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Old March 31, 2009, 09:51 AM
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American (USA)

I have a couple of questions. And a lot of people have problems with them.

"I live in America, and what is more, I became an American citizen not too long ago. Therefore, I am an American."

Does anybody disagree with these statements?


And why?


Do not be shy, please!
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  #2  
Old March 31, 2009, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chileno View Post
I have a couple of questions. And a lot of people have problems with them.

"I live in America, and what is more, I became an American citizen not too long ago. Therefore, I am an American."

Does anybody disagree with these statements?


And why?


Do not be shy, please!
I think a lot of people call citizens of the United Stated Americans, and for lack of a fast easy word for us, it's OK but it can sound imperialistic.
Please be aware that Canadians,Mexicans,Chileans,Brazilians and anyone a citizen of the Americas are techincally Americans too.
In Spanish, I sometimes refer to myself as estados unidense fully knowing it's an awkward word.
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Old March 31, 2009, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poli View Post
I think a lot of people call citizens of the United Stated Americans, and for lack of a fast easy word for us, it's OK but it can sound imperialistic.
I remember one of my Spanish teachers in high school talking about this, and that some people can get offended by us calling ourselves "Americans" since, as you said, they're American too. I don't know if people really get offended or not, but I try not to say it when talking to non-US Americans, just in case.
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Old March 31, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chileno View Post
I have a couple of questions. And a lot of people have problems with them.

"I live in America, and what is more, I became an American citizen not too long ago. Therefore, I am an American."

Does anybody disagree with these statements?


And why?


Do not be shy, please!

I have my own opinion above.

The sencond phrase sound bad.

I prefer the first one.
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Old March 31, 2009, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chileno View Post
I have a couple of questions. And a lot of people have problems with them.

"I live in America, and what is more, I became an American citizen not too long ago. Therefore, I am an American."

Does anybody disagree with these statements?


And why?


Do not be shy, please!
Are you asking about the use of the word "America" to represent the "USA"? Or are you talking about the use of the word "citizen" to describe a "naturalized citizen"?

If the first, unfortunately, I have no issue with it. It's a context thing. In this context, and given what I already know about you, I know that you're talking about the USA and not "the Americas" in general. If someone wants to clarify, they may do so in context. We talk about context a lot here, and so I think it is nothing more than a context question. If someone is offended by the use of the term "American" to refer to someone in the USA, I think that their issue is not this term, but the fact that so many Americans (!!) are so often so ego-centrically offensive.

If the second ... I LOVE that there are more and more naturalized citizens. it's WHO and WHAT this wonderful country is all about. I take a HUGE issue with those who want to keep the USA looking all white and Anglo-like. We're built on the principles of the "melting pot" and in this global society, that means that there will be lots and lots of races and colors and creeds coming together.

CONGRATULATIONS, by the way!!
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  #6  
Old March 31, 2009, 10:54 AM
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Both sentences are correct, Crotalito. He wasn't asking for a correction. He's asking if it's OK to call himself an American.


The noun American has been used since 1580, according to some sources. It originally described the 'native American' discovered on the American continent.

Since then, three different meanings have evolved for the noun.

The first meaning listed in every dictionary I checked is "A citizen of the United States of America." The second meaning is "A native or inhabitant of the Western Hemisphere." The third meaning is "An Indian of North or South America."

So, when we citizens of the U.S. call ourselves Americans, we are simply using the first meaning given in the dictionaries of American English. When people other than citizens of the U.S. use the noun to refer to themselves, they are simply employing one of the other two definitions.

I think that those who are offended that we in the U.S. refer to ourselves as Americans should check the dictionary. They'll see we are employing the noun correctly.
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Old March 31, 2009, 11:21 AM
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Poli, laepelba and Rusty are onto something, but the subject is still lacking some more explanation.

I am going to wait until Angelica says something about this.

And please anybody else, please contribute with your knowledge and/or your opinion.

Thanks.
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  #8  
Old March 31, 2009, 01:24 PM
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I usually get around the problem by avoiding it altogether. Instead of saying "Soy americano" I will usually just say "Soy de Estados Unidos". I have used "Soy estadounidense" but I find it's really hard to pronounce after 3 or 4 beers.:>))

That being said, most Mexicans that I know here refer to U.S. citizens as "americanos". I don't think I've ever heard a Mexican use "estadounidense". And when the relationship is comfortable and familiar, they simply call me "gringo", or "pinche gringo" with no hint of disparagement.

I find that name calling (or giving nicknames) is very prevalent in Mexico. You hear "flaco", "gordita", "pelón", "chino", and others all the time among friends.
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Old March 31, 2009, 02:42 PM
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In spanish, I have noticed that people from Mexico say, if you are born in the states as "Ah, eres Americana". But I wouldn't say, "Soy Americana" if for example I don't have blue eyes or blonde hair. Unfortunately many people relate one with the other. Gringa = Americana

If I was "Mexican-American", I wouldn't say, "Soy Americana", I would say "soy ciudadana americana" or "nací en los Estados Unidos". Of course, this would only come up in some other country and not here in the U.S. (I don't think).

My co-worker who is also an interpreter is always asked what part of Mexico she is from and she very politely says, "soy de los Estados Unidos". She too, would not say she is "Americana" as she does not have the features of a "white person".

I agree with Rusty about the usage of the noun, unfortunately it is widely misunderstood.

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Old March 31, 2009, 02:44 PM
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If you're in Mexico, just say "soy del otro lado" and everyone will understand you.
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