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Argentine President Calls Americans ‘Americanos’

February 15th, 2010 | Categoría: Culture

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CFKTo the potential dismay of countless Latin Americans, regional etymologists and local language lovers, Argentine President Cristina Fernández referred Monday to U.S. citizens as “americanos” and not “estadounidenses,” or, more commonly, but less accurately, “norteamericanos.”

“When few or no Argentine tourists came here, this place filled up and continues to fill up with Spaniards, French, Germans, Americans, Englishmen who came to to visit…,” Fernández said in a speech at the Calafate glacier in Santa Cruz Province.

Here’s the text in Spanish:

“Cuando poquísimos o casi ningún turista argentino venía acá, esto se llenaba y se sigue llenando de españoles, franceses, alemanes, americanos, ingleses que vienen a conocer … aquí vienen de todo el mundo.”

As many native English speakers know from personal experience, some Argentines – and, of course, some Latin Americans – take offense at such use of the term “americano,” believing (correctly) that when formally used in Spanish it refers to all residents of the Americas, not just citizens of the United States.

Like it or not, however, many – perhaps most – Latin Americans, particularly those living closer to the U.S. in countries like Costa Rica, Colombia or Mexico, commonly refer to U.S. citizens as “americanos.” The vast bulk of Argentines I know use the term this way. I know very few Argentines who regularly use the term to refer to all residents of Latin America.

Regardless, usage of the term has generated fierce debate on the streets and in the online world, including on the pages of this blog.

I first learned about the distinction while sitting in the Plaza de Mayo in the summer of 1995. A young man approached me and asked where I was from. “I’m American,” I said, thinking very little of my use of the term. “You’re not the only American here,” the man responded, angrily. “You Americans think you rule the world. We’re all Americans. But you wouldn’t know that, would you, because you think you’re the center of the world.”

In fact, I didn’t think the U.S. was the center of the world. Nor did I think the U.S. ruled it. I had no idea my innocent – if ignorant – use of the term would offend or anger anyone. Since then I have used the term selectively.

When around strangers, or in a formal setting, I never refer to myself as “americano.” Instead, I simply say I’m from the U.S. Doing so avoids needlessly offending anyone. I recognize the distinction that Latin Americans make and find it valid in certain settings.

Some people prefer that the word refer strictly to all residents of the Americas, and that’s fine. That’s fair. After all, in Spanish, or at least in formal Spanish, “americano” does technically refer to all residents of the hemisphere. So when speaking in Spanish, it makes sense to speak precisely and refer to U.S. citizens as “estadounidenses.”

Even so, I find little reason to sympathize with anyone who truly does take offense at the generally innocent use – or misuse – of the term by most native English speakers.

In most situations, no harm is intended. At worst, use of the term may divulge a certain degree of ignorance or cultural insensitivity on behalf of the speaker. In these situations, for those sticklers who must insist on the matter, there’s no reason why they can’t kindly offer a diplomatic lesson in proper usage.

But allowing the use or misuse of the word to fuel an angry reaction, as has happened so often here on this blog, seems unnecessary and counterproductive. After all, philosophically speaking, offenses cannot be committed, only perceived. You can’t be offended unless you allow yourself to feel offended.

No real harm is done when someone misuses the term “americano.” Nobody is physically or mentally injured.

As the American (that is, U.S.) philosopher Lou Marinoff put it in his book Plato, Not Prozac: Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems, the problem of perceived offenses can be dealt with simply by distinguishing between “harm” and “offense.”

Marinoff describes “offense” as an attitude or behavior toward someone that must first be accepted. It’s akin to an insult. You have to accept it first to feel insulted.

If a stranger insults you – say, calls you an idiot – you get to decide how to feel about the matter. You can decide to feel insulted – to feel like an idiot – or you can decide to ignore the comment, and not feel insulted. If you allow yourself to feel insulted, you’ve unnecessarily given that person control over your own emotional state.

The same is true for offenses. If you allow yourself to feel offended, or even to get angry, at something so generally trivial as the misuse of an adjective, then you’ve relinquished control over your own emotions to others. It’s your choice, not theirs.

