, Mexico," nobody else is going to know what they mean. Anywhere else in the world.


Marcel wrote. 
Quote
.   I just have a question for people who say I am an American, not a USian. Will youi at least recognize the fact that a person from Guatemala is just as much an American as you are? Because

Absolutely not because then you are saying a Canadian is American and we are not.   We identify with our country, not continent.   

Yeah, I don't see people saying, "I'm a North American" they way they might say "I'm a European" or "I'm an African." It's just too big of a continent, and there are too few countries on it. Three. All of which have their own names and all of which think of themselves VERY differently. In North America, we tend to have our "dual identity" be our state/province and then our country,

I don't have any particular objection to USians--I think it's kinda cute. I don't have any problem w/ nicknames.

But I'm never, ever going to concede on "American."

Hmmmmm

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #50 on: April 10, 2013, 08:03:09 AM »
I think there are some nuances in thought as well here. I don't identify myself as a 'brit' - and I don't know of any British/Scottish/English/Welsh person who would. I personally don't like the term at all, but I understand that some people (primarily from the US) choose to describe us as such. I'm actually half English, half Welsh, so I would say I'm from the UK/British/a Briton.

There are some sets of countries that people (for whatever reason - primarily similarity of language & accent), mentally group together, i.e. USA & Canada and New Zealand and Australia. This means that someone outside those countries/continent may describe something as American, when they actually mean Canadian, or Australian, when they actually mean New Zealand. To someone inside those countries that might seem bizarre or offensive, but to an outsider, it's easily done, although no offence is intended. By using the term USian, it removes the mental ambiguity from American, which could mean Canadian or American (USA). 

I think there was recently on another thread a quibble over someone saying something was 'typically European', when they actually mean German, Italian (or whatever, I couldn't work out what country they were talking about but it definitely wasn't the UK). As someone from the UK, that makes absolutely no sense at all - we don't identify as 'European', and our cultures and histories are so vastly different that it seems a bizarre statement. But from an outsider's perspective, we're lumped together geographically and (for the most part) economically, so what's the difference?

All in all, I think we should recognise that people outside our geographical area may not appreciate our own feelings about our identity, but as long as they're not disrespectful, we should try to take it in a positive light, and not see offence where none was intended.

I understand people from other areas lumping citizens of the US and Canada together because we do have much similarity in culture. But you wouldn't use the term American to identify us as a collective group. If you used that term to describe continents you'd be including everyone in both North and South America. North Americans would be a better desription but even then you'd be including citizens of Mexico with a much different culture.

The people I think are most offended by being referred to as Americans are the Canadians. Since the word American has been used for over 200 years to refer to USofA citizens, calling them American really deminishes their separate identity. I honestly think Canadians would be very much against the idea of coming up with a word to describe citizens of the US and Canada combined.

I'm starting to wonder if the seeming backlash to us using Americans is because us of Unites States of America has become less common than just United States. It almost seems that people are forgetting that America is part of our country name.

If someone is bound and determined to use a different abbreviation for us, then USians shouldn't be it. It should at least be USAians. When you go to the Olympics you don't hear "US US US" shouted, it's "USA USA USA".

And like Toots, I think the shorthand is cute. But I won't give up being called an American.

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #51 on: April 10, 2013, 09:35:10 AM »
No other country, other than Australia, uses the name of the whole continent as the name for it's denizens so it is understandable that this may be controversial and create some discussion. There is no other precedent for it, so I don't see any way to compare it to other country's national designations as you have tried to do above.

I'd like to address just this point if I may.  We Americans *don't* refer to ourselves by continent name.  We don't call ourselves North Americans.  We call ourselves Americans because America is the accepted international shorthand for United States of America.

Not really "international". In Danish, "America" is shorthand for either the USA or North + South America - depending on context.

There's also an accuracy problem--if someone SAYS "Americans" meaning "citizens of the US, Canada, Mexico," nobody else is going to know what they mean. Anywhere else in the world.
See above, so the bolded isn't true across the board.
 
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Twik

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #52 on: April 10, 2013, 09:38:21 AM »
It is if you are speaking English.

