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[personal profile] johan
I'm in a terminology discussion elsewhere.

In very relaxed and colloquial US English, is Canada included when the average American talks about North America, or do both terms North America and America refer to just the US? Does "I live in North America, not in Canada" come off naturally in your ears, as something an ordinary American in a bar might say?

Comments desired!

Date: 2008-04-10 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"North America" is and should be defined as Canada, USA and Mexico.
Edited Date: 2008-04-10 02:31 pm (UTC)

Date: 2008-04-10 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Also colloquially among people who are more sloppy about definitions?

Date: 2008-04-10 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"North America" always refers to the continent, colloquially or otherwise. "America" colloquially only refers the USA (despite it being technically incorrect, but nobody really calls people on it other than 3rd grade geography teachers.)

Date: 2008-04-10 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2008-04-10 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And Central America.

Date: 2008-04-10 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Of no importance whatsoever, is the border between North & South America the Panama Canal, or the Panama/Colombia border?

Date: 2008-04-10 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I believe it's the Panama/Colombia border. Which makes more logical sense if you think What Border Did It Have Before the Canal?

Date: 2008-04-10 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Are you suggesting that cartographers are logical? *ducks* ;-)

Date: 2008-04-10 04:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hey now!

Depends on the bar ...

Date: 2008-04-10 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There might be a few people who'd rather obliviously exclude Canada as "North America", but the usual common parlance is for the typical person in the States:

"America" = the United States of America
"North America" = the U.S. & Canada (and maybe Mexico, if they think about it)

Mexico is often lumped in with Central America, which is typically spoken of as if it's not part of North America. "Latin America" is also used to cover Mexico and everything south to Antarctica. Greenland and the Caribbean nations are also in a gray zone of afterthought at best.

Re: Depends on the bar ...

Date: 2008-04-10 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Except that Central America is and always has been part of North America.

Re: Depends on the bar ...

Date: 2008-04-10 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Of course, but I'm trying to think in typical usage, not what's correct ...

Re: Depends on the bar ...

Date: 2008-04-10 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
that was me ...

Re: Depends on the bar ...

Date: 2008-04-10 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, people are crazy.

Date: 2008-04-10 05:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My Canadian boyfriend uses "North America" to mean the US and Canada. Not that you asked but it's another data point. If somebody used the term without including Canada, he would correct them.

Date: 2008-04-10 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Canadian data points are definitely welcome as well. The person I'm discussing this with specifically asked me to go out and ask Canadians as well.

Date: 2008-04-12 03:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In common parlance in my experience, (if typical Australian usage is of any use at all) when people say "America" they are generally referring to the USA, perhaps having not thought about (or been aware of?) geography. Don't underestaimte some peoples' stupidity I have learned.

Using "North America" indicates that they not only know their geography, but are therefore by definition deliberately referring to Canada, USA and probably Mexico.

On a personal note, I dislike the egocentricity implied in using "America" so tend to say "The U.S." for my own purposes, although I still refer to "Americans."

And as a complete aside, it flips both ways as I discovered recently upon witnessing what became a slightly heated debate between Americans and Australians about what defined Australia, Australasia and the South-East Asian Pacific region.

Date: 2008-10-03 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree with those I've read here. North America is definitely used to mean all three countries. "America" is used for what, in Europe, is called The States.

How cool to find you after all this time! Just came upon you on the Tor site.

I live near Washington D.C. now and every time I visit, I kick myself for not having somehow rearranging my schedule to show you around D.C. more when you were here. There are so many wonderful things to see.

(On the other hand, the particular roleplaying session that you so kindly sat through is still the centerpiece of the game -- which is still running. Kirsten, who had been visiting from California that session, has never been able to play since. Her character still survives, however, and will appear in the novel I'm working on based on the game. Meanwhile, my first trilogy -- also vaguely based the same game, though not that session -- comes out from Tor next summer!)

Anyway, just wanted to say hello and apologize for not somehow having been able to better entertain you while you were here.


Date: 2008-10-04 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hi Jagi,

Now you are definitly mixing me up with someone else. We haven't met in person since you were in Sweden in 1985. Oh, what old age does to us poor people! ;)



Date: 2008-10-05 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No! It was you! You visited for The Pennsic Wars, and we saw you for the day right before you returned from Sweden...I know it was you because you brought me that wonderful mustard I had at your place, and no one else in the world could have known that I liked that but you! (Boy, it was good! ;-)

How are you? What are you doing now? You look quite handsome in your picture. I hope your life is always that filled with cheer!

As for me: I live in Virginia now. I've got three boys, ages 5 to 10, and a trilogy that will, finally, be coming out next summer. John (my husband -- John C. Wright) has a bunch of books out, but none of them have been translated into Swedish yet, sigh. ;-)
Edited Date: 2008-10-05 01:02 am (UTC)

The basis of it all...

Date: 2011-04-02 01:24 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Better late than never...

Sixth Avenue, Manhattan, says it all - its official name is the Avenue of the Americas. Please note the plural s. America (south and north) are the continents.

On the other hand, "americans" is *unfortunately* much easier to pronounce than the correct "united stateans".

Roffie the Swede

(Hi there, Jophan! :)

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