LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||08/OUT/2008 4:07 PM|
Pimenta, I agree with many of your observations, but there are problems. You say you are American. You are. But you are also an "estadunidense". Think about it: Estados Unidos da Republica Federativa. Mexicans are "estadunidenses" too. Estados Unidos de la Republica Mexicana. There is no problem with "US president", but you can't say
"I'm US." I am very aware that some Latins are very sensitive about this issue, but... people in the USA have been calling ourselves Americans for centuries. In our language, you may need to "go with the flow" and accept it. What would your reaction be if I told you that I didn't want you to call yourself Brazilian because it offended me? You'd probably tell me to go to hell. Don't expect someone from the US not to say he's American just to please you. It would be spitting on a lot of things dear to him. (In Argentina the "Ches" tried to give me a bad time about this. My answer was, "My passport says I'm American. What does your passport say you are?" That shut them up.) Yes, a Southerner would not want to be called a Yankee. Other Americans would simply laugh at you, because the word describes those from a specific area of the country. As I tried to explain earlier, it is like calling all Brazilians "Cariocas". Some are, most aren't. The British did not call us "Yankees" during the World Wars. (During the Revolution, yes. And they were right to do so.) They called us "Yanks". Surprisingly, many Americans who would object to "Yankee" would not object to "Yank". Weird. By the way, there are many stories about the origin of the word. Nobody seems to know for sure how it came to be used. It would have been so much simpler had we chosen another name for our country. The United States of MacDonald. We could have been Disneylanders. We could have been Cocacolese. The Land of the Big Hamburger. But, no, we're Americans.
By the way, when I've told some Brazilians that I am "estadunidense", they had no idea what that meant. When I say I live in Costa Rica, they ask how things are on "the island".
I rarely hear any opposition to "americano" here. It's accepted. Without a doubt, I heard the most opposition in Argentina. It's like a cult there. "Sos americano, che? Hablame en ingles, boludo."
Here's another jewel. Do we say "The United States are..." or "The United States is..."? For historical reasons, Americans say "is" and not "are". I've heard the American Civil War called a war over a verb.
Call me anything you want, but don't call me late for dinner.
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