This is not true with harm, however, which is actual physical, mental or emotional damage inflicted on you by others. Harm occurs when someone actively causes suffering to another person and that person has no ability to dismiss or reject it. Firing a bullet into your chest causes harm. Misusing the term “americano” doesn’t.

The use or misuse of the term causes no real injury, other than whatever trivial mental anguish someone might allow it to cause.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that Argentines or other Latin Americans have no right to advise “Americans” or others about how they want the term to be used. What it does mean is that the only offense that can come from the term’s use is that which people actively allow themselves to feel.

Argentina’s president, a self-proclaimed defender of precision in language,  didn’t seem offended by her own comments Monday.

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34 Comments

I know what you mean. I have had conversations on the use of the word in English, as in “American” as well. I completely agree with you on this one.

MarceloNo Gravatar says:

Hi Taos, interesting post!

This is what I think about this issue: We can call ourselves “americans” ’cause we live in the american continent and U.S citizens can also call themselves “americans” ’cause they live in the continen as well, and ’cause the country is named after the continent. Our country’s complete name is “Republica Federal Argentina” and we are called Argentinos. Mexico’s complete name is “Estados Unidos de Mexico” and they are called “mexicanos”. So I believe is totally fair to call “americanos” to people who live in the United States of America.

Congrats for your blog.

Will SmithNo Gravatar says:

Agree with Marcelo. “Americans” is derived from the full name of our country, The United States of America, not because of some cultural arrogance. Americans were calling themselves Americans long before the US had the influence (or arrogance) that it does today.

There is also this: Americans are taught that North America and South America are two separate continents, while Latin Americans are taught that North and South America are a single continent, and that continent is called America. So from the Latin American perspective, people from the United States calling themselves Americans as if they are the only Americans would be akin to the French calling themselves Europeans as if they are the only Europeans. If you look at it that way, then yes, I can understand why it seems so arrogant.

But ultimately, I think the real source of Latin American indignation about this topic is a hypersensitivity to perceived American arrogance. If citizens of a different, shall we say “better behaved” country, like Canada, called themselves Americans, my guess is that Latin Americans wouldn’t chafe so much. It’s that the usage comes from people of the United States, a nation infamous for its cultural arrogance — especially vis-a-vis Latin America.

And speaking of Canadians (who probably suffer the most American cultural arrogance of anyone in the world), why is it that they don’t care one lick about this issue? They call us Americans, no problem. Food for thought.

Dave JNo Gravatar says:

I agree with Will, here in Canada in front of new latino aquaintances I like to refer to americans as gringos just to watch them gulp. It is interesting that the hypersensitive behavior and attitudes do not carry well when you are far from home.

[...] a word? Americanos vs. Estadunidenses By tudobeleza Gene at Expat Brazil posted a link to an article where the Argentine President called Americans by the term “americanos” instead of by [...]

K-in-SCNo Gravatar says:

It’s interesting to me that in the U.S. the theory that the Americas are a single continent was abandoned around World War II in favor of North America/South America, yet it continues to be taught in Latin America.
“It’s all one continent because it’s connected!” the Latinos argue. Yes, and Africa and Asia are connected by the Sinai, which at its narrowest is still wider than the Isthmus of Panama. Europe and Asia share a pretty significant border too, more than enough to merit the term ”Eurasia,” yet nobody apart from geographers seems too eager to adopt it.
I personally am sick of being corrected when I say I’m ”americana.” People who take offense at the term strike me as being hypocritical and willfully ignorant. But I certainly am used to it by now …

HernanNo Gravatar says:

About the topic: I think there is a little of arrogance (or ignorance) by some or most people from the United States: I run into so many people that considered Mexico part of South America. So From Texas down it would be Mexico, or South America… they USA would be THE USA, America, or North America… and then Canada. When I was watching TV as a child, growing up in Buenos Aires, I asked so many times why people from Central America called MCGyver, the Americano (The American) since I considered myself American too.
I think that if you are in Argentina, and you speak spanish, you should say where you are from how the locals knows it. if you are corrected, then learn that in Argentina is not correct to say it that way.
I had so many times asked why North America was a different continent… it’s funny that I wasn’t the only one.
Plate tectonics are the ones who supposedly determine Continents… that’s why Europe and Asia, and Africa though are together they are different continents. And perhaps the argument that North America it’s in fact a different continent would be valid then.
But if so, then India should be it’s own Continent too… and Central America, formed by volcanic land, should perhaps be on it’s own…
I think that Continental division is part of a Political division more than geological. When the European arrived to India who trade markets with China (Japan, etc) that area was called the Asia/// But Australia controlled the Islands in the pacific (Oceania)
In America happened the same, The Americas were the new continent, the new land… and then it was subdivided by territories according where the money went.

