Two perennial arguments reared their ugly heads on OCICBW... yesterday. Firstly, the Mexicans are still trying to move their country out of Central America and into North America. There's nothing I can do about this other than to continue to speak very slowly and loudly to them and hope they eventually comprenda.

The second disagreement we may be able to do something about. Pretty much every time I use the term "American" to describe people from America somebody emails in to tell me that I should use the phrase United Statesonianites, or whatever, because people from Venezuela think they are yanks as well. This is a ridiculous situation that needs to be sorted out.

Obviously we can't start calling Americans, "United Statesonianites." Germans might be able to cope with such long words but not the English. Our time is precious. Also, Americans themselves seem intent on calling themselves Americans and I can't see them changing as they are a people who despise change of any sort. For a start, I don't think their prime minister, George W, Bush is ever going to start introducing his little pep talks with "My fella United Statesurkans." So, we need to think laterally and I propose coming up with a new name for everybody who lives in the new colonies who is not the real McCoy.

For example, I quite like the phrase, "free Americans," or "evolved Americans" maybe. But what do you think? I'm sure together we can come up with something acceptable to everybody, especially the English who, as they discovered the Americas in the first place, should really have the last word on the mater.


TIME FOR A CHANGE — 33 Comments

  1. Hate to be pedantic but it was the Vikings or mebbe even the Irish who found the America’s 1st. Instead of Statesonians why not stick to the old WW2 usage; “bl**dy Yanks”. (note fur patriotic Americans – this is is British irony we love youse really)

  2. No, Dougal. The Americas were discovered by a group of English people who crossed the ice over the Northern Atlantic during the last ice age. It was named America by a Welshman. For once the Scots had nothing to do with it. Please would you try to keep up with current scholarship as I do not have the time to keep correcting you.

  3. I’m liking “bloody Yanks.”

    It really sums up well how much we’ve pissed off pretty much the rest of the world. It makes people think twice about irritating us.


  4. Reporting-in from the heart of the New World:

    We Norte Americanos are often called ¬®Gringos¬® in Mexico and Central America…I¬īve been told it¬īs because of the U.S. Army green uniformed Soldiers who went South of the Border down Mexico way (after stealing North of the Border up Mexico way) and the locals yelled ¬®Green Go!¬®…well, I also heard Chicanos are Mejicanos from Chicago…and I KNOW ¬®Ricans¬® are Puerto Ricans in New York (not nice), and U.S. non-Puerto Ricans who live in Puerto Rico are ¬®Mainlanders¬® (or worse)…so there you have it, I often hear ¬®Gringo¬® (surprisingly friendly in context) which also includes Canadians (because we all look alike–The Canadians aren¬īt amused)…but then the Mexicans treat the Guatemalans like peasants and the Guatemaltecos hate the Mexicans (because they know it and are glad Pedro Alvarado ¬®bit it¬® there) and nobody is that crazy about Belize (British Honduras because they speak English and are a mostly a different color)…tiresome stuff…and then there are the Cubanos who live abroad…duck for cover but they ARE a really fun, albeit intense, lot (not to be confused with a vacant lot).

    Leonardo Ricardo

  5. “a group of English people who crossed over the ice over the Northern Atlantic” – you mean youse had lost the directions to Hampden for the Home International AGAIN?

  6. Why not just call us Floyd?

    There’s the old standby that every tribe on earth uses to describe people who aren’t in the tribe, “aliens,” or “those foreign bastards! … why don’t they go back to where they came from?”

    Most tribes’ name for themselves is usually “the people” in whatever language they speak. Those outside the tribe are not considered people.

    “America” was a name coined by a German mapmaker, Martin Waldensee, in 1507. He was one of the first European mapmakers to include those “new continents over there” on his map of the world, and he needed a name other than “India” given to them by that poor confused Italian, Christopher Colombus. So, Waldensee named the continents after another Italian, a Florentine named Amerigo Vespucci, whose account of his voyages off the coast of Brazil Waldensee had just read. Amerigo became Latinized into Americus, and since ships and continents are assumed to be ladies, Americus became America.

    So, why not just call us Floyd? One name is just as arbitrary and meaningless as the other.

    The World — over 200 nation states and countless tribes who all hate each others’ guts; whose governments are all more or less corrupt; and who use their citizens’ fear and loathing of outsiders to keep themselves in power and legitimacy.

    Small wonder that the mystics all search for that spiritual escape hatch.

  7. “a group of English people who crossed over the ice over the Northern Atlantic” – you mean youse had lost the directions to Hampden for the Home International AGAIN?


  8. Correction:

    The mapmaker’s name was Waldseemueller, and as far as I know, he was not a Waldensee.

    It’s morning here in this place, whatever you call it, and I haven’t had my tea yet.

  9. The phrase “evolved Americans” would get you into a lot of trouble with some folks, I would have thought. The ones who deny that they evolved.

  10. “America” was a name coined by a German mapmaker, Martin Waldensee, in 1507.

    Am I the only person round here who has read a book since leaving school? America was named after a Welshman. This must be true because I wouldn’t credit the Welsh with anything unless forced to by incontrovertible evidence. You must remember that the Welsh were popping backwards and forwards to Newfoundland a good 300 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

  11. Of course we couldn’t find Hampden. It was the fecking ice age. Hampden was underneath 2 miles of compacted snow at the time.

    I am surrounded by ignoramuses!

  12. The ones who deny that they evolved.

    Oh, for goodness sake!
    I’m going to get cross if you all don’t start paying attention.
    The unevolved Americans all live in the US. The evolved Americans don’t. It is people in the US who deny evolution not Venezuelans (or even Gringoes). Therefore the evolved Americans won’t get cross.

  13. “Hampden was under 2 miles of compacted snow” – it often is and we can still find it. Course, youse Ingerlish had probably stopped for a wee swally in Sauchiehall St, got scoobied,got lost, found America and then told everyone about it. We would have kept quiet and hoped it would go away.

  14. The unevolved Americans all live in the US. The evolved Americans don’t. It is people in the US who deny evolution not Venezuelans (or even Gringoes). Therefore the evolved Americans won’t get cross.

    Oh I get ya.

    I am at work, and am trying to do several things at once here, while posting on OCICBW on the quiet, hence the confusion. Not that that’s not normal.

    Well then, apart from the rabid killer Australians on your trail, you’re quite safe, MP.

  15. Although I have to admit I really like the name Leif Erickson gave North America when he DID land here (something Columbus never did)…Erickson called it “Vinland” or Land of Vines.

    So we can be Vinlanders.

    Although that might not apply out in Arizona…

  16. As I’ve said before, I have no strong feelings about this one way or the other — let’s just make the US the boss of the world, the President the CEO, and call everybody “Americans.”

    As the name of the continent is part of the country’s name, the derivation is not surprising. If our predecessors had gone with “Columbia,” we’d be Columbians, but then we would have had Northern and Southern Columbians, and that would be most confusing.

  17. Then there are those of us SOUTHERN Americans who don’t appreciate being called “yanks” at all.

    So you’re a Venezuelan, Ellie? I always thought you must be English, being so intelligent and well-mannered and all that.

  18. “Yank” and “yankee” are what the Confederates called the union during the war between the States. So that is gonna go badly with folks from Alabama, Georgia etc.

    What passes for standard academic usage around here is that “North Americans” means Mexicans, Canadians and oh yeah — Americans. Of course that only works in Olymic years because the rest of the time some Canadians aren’t. Instead they are Qubecois. If there are medals especially hockey medals on offer they temporarily become Canadian.

    We could solve this by conquering Mexico and Canada but we sent our army over to Iraq so it is busy.

    What a mess.

  19. “Unevolved Americans” would work for me, since its my country’s arrogance worldwide that makes me make the distinction when I fill out an immigration card “U.S. American” so as to allow for other Americans than the US ones. (Hence, with this comment, proving we are unevolved because we take ourselves way too seriously!)

    WV is “ludde” Isn’t that a medieval English expletive?

  20. Mexico is a member of NAFTA, but typically isn’t included in the colloquial meaning of “North America” here. And if not the US, Fr MadPriest, you might yet get away with blaming Argentina on the Welsh.

  21. I suppose we could call use
    “Central North Americans.”

    It could certaingly create some delicious confusion among those who don’t realize Mexico is a part of North America.

  22. Here at home, I use “American” to refer to my fellow U.S. citizens – its just common usage. But when we last visited Canada, I was conscious of that and switched to “…I’m from the States” or similar constructs. It’s just the polite thing to do (I guess all that Canadian politeness rubbed off on me – delightful bunch of people, really ūüėČ

  23. But that would make some of us Western Central Americans and others Eastern Central Americans. And I think we are not as central as that implies.

  24. I think some of you may be beginning to understand why the English just lump everybody into two categories – English and foreigners. It’s a simple system and certainly avoids confusion over geographical matters. Let’s face it, The US, Mexico, Venezuela – they’re all abroad and that is all your bog standard English gentleman or lady needs to know.

  25. Heck! I was only trying to help you lot out.
    It makes no difference to me where you think you live. As an Englishman I am totally comfortable with the concept that either you are wrong or you agree with me.