Jan. 19th, 2010 06:42 pm
rj_anderson: (Tintin - "What?")
I've started to see the term "USian" being used as a substitute for "American", and frankly it baffles me.

I am guessing that the reason some people choose to write "USian" instead of "American" is because they worry that if they don't specify the US, natives of other countries in North and South America might think they are being referred to as well? Or do they fear that if they use "American" to refer to US citizens only, other people in the western hemisphere will be offended by the implication that they are not American?

In either case, the distinction seems unnecessary to me. As a Canadian citizen raised in North America, I have never once thought of myself as "American" or resented not being included in that term, and I'm pretty sure most of my fellow Canadians feel the same. In fact, it seems to me that Not Being American is one of the three great Canadian national pastimes, right after hockey and going through the drive-thru at Tim Horton's. So there's no need to use "USian" to refer to the people of the United States, because when we hear "American" that's all we can or want to think of in any case.

But perhaps I'm mistaken about this. So I'm asking my readers who live in North or South American countries that are not the US to tell me how they feel about the matter:

What do you think of when you hear the term "American"? Does it seem like it refers to you? Do you think it should? And what do you think when you see writers using "USian" instead?
What Slanguage Do I Speak? )

I'm amused that all the Canadian slang seems to have come from the drive-thru at Tim Horton's.
I know there's at least one of you on my flist, so I thought I would beg for some assistance. My husband's family are all German, and his uncle, who lives in Germany, died last week. We want to send a sympathy card to his widow, but since my husband's German is purely verbal (he left Germany at six and only learned to read and write in English) and I have no German at all, I don't know how to write what I want to say.

In English, the message I'd like to write in the card is "We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you." Any reasonable approximation of those sentiments (I know that exact translation is seldom possible) would be greatly appreciated.

And before anybody suggests using Babelfish for the German translation, I should mention that I tried that once with a thank-you card to my husband's parents, and the reaction was not exactly positive. Apparently my original "You are so kind and generous -- thank you! We love you!" came out as something horribly officious and impersonal, like the sentiments you'd get on a form letter from your local bank thanking you and several million other customers "for your valued patronage". Needless to say I won't be doing that again...
Gacked from... well, everywhere, but most recently from [ profile] ajhalluk:

Regional Language Meme )

Regionality information: Born in Kampala, Uganda but lived pretty much all my life in Ontario, most of it within two hours' drive of Toronto. One year spent attending school in New Jersey.


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