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Encyclopedia > Alternative words for American
It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Use of the word American. (Discuss)

There have been a number of attempts to coin an alternative to "American" as an adjective (a demonym) for a citizen of the United States, that would not simultaneously mean a citizen of America the continent. The International Phonetic Alphabet. ... Phonetic (pho-NET-ic) is a nationwide voicemail-to-text messaging service available for most digital mobile phones in which a subscriber is provided a custom voice mailbox for the purpose of receiving all incoming voice messages as actual transcribed text for reading via short messaging (also known as SMS... In computing, Unicode provides an international standard which has the goal of providing the means to encode the text of every document people want to store on computers. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... American, when used as an adjective, can mean of the United States of America or of or relating to the Americas; when used as a noun, United States citizen, residing in the Americas, or less frequently American English. Immigrants to the United States are usually called first-generation Americans, regardless... A neologism is word, term, or phrase which has been recently created (coined) —often to apply to new concepts, or to reshape older terms in newer language form. ... A demonym or gentilic is a word that denotes the members of a people or the inhabitants of a place. ... America is usually meant as either: The Americas, a set of continents and islands between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, usually subdivided into: North America Central America and the Caribbean South America The United States of America. ...


The Debate: Reasons for Seeking Alternate Names

Some people would restrict the use of the word "American" to indicate an inhabitant of the American continent (which is often called simply "America") rather than specifically a citizen of the United States; and perceive the latter usage of "American" to be potentially ambiguous, and perhaps aggressive in tone or imperialistic, a rather widespread view in Latin America. The Americas (sometimes referred to as America) is the area including the land mass located between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, generally divided into North America and South America. ...

However, many assert that the word "America" in "United States of America" denotes the country's proper name, and is not a geographical indicator. They argue that the interpretation of United States of America to mean a country named United States located in the continent of America is mistaken. Instead, they argue that the preposition of is equivalent to the of in Republic of Brazil, Commonwealth of Australia, Federal Republic of Germany. That is, the of indicates the name of the state. In addition, other countries use "United" or "States" in their names as well. Indeed, the formal name of Mexico is Estados Unidos Mexicanos, currently officially translated as "United Mexican States" but in the past translated as "United States of Mexico".

Regardless, many question a nation's right to formally appropriate the name of a continent for itself, citing the fact that "America" existed long before the United States of America.

One counter-argument is that the United States of America is the first sovereign American state to arise from the European colonies, and therefore is perfectly entitled to lay claim to this name for itself. Indeed, the rebellious colonies perceived themselves, in their quest for independence, as moral representatives of all the colonized European inhabitants of the continent. This view is evident in the name of the colonial allied government, the Continental Congress. Another counter-argument is that it is not particularly unusual for a nation or organization to name itself after a geographical feature, even one that it does not uniquely occupy. Ecuador is the Spanish word for the equator, which runs through the country of Ecuador, athough other countries also lie on the equator. The equator is an imaginary circle drawn around a planet at a distance halfway between the poles. ...

In addition, the United States of America is not the only entity which shares a name with a larger entity, yet is considered more well-known than the larger entity. The City of New York lies within the State of New York. However, the term New Yorker is generally used to refer to a resident of New York City.

Another counter-argument points out that there is no continent named "America."

Most proponents of the "US citizen = American" nomenclature have no problem with the simultaneous usage of "American" as an adjective for all inhabitants of the Americas, and make the distinction between the demonym for a country and the demonym for a continent. They argue that there is no reason the two cannot share the term if it is used in distinct but equally legitimate contexts.

In other cases, the motivation is not so much political as it is academic, to avoid a perceived ambiguity. For instance, in legal circles a citizen of the United States is usually referred to as a 'U.S. citizen', not an 'American citizen', which could arguably apply to citizens of other American nation states as well.

The Alternatives

Attempts to create such a name have failed to gain widespread use. Proposals include,

Appalacian, Colonican, Columbard, Columbian (as in the District of Columbia), Frede, Fredonian, Nacirema, Pindosian (or just Pindos), Statesider, Uesican (pronounced [juˈɛsɪkən]), Uessian (pronounced [juˈɛsiən]), Unisan, Unisian, United States American, United Stater, United Stateser, United Statesian, United Statesman, United Statian, USAian, U.S. American, Usan, USAn, Usanian, Usian (pronounced [ˈjuʒən]), U-S-ian, Usonian (pronounced [juˈsoʊniən]), and Washingtonian.

References to these words have been around since the early days of the republic, but they are virtually unused and American remains by far the most common term. Usonian is used in architectural circles, and Washingtonian remains as the adjective for the state of Washington and the city of Washington, D.C.. Columbia, late 19th century from a Columbia Records phonograph cylinder package Columbia is a name used in the English language for many things and places. ... ... Body Ritual Among the Nacirema is a satire of anthropological papers on other cultures, and the culture of the United States. ... Usonia is a term used by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright to refer to his vision for the landscape of the United States, including the planning of cities and the architecture of buildings. ... Usonia is a term used by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright to refer to his vision for the landscape of the United States, including the planning of cities and the architecture of buildings. ... State nickname: The Evergreen State Other U.S. States Capital Olympia Largest city Seattle Governor Christine Gregoire (D) Official languages None Area 184,824 km² (18th)  - Land 172,587 km²  - Water 12,237 km² (6. ... Washington, D.C. is the capital city of the United States of America. ...

