“American” is the official English word when referring to people or things from the United States, but it heavily implies that it means either all of North America or all of North and South Americas. Most other languages have different words for American (country) and American (continents). If there were a campaign to replace the word “America” with something else when referring to the US, what would you think of it?

@nutomic
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In German we use the term “US-American”, much better I think.

@AgreeableLandscape
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I also like how leftist communities use “USians”.

Ravn
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That’s what I use. Didn’t know it was a leftist thing, though.

@AgreeableLandscape
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I’m pretty sure it isn’t, but a lot of leftists do use it to exclude the rest of the Americas when talking about how the US screws up

Bilb!
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That works. Kinda like “Saudi Arabian.”

@Niquarl
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I’ve always heard the Saudis but I guess maybe that’s more for the royalty?

@Niquarl
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@tralalaaaa
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Some French newspapers, usually left leaning, use the adjective “états-unien(e)” instead of “américain(e)”

@nutomic
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In Spanish its similar, estadounidense(s).

Maya
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I see people getting het up about this every now and then, but I think it’s a manufactured concern. This isn’t, like, who gets to call themselves real Macedonia, it isn’t a piece of real heritage or tradition, it’s a single Italian guy’s name that got slapped on nearly an entire hemisphere. “The Americas” were never a coherent thing before colonialism made them that as the Other. Respecting actual regional and cultural identity is important, and Amerigo Vespucci and his adjectival formation is just… not relevant to that actual concern.

I find it interesting that IME it’s Europeans who mostly seem to bring up the name overlap as a problem? Which I guess is from the impression you get of names and borders when your national names and borders weren’t, like, drawn on maps in straight lines by the East India Trading Co.

The best part of the overlap though is that if you are thinking of ⚽ and “America”, that’s 🇲🇽 Mexico 🇲🇽 all the way baby!! As it should be

Maya
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basically my take is “colonizer names are giant stupid graffiti on what was here before, let’s not pretend they’re sacred”

@AgreeableLandscape
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This is a good point. In fact, the whole concept of continents is a social construct with very European roots. They’re not based in Geography or the tectonic plate system despite what is often (wrongly) taught. They’re not based on culture either. Central America (North America) has a lot more in common with South America than with the US and Canada. In fact, culture is like a fractal where you can subdivide forever.

@nutomic
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Central America (North America) has a lot more in common with South America than with the US and Canada.

Thats what the term Latin America is for.

Maya
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should the adjective also be applied to the continents? sure absolutely. but I sort of think it’s in a linguistic free for all since the name really doesn’t connect to something of deep significance. anybody on any of these continents has about the same claim to it in my book.

@AgreeableLandscape
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Another thing is that looking at the level of continents takes away from the nuances of situations. For example: CGP Grey talked about how most native peoples located in where the US is now actually prefer the term Indian compared to Native American, because Native American is a blanket term for natives on both continents, and includes too many very diverse and different groups to really be relevant to individual communities.

Same with Europeans, where you have significant differences between Western, Central, Eastern, and Nordic Europeans. Asians and Africans too, and to an even greater extent.

Maya
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honestly the more I think about it the more referring to “the americas” just feels… rude? as if the Inuit and Guarani people and everybody in between get lumped into a bucket just because that was what seemed convenient to some dead Europeans from five hundred years back

Maya
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I’m now gonna go to sleep pondering the division of “Europe” and its political constitution

@nutomic
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I think you are missing the point. This is something that really bothers many people in Latin America, because it equates one small country with the whole continent. And its the country that has caused a lot of suffering in Latin America in the last century.

@marmulak
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Usonian

GadgeteerZA
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It’s always confused me as other continents it’s a generic term for all inhabitants. The USA is only united states of an individual country. How does one then refer to everyone living on that continent? It sort of also comes across a bit arrogantly as if no other country exists on the continent (in my opinion).

Maybe United States (US citizen) is a better description instead of the latter part of the name. It’s more specific at least.

@Niquarl
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I’m pretty sure a lot of countries are officially United States of X (eg. Mexico, Brazil)

GadgeteerZA
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Not that I can think of in their names. Most countries do consist of states, provinces, counties, etc but their country name is usually either just a name or “Republic of”. The United Kingdom is maybe closest being the full name United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but they use the first part. There is no country like the United States of Africa. We do have the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is often referred to just as Congo, but then that is unique still and not the name of the whole continent. The Republic of South Africa is also known usually as just South Africa, but not Africa or Southern Africa (which refers to all the countries to the South in Africa).

Most countries use Republic of “Country Name” or Kingdom of “Country Name” or State of “Country Name”, and are then known by their country name. But none take the country name of the continent on which they are situation. I suppose it’s a custom, but just explains why many non-US citizens find it a bit at odds using the continent name.

@Niquarl
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So I checked and apparently, I am wrong in thinking this was the case for many countries. Mexico is officially the United Mexican States though. For “Congo”, you actually have two different countries: Republic of the Congo (aka Congo-Brazzaville) and Democratic Republic of the Congo (aka Congo-Kinshasa). The Congo is, in fact, a big river and the names and borders come from colonialism of course.

Indeginious activits apparently also use AmeriKa or some various to link it to it’s colonial or settler history (same with Kanada).

@Niquarl
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Isn’t there already Usionians or something like that? I guess nobody uses it though. Doesn’t really sound as nice to be.

@AgreeableLandscape
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It doesn’t immediately remind people of the US. I’s actually prefer “United Statan”.

@Niquarl
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Statan makes me think of Satan lol

@AgreeableLandscape
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Well, if that ever becomes mainstream, people have a convenient play-on-words insult for them whenever the US does something terrible!

@Coldsaga
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@AgreeableLandscape
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As a Canadian, I also feel this way, but it’s everywhere over here.

Dessalines
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To add, daniel imraham points out that US leaders began referring to it as america (whereas before america referred to the americas) instead of the United States of america, after the US started capturing a lot of territories outside its borders.

The term america doesn’t lock you down to a specific place but could with the US’s imperial ambitions. Here’s a great video on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df4R-xdKvpM

@Echedenyan
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An argument I read in the Pleroma side of the Fediverse was that USA is the only country in America that matters.

@Coldsaga
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@ufrafecy
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Bilb!
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Yeah, I’m not sure I see the point of a campaign per se. When the scope of what I’m talking about is international (or inter-nationality) I try to be specific, but I don’t see “American” going away as shorthand for US citizens among US citizens talking to US citizens.

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