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#302 - 03/16/00 12:02 AM Who is American?
Loc: Costa Rica
Does the adjective American refer in general to someone or something related to the American continent (from Canada to Chile), or does it exclusively refer to someone or something related to the United States of America?
#303 - 03/16/00 12:34 AM Re: Who is American?
Loc: sydney australia
from the perspective of a non-american of any stripe I can tell you that 'american' is well and truly USA. To include Canada you'd use 'North American' and would need to be specific in referring to Central or South america. If you wanted to refer to the lot you'd use 'the Americas'.
Cultural imperialism maybe but there you are.
#304 - 03/16/00 03:45 PM Re: Who is American?
When I was in school I was always informed that South Americans and Canadians are American, too. However I think common usage (and Chauvinism?) have caused the term generally to be accepted as those in the US. I disagree with that, but what are you going to do?
#305 - 03/17/00 09:41 AM Re: Who is American?
Loc: Ohio USA
Canadian and Mexican work better for the other two North American countries. Unless you use Yankee or the Frank Lloyd Wright term Usonian (ewe-sew-nee-un) there is not another good term.
There used to be a problem with USA because it was the abbreviation for both Union of South Africa and the United States of America.
#306 - 03/17/00 06:24 PM Re: Who is American?
Loc: Costa Rica
Thank you for your posts, I really appreciate the feedback on this issue. It has been very valuable for me to learn about the term Usonian, elaborated by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright. About the term American, I realize that even though the name of the continent in which we live is in fact America, it also seems to be an undeniable fact that for many hundreds of millions of people, inside and outside the U.S., America means the United States of America. The common use of language is based on conventions, and if everybody agrees that a certain word means something, then so it is.
In Spanish there is the word estadounidense, which is the official term to describe what is related to the U.S.A.
In my opinion, it would be very interesting if the term Usonian became more popular.
#307 - 03/22/00 06:36 PM Re: Who is American?
I've just come back from the USA and was discussing this very point with an "American friend" as I noted that Candians I have met do not respond well to the suggestion they might me American and seem happier with North American (which I understand entirely, speaking as an English person living in Scotland). Her answer was that "American" just a lazy abbreviation that had become accepted in the USA because there wasn't a ready made term such as "Canadian", "British" or "Australian" and United Statesish or United Statesian sounded a little clumsy.
I was interested to hear my friend's definition of a "Yankee".
To people outside the US, a Yankee is someone who lives in the US. To someone who lives in the US, a Yankee is someone who lives in the North. To a Northerner, a Yankee is someone who lives in New England. To a New Englander, a Yankee is someone who lives in New Hampshire. To
someone who lives in New Hampshire, a Yankee is someone who eats pie for breakfast.
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