For any English speaker to pretend that they do not know that "American" means (in most contexts) "inhabitant of the United States of America" is to be pedantic to the extreme.
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MariaE

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #53 on: April 10, 2013, 09:44:58 AM »
It is if you are speaking English.

For any English speaker to pretend that they do not know that "American" means (in most contexts) "inhabitant of the United States of America" is to be pedantic to the extreme.

I'm not sure I'd agree with you... To anybody in the US - probably, but I've met a number of people from Canada (sorry Sparksal, but I have), Central/South America* and New Zealand who use "America" and "American" in the same way as a Dane would - i.e. to mean either, depending on context.

In most situations it's probably either clear from context or it doesn't matter, but when it does, I make sure to say either "USians" or "People from the US".

* Sorry, just realized I don't actually know if English is the official language for any country in Central or South America. Not sure about that one then.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 09:48:05 AM by MariaE »
 
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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #54 on: April 10, 2013, 10:02:31 AM »
I am Canadian, have travelled from the east coast to the west, and I have never, ever, once in my life met a Canadian who used "American" to refer to "all inhabitants of the Americas," instead of "inhabitant of the United States of America" unless in some sort of academic setting, where the context would be clear.

Goodness knows we had enough of a fuss when they decided to use a picture of the "American Robin" on the 2-dollar bill.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 10:08:30 AM by Twik »
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MariaE

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2013, 10:10:45 AM »
Fair enough. My experiences differ, but as this is all anecdata anyway it's worth exactly as much as you paid for it  :) This thread is the first time I've heard that some Canadians didn't identify as Americans.
 
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Twik

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #56 on: April 10, 2013, 10:32:18 AM »
Context of course makes a difference. However, if you are talking to Canadians about people who live below the Canadian border and above the Mexican one, it is generally agreed that these people are "Americans". Canadians identify themselves in simply as "Canadian".

If you call a Canadian an "American" they will likely take this as an insult, indicating that you do not consider Canada important enough to be seen as a real country separate from the United States. Seriously, don't go into a Tim Horton's, and start talking about "you Americans," unless you want to be thought of as extremely offensive.

You can call people from the United States "USians" if you want (it's an awkward but not offensive term), but be prepared for Canadians to stare blankly at you if you use it. The term is simply not used in this country. We know who the Americans are. They're the ones who think they won the War of 1812.  ;)
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 10:51:54 AM by Twik »
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Thipu1

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #57 on: April 10, 2013, 10:36:42 AM »
No other country, other than Australia, uses the name of the whole continent as the name for it's denizens so it is understandable that this may be controversial and create some discussion. There is no other precedent for it, so I don't see any way to compare it to other country's national designations as you have tried to do above.

I'd like to address just this point if I may.  We Americans *don't* refer to ourselves by continent name.  We don't call ourselves North Americans.  We call ourselves Americans because America is the accepted international shorthand for United States of America.

I agree with this.  Although 'American' can refer to any resident of the Western Hemisphere, the USA is the only country with 'America' in its name.   It's natural for the residents of every other country to refer to themselves as Mexicans, Canadians, Peruvians, etc.

It may be an unfortunate accident of history that the formal name of the USA includes the name of
the entire Western hemisphere.  But, at least for me, 'Usians' doesn't quite work because the USA
isn't the only country to use the term 'United States' in its formal name.  Please correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that Brazil is 'The United States of Brazil' (in Portuguese, of course).
Because of all this, there's no PC way of referring to residents of the USA.  'American' seems to be the default and it's been around for so long that the term is going to be very hard to dislodge.     


« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 10:38:49 AM by Thipu1 »

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #58 on: April 10, 2013, 10:39:07 AM »
Federative Republic of Brazil
English doesn't borrow from other languages, it follows them down dark alleys and beats them up and searches their pockets for loose grammar.

Thipu1

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Re: File under Miscellaneous: Topics That Don't Deserve A Whole Thread
« Reply #59 on: April 10, 2013, 10:46:05 AM »
Federative Republic of Brazil

I stand corrected.