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Re: [OT] British vs. American English (was Re: Wow, Evolution left me with eggs in my face)

On 2011-10-02, Camaleón <noelamac@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, 02 Oct 2011 12:58:16 -0400, Stephen Powell wrote:
>> On Sun, 02 Oct 2011 10:58:01 -0400 (EDT), consul tores wrote:
>>> United States of America. Does "of" tell you something?
>>> i am from El Salvador of America, but we do not take "America" only for
>>> us; maybe it is related to common sense! or maybe low knowledge of
>>> Geography. it is the same with North America without Mexico.
>> You're right.  United States of America is the full name of the country.
>>  But we tend to be lazy and shorten it.  USA is shorter still.  But it
>> does not lend itself to alternate forms.  For example, would I tell
>> someone that I am an USAian? It doesn't work.  American flows off the
>> tongue much better. But taking America in the larger sense, meaning
>> North America, Central America, and South America combined, you are, in
>> that sense, an American also.
>> You can say you are an El Salvadorian.  But what can I say that I am?  A
>> United States of American?  It just doesn't flow at all. It's quite
>> awkward.  So what do I call myself then?  Calling ourselves Americans is
>> not technically correct, using the larger sense of the word American,
>> but it's apparently the best we can come up with.
> The mess comes from the gentilic we (Spanish speaking users) use for 
> "American" people (i.e., United States inhabitants). The proper way to 
> call them in Spanish is "estadounidenses" (plural form), which refers 
> specifically to the country, not the whole continent.
> But it seems that in English the correct demonym for USA people is indeed 
> "Americans".

Yes, that is the common usage in English. Much to the irritation of
Canadians, Mexicans, and many others.

Liam O'Toole
Cork, Ireland

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