Friday, January 15, 2010

Who Are We?

Just heard a BBC announcer refer to Barack Obama as "The President of America." Is that standard? I concede that "The President of the United States" is ambiguous, but "The President of America" is just as much so, not so?


Toni said...

When we lived in Canada, its residents made it clear that they didn't care for us calling our country of origin "America." We thought it was a point well-taken.

A few days ago, I got snagged into watching a comedy bit on Huffington Post called something like "The dumbest quiz show contestants ever." One bit was a segment from Family Feud where family members were asked to "name a country that starts with an 'A' other than America." Of course, no one could (all they could come up with were "Asia" and "Africa"). The bit drove me absolutely crazy as I had to listen to the host repeat the question over and over to each family member down the line. Every time he said the word "America" I yelled like an idiot at my inanimate computer screen.

Jill said...

I'm an American expatriate in England, and yes, the British routinely and normally refer to the USA as "America." Even now after years it sounds weird to me, as I associate that name for the country with the context of patriot rhetoric, outright jingoism, or the use of the country as a metaphor for one thing or another.

As I understand it, it's not only Canadians who dislike applying the name of a couple of continents to a single country, but people from Central and South America. And this person from the United States.