Is it ok to call the USA "America"?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Big_Dog, Sep 30, 2014.

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Is it ok to call the USA "America"?

  1. yes

    8 vote(s)
    72.7%
  2. no

    3 vote(s)
    27.3%
  1. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Although the USA is the only country with "America" in it's name, some people get very offended when we call ourselves Americans, tell people we're from America, etc. So do you think it's ok, or not?
  2. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    Yes it is OK. Same with calling our country "United States" and leaving off "America", notwithstanding the fact that our neighbor to the south has an official name of "United States of Mexico". Does any other country really wish to be known as "America" or the "United States"? I doubt it except for a few overly sensitive PC types in those countries. Also it is easy enough for our neighbors to the south to refer to themselves as groups by "Central Americans" or "South Americans". "North America" has less utility since it is composed of two disparate cultural, linguistic and economic sub-regions (oh boo-hoo if I left out those French speakers or rather lumped them in the Anglophone sphere :) ).

    The height of linguistic PC crap is the adjective "estadouindense" in Spanish. I would rather they just use "anglo" instead of that.
  3. Cainntear

    Cainntear Active Member VIP member

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    That ain't PC, it's practical. Many Spanish speakers still use "Americano" in its traditional, pan-continental sense. To rewrite their language in order to avoid offending the population of the USA by having their own word... now that would be linguistic PC crap.

    (Yes, I know estadounidense is a neologism, but it's the only sensible option, given the circumstances.)
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  4. Stelle

    Stelle Active Member VIP member

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    I would have let this slide if it weren't for the sarcastic parenthetical boo-boo! (French Canadian here. There are a lot of us. It's an official language.)

    I personally have no problem with "America" or "Americans". If I talk about your country, I'll usually say "the US" or "the States", and if I refer to your countrymen, I'll say "Americans". I find the Spanish "Estadounidense" awkward and clumsy. I much prefer "Americano/a".
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  5. Cainntear

    Cainntear Active Member VIP member

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    I'll give you "Americans" but I'll never call it "America".
  6. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    I did use a smiley and was just joking although I know you all take the language issue seriously :). It is just that apart from language, grouping Quebec together with the rest of Canada and the US makes sense, and I knew someone might possibly consider language the sole determiner.



    You mean rewrite the language after they have rewritten it with a neologism? When they could easily use an adjective preceding "americano" to make the distinction they wish? How many people who claim to use the term in the pan-continental sense naturally think like that versus it being an affectation? Personally though it would not sound odd to describe my nationality in Spanish as "soy de los Estados Unidos" rather than "soy Americano".


    Not really a big deal for the latter, since that is mainly an internal term we use in the US. But if you are going to call us "Americans", then you might as well use the adjective "americano".
  7. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    And another thing while we're at it. We 'mericans demand that the default definition of "football" be of course our own national sport, whose season we are now in the midst of, and that any modifiers of the word refer to soccer. Thus unmodified "football"=american football and "soccer"=what the rest of you call "football". Don't make me summon up the ghosts of Knute Rockne and Vince Lombardi or you'll regret it.
  8. Stelle

    Stelle Active Member VIP member

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    I wasn't actually offended. It just wasn't obvious because I didn't use a smiley. ;) (And, to complicate the issue even further, I'm not even from Quebec.) There are definite cultural differences between French-speaking Canada and English-speaking Canada beyond language, but I suspect that there are equally strong cultural differences between different parts of the States.

    Like Cainntear, I would never refer to your country as "America". But yeah, I'm very ok with the term "American" for a people and as an adjective.
  9. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    I am quoting BD's OP and highlighting the relevant part. Which was what we Americans call ourselves, not what we believe other nationalities should call us. If we have a convo in Spanish someone can keep using (to my amusement) the adjective "estadounidense" and "USA" and I won't care, but I maintain my right to keep using "americano" and "America" for my half of the conversation. Some people can try to ramp up the issue to claim the same level of offense that they would rightly feel at truly vulgar racial/sexist/whatever speech, but I refuse to bow to such PC escalation and intimidation tactics applied to matters of far lesser import and which are often ridiculous outside of government-funded niche university departments that would never exist in a free market (and which many feel is coming with the next "bubble" to burst being expensive higher education).
  10. biTsar

    biTsar Active Member VIP member

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    I think the American sport should properly be called gridiron. The only football I regularly watch is Australian. Go Pies ! It's lesser known here, but this article in the New York Times makes me wonder why it didn't catch on in the USA early on.

    (OK, I do watch the Super Bowl most years, and I do enjoy it. Just not nearly as much as I enjoy Australian footy.)
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  11. Cainntear

    Cainntear Active Member VIP member

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    But I call Germans German in English, Allemands in French, Tedeschi in Italia and Deutsch in German. Different languages have their own words, you know.
  12. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    In German they use "Amerikaner/in", though some PC types add a prefix of "US". "estadounidense" as you noted is a neologism, and not the traditional word. And if we are going to defend any word a language uses for other countries, etc., then we can get into the city name debate. I mean, "Peking" is a time-honored word, while the more accurate "Beijing" is not. Should the Chinese impose on me their choice of that word for English?
  13. tastyonions

    tastyonions Member VIP member

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    In English it seems like common usage to call the USA "America" and I've heard plenty of British and Australian people do it as well.

    In Spanish I always use "Estados Unidos" for the country name and either say "soy estadounidense" or "soy de los Estados Unidos."

    In French I say "√Čtats-Unis" and "Am√©ricain" because using the latter as a general continental term doesn't seem that common.
  14. luke

    luke Member VIP member

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    It depends on the context. From a politician, I'd prefer more precision than calling the United State, "America".
  15. Cainntear

    Cainntear Active Member VIP member

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    I have no problem with your logic here. I certainly don't call Paris Paree. But was it the Chinese who made the change? Notice that it only seems to affect English -- most other European languages still have some variant of Peking....
  16. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    Probably not actually. More likely some news types trying to show erudite cosmopolitanism. Same thing with Koran/Qu'ran. How it is pronounced (or transcribed in some system of instruction) in another language really isn't relevant to English unless perhaps there has never been a word before for it.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
  17. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

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    It's interesting how the poor transliteration of Peking in english messed up the pronunciation in so many languages. Japanese and Thai, for example. And why do many American newscasters mispronounce the "j"? Bizarre. My apologies to the op for derailing this thread.
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  18. Cainntear

    Cainntear Active Member VIP member

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    ...which is another reason we shouldn't be trying to go with "how they say it". It's a different language! English has been peppered with French and Latin words where they've tried to preserve French and Latin spelling and pronunciation. Eg "cache". AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

    Hey... at least we kick the bloody ball. How often do your armour-plated goons use their actual feet?
  19. Peregrinus

    Peregrinus Active Member

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    All the time as they run up and down the field :). If you mean to kick it, only for kick-off and punts.

    I actually don't care much for our football, or to be more accurate, for our football players. American football can bring out the best and the very worst in players. Soccer players seem much more well-rounded athletes and nicer guys instead of steroid and testosterone induced belligerents taught to believe that winning is everything in sports and life. Plus in the northern parts of the US at least, you end up freezing your ass off later in the season, despite taking the customary football blanket to the game. And the communal semi-drunken revelry of tailgating doesn't make up for it.
  20. biTsar

    biTsar Active Member VIP member

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    I suppose, but as a spectator sport that one puts me to sleep.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014

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