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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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ChristopherRobin
588079.  Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:10 am Reply with quote

The Chinese term for an American person is 美国人 (Měiguórén). Although it literally means “beautiful country person”, it must be noted that the source of the name is primarily phonetic. The Chinese word for “beautiful” (měi) merely stands for the /m/ sound in the the name “American”.

 
thedrew
654733.  Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:33 pm Reply with quote

The older name for the United States in Mandarin is Huāqíguó (花旗國) - "Flower Flag Nation." This name was used until the mid-20th Century when Měiguórén began replacing it. According to George H. Peable:

"When the thirteen stripes and stars first appeared at Canton much curiosity was excited among the people. News was circulated that a strange ship had arrived from the farther end of the world, bearing a flag as beautiful as a flower. Everybody went to see the Fah-kay-cheun [花旗船], or flower-flag ship. This name at once established itself in the language, and America is now called Fah-kay-gawk [花旗國], the flower-flag country, and an American, Fah-kay-gawk-yun [花旗國人], flowerflag country man, — a more complimentary designation than that of red-headed barbarian, the name first bestowed on the Dutch."

(http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofflagofu00preb/historyofflagofu00preb_djvu.txt)

In South America, people from the United States are called, "Estadounidenses" to specify which part of the American Continent(s) they are from. This causes no confusion with people from Los Estados Unidos de Mexico, as they are called "Mexicanos."

I personally like "Estadounidenses" I just wish it translated to English better. "United-Statesian" doesn't roll off the tongue.

 
bobwilson
654782.  Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:22 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
I personally like "Estadounidenses" I just wish it translated to English better. "United-Statesian" doesn't roll off the tongue.


Yank?

 
thedrew
654792.  Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:00 am Reply with quote

"Yankee" ("Yanqui" en espanol) is a good one. We could also simplify the British/English/Scottish/UKer moniker with "Limey."

 
suze
654931.  Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:49 am Reply with quote

LOL!

Lest anyone didn't know, while British people often use "Yank(ee)" to refer to anyone from the US of A, it has a more specific meaning to Americans.

Traditionally, a Yankee was a New Englander. In the twentieth century that got broadened a little - in particular, New Yorkers were "allowed" to be Yankees, and some have used it to refer to any white American who was not from Dixie (the traditionally understood south).

Within New England, some (especially older people) use it only to refer to "old money" families who originated in England - the ones who talk only to the Cabots and to God, essentially.

 
MinervaMoon
655040.  Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:24 am Reply with quote

I'm American; I'm not a "Yankee". Yeesh.

 
suze
655050.  Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:37 am Reply with quote

But what are you then? A Dixie chick?

Or does Florida (except west of Tallahassee, where they can't really deny it) wish to be considered as southern but not "southern"?

 
MinervaMoon
655055.  Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:47 am Reply with quote

I'm a "Floridian", and I think I'd rather be a Yankee than a Dixie chick! Northern Florida is pretty "southern", but southern Florida is decidedly northern (aren't these things are so obvious?). It's all in the accents.

 
suze
655059.  Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:55 am Reply with quote

LOL!

But thinking about it, southern Florida would have to be "northern" really. After all, there's something like half a million Canadians live there; there are probably about four in Alabama!

 
thedrew
655148.  Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 pm Reply with quote

In the West, Yankee is acceptable, though we'd never self-apply the name. Americans abroad are familiar enough with "Yankee Go Home" to understand it's meant to apply to all Americans.

I suppose for Western Anglo-Americans "gringo" would fit better than "Yankee." "Gringo" and "Yankee" are both insults abroad, but I've never found them offensive.

This brings to mind other nicknames in the US.

Indiana - Hoosiers
Ohio - Buckeyes
Oklahoma - Sooners
North Carolina - Tarheels

I can remember those because of college sports teams, but there are plenty others.

 
suze
655290.  Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:08 pm Reply with quote

While some people in Britain surely use "Yankee" as a pejorative term, I reckon most intend it as a non-loaded term for an American.

That's not the case with Canadians though - they generally do intend "Yankee" as pejorative. And indeed, the word "Canuck" is comparable - a Canadian is generally not amused if an American calls him or her a Canuck, but within Canada it's not an insult. After all, my home city used the name for its hockey team!

 
nitwit02
655390.  Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:19 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
This brings to mind other nicknames in the US.

Indiana - Hoosiers
Ohio - Buckeyes
Oklahoma - Sooners
North Carolina - Tarheels



I've heard these descriptive words used, but have no idea what they mean - can you elucidate, thedrew?

 
Efros
655399.  Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:49 pm Reply with quote

Maine - Maineacs.

 
suze
655495.  Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:48 am Reply with quote

No one really knows why a person from Indiana is a Hoosier. A number of writers including Bill Bryson have noted an English dialect word hoozer, which means a country bumpkin; while some dispute this, none of the alternative theories really stack up.


The first tree felled by a white man in what is now Ohio is said to have been an American buckeye (Aesculus glabra), and that is how the state gets its nickname.


The precise explanation of tarheel is unclear, but it must be in some way connected to the pine forests which are a feature of North Carolina. Making tar from the wood was a major early industry of the state.


Now, Oklahoma. There was an area within Oklahoma known as the Unassigned Lands, which had been purchased from Native Americans but not yet opened to white settlement. In 1889, President Cleveland announced that settlement would be allowed - from a specified date, the first person to claim land in designated areas got to keep it. Going there early so as to be first on the scene wasn't allowed - land claimed by anyone who did that didn't count, and law enforcement was tasked with stopping people from doing it.

Unsurprisingly, some - mainly people whose work meant that they were already familiar with the area - did indeed go there sooner than was allowed. That involved dubious deeds such as crossing into the designated areas by night, hiding in a ditch until dawn, and then presenting themselves to stake their claims before anyone who had played by the rules could get there. But it was very hard to prove that the rules had been broken, and despite lawsuits which in some cases went on for decades, a lot of the people who had cheated got to keep their land.

 
nitwit02
655753.  Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:10 pm Reply with quote

Thanks, suze.

 

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