back to article WTF is this country called America?

You'd think that an elite special forces hack like our very own Lewis Page would be au fait with an atlas, but he's sadly not, according to one rather disgruntled reader. Lewis unwisely kicked off this piece with: "An alliance of boffins from Oxford University and Virginia, America..." Oh no. Cue a fit of pique from one Lorne …

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Badgers

@asdf

"Pull a Fallout 3"

Surely you mean pull a Fallout 1? I mean, it was there first, and talked about it first.

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Boffin

Geography

Just for completeness - to those of you listing the constituent parts of North America - you might want to add Greenland. Even though it's a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it's also a sizeable part of North America...

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Badgers

Just being greedy

Those USAians are just being greedy and unimaginative, using 'america', 'american' and so forth when those words cover 2 whole continents and the people of many countries. There have been attempts to adopt more specific terminology, but they never seem to get very far. Even sticking to 'united states' doesn't work, as using that for the USA upsets residents of the United States of Mexico, just to the south.

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Ignorance abounds

Okay... admittedly the original comment was not what one would consider well written or well presented, but lets cut to the chase here.

The name of the country is the United States of America, not "America", The common use of "American" to refer to a citizen of the USA is quite different then referring to the entire country simply as America, something that maybe you should ask people in other North and South American countries about, and not just assume that you know best.

Second, the retort to the poster was quite ignorant. This individual may be a bit of an idiot, buit the comment about the seals??? Really!?!

Being a person from Canada, and from a province of Canada where we do participate in the annual hunt of Harp Seals, I know that there is a great deal of misinformation and ignorance of this industry, ignorance which is easily found in the off-handed commend about beating a seal cub with a baseball bat.

Please, do yourselves a favour and get informed before making such comments. Maybe try a source based on science and fact and not one based on profit-driven "animal rights" organizations that have nothing to do with anything close to reality.

Here is a site put in place by the federal government of Canada...

www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/media/seal-phoque/seal-phoque-eng.htm

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FAIL

lol

You are all missing a simple fact. Lewis Page is British and in Britain it is common for people to refer to the USA as America or the states. Afterall it doesn't make you sound like some kind of freak by pronouncing the full title all the time. If the US has an issue with it, that is fine, I would be okay for US citizens to ciritcise as long as they can name and point to the other countries on a map of Europe and perhaps detail all their closest neighbours, or point to North Korea on the map. Only then should we take Geographical advice from an American.

@barth

"America is a CONTINENT." - No it isn't, there are seven widely regarded continents, America isn't one, it is NORTH america, or SOUTH america. Whether referring to the continent as a land mass or a continental plate, America still isn't one of them.

"The US of A is a COUNTRY." - Correct

"As much a you don't say London, Europe, you don't say Illinois, America." Yes you can, if you don't that is fine but you CAN. Afterall there is a London in Canada (Just above great lakes) And you don't say illinois, america. (well you might, we don't) Just like you don't say Kent, England, or Warwickshire, England. or Prince Edward island, Canada. They are counties, states, provinces within the country and will only be mentioned if the sentence requires it.

"One should try to attend, and remember, primary school." - I agree, so should you. Start perhaps with Geology and Geography 101.

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Grenade

Talk about flushing out the pedants

Anyone with half a brain knows what Lewis meant when he said America, let's face it - the USofA is really the only country of any consequence on that continent anyway....

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Anonymous Coward

As most others have pointed out...

....it is the United States of America. The Americas.

So Lewis was wrong. That's all.

Lorne didn't express himself all that well though, granted.

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Stop

@Michael O'Malley

EU = A political entity consisiting of various European countries

Europe = A geographical entity

surely?

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(Written by Reg staff)

gosh

What a thread. I'd collate all the various viewpoints into some kind of pie chart or other graph but... I can't be bothered. You do it.

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Headmaster

@Jason Togneri

You should have used set notation.

I see what you're trying to say because I'm fully acquainted with the facts you are trying to express.

But...

