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From the USA

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Topic: 8) From the USA (1 of 12), Read 112 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, December 02, 1998 11:07 AM

Gonzalo Santos, of Bakersfield, California, writes: "A new word is needed for 'people from the United States of America.' Those from inside the U.S. insist they know a word for this -- 'American' -- but those from the rest of the Americas disagree.

"My point is the misappropriation of the generic continental terms 'America' and 'American' to signify only the U.S. and its people. But given that these words are misnomers themselves (insofar as Amerigo Vespucci's role in history is minor), I am not advocating their use, either. The continent's peoples in the aggregate, as well as just those from the United States, need new names -- names that should reflect etymologically the diversity of our ancestries, not just one (and a distorted one at that)."

It seems to me that folks abroad have come up with plenty of words for us! Maybe we can create a nice one here, that we, er, Americans can be proud of?

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Topic: 8) From the USA (2 of 12), Read 109 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Mark Slagle (smark@x15.com)
Date: Wednesday, December 02, 1998 04:55 PM

On 12/2/98 11:07:43 AM, Barbara Wallraff wrote:
>Gonzalo Santos, of
>Bakersfield, California,
>writes: "A new word is needed
>for 'people from the United
>States of America.' Those from
>inside the U.S. insist they
>know a word for this --
>'American' -- but those from
>the rest of the Americas
>disagree.

In writing, particularly on the net, I often
use "USAmerican", but it doesn't really
flow off the tongue for spoken use.
Yank or Yankee seems to be in common
use elsewhere, but seems misleading for
those not from the New England states
to those within the U.S. Of course we
could just refer to imperialist pigs or
capitalist running dogs.

In the spirit of renewed anti-federalism,
however, I recommend identifying folks
by their state of residence or origin.

=Mark

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Topic: 8) From the USA (3 of 12), Read 105 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, December 02, 1998 06:55 PM

So I'm a Massachusettsan? Are you sure this is an improvement?

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Topic: 8) From the USA (4 of 12), Read 100 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Jim Allman (james.m.allman@monsanto.com)
Date: Wednesday, December 02, 1998 08:40 PM

Some foreign students (mostly Asians) in the US use the word "Usanians", which matches their name for the country: "Usa", pronounced roughly "OO-sah". We native Usanians might prefer to pronounce our country as "YOO-sah" and our nationality as "Yoo-SANE-ee-ans".

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Topic: 8) From the USA (5 of 12), Read 76 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Gonzalo Santos (gsantos@csubak.edu)
Date: Friday, December 04, 1998 10:08 PM

"Usanians" sound the most plausible and desirable yet: it's short and sassy, original (not taken!), very translatable ("Usanos," "Usati," "Usanski," "Usaine," etc.), and best of all, in perfect step with that *most* popular custom in the USA, namely, to make acronyms out of names and names out of acronyms.

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Topic: 8) From the USA (6 of 12), Read 98 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: John Davenport (jdavenport@panamsat.com)
Date: Thursday, December 03, 1998 02:29 PM

Those of us from the South find the term Yankee highly objectionable and in some cases downright insulting (as I have informed my British friends for years). As for most of us we simply prefer Southerners as a moniker that lets others know that even though we are from the USA we prefer not to be known as such.

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Topic: 8) From the USA (7 of 12), Read 56 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Elizabeth Finkler (liz@winvision.net)
Date: Monday, December 07, 1998 06:06 PM

We might have a suitable word already:

"Usonian", coined by Frank Lloyd Wright for the affordable housing he designed in the 1930s. It's derived from "USA" and has the advantage of not referring to any particular part of the country ("Yankee", "statesider") or a particular ethnic group ("USAsians").

Liz

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Topic: 8) From the USA (8 of 12), Read 97 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Dan Chall (danchall@interport.net)
Date: Wednesday, December 02, 1998 07:51 PM

The Random House Unabridged Dictionary contains "statesider," but it seems the word excludes inhabitants of Alaska and Hawaii.

--Dan

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Topic: 8) From the USA (9 of 12), Read 101 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Heidi Schroeder (zincats@aol.com)
Date: Wednesday, December 02, 1998 08:22 PM

On 12/2/98 7:51:54 PM, Dan Chall wrote:
>The Random House Unabridged
>Dictionary contains
>"statesider," but it seems the
>word excludes inhabitants of
>Alaska and Hawaii.
>
>--Dan
>

I like this. It could mean "on the other side of the border" from Mexico or Canada, or "on the other side of the ocean" from Europe, Africa, and Asia. Using this interpretation, I think we could include Alaska and Hawaii in the definition. Well, sort of. ;-)

-Heidi



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Topic: 8) From the USA (10 of 12), Read 80 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Dorothy Glantz (dml.glantz@swipnet.se)
Date: Friday, December 04, 1998 07:41 AM

Forget the random. Webster as late as 1972 defines 'American' as 1. a native or inhabitant of America; specif., a) an American Indian (God bless 'im)and b) starred as an 'Americanism', a citizen of the United States. Moot is perspective- I've lived outside the US for so long now that people who live in the US are Americans and I've had to do a crash course in PC. Are we getting semantic or trying to define a sense of belonging.... As for OOH-SAH, that's just a quick and dirty- instead of having to individually say U S A. Like in asap, instead of A S A P. ;-)

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Topic: 8) From the USA (11 of 12), Read 57 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Jason Taniguchi (jasont@ccp.ca)
Date: Monday, December 07, 1998 06:34 PM

From the Toronto Serial Diners Collective:

A Canadian perspective: "usagent" (pronounced "oo-say-jent"; or (one Diner suggested) "Uncanadian" (which excludes an awful lot of nations, but it's our own attempt at believing the world revolves around our own country, so forgive the illogic).

One Diner suggested "murcan", but he acknowledged that this word ought to refer not to each and every member of your country, but only to the ones that make it patently obvious that they are Americans: for example, the ones capable of uttering the sentence "You speak pretty good English for a Canadian". No murcans in this conference, I'm quite confident.

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Topic: 8) From the USA (12 of 12), Read 45 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Julian Burnside (burnside@owendixon.com)
Date: Wednesday, December 09, 1998 10:31 PM

"murcan" would not be a good choice: in speech it is indistinguishable from "merkin", which bears a meaning you probably don't intend.
Julian Burnside


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