In other languages, such as Spanish, American is more ambiguous. In the Ibero-American countries, the use of "American" to refer only to U.S. citizens could be considered factually incorrect and culturally aggressive. Iberoamerica is a term used to refer the group of countries in the Americas that were colonies of Spain and Portugal. ...

Several of these terms have direct parallels in languages other than English. Many languages have already created their own distinct word for a citizen of the United States: The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...

  • United Statesian directly parallels the Spanish term estadounidense.
  • Norteamericano (North American) is common in Latin America, but suffers from the same kind of ambiguity as American, since Canadians and Mexicans among others are also North Americans.
  • In Portuguese, norte-americano is the most commonly used term. Estadunidense is gaining some popularity, specifically in Brazil, where its usage traditionally rises during times of tension with the USA.
  • Amerikan, is a derogatory spelling, after the Franz Kafka novel.
  • Usonian, from Usonia, a term Frank Lloyd Wright used to describe his vision for American architecture, homes, and cities, and used by John Dos Passos in his U.S.A. trilogy.
  • The Esperanto term for the United States of America is Usono. This is generally thought to come from "Usonia". In Esperanto, one forms the word for a citizen of a given country using the suffix "-an" which means "member of". Therefore a citizen of the United States is usonano. (Such derived words are not capitalized.) Esperanto terms for the American geographic regions and people living of them are Ameriko/amerikano, Norda Ameriko/nordamerikano, Meza Ameriko/mezamerikano, and Suda Ameriko/sudamerikano.
  • Usanian is derived from the Ido word Usana.
  • Yankee is used all over the world but on occasion some U.S. citizens have been known to take some offense at this term, particularly Southerners (residents of the Southeast United States), who use "Yankee" to refer to Northerners (residents of the Northeastern United States), sometimes in a derogatory way.
  • In French, the term Étatsunien has also been coined, but enjoys little more currency than United Statesian in English. It is used in conjuction with the term "Les Amériques" [the americas] thus avoiding the potentialy confusing term altogether.
  • In Italian the term Statunitense (from Stati Uniti = United States) is quite widespread, especially referring to sporting events.
  • Pindos (or Pindosian) was born during UN operation in Kosovo. The initiators of this were Russian troops at Kosovo airport in Pristina. In some Southern Russian dialects pindos is a derogatory term for Greeks. Some reports indicate that its use has spread beyond Russian troops and that its meaning has likewise spread, to refer not only to soldiers.

Latin America consists of the countries of South America and some of North America (including Central America and some the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken. ... Amerika book cover Amerika, also known as Der Verschollene or The Man Who Disappeared, was the first and incomplete novel written by Franz Kafka, published posthumously in 1927. ... Usonia is a term used by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright to refer to his vision for the landscape of the United States, including the planning of cities and the architecture of buildings. ... Frank Lloyd Wright Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was one of the most prominent architects of the first half of the 20th century. ... // Scope and intentions According to the very earliest surviving work on the subject, Vitruvius De Architectura, good buildings should have Beauty (Venustas), Firmness (Firmitas) and Utility (Utilitas); architecture can be said to be a balance and coordination among these three elements, with none overpowering the others. ... John Roderigo Dos Passos, born January 14, 1896 in Chicago, Illinois, United States - died September 28, 1970 in Baltimore, Maryland, was a novelist and artist. ... The U.S.A. Trilogy is the major work of American writer John Dos Passos. ... Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed international language. ... Usonia is a term used by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright to refer to his vision for the landscape of the United States, including the planning of cities and the architecture of buildings. ... Ido is a constructed language. ... This article is about the United Nations, for other uses of UN see UN (disambiguation) Official languages English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic Secretary-General Kofi Annan (since 1997) Established October 24, 1945 Member states 191 Headquarters New York City, NY, USA Official site http://www. ... Kosova (Serbian: Косовa / Kosova, Albanian: Kosovë / Kosova), in English most often called just Kosova, is a province of Serbia. ... Prishtinë/Prishtina (Albanian indefinite/definite form) or Priština (Приштина) (Serbian) is the capital city of Kosovo, a landlocked province of Serbia located at 42°65′ N 21°17′ E. It is estimated that the current population of Prishtina is as high as 500,000. ...

See also

There are many alternative ways to describe nationals of the United Kingdom. ... This article very generally discusses the customs and culture of the United States; for the culture of the United States, see arts and entertainment in the United States. ... There are numerous offensive terms given to people, depending on their nationality. ...

External link

  • Electric Editors, "EDline". Editorial mailing list. Vol. 4, no. 9; March 7, 1999.

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