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i have a pet peeve about calling the USA, AMERICA.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by TonyD, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    i just saw the commercial that jokes about hockey being made in america.
    it's guys in a factory essembly line "making hockey"

    the guy says "most people think hockey was made in canada, but it really wasnt."
    or something like that.
    then they show a wooden box, that i guess has hockey in it and has a stamp on it that says "made in america"

    i have also heard people wonder why a canadian would sing god bless america at sporting events.

    there are other times i have heard the US refered to as america, but i can't remember them right now, probably because i need to for this post. :b

    anyway i thought that it was the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    AND last times i checked a map isn't canada in AMERICA?

    I'M not from canada i grew up in the states, but this just drives me nuts.
     
  2. JohnPop

    JohnPop Well-Known Member

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    Mexico is in Americo too, so is Argentina... etc etc
     
  3. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Well-Known Member

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  4. Francis Collins

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    I wonder why some people call the United States "The States"? Are they referring to the fifty states or the nation?
     
  5. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    it's not about being pc for me, it just bugs me is all.

    the thing about calling usa the states is no big deal just a nick name.
    smae as maybe someone calling you fran.
     
  6. Brandon_T

    Brandon_T Well-Known Member

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    So what do you want us to say? When someone says they are Mexican, or Spanish, what do we say? We say we are American. It is just one of those things thru the years that has become a phrase common with those from the USA.

    I don't have a problem with it.
     
  7. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Well-Known Member

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  8. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

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    The people who live in what is now the United States have been called "Americans" since before they had a country, indeed since long before they claimed to have a country.

    A collective name was needed for the people (from many European nations) who were living in the 13 Atlantic coastal colonies that were ruled by England. Canada was a separate collection of colonies, and already had a collective name, which automatically conferred a name (Canadian) on its inhabitents. The 13 Atlantic colonies had no collective name, only individual and collective names (Rhode Island, for instance, or New England.) But it was already recognized on both sides of the Atlantic that the people in those colonies were in some sense a collective polity - that they were different than Englishmen and Canadians, and that while Virginians and New Englanders might be very different from one another, they were more similar to each other than either was to an Englishman or a Frenchman - or even a Canadian.

    Benjamin Franklin, indeed, argued that Americans required a new country because they had become a new people. "Colonials" wasn't specific enough to identify them easily. "Americans" worked well enough for the English, who already had a name for Canadians and didn't care a fig for the various Spanish and Portugese colonies to the south (all of whom already had their own names anway, as Mexicans, Argentinians, etc.) "Americans" wasn't being used by anybody else, and it worked well for all those folks in the 13 Atlantic colonies. When those people declared independence they adopted "The United States of America" as their name, with emphasis on "States" and with the usage "The United States are", for they were still seen as a collection of sovereign units. After the Civil War the usage changed to the less grammatical but more politically accurate "The United States is" At that point "America" became the more prominent part of the name.

    It also helps to understand the difference between a continent and a country. No one is truly a citizen of a continent - because continents are not political units. It makes no sense to claim to be a "citizen of Africa" or a citizen of Europe. (Even in the age of the EU individuals are citizens or subjects of nation-states, not of geographic units - nor is the EU 100% contiguous with the continent of Europe.)

    So while the nations of Canada and Mexico may be located on the North American continent, they are not "part of America" and their citizens are not therefore "Americans" except in the most amorphous metaphorical sense. (See above, "European") The only country on either of the American continents that uses the word "America" in its name is The United States, so it makes perfect sense that it be used as the common name of the country (since the full formal name is too much of a mouthful) and that "American" be used as the word for its citizens.

    If a usage that has been around for something like 300 years and is perfectly well understood by everybody "drives you nuts" I suggest that the problem lies with you, and not with the usage. Poverty, crime and terrorism drive me nuts, not manufactured problems about language.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  9. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Well-Known Member

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  10. John Thomas

    John Thomas Well-Known Member

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  11. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Well-Known Member

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  12. JamieD

    JamieD Well-Known Member

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    Better than 'Murica, the GWB version.
     
  13. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Well-Known Member

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  14. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Well-Known Member

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    There is a problem with much of the above.

    [c]Hawaii[/c]



    ...South America stole our name
    Lets drop the big one,
    there're be no one left to blame us
    ...

    Political Science Randy Newman
     
  15. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Well-Known Member

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    There's a guy at work who I think is originally from the Ukraine. I never refer to him as Asian. I don't recall anyone referring to the problems with those "Asians" over in Iraq. And the dozen or so folks that I have known who come from India have never corrected me when I didn't call them Asian. But truth be told, they are all from the continent Asia.

    On the opposite side, folks from Europe are commonly referred to as European, but usually only in the generic sense. I rarely hear anyone use this term for Brits, Italians, or folks from Iceland (Icelanders?). And usually individuals are introduced as being from a specific country within Europe.

    So you want the Americas to follow the European model where each citizen in either continent can self-apply the term American rather than the Asian model where only a portion of the continent receives the continental name.

    Good luck with your mission, Don Quixote. Hey, look at me, I'm a "USAian". Nope. Not gonna happen. [​IMG]

    Brad
     
  16. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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  17. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Well-Known Member

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    Being of middle eastern ethnicity but born and raised in the USA, I think I'd get a lot of strange looks if I were to declare myself African-American. Technically correct, I guess, since Egypt is on the African continent.
     
  18. RolandDeschain

    RolandDeschain Active Member

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  19. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Well-Known Member

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    Two continents:
    North America
    South America
    ...there is no continent "America"

    Canadians are not "Americans" they are "North Americans." Argentinians are not "Americans" they are "South Americans." Citizens of the United States are Americans.

    And I'm not sure Irving Berlin wrote God Bless America in reference to the entire continent of North or South America...
     
  20. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Well-Known Member

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    What's worse is people who say the United States.

    Which one? Of America? Or Mexico!? It's so confusing!

    I think each country should be given a number. Say 'I'm from #17', and everyone knows what you mean. And any time a new country forms, all the numbers should be re-factored. That way, we never have to worry about any of this stuff again.

    So I say God Bless Country-17.

    Or is it God Bless Continent-4?

    Oh, I give up.
     

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