Author Topic: American usage  (Read 6110 times)

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Offline TylerDurden

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American usage
« on: September 05, 2008, 06:20:15 pm »
There was some sort of uproar on a crappy TV show. Only thing that interested me re the news item, was that, apparently, the term "Oriental" is, apparently, considered offensive in the US. This makes no sense at all and seems ridiculous - anyone know why? In the UK, the word "Oriental" is used to describe Chinese/Japanese and Koreans, and (I think)just means man/woman of the Orient(ie "East").The only people we call "Asians" are those from the South Asian continent(ie Afghanistan/Pakistan/India/Nepal/Bhutan and Bhangladesh). It does seem a bit ridiculous to lump all these peoples together (Chinese with afghans) under one term as the Americans do, when they are so very different.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 07:47:55 am by TylerDurden »
"What is the point of growing up If you can't be childish sometimes..." - Tom Baker as Dr Who.

xylothrill

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Re: American usage
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2008, 06:47:42 pm »
It's the East Asians that are offended by the term Oriental even though the Orient means the East. We generally just use "Asian" for this if we are unsure of the specific country they're from. For western Asian, we usually use the country eg Indian, which then we'll have to go a bit further to specify Asian Indian so as not to be confused with American Indian. Going further west, we use Arabic or Middle Eastern if we're unsure of the country. We never refer to Ukrainians or Russians as either Oriental or Asian, even though they are. I suppose it's because they look more European. And then, we have the southeast Asians - Philippines, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Thais, etc...

Craig
« Last Edit: September 05, 2008, 06:51:13 pm by Craig »

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: American usage
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2008, 06:58:59 pm »
It's the East Asians that are offended by the term Oriental even though the Orient means the East. We generally just use "Asian" for this if we are unsure of the specific country they're from. For western Asian, we usually use the country eg Indian, which then we'll have to go a bit further to specify Asian Indian so as not to be confused with American Indian. Going further west, we use Arabic or Middle Eastern if we're unsure of the country. We never refer to Ukrainians or Russians as either Oriental or Asian, even though they are. I suppose it's because they look more European. And then, we have the southeast Asians - Philippines, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Thais, etc...

Craig

Interesting. I'm amused that you think Russians and Ukrainians are Asians. I've been to the Ukraine and can tell you that most of the population(and that of Russia) would not look out-of-place in, say, Sweden or Norway - well, OK, a number of Russian Slavs in the countryside of Russia are more Central-European-looking than Northern, but certainly not Asian.
There's a tiny minority who are of mixed Tartar stock(from past invasions from the East), but that's all. I remember one Ukrainian being very vehement about being described as an "Eastern European". He stated that the Ukraine was actually in the centre of Europe with Russia being in the east of Europe. He's right, of course. Europe officially stops at the Urals, which is a "(third?) of the way towards the Pacific.
"What is the point of growing up If you can't be childish sometimes..." - Tom Baker as Dr Who.

xylothrill

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Re: American usage
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2008, 07:46:08 pm »
Different maps say different things. At any rate, I was thinking that Ukraine was further east but Russia, or at least the majority of it is indeed in Asia. Since Moscow is in Asia, I'd consider it an Asian country.
http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/as.htm

In this country, we learn North America and South America as two different continents. I was amused to hear  a South American tell me we were on the same continent. They learn the two only as one - the continent of America. Sometimes there are just no definitive answers for these things.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2008, 07:49:31 pm by Craig »

William

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Re: American usage
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2008, 11:56:16 pm »
Fun! I love language.
AFAIK oriental means eastern, so to me who lives at 76°W, Newfoundlanders are orientals. :)

One of the oddities of American usage is that the people of the country once known as the U.S.A don't seem to be aware that there are many other American countries, most of them incapable of so-called American usage, as they don't speak American.

Offline Squall

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Re: American usage
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2008, 04:42:56 am »
One of the oddities of American usage is that the people of the country once known as the U.S.A don't seem to be aware that there are many other American countries, most of them incapable of so-called American usage, as they don't speak American.

I'm pretty sure the vast majority of Americans (those living in the U.S.) realize that their country is one of many on two continents that share the name America.

Also, I'd have to say that the majority of the world understands that the term American is merely a convention that typically stands for "from the U.S.". This convention is actually known as a demonym. This might be because the official name is the United States of America. Therefore a suitable adjective form would simply be American. Compare to Canadian for the Dominion of Canada, and Mexican for the United Mexican States.

Lastly, most people from the States understand that they speak English, not American. They are also aware that the British don't speak British, the Australians don't speak Australian, and that Canadians don't speak Canadian. Jokes about accents are common, but I doubt that anybody intelligent enough to crack them actually believes them.
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.

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William

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Re: American usage
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2008, 06:11:50 am »
/my bad.
I should have written "the media" instead of "the people of"; the media in Canada do it too.

Demonym is a new word to me. I like it. Let's see now... demonic name, yes, as in possessed of, so as to confuse as many as possible. :)
You might object that demo is from demos and not from daemon, but I like my read. More meaningful, and more fun.

There are regional variants of North American English, and when they are defined by political boundaries we may as well call them languages. Canadians really do speak Canadian eh?
Unlike most of our fellow Americans south of the border, we know the difference between pissed and pissed off.

