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Thread: American: What does it mean?

 
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    Moderator eidjit's Avatar
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    Question American: What does it mean?

    I have met a lot of people from the USA that called themselves (as in shortly) Americans.

    However the whole continent of America contains more than just the United States of America.

    When it comes to translating and linguistics, Where do you draw the line?

    What does American mean? Does it change according to context like any other English word?
    _Eidji

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    Default Re: American: What does it mean?

    Well, it's a term that's been adopted by tradition, by repetition, but deep down it's not the right word to use. Still, I don't know if there's an actual, accurate term to replace that one.

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    Default Re: American: What does it mean?

    I agree with Franco. Technically, American could apply to anyone (or anything) whose origin is the Americas, North or South; however, while it may be inapt, it has applied to the United States of America for centuries. I suspect that in large part because every other country in this hemisphere has a name that is easier to say or write. Mexico is actually the Estados Unidos Mexicanos or United Mexican States but they are simply Mexico. What else could you call the United States of America? There are ways to informally identify the country itself (the States; the US; the USA) but to identify something or someone from the US, other than American, is a little more difficult. I can't think of anything that would be easier.
    vicente

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    Default Re: American: What does it mean?

    Well, according to what Vicente said I think the demonym "American" is correct when you use the term in English and you refer to the people from the USA. But if you use the term in Spanish it would be better to translate as "estadounidense" and not "americano"

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    Default Re: American: What does it mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by eidjit View Post
    When it comes to translating and linguistics, Where do you draw the line?

    What does American mean? Does it change according to context like any other English word?
    That's right, we have to localize that word.

    Even though I agree with the statement "However the whole continent of America contains more than just the United States of America.", I have to say that they've became widely known as Americans. Probably if you said North Americans they'd think of everyone else except for the USA.

    In Spanish translation, however, you cannot use the same noun to refer to people from the US. They are called "estadounidenses" which means people from the US. And "americanos" means people from America all over, not just the US.
    Last edited by agustinab; 5 Days Ago at 02:49 PM.

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    Default Re: American: What does it mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by santiagop View Post
    Well, according to what Vicente said I think the demonym "American" is correct when you use the term in English and you refer to the people from the USA. But if you use the term in Spanish it would be better to translate as "estadounidense" and not "americano"
    Exactly, in Argentina it's accustomed to write EEUU as in Estados Unidos de America

    And since at a time most of the Estadounidenses that came to Argentina where from New York, people here called them Yankies, nickname that survived since then. I believe it was from the TANGO era.
    _Eidji

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    Default Re: American: What does it mean?

    Yankees is a word I forgot about. We were called Yankees or Yanks by the Brits back in colonial days (pejoratively) and in WWII on a friendlier basis. I have also heard yanquis used in Mexico but I don't know if it is pejorative or not.

    Note:

    Many etymologies have been proposed for Yankee, but its origin is still uncertain. What we do know is that in its earliest recorded use Yankee was a pejorative term for American colonials used by the British military. The first evidence we have is in a letter written in 1758 by British General James Wolfe, who had a very low opinion of the New England troops assigned to him. We also have a report of British troops using the term to abuse citizens of Boston. In 1775, however, after the battles of Lexington and Concord had shown the colonials that they could stand up to British regulars, Yankee became suddenly respectable and the colonials adopted the British pejorative in defiance. Ever since then, a derisive and a respectable use of Yankee have existed side by side.
    vicente

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    Default Re: American: What does it mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by eidjit View Post
    Exactly, in Argentina it's accustomed to write EEUU as in Estados Unidos de America

    And since at a time most of the Estadounidenses that came to Argentina where from New York, people here called them Yankies, nickname that survived since then. I believe it was from the TANGO era.
    Then it would be more correct to call them "gringos"?
    What would be the difference between yankee and gringo?

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    Default Re: American: What does it mean?

    Gringo is a lot like yankee in that it can be both pejorative or friendly. In most places I go in Mexico and Central America it is not considered polite to address a person as a gringo. It's on the order of spic; wop; kraut; jap; chink; pollock; darkie; indio, etc., etc.
    vicente

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