Ramsay

Hi all! I'm hoping you can satisfy a curiosity that I have about how people refer to the United States in other languages around the world. 

My curiosity started when I was living in Scotland. I noticed that almost everyone referred to the United States as "America". Of course, I'm aware that people from the US themselves refer to their country as "America" but it came as a bit of a surprise to me. In Canada, where I am from, we generally refer to the country as the "United States" or "the US" (although we usually refer to the people from the country as "Americans"). I think there is a sense in which we object to the idea that "America", which is really a region made up of two continents and something like 40 countries, should refer to just one of those countries. 

I'm aware that in many languages there are two words. For example, in French you can use the word États-Unien(s) or États-Unienne(s), although Américain(s) or Américaine(s) is probably more common. In Brazilian Portuguese, they seem to use "Estados Unidos" more commonly to refer to the country but "Americano(a)" is used more often to refer to the people. Apparently, though, that depends to some extent on your political affiliation. My friend has told me that people who identify more with socialist political ideology tend to be more likely to use "Estadunidense" rather than "Americano".

What about in your native language and in your region? Do you have one word? Two? Does it change depending on whether you're talking about the country or the people?

Looking forward to hearing from you!
This is a really interesting question. From a Brit's perspective, we tend to refer to 'America' just a shorter version of (the) United States of America.

To perhaps state the obvious, we'd never refer to a Canadian as an American, but we might refer to a Canadian as a North American.

On a similar note, how people refer to different countries of the UK has its own fair share of problems. Lots of Americans (and dare I say, perhaps even the occasional Canadian) mix up Britain and England, talk about a 'British' accent,, the Queen of England, and generally get mixed up. 

It's not always clear, granted, but similar to people using 'America' as a term just for the US, 'Britain' is sometimes used as a term to refer to just England, and 'England' is used to refer to the whole of the UK.
Ramsay replied
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I'm Venezuelan and we usually say "estadounidense" because we all are Americans. Another word we could use is "norteamericano/a" and even though a Canadian person is also from North America, we only use to refer to a person from the US. 
Ramsay replied
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In Czechia we use the word "Američan/ka" to refer to a person living in the USA. There just isn't any other option.

However, we use both terms - "Amerika" and "Spojené Státy" - if we refer to the name of the country.

"Kanaďan/ka" is a person living in Canada. 

And lastly, we use the word "Jihoameričan/ka" (lit. southamerican) to refer to the person living in South America, and I am afraid of our limitless ignorance because we use it to refer to people living in the Central America as well.
Ramsay replied
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I love this TED talk on language learning. Check it out!



This lady is amazing, I've come across her a few times actually, but never actually watched this talk. Will watch it this weekend.

Thanks for sharing Ramsay 🙌
Yes, she is really amazing. I love her (she is Slovak which is very familiar to me and I understand her accent very well).
Hi all! I'm Ramsay.

I'm originally from Canada but I'm currently living in Brazil.

I'm a native English-speaker, but I love learning languages. I'm currently learning Portuguese!

One perhaps unusual thing that interests me is the science of learning! I really like reading about the way that we process and retrieve information. And also how we get better at things (like English!). 

Looking forward to meeting you all!
Happy to see you here, I enjoy reading your articles!

I've learnt a lot about learning from Kobe Bryant. There's one quote in particular that I always use to motivate myself:

For many people the game moves really fast. But if you watch hours and hours of film, the game is not moving that fast anymore. 

Great analogy! (listening and language learning) 
Ramsay replied
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Hi Ramsay,
thank you so much for your blogs. I try to read them all and use your advice in my learning journey. Your blog is the reason how I've found Leonardo English. Thank you ones more for it.
Ramsay replied
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Ramsay is indeed an amazing writer and I enjoy the perspective he brings to the blog posts indeed. 
Being a foreign language learner gives you special perspective into the hurdles and on the best strategies on to overcome them. 

Great feedback about living in Brazil btw, love hearing about your experience! 
Hope my people and country make you happy. It's a very warm and welcoming culture indeed :)