Offline Raw Kyle

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Re: American usage
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2008, 10:52:40 am »
All in all I'd say Americans (that's USA'ans) are about the dumbest and most awkwardly politically correct of all of the first world countries. It is not difficult to find people here that think Africa is a country and that the Russia/Georgia conflict was taking place on USA soil.

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: American usage
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2008, 07:16:28 pm »
All in all I'd say Americans (that's USA'ans) are about the dumbest and most awkwardly politically correct of all of the first world countries. It is not difficult to find people here that think Africa is a country and that the Russia/Georgia conflict was taking place on USA soil.

If you're referring to Sarah Palin, those comments above were not made by her but by a couple of pranksters. This reminds me of the quotation often attributed to Dan Quayle about speaking Latin in Latin America(which was similiarly false) - though many of the quotations made by Dan Quayle were indeed true, unlike that one.
"What is the point of growing up If you can't be childish sometimes..." - Tom Baker as Dr Who.

Offline Raw Kyle

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Re: American usage
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2008, 09:36:52 pm »
Nope, I've heard plenty of real like people in person refer to Africa as a country, as well as on spoof street quiz youtube videos and also on a television show called "Street Smarts." If I was referring to a vice presidential candidate I would have been sure to point that out as that is quite a different circumstance than finding a random person on the street.

Here's another strange usage, in the 60's black people were referred to as negros in USA (negro is Spanish for black) and it was considered rude to call them black. Now it's the opposite. I guess people blacks prefer English to Spanish? Kind of stupid is you ask me, it would be the equivalent or calling white people blanco.

I was glad to learn that a lot of "Native Americans" prefer to be called "American Indians" even though that's not what white people consider politically correct. One guy on the radio said he liked that name since indian is derived from in dios which means "with God."

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: American usage
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2008, 11:18:42 pm »
Well, I've come across Americans who've never even left their home State, so this lack of knowledge  is understandable. Mind you, the people I met who were like that lived in California, which is so big, that one can understand why they never bothered to leave.

Re Negro:- "Negro" isn't politically-incorrect, over here, just the slang version thereof, which is merely a slight misspelling of the Latin word for "black", anyway. For me, "Negro" just conjures up an image of "Negro spirituals" or "Paul Robeson", and doesn't seem perjoritative at all.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 12:22:47 am by TylerDurden »
"What is the point of growing up If you can't be childish sometimes..." - Tom Baker as Dr Who.

Offline Raw Kyle

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Re: American usage
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2008, 03:19:52 am »
The real offensive term here is "nigger" which I suppose is just slang for "negro." Interestingly enough there is a country named "Niger" in Africa, and for some reason no one has a problem with that spelling since it's pronounced ny-jair instead of nig-er.

People who are offended by words must not understand that they are dynamic symbols not static meanings. I could easily say a more mean spirited sentence to someone using politically correct terms and somehow that's better than using these hot button words when you're not meaning to insult. Intent seems irrelevant.

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: American usage
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2008, 06:58:21 am »
What I dislike is the notion that one MUST use certain terms - I've read 1984 and am well aware of the term "double-think" and "double-speak", so I greatly resent any attempt by other people to control others' thought via language. I remember one psychotic idiot even complaining when I merely used the term "Third world" in a general context to describe a nation(Peru) which was relatively corrupt(they accepted bribes for invalid visas, which proved my point, but anyway...)
« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 07:39:01 am by TylerDurden »
"What is the point of growing up If you can't be childish sometimes..." - Tom Baker as Dr Who.

William

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Re: American usage
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2008, 07:29:56 am »
I also dislike the changes in which words are politically correct, because I believe these are deliberate, and intended to manage/control us.

"Nigger" is a good example, still used casually by black Americans when no others are present, once OK in Britain, note the book title "The Nigger of the Narcissus" by Joseph Conrad.

xylothrill

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Re: American usage
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2008, 04:41:39 pm »
I also dislike the changes in which words are politically correct, because I believe these are deliberate, and intended to manage/control us.

"Nigger" is a good example, still used casually by black Americans when no others are present, once OK in Britain, note the book title "The Nigger of the Narcissus" by Joseph Conrad.

There is a deference between "nigger" and "nigga," which is what the Afircan Americans (of the U.S.A) use amongst themselves in the United Stated of America.

As a United States of America American from the South, I can say that the word 'redneck' doesn't mean the same thing amongst southern United States of Americans as it does to northern United States of Americans.

Those of South-America call us as "norteamericanos." Do they include Canadian's and Mexicans in that? It's just that no one has a simple enough adjective for us United Statesians. :-) No one can help nor controll being called what they're called by others, whether we like it or agree to it at all.



« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 04:44:09 pm by Craig »

xylothrill

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Re: American usage
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2008, 05:10:26 pm »
Since the subject is American Usage, why don't we just talk in terms of "randy" and/or "fanny?" Don't say, "cunt" to a United States of American woman! In BE, it means "person."

Offline wodgina

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Re: American usage
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2008, 05:54:23 pm »
Shakespeare uses the term 'country matters' in Hamlet...

That's the only thing I can remember from High School english literature class!





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