<quote>

England = GB, and UK

Scotland = GB, and UK

Wales = GB, and UK

NI = UK

</quote>

...is just wrong. The left hand sides are subsets of the right hand side.

Closest icon I could find for mathematics nazi ;-)

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Alien

I know where America is

When someone refers to "America", as people in the UK often do, I always know it is a short way of saying "United States of America". As Mike Jennings says it is the same as saying "Britian" instead of "the United Kingdom of Great Britian and Northern Ireland".

When we talk about the whole continent we say "the Americas". No one is sidelining Canada, or Latin America or Puerto Rico for that matter.

What's the difference here folks, you're all Welsh. America comes from the Welsh name Ap Meric via a merchant from Bristol called Amerike.

Britian was originally full of Welsh (celtic) so that's what you should really be getting hot under the collar about ;)

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@Mr Spoon

"To be fair using Britain as a shorthand for the UK should be incorrect too, as Britain is technically England and Wales."

You're wrong. Britain is short for 'Great Britain', which is the name of the island made up of the NAtions of England, Scotland, and Wales. UK us an abbreviation of 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland', referring to the geographical location of the Kingdom.

Stop confuising the issue.

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@ Chris Harden

He's not your buddy, fella!

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"Boffin' a seal"?!?!

Is it just me who immediately thought of the old joke?

An Eskimo's Skidoo breaks down, so he sends out a distress call on the radio and waits for help. A few hours later, his mate turns up.

"Hear you've got engine problems, dude. Eh, have you blown a seal?"

"Nah, it's just the frost on my moustache."

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Flame

@ Sarah Bee

Please try not to set such things in motion... you never know where they might end up.

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Anonymous Coward

America => USA

I thought America was often used to denote USA because that was the only significant part of the Americas and nobody gave a shit about the other bits.

I know this to be true because if I ask a Canadian if he is American, he will say "no" (or sometimes "Non").

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Anonymous Coward

Paris, Europe?

I know this is the ultimate aim of the Gauls, to take precedence of over the Germanic Hordes or Romans.....

however, to use the American (or should than ube USAian) English it "Paris, France", to use British English or any other form of English outside the USA its "Paris" as non USAians have a resonable grasp of Geography to know that when people refer to Paris, they mean Paris the capital of the French Republic, not some hick town in Texas!?

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Stop

Amerka, what's wrong with that?

You call it the USA

I call it Amerka

Where's the problem?

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@ Mr Spoon

"Technically", Britain isn't England and Wales, it includes Scotland too, but never mind. You're all right and you're all wrong too. Especially me for perpetuating this thread.

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Grenade

French or American?

Would that be French Canadia or North Amiercan Canadia ?

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Alert

Pie Charts

I started making pie charts and then this big American came a long and ate them, fat bastard. Well we know who eats all the pies these days.

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Alert

Coined

God bless America. Or as Team America would say (explicit language warning):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZdJRDpLHbw

Come guys it is Friday.

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Grenade

United States of....?

Surely the giveaway, as ever, is in the title. It is the United States of America.

So by their own reasoning, and naming (albeit geographically incorrect, but when has geography ever been an issue in the USA); there must be an America. Otherwise how can one award the States, in their postion of unity to be OF America?

Thus, in referring to "America", one clearly refers to the the country of which the states are united. America.

Oh and Britain (short version of Great Britain, hence GB) is the British Isles, which includes those countries not part of the UK (nor the EU). But note Eire. The UK being england, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Anonymous Coward

Fallout 3

By asdf Posted Friday 23rd October 2009 10:35 GMT "An easy solution to his turdspurt would be for the USA to pull a Fallout 3 get it over with and annex Canada and add a dozen or so stars to our flag."

Remember the last time that was tried, about 1812-1815? How's the White House these days?

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Happy

My Favorite Canadian Joke

Q- Do you know what Americans think of Canada?

A- They don't.

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@AC 10.57

"America isn't a continent, as North America and South America are separate continents and people that live in Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil etc... are never (correctly) referred to as Americans."

If you believe that, you probably don't speak any language but English. In Spanish, Portuguese and other languages, South and North Americans are "American". And the named countries certainly are.

That's the problem when you live in the Anglo-Saxon language bubble. You think everyone talks and thinks like you. Break out of the bubble and have a look around. You'll find the rest of us have created a very interesting world.

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Unhappy

@keith9600

"Sadly, there are ignoramuses from all countries..."

Should that not be 'ignorami'?

Oh, that would make viruses 'viri', not 'virii'.

Perhaps I am an ignorami...

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Pint

Title

Well I suppose it makes a change from the "Canada isn't a country, it's part of the USA" ramblings that keep appearing on the 'net.

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FAIL

Idiots one and all.

Did the original article say that America was a country?

Did it say "Virginia, in the country known as America"?

No, it used America as a geographical reference point, so that we wouldn't get it confused with Virginia in Ireland, Virginia Water or Virginia Bottomley.

So yes, Lewis was fine in saying Virginia was the one in the geographical region that is in common usage known as America.

And he knows all about America, it's where the Chinooks come from.

Jolyon

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Pint

Opinion from another Canadian

Fortunately for us, Canada is a rather unique name, and while properly referred to as Canadians, we are generally ok with the term Canuck as it is generally used in a friendly manner.

When we refer to the people of the United States of America, we refer to them as “Americans”, not “Americans of the United States” or “United States Americans”. The term “American” refers to nationality, not geographic location and also refers to those not living in North America (e.g.: Hawaii).

As for geographic location, Lewis should have referred to the country as “U.S.A.”, or even U.S. would have been ok. Americans use “America” because saying “The United States of America” is too wordy and, let’s face it, we all know to what they are referring. But out of respect for all countries “U.S.A.” would not only have been more accurate, it would have been fewer characters to mash out on the keyboard.

<<Stereotype mode = ON>>

My work here is done, eh? Time to go to Tim's for my 'double double' to wake up so I can go for some beer!

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Bronze badge

really, now

Can't we get back to something useful, say arguing about whether Pluto is a planet?

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FAIL

@ AC and Alex King

You're both wrong, and although I agree that Mr Spoon is muddying the issue and further confusing an issue that is already very confusing for many people, he's *technically* correct.

- Britain comes from an older root and refers to England and Wales.

- Great Britain is a geographical term and refers to the largest landmass of the British Isles. Politically, it encompasses England, Wales and Scotland.

- United Kingdom is a short form of "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", and is the modern political entity that exists in that geographical location.

- "England" is neither an acceptable term for the geographical island of Great Britain, nor for the political entity that is the UK. England is merely one fraction of the whole. By the same token, one would not say "Texas" to refer to the USA as a whole, nor would one say "France" to refer to the EU (or Europe) as a whole.

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@AC & @Alex King re: Britain vs Great Britain

Back to primary school for you chaps.

http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/CUSTOMS/questions/britain/britain.htm

http://www.slipperysnake.co.uk/geography/united-kingdom/united-kingdom

Britain is often used as a shorthand for Great Britain and the UK, but it is not the same thing.

Britain is technically England and Wales. Great Britain is England Wales and Scotland.

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Grenade

America

The thinking was to call the Country The Continent's name as to prepare for

the eventual takeover of all the Land.

Flip off Yanks, manger la merde !

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Thumb Up

He's right you know

The United States of America is NOT America. If you're too lazy to put in the full name, the US or USA is shorter than 'America' anyway.

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@Martin 47

Heh Heh. No one picked up on the pubic wig reference . . . .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkin

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Certain Other Languages

In the English language, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is often, if incorrectly, called 'Britain', because 'Great Britain and Northern Ireland' is something of a mouthful, and the term 'United Kingdom', while considered correct, does not truly name the thing referred to; Great Britain and Northern Ireland just happen to be a United Kingdom.

This is more apparent in the case of the Dominion of Canada and the Commonwealth of Australia. A Canadian might occasionally refer to his country as 'the Dominion', but that is clearly a figure of speech. I have no idea how often Australians refer to their country as 'the Commonwealth', but I would suppose that it is not often.

Thus, the United States of America is clearly "America" in the same sense as the Dominion of Canada is "Canada", or the Bundesrepublic Deuchstland is "Deuchtsland" or the Republique Francaise is "France".

However, while this makes perfect sense in English, speakers of Romance languages such as French - and, more to the point, Spanish - could potentially be confused. While English speakers use "America" to refer to the United States of America, and "the Americas" to refer to the landmass consisting of North America, Central America, and South America, in French, for example, there is only the term "l'Amerique".

As a result, particularly in the United States of America, there is a considerable sentiment towards referring to that country as the "United States" and not as "America" out of deference to the feelings of Spanish-language speakers, who consider their native lands to be part of what they think of America - what we would call the Americas.

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Grenade

Stting the bleeding obvious....

English - Bear Grylls.

Canadian - Grills Bears.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: "Boffin' a seal"?!?!

Well, what about the other one...

'A baby seal walks into a club...'

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Wales is not a country

Sorry to be even more pedantic but Wales is not a country, it's a principality. That's why the Welsh flag is not part of the Union flag.

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Coat

re: disgruntled yank

Surely Pluto is a dog, the really question is what is Goofy?

Mine's the one with the Mickey Mouse ears stenciled on the back

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@ Ian Braithwaite

'Just for completeness - to those of you listing the constituent parts of North America - you might want to add Greenland. Even though it's a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it's also a sizeable part of North America..'

And the left-hand quarter of Iceland; which (depending on your definition) is also (or indeed is not) part of Scandinavia.

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Happy

Major point overlooked

The US gets to call itself America because long, long, long ago... we called dibs.

End of story.

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Troll

America, FUCK YEAH!

Coming again, to save the mother fucking day yeah,

etc. etc.

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I agree with everybody

You're all correct - I am glad we got this America business sorted. Now we can trott off for tea and buns.

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Go

CBA to read the other posts

I made this mistake when visiting Canada. They like you to call it the US or USA.

I wonder if mexicans and people in the southern continent have the same attitude.

But hey - I'm half Canadian so GOOO CANADA! WOOOOP

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Coffee/keyboard

@Paul Donnelly

He's not your fella, geezer

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Go

Clarification ... finally

The difficulty we have here is establishing a worldwide designation for Citizens of the United States of America. The generally used term 'American' is FAR TOO encompassing, even downright ostentatious. After all, as has been previously stated, America is a continental designation; North, Central, and South. So by this designation, someone living in Peru, Nicaragua or Mexico could call themselves 'Americans', although God forbid they would want to ...

No, as I see it, most countries citizens are named in such as way as to unambiguously connect them to their country's name; in this case United States of America. So citizens of the United Stated of America are FORMALLY now and forever known as USANS .

This new name is pronounced You-jans with a soft 'j' as in the word Asians.

... and this solves any ambiguity

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Grenade

Have you all lost your minds?

All this commentary about the extent of Great Britain and not a word about Cornwall? Good Lord, folks, don't you all know that until a few centuries ago Cornwall existed on British maps as a separate and distinct country to England. Royalty referred to themselves as being 'rulers of England and Cornwall'. A Greek traveler in 300BC - recorded that the people of Cornwall were an evolved and civilized tin mining community trading tin with other countries - 800 years before the Anglo-Saxons first set foot in Britain.

In 1337 the 'Nation' of Cornwall was made a royal Duchy to provide an income to the Heir to the throne, Cornwall became an extra-territorial region of Britain ruled by the Duke's of Cornwall.

Kernow Bys Vyken!

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FAIL

@Jason Togneri

England = GB, and UK

...

England != UK

So, the only way for this to be internally consistent is for England to be the sum of Great Britain and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Since I'm obviously a clueless provincial, I'll just have to trust your obviously superior European intellect.

So, given that, I will feel free to refer to anyone from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, etc as English (since that is the accepted term for someone from England, as far as I know). If they get offended, I'll refer them to you. Thanks.

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