RooshNo Gravatar says:

I have met hundreds of South Americans in my life, and NOT ONE has referred to themselves as “American.” The word American is for people from the United States… get over it.

Federico says:

Personally i don’t mind people from the US calling themselves Americans, they can call themselves as they like, just like anyone else. But most “americans” seem to ignore that us (now) latin americans used to refer to ourselves commonly as americans as well, from our founding father up to the 70s where the term “americanos” was diplaces by the now commonly used “latino-americanos”.

So the “resentment” some may have in using “americans” to refer to people of the US has got to do more with the “cultural highjacking” of the word than with geographic issues.

A similar thing happened with the word “gringos”, which is now almost exclusively used to refer to people from the US, when it actually means “people that cant speak spanish well”. For example traditionally in Argentina the word gringos was reserved to the italians, this of course is not the case today.

To sum up, people from the US can call themselves as they want, just don´t expect us to call you the same way. Im sure if i go to the US and intruduce myself as an american ill get a few funny faces (and posibly a following correction), so why would you expect anything different here.

Saludos.

I think the people borned in the U.S.A. can be properly named “americans”. That is because United States are others like Mexico. Northamericans are others too, like Mexico and Canada. But none other country uses the word “America” in its official name, so they can be calle like that. Thankyou.

Doc ConosurNo Gravatar says:

“There is nothing more boring than taking inventory of the obvious.”

First of all, colloquially the term Americano is understood to be meant of someone from the United States of America. Second of all, people from the USA never intend any disrespect to anyone of our American countries or brothers/sisters. What Taos writes here is right on the money!

To add to this controversy, the term estadounidense is not “politically correct” either.
Brazilians are estadounidenses and so are Mexicans. They are the United States of Brazil and the United States of Mexico.

The same goes for terms like Latinos and Hispanic. Both terms are inaccurate and vague. When one refers to people as Latinos, we should be referring to all the people whose root language derived from Latin. That would i, nclude French, Italians and even
Romanians. But weand every person from all the Americas colloquially refer to people from Latin America as Latins, at the exclusion of the French, Italians and Romanians.
And if you say to someone that you are South American, doesn’t that person automatically believe you come from a country that either speaks Portuguese or Spanish? So where does that leave the people of French, British and Dutch Guyana?
In addition, the term Hispanic in the USA is also used interchangeably with Latinos.
But most of the Spanish speaking people in the USA are closer genetically to our Native Americans because the bulk majority of Spanish speaking people in the USA are from Mexico or descendants of the mix that makes up Mexico. Which by the way has 68 different Indian dialects spoken along with Spanish.

IberoAmericanos is another term that would refer to all the people that descended from Iberia (Portugal and Spain) and also would refer to all the people born in the Americas. No matter what ethnic background you came from. But I can see how this would offend people in the USA who would not want to be associated with the Ibero part of that term. So what are we anyway? We all belong to one race. The human race! Until we realize this there will always be quarrels and arguments.

Even the term Hispanic can be wrong if you want to bunch up everyone from the Spanish speaking Americas, which by the way, the United States of America has one of the largest populations of Spanish speaking Americans. But a person from Barcelona or the Balearic Islands who claims to be a Catalan is not part of the Hispanic race of people. There are people in the Island of Sardinia, which belongs to Italy, that are part of the Catalan race of people. So are you insulting a Catalan when you call him a Hispanic? See what I mean? See how senseless all of this can be?

Then take the issue of the Continents. In the USA and Canada you are taught that there are 7 Continents. (North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa
and Antartica.) The first 6 with people the last without people. In “Latin America” and I use the term knowing how vague this can be, people are taught that there are 6 Continents. (America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and Antartica.)
I often thought that if you believe in the 7 Continents nomenclature, where do the people of Central America, the Caribbean basin, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands get placed? And language is not a criteria to use either, because to the disbelief of many people from the USA, Mexico is part of North America. Which brings the point that the term Norteamericanos if you want to be politically correct, can refer to Mexicans, USA and Canadians. The whole thing stinks and we should just get over it.
There is no right or wrong way. There is only a human way!

For a while I thought that the separation of the Americas into North and South was some type of denomination based on the plutonic plates of the earth’s under surface.
But when I researched this I realized I was wrong.

It is an exercise in futility to even spend all this time and energy to try to fix the whole thing. This thing can be carried to the infinite ad nauseum.
You can sit and think about it and never come to a reasonable conclusion.
For example, does a person from England get offended if you suggest that he is a Scott or Welsh? Or do people from all of Great Britain get offended if they are referred to as Tutonic, because that automatically associates them to Scandinavians and Germans? See what I mean? Even the term Gringo does not have an exclusive definition for a person from the USA. In Argentina, Gringos was a term used to refer to Italians who immigrated to Argentina. A term replaced by the “Tanos.”
And by the way, do Argentinians mind offending Armenians when they called them “Turcos.” Or they mind offending any other person to ties with the Middle East and group them up as Turcos.? Or do they mind offending people who are of the Jewish faith and went to Argentina from Eastern Europe or Russia and refer to them as “Rusos.” You can make Starbucks a lot of money trying to decipher all of this.
Give me a break! Do we not have more important things to do in life than to major on minutia or should I spell that minutiae. Which one is correct? Color or colour? Anemia or Oanemia? Do we really speak proper English in the USA? Or for that matter spell it correctly? When I run into someone who is trying to jerk my chain about this type of trivia and asks me, am I an Americano, Estadounidense or Norteamericano, I tell them I am from the planet Earth! I am an earthling!
That was a nice distraction, but I got more important things to accomplish in life and this has already set me back a good hour!

Nice chatting, chaffering, chattering, chewing the fat, chitchatting, chit-chatting, confabbing, confabulating, gabbing, gassing, gossiping, jawing, nattering, visiting, or shooting the breeze with everyone!

Doc ConosurNo Gravatar says:

Boy! After reading all I wrote I realized it is time for my dose of medication or I am in a manic phase!

Hey Doc, that was awesome! As for me, I’m just glad Martin Waldseemuller used Amerigo for the root of the name he gave the landmass on his map instead of Vespucci…….Vespuccia? Vespuccians? Vespuccianos?

marceloNo Gravatar says:

could’ve been colombia … for christopher colombus … who knows!

then people from colombia would be the arrogants! for calling themselves colombians! :p

Doc ConosurNo Gravatar says:

William Weber: Roger that and back at you!

Doc Conosur

kfox says:

Doc Conosur,

The correct name is “Republica Federativa do Brasil” (Federative Republic of Brazil ) not “United States of Brazil”.

I think some spanish speakers don’t realize there’s no literal equivalent for “estadounidense” in English, and confuse the use of “American” by americans as a sign of arrogance; thinking a different term should be used. The one versus two continent argument plays into this as well as the current anti-anything-US sentiments of some.

AleNo Gravatar says:

I was born in the US, and raised in Puerto Rico and Argentina, something that makes for a quasi-objective point of view on this issue… for those of us who went to collage in the US during the 80′s, it does make a difference. Back then we would be told we were not Americans (and I was born in the US!). And that came with a not-so-naive shot of ownership, tinted with a hint of arrogance, and a larger dose of, yes, racism masqueraded as nationalism. Been “american” meant (still does and if you have any doubts, go to the deep south) more than a place of origin; it was also a label used to remind some of us of our proper place. And even with the most innocent of my friends, there would be times when asked if I was “american” they would answer on my behalf and say no. Even if you won’t like to admit, many “americans” can be pretty arrogant when it comes to national pride. And I suppose one can argue that goes both ways; but, as someone somehow caught in the middle, I prefer been called American because I was born in AMERICA and not because I was born in the US.

AleNo Gravatar says:

sorry for the typo.. I did go to college!

Doc ConosurNo Gravatar says:

kfox

Los Estados Unidos del Brasil fue el nombre con el cual se conoció al Brasil entre 1889 y 1968, y que precedió al actual, República Federativa del Brasil. Comprende el periodo histórico desde la instauración de la República Brasileña hasta el establecimiento de la Junta Militar de 1967.[1]

I stand corrected because I was still under the impression that Los Estados Unidos del Brasil (Brazil in English.) was still the correct name. But I now realize that since 1968 it is referred to as the Republica Federativa del Brasil.

So I guess brazilians are can no longer be referred to as estadounidenses. But Mexico continues to be called Estados Unidos de Mexico and they are in North America. So you cannot tell a Mexican that he is not a norteamericano or an estadounidense.
If we wanted to discuss this topic ad naseum, how do we differentiate an American from lets say Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, California etc. If they were born in the United States of America, but have similar ancestry to their cousins south of the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo to Mexico)?
My point being that the whole issue is senseless. Call yourself whatever you want to call yourself. If people do not like it and take issue with you, don’t empower their weakness. Be better than that. Let it go my friend. Remember, “seek to understand before being understood.”

Doc ConosurNo Gravatar says:

Ale

I was born in Buenos Aires and grew up in the USA since the age of 10 years old.
I was in the Vietnam Draft. I am proud of my Argentine heritage. I find many things to be very beautiful about that part of my culture. But I am old enough and have been around the block a few times. I can tell you that since the Roman Empire fell, there has been no other civilization that has helped humankind more than the USA. And I dare someone to prove me wrong when I ask that you name a country in the World that you can come to as a poor immigrant and climb the ladder of success within the first generation. Many people in the USA criticize (criticise in England) the USA. I run into people like this all the time. The funny thing about it is that they are usually immigrants who have come to this country and forget to be thankful for this adoptive land. This is a special place. It is a magical kingdom as far as I am concerned.
Dream it, work hard at it, and you can make it happen! No other place.
People talk about racism in the USA. I dare say that I have seen worse racism in many Latin American countries. African-American people in the USA have made unbelievable progress, including electing an African-American president. Name one country in Africa where the poor can climb the ladder of success faster or higher than in the USA! Instead of people grouping up in ethnic groups or tribes, and hold this country hostage with the claim of racism, they should realize that the greatest minority in the world is the individual. And in no other place is the individual protected better than in the USA. This is not a perfect place but it has the moral character to allow people to criticize it openly and without fear of retribution. Because there is no higher respect than for the individual and his/her freedom and the rule of law!

florNo Gravatar says:

Hi everybody, I`m Flor from Argentina and I really like this debate . I`d like to ask 4 ur permission to use ur answers in a research paper.
From my point of view, there are no wrongs about the different terms we use to identify ourselves or to identify others as long as u don`t use them to hurt sb`s feelings. We have to respect eachother and create a tolerant world. As Lennon used to say “U may say I`m a dreamer, but I`m not the only one. I hope say day u`ll join us, and the world will live as one” ;)
Gracias :)

Doc ConosurNo Gravatar says:

Hi flor:

I like the tenor of what you have written. John Lennon was a dreamer allright. He was describing Utopia. I do not believe that the World can live as one and in peace. Ideally,
it is a beautiful idea. But in reality every human being, from every corner of the earth, has the potential to do good or evil. This is a battle that has been fought for years in the annals of history. The idea that everyone can go hug a tree and love everyone is
not going to happen any time soon. What I can assure you of, is that the USA has acted very responsibly in view of the mighty power it has. After World War II the USA had the World at their knees with the invention of the “A-Bomb.” Yet the USA took its worse enemies (Japan & Germany) and reconstructed those countries to the point of those countries today being the best competitors the USA has. Look at what the USSR did to Eastern Europe, they starved them to death and the Berlin Wall fell anyway.
I am not saying that the USA is perfect. But the USA protects and watches out for its own interests and the interests of its citizens. Isn’t that what any sovereign nation is supposed to do? What do you suggest that the Government of Argentina do? Should they not protect the interest of Argentina and their citizens? Wouldn’t every Argentine citizen want his interests protected? Or should we all break down the borders and become one amalgamate and melt in the same pot? I choose to not do the latter.
I like my individuality. I like the fact that I was born in
Argentina. I am proud of myheritage. I am proud of things I identify with that came from that heritage. But I am also proud to be an American (from the USA that is.)
But to me being an American is not about ethnicity or color of skin, or birthplace.
To me being an American is representative of the values the founder fathers of this nation set forth in the Constitution of the USA. This is the essence of America.
If you believe that the individual, his ideas, his ability to express those ideas openly,
his ability to speak or write those ideas openly, his ability to agree or disagree with other points of view but always being respectful of the opinion of others, then you have captured the essence of America. My congressman once said something to be that was simple but very true: “Do not hurt property. Do not hurt others. And do not hurt yourself.” If you live at least these 3 principles you are heading in the right direction. I am of the opinion that the most sacred minority in the World is the individual. And this must be protected at its very core. If you believe in a Creator and if you believe that the Creator has made you in his/her/its image then I propose that the Creator wants you to be free. I do not care what religious background you come from or practice. I don’t care if you believe in a Creator. I still argue that at the very core of our existence we feel we must be free. Free to own property. Free to speak our mind and ideas. Free to pursue happiness. I also believe that no laws would bring about anarchy. And too much government control would bring about tyranny.
I believe that the founding fathers of the USA understood this and attempted to form a new nation with these principles in mind. They wanted freedom but at the same time they wanted order. This is why the Constitution of the USA is the most sacred document in the mind and souls of each person who calls themselves an American.
So I suggest that if a person wants to be free and live by a certain rule of law, then yes as John Lennon stated in his song, …”you can join us. And the World will be one.”
One in protecting the right of every individual, his ideas, his property, and his freedom to live life as they see fit, but under the rule of law. Anyone available to be a helper in this cause, no matter their ethnicity, color of skin or birthplace, I argue is an American.
Now if you believe you need to be ruled by “El Caudillo” or Leader, if you believe that government should do as they please, instead of protecting the rights and freedoms of everyone of the constituents he/she represents. If you believe that government knows best what is best for you. If you believe that your Creator intended for you to be ruled by a Monarch, a Communist regime, a Socialist regime, a Marxist regime, a Leninist regime, or a Military regime, or a particular Faith, than I argue that you are not an American. Or at least you do not understand what the founding fathers of this nation intended to do when they formed this union they called the United States Of America. I, having the belief that there is a Creator, accept the fact that he/she/it has created me in his/hers/its image and wants me to be free and have free will. Inherent in this acceptance I understand that all along the way, I will be faced with situations which will present themselves as being good or evil. These situations will challenge me to choose right from wrong. These situations will test my moral fiber at its very core
and I and only I will be responsible for deciding to do good or evil. I and only I will decide if I want to help humanity or hurt it. So I argue that if the individual is protected in a society to be free and to decide how to live life as he/she sees fit, under the rule of law, and accepts the consequences inherent in abiding by the rule of law or not abiding by them, then he is an American.
And I also believe that the founding fathers did not believe in a “melting pot” but rather a “stew” or a “salad.” A mix that is made up of many ingredients that can be recognized for their own inherent qualities as a part of a whole. Everyone gets to keep their own heritage intact to be part of that mix, but understands the implication that they are part of a whole defending their individual rights. I argue that this is the essence of America and of an American. No matter what country you originated from or what country you reside in.

florNo Gravatar says:

WOW, what a speech! :)
U know what Doc, I couldn`t agree more with U. What`s more, If to be an American represents all that u have mentioned before I assure u that I`M AMERICAN!!!
May I borrow ur words for my paper? U put my thoughts in words, and that`s just great! :)

Doc ConosurNo Gravatar says:

Flor:

Be my guest. Use them any way you please. Everything I have ever written comes from the heart! I do not need recognition. I do not need royalties. I have been a physician for many years. I have seen many people suffer and many people die.
I learned a long time ago what I tried to teach my daughters: “Love people and use things instead of using people and loving thing.”
Go to town Girl!

GusNo Gravatar says:

After all of the posts on America-American it seems that almost everyone agrees that if you are from the United States of America, which I am, you can call yourself an American or say that you are from America. But then I realized that when ask that question in other countries I always answer Texas and Texan. Have been met with smiles and many questions about Texas every time. Yes, even in Mexico. Texas, it’s a whole ‘nother country.

HernanNo Gravatar says:

In Argentina is not OK to say Americano to a person from the US. If The president did called like that, does not mean we all do.

As I am concerned, when she referred the tourists that came to Calafate were Americanos, she could have referred to other Americans beside Argentina… Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, US, Mexico… etc…
As stated, culturally we don’t do that… maybe in the rest of the spanish speaking world is acceptable, but in Argentina is not.
I think it’s ok for them to call themselves as they please, and if you tell me that you are “An American” I will understand that you are from the US… but we would never call you American.

PeterNo Gravatar says:

There is no other country in the world with the word “America” in its official name. Americans are called such because that’s what they are, just like Mexicans, who are from the United States of Mexico, are called what they are.

In Leonard Bernstein’s great Broadway show, West Side Story, one of the better tunes is called “America” — not “United States.” One of the verses says, “Everything’s fine in America,” not “Everything fine in los Estados Unidos.”

If you want another odious comparison, think about “Russia” vs. “Soviet Union.” Think hard.

It makes no difference to me if people are angry or not about the name “American.” It’s everyone’s right to disagree or be angry or resentful or whatever.

However, what’s official is official, and as far as I know, the USA doesn’t plan to change its name anytime soon.

For my part, I think it’s fine if people of other nations resent the name “American” for people from the USA, and if it makes them angry, that’s okay, too.

Liking it or not liking it is not the issue. Being officially correct is, perhaps, the only issue. But it isn’t going away.

AleNo Gravatar says:

Peter, Peter, Peter… funny analogy, the one about West Side Story. Too bad you didn’t get the sarcasm in the song.

BethNo Gravatar says:

American is our Nationality, it’s the only term that exists in the English language to refer to the people from the United States of America, United States is a common nickname for our country but we are not United Statians. frankly I think it’s offensive that the rest out the world tries to change it. We call each country what they have named themselves, I wish they would respect us enough to do that too.

LolaNo Gravatar says:

Beth I agree totally with your post except I don’t believe the “rest of the world” tries to change our name. People I know from other countries living here in the states use the word “American”. From my personal experience I have heard only Argentinians (and not all) whining about this topic. An Argentine friend of mine here in the states flew to Bs. As. to fly with her sister to see relatives in Italy and when my friend gave her elderly aunt a present she had bought in Bs. As. the aunt (who knew she lived in the USA) was not happy because it was not from America! Her family said yes it was from Argentina but she explained “La America, La America no Argentina! I’m sure Argentinians would never call Mexican citizens “estadounidense” why not? Envy finds its way into the hearts and minds of ignorants and intellectuals alike.

JennyNo Gravatar says:

“You Americans think you rule the world. We’re all Americans. But you wouldn’t know that, would you, because you think you’re the center of the world.”

It’s true, we do call tend to sort of hog the term. To be fair, the word “America” is included in the name of our country. Calling ourselves “United Statesian” doesn’t really work. I just read a study discussing opinions of Americans abroad. I’ll preface this by saying that it’s pretty old; 34% of Argentines view us in a positive way. Germany = 61%. Only four countries ranked lower: Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt.

It should be said that there are Americans and Amurikans.

* http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=amurikan -

meNo Gravatar says:

Americanos = Brazilians, Uruguayans, Chileans… ¿Get it?

Thanks for the factual statement, however your argument is looking like someone banging their head against a wall. I won’t repeat myself, but basically, when I speak in Spanish I use the term Estadounidense and when I speak in English I use American.

Yeah, it’s crazy I know, but I also notice that most people in Argentina just use Americano when they refer to my nationality. I could really care less.

Just try to make a Brazilian or Uruguayan or Chilean refer to themselves as an Americano instead of a Brazilian, Uruguayan, or Chilean (Brasileiro, Uruguayo, o Chileno).

I doubt they would prefer Americano as a nationality…

I am pretty sure